Tag Archives: San Francisco

Doc Martens turn 50!

Well, amigos…it looks like Susan Boyle, Jon Gosselin, Debbie Reynolds and I not the only cool things that were born on April 1st. Yep, that’s right, the makers of those iconic, ass-kicking boots, Doc Martens, celebrated a major birthday two days ago as well…their 50th to be exact. Wow…who knew?

I bought my first pair of Doc Marten boots back in the grungy 1990’s and, man, did they make me feel cool. I swear to God, I hadn’t felt that hip since my parents finally broke down and bought me a pair of Sperry Topsiders ten years earlier. It didn’t matter if every other person on the mean streets of San Francisco was wearing them or not, to me, Doc Martens defined awesomeness in those days.

Not only were they comfortable as all get out, but those boots could take a beating too. I wore them to work, with shorts, at the beach, you name it…I wore the shit out of those things and they just kept on trucking.

And when my feet finally wore through those amazingly cushy soles, I got another pair, and another after that. Hell, I still have a pair of the dress shoe version (pictured below) under the bed. They haven’t fit me in years, and even though Christine keeps urging me to get rid of them…I just can’t.

So, happy birthday to one of our favorite shoe makers of all time. And here’s to fifty more years of boot-stomping fun! To read more about the cool ways Doc Martens are celebrating their 50th, check out their rocking official site here.

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Lunch at San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Christine and I usually visit San Francisco at least once a year for her work and every time we go, one of the first places we hit is the super cool Ferry Building Marketplace at the end of Market Street.

Housed inside the beautiful shell of the historic Ferry Building (which opened it’s doors in 1898), the marketplace can best be described as a gigantic indoor farmer’s market. With offices upstairs, the bustling lower level is home to some of the tastiest gourmet grub in the city.

The Ferry Building, San Francisco

Little girl (not Greta!) at Miette

Miette's collection of cool goodies!

Artisanal cheeses, chocolates, meats, tea, coffee, breads…there is nothing you can’t find at this place and if you are lucky enough to come on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM, you’ll find a real life farmer’s market camped outside the building as well. And, man alive, is that place amazing!

But even if you can’t make it for the outdoor farmer’s market, the permanent storefronts inside the Ferry Building will more than satisfy you. We’ve eaten at almost every joint in there and aside from the bland, totally overpriced Mexican food at Mijita, everything we’ve eaten there has been excellent.

That said, we are total creatures of habit and almost always eat at the same two places. First stop is usually Charlie Phan’s Out The Door. Located directly behind Phan’s already-legendary The Slanted Door, Out The Door has some of the best Vietnamese “street food” I’ve ever had. Soups, salads, spring rolls, out-of-this-world Vietnamese coffee, this place is probably one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Seriously good food!

Miette @ the Ferry Building!

Miette pastry table at the Ferry Building!

The amazing chocolate pots @ Miette!

And the meal we had the one time we actually managed to score a dinner reservation at The Slanted Door — which is usually booked months in advance — will go down in the record books as one of the finest meals I’ve ever had. I  kid you not, amigos, I have actually had dreams about their world-famous Chicken Claypot with caramel sauce, chilies and fresh ginger. DELICIOUS!

Our second favorite spot in the Ferry Building is Miette Patisserie home of awesome cookies, pastries and the second-best cupcakes in the city (right behind my all-time favorite, Kara’s Cupcakes!). But cookies and other baked yumminess aside, the thing that keeps Christine and I coming back year after year are Miette’s incredibly tasty Chocolate Pots de Creme. Holy crap, these things will totally change your life!

Served in a tiny glass jar (which you get to keep!) the chocolate pot is like the best pudding you ever had topped with a healthy dollop of dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth, creme fraiche. Yum!

Boccalone sandwich board sign @ the Ferry Building!

Boccalone at the Ferry Building!

And while we were a little sad to learn that they no longer uses the Miette logo glassware for the pots (which make rad tea light holders back home), as long as the chocolate keeps tasting this good, who really cares what it comes in?

Our two favorite stops aside, this past visit we decided to try something different for lunch. So, at the urging of Grandma Wendy, the four of us jumped into the long line outside Boccalone Salumeria to try their Food-Network-famous mortadella hot dogs. And, lemme tell ya, the sign out front, “tasty salted pig parts”, doesn’t even begin to describe how good this fancy hot dog was.

The sight, the smell, even the sound as it popped in your mouth when you bit into it, this was truly a weiner for the ages…delicious!

Boccalone delivery bicycle!

Mortadella hot dog @ Boccalone!

My only complaint about the Ferry Building Marketplace is the lack of parking. This was our first time driving to SF with Greta (we’re saving her first airplane trip till January!) and the parking really sucked. The dedicated lot they do have is very small and street parking is a nightmare. And when you do find street parking, it’s metered up the wazoo, so, bring your quarters!

Oh, and one more cool thing. The Ferry Building Marketplace has free WiFi, so, bring your laptop and sit a spell at one of the giant wooden tables facing the bay…the view is incredible!

