We were technically in San Francisco for a conference, and I procrastinated (see a theme?) and didn’t get us in the conference hotel. When we showed up at the conference hotel today for my presentation, I had to do a lot of apologizing to J who walked in, looked around, and then gave me the “are you kidding me” look. The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency at the Embarcadero Center area. And it’s beautiful. [This is not a sponsored post, but Hyatt, if you’re reading, I’d be happy to come and stay there *wink, wink*]
After a couple panels, we changed clothes in the bathroom and went northwest towards Fisherman’s Wharf. We had a lunch plan and nothing was going to stop us.
Our plan? In-N-Out Burger!
I’ve always wanted to eat at In-N-Out Burger, so I was super excited to find that there was one in San Francisco.
I’m not ashamed to admit that the burger and fries in the front of the picture (above) are totally mine. I had no idea what animal style was when we ordered, but I have absolutely no regrets on making my burger AND my fries animal style. Do it. (Calories don’t count on vacation, right?!)
J enjoyed his meal, but he told me while we were eating that he preferred Cookout because there were more options (if you’re from the southeast, you know what that is. If you’re not but find yourself at a Cookout, getcha some hushpuppies and a Cheerwine float!).
The one thing that sucked about In-N-Out was that it was PACKED. It’s located right at Fisherman’s Wharf which is a majorly touristy area. Most of the blogs from locals said to avoid the area, and I couldn’t agree more. There were so many people and it reminded me of Myrtle Beach in the summer or Gatlinburg on steroids.
We had a bay cruise that required us to meet at Pier 39, so we walked as fast as we could to the pier and out of the madness. Except that Pier 39 is where the seals hang out, so we basically walked into even more madness (and some stank smells).
If you like animals, I think it’s worth a quick stop just so you can hear it and see it, especially when they push each other off the dock. J kept yelling “OFF, OFF!” because of the seals from Finding Dory 😂
After our bay cruise (all about that next!), we headed toward the North Beach area specifically to stop at Vesuvio Cafe and City Lights Bookstore. Vesuvio is a bar that many of the Beat poets frequented, and it’s infamous for being a popular hangout for Jack Kerouac.
J apparently found his inner poet because he really loved Vesuvio.
Funky, artsy decor and good drinks! I ordered the Swinging Beat.
City Lights is a WONDERFUL little bookstore. I cannot oversell this place.
I could’ve spent hours in there, but J wasn’t quite as enthused, so I tried to be quick.
Part of what I loved so much were the signs and the social justice focus. I wanted the entire shelf in the above picture.
I allowed myself one book (the hardest decision ever) and bought an Angela Davis book published by City Lights for my friend.
If I ever get back to San Francisco, the North Beach neighborhood is an area that I’d like to spend more time exploring. Although Vesuvio and City Lights were amazing, I bet there’s a lot we missed.
By this time we were hungry. I didn’t have a plan and wasn’t super familiar with the area, but J wanted Italian (which was weird because he never craves Italian). We passed by The Stinking Rose, but although it seems to be on all the travel recommendations, I had also seen that it was a little overrated. Thoughts, anyone? I’d love to know!
When I don’t have a plan and a decision has to be made I tend to shut down (health and mature, yes?), so J eventually led us to Mona Lisa Restaurant. It seemed authentic because everyone was speaking Italian. J ordered spaghetti and meatballs which I ended up being really jealous over, and I got a pizza which was gigantic but just kind of meh.
The best part of the meal was that the Warriors were playing the Cavs in the NBA finals, so all the workers were watching that and yelling at the tv.
After dinner we walked through Chinatown where I almost tackled a preteen boy who kept throwing firecrackers on the sidewalk and road.
Since it was so late in the evening, many of the stores were closing and the rush had died down quite a bit.
Our final stop was one of my favorite finds – Pagan Idol – a tiki bar! I didn’t get good photos because of the lighting, but I HIGHLY recommend a stop here! Its decked out in tropical decor, has a “volcano” that thunders and shoots out smoke, and the drinks are delish! It’s so fun!
I ordered the Bird of Paradise (cachaca, tequila, lemon, vanilla, PASSIONFRUIT WHIP, li hing mui (?) and sea salt) and J got the Daywalker (Puerto Rican, Jamaican, and overproof rum, orange, pineapple, lemon, grenadine, fassionola, bitters, and absinthe).
After another full day, we were exhausted. Stay tuned for my post on the catamaran bay cruise that we also did today!