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29 June 2012 @ 02:46 am
What I did in SF, part two!  
On Monday, Sharon and I went into the city to meet my mom and another old friend of hers at the Ferry Building, which is full of fancy specialty shops and also full of people. Rhonda (Mom's friend, who knew me as a baby) snuck up on us while I was being starry eyed over the kitchen supplies in Sur la Table. I bought a t-rex cookie cutter, and then we had lunch at Gott's, which included the most amazing onion rings. After lunch, Sharon and I went back into the Ferry Building to visit the mini Miette bakery (they have a full sized bakery, the Ferry Building location is just a tiny branch). They have the most adorable treats, and I wanted them all, but I restricted myself to a mini Scharfenberger cake (chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache) and a slice of strawberry mousse cake, and we split each one up between the four of us. Mmm, delicious.

After saying goodbye to Mom and Rhonda, Sharon and I went on to Pier 39, where we strolled through the tourist shops, I went ga-ga over the double-decker carousel (which, I found out later, I rode on as a little girl, and now I wish that I had overcome my scruples and ridden it, adulthood be damned :P), and we hung out to admire the sea lions for a little while (there were babies!)
From there we walked toward Ghiradelli Square, although we got a little turned around and had to double back toward our actual goal, the Musee de Mechanique (where we were met by Mara), a free, open to the public collection of vintage arcade games. They are remarkable and numerous--from a huge model of a fair ground that lit up and moved, to a mechanical puppet show, to 3D flipshows of natural disasters (or, if you wished, scantily clad ladies), to psychic machines that typed up your horoscope, to animated dioramas of executions (a hanging and a guillotine). It was insane and fascinating, the sheer strangeness of some of them, the weird things that people apparently once found entertaining, the surreal and sometimes terrifying.
After spending ages in there examining each thing, we went to get on a cable car, which involved standing in line. This was a little rough, after the walking we'd already done on top of all the walking the day before, plus it was surprisingly bright and hot, and Sharon wasn't feeling very well at all. We finally got on the fourth cable car to come, and we were the first on so I got my pick of seats and sat in the very front. None of us opted to stand on the outside :P I loved the cable car--it was like riding a roller coaster, and I thought it was a blast, plus the operator we had was awesome, very lively and engaged the whole trip. Sharon got off about halfway through the trip to meet Jason and some friends from out of town for dinner, and Mara and I went on to the very end, getting off only when the line ended. Then we got on the train, briefly, to go to another part of town to visit Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant. It was a maze of kitsch, with every inch of wall taken up with pictures and weird things, and the food, served family style, was delicious and enormous. By the end of things I wasn't sure I could every face the idea of eating ever ever ever again, even though all of the eating was interrupted with a lot of lively conversation.
After staggering back to the train station Mara put me onto a train, and I went to Sharon and Jason's station, where the plan was for me to ride the free shuttle back to their apartment and let myself in, since they planned to be back late and share a taxi with the friends they had dinner with, and we all thought that I'd get back first. Except that apparently we were all on the same train, and Jason saw me at the station as they were leaving, so they called and told me not to get on the shuttle (which would have taken me the long way back), and once they were home they just got their car and came right back to fetch me :P Yay for friends!

On Tuesday I went into Berkeley with Sharon, because she had an eye appointment and thought she might not be able to drive after having her eyes dilated--I spent the time lurking in the public library (with my Kindle, reading Insurgent :P), and then we got ice cream cones! Then we came back and loafed about, and if we did anything noteworthy I cannot remember what it was....

On Wednesday my Mom came in on the train again, and we met a couple of friends of Sharon and we all drove into Napa Valley, where we visited a couple of wineries--well, first we stopped for lunch as Mustard's, which was delicious, although busy enough that we chose to sit at the bar rather than wait for a table, but then we did a tasting at Mumm, which was all sparkling wines, and followed by a visit to V. Sattui, where everyone else tried more wine while I wandered off to take pictures of the pretty grounds. There were lots of climbing ivy and wisteria vines, and a fountain, and general loveliness. I also saw a bride having her portraits done, and almost jumped in to offer help when I saw her having trouble with her dress, because I am that person :P 'Oh no, a dress in trouble! LET ME', but later I saw her with more helpers around her, so I'm sure she was really fine without random assistance from zealous bystanders....
From there we went to Bouchon Bakery, where everyone else got one thing, and I got three, because wine I am largely indifferent to, but baked goods? I MUST TRY THEM ALL. Even though the selection wasn't particularly overwhelming I was still overwhelmed, because I wanted everything. In the end I got a lemon tart, a macaron (because I'd never actually had one, so I've had no idea what all the fuss is about) and an ohnoyoudidn't, which is a macaron covered in chocolate. I'm still not sure what all of the macaron fuss is about--I liked it, but didn't adore it, the texture wasn't my favorite thing I've ever had--but the lemon tart, that I could make a fuss over. Shortbread crust, lemon custard, toasted meringue on top? Marry me. I covered for my excess by getting other people to eat some of them, and saved half of each macaron for later.
That evening Sharon and Jason had a church meeting, so I stayed at their apartment complex to do some laundry (packing for ten days is hard! I ran out of certain essential garments, and with the unusually hot weather the clothes I'd worn more than once were perhaps a little fragrant). I only did one load, and the two cycles--one for the washer, one for the dryer--matched perfectly with the amount of time that it took for me to read and annotate Dorothy Sayers' Are Women Human?, although most of my notes were me putting 'yes!' next to comments by Kay and Sharon that were already in the book.

On Thursday, which was today, Sharon and I did practically nothing except loaf around on the internet all afternoon--we did go and pick up the rental car that we'll be driving this weekend, and made a trip to the grocery store, and made chocolate Guinness cupcakes and made fancy pizzas with sauteed onions and mushrooms and truffle oil, so I guess not really practically nothing...but we definitely stayed relaxed all day.

And tomorrow! Tomorrow we go on our road trip adventure! Tomorrow we drive down the coast and see more sights! And tomorrow night we meet Kate and Joel! It will be The Most Exciting!
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Danielle: avatar 2hippie1025 on June 29th, 2012 11:20 am (UTC)
Yay for awesome trips with awesome people!

One of my life rules, is that I NEVER pass up a carousel. Adult? What's that? Just someone who gets to choose *how many* times they ride a particular carousel!!!

(Of course, my last carousel ride involved me standing while my daughter rode for the first time. Which was truly awesome... But I kinda wanted to go on a second time so *I* could ride one of the horses. Alas the toddler was hitting stimulation limits.)
ramblin' girl: song from the sudsbarefoottomboy on June 29th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
Glad your trip is going so well, it sounds like a lot of fun! Enjoy road-tripping!