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On the road with Obama

With the election just a couple of weeks away and getting crazier by the minute, Christine and I decided to take our brand new Barack Obama action figure on a quick campaign push up the coast to Northern California.

The fact that we were both itching for a fun, weekend road trip might have had a little something to do with it too, but either way, Jedi Master Obama came with us and as you can see from the pics below, the little plastic dude had a blast.

Not only did he get to cross the Golden Gate bridge during Fleet Week — and see the Blue Angels performing above us on the drive back! — but Obama also got to tour the rocking Charles Schulz Musuem in Santa Rosa, judge a surfing contest in Capitola, check out Sista Monica’s soulful outdoor gospel choir in Santa Cruz and best of all, Lil’ O got to wrap up his journey with some tasty hot wings at the Burbank Hooters.

And with stops at Taco Bell and the classic Bob’s Big Boy in Toluca Lake thrown in for good measure, well, I don’t know about you guys, but that kinda sounds like campaign heaven to me!

If you’re interested in seeing the full, unedited version of Lil’ O’s “rainbow tour” of the California coast, check out the Flickr set here, but in the meantime, enjoy the pics, remember to vote on November 4th, and, as always, go Obama!

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Zona Rosa: best burritos on the planet!

If you haven’t eaten yet, I suggest you grab yourself a power bar or something, because these here pictures are gonna make you drool like a hungry baby. Or, well, maybe that’s just me…

Either way, allow me to introduce you to my favorite burrito place on the planet…San Francisco, California’s legendary Zona Rosa.

Located at the grungy tail-end of the city’s storied Haight-Ashbury district, Zona Rosa has been serving up bad-ass Mexican food for as long as I can remember. And, seeing as Christine and I have been eating there since 1990, well, wow…that’s a long-ass time, yo.

I don’t remember which one of our roommates first stumbled upon this wondrous place, but I discovered Zona Rosa in college, while living in a rundown flat full of crazies — seriously, we had six roommates and a cat at one point! — just a few blocks away on Fell Street.

Rolling out of bed, all hung over and groggy, and walking up to Zona on a Sunday morning in our sweats was more than just a mere weekend ritual for us…hell, Zona Rosa was our church, baby! And we rarely missed a chance to worship their tasty grub…even on school nights.

And, best of all, because it was the Haight, you could walk into that place in your flip flops and boxers if you wanted to. In fact, many people still do. And, yes, for the record, I did go to Zona Rosa in my boxers several times — before Christine came along and made me wear, you know, pants and stuff — but hey, they looked like shorts, so, no big.

But the extremely lax dress code is just the tip of the iceberg at Zona Rosa, because almost everything on their menu is fantastic. And though it’s not traditional Mexican food by any means, there is something kinda Cali-Mexi-authentic going on here with the flavors that is just amazing.

Let’s start with the beans, Christine favors the black beans, but for me, a Zona Rosa burrito is all about the pintos. I don’t know what they do those things, but they rock…HARD! Couple the beans with that fluffy orange Mexican rice and you’re already halfway to heaven, amigos.

The meat selection is vast: steak, pork, chicken, carnitas, saucy, dry, you name it, they have it. But my favorite will always be the grilled carne asada-style steak. Toss in some cheese, fresh salsa, guacamole and a little bit of sour cream, roll that shit up in a big, fat flour tortilla and you are good to go!

And don’t ignore those free chips either. Sure, they can be overcooked and a tad hard sometimes, but they practically melt in your mouth when smothered with the spicy green and red salsa they have at the tables. I kid you not, amigos, the food here is crazy-magical…you’ll die!

And though my friend Ginger probably gets sick of driving Christine and I all the way out to the Haight from our hotel downtown when we visit the City — as she did in July on our way to visit Master Yoda — I know that somewhere, deep down, Ginger’s a fan too. I think…

Either way, if you’re ever in the city, you gotta make time and room in your stomach for some Zona Rosa. As one of my most-loathed former roommates used to say: “Once a Zona Rosa addict, always a Zona Rosa addict.” And though that wanker has, thankfully, long since faded from our circle of friends, he could not have been more right about Zona…I will love this place till I die!

And I kinda mean that literally as I have already instructed Christine to toss a Zona Rosa Super Burrito in my coffin at my funeral. Yep, it’s that good!

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Yoda statue at Lucasfilm!

After spending a good chunk of the weekend clearing off the Tivo — finished up watching most of the Olympics and the tail end of both political conventions! Whew! — I am finally getting around to uploading the scads of pictures we took this summer onto our Flickr page. Yay!

And while sorting through some pics from our weekend jaunt to San Francisco in July, I came across some rocking pictures I took of the crazy-cool Yoda statue outside the Lucasfilm: Letterman Digital Arts Center on the Presidio.

Yes, I said Yoda, as in, the baddest Jedi in the galaxy. And yes, there is an actual statue of Degobah’s finest that you can pose in front of if you know how to find it…cool, huh? As luck would have it, Christine and my friend Ginger and I kind of accidentally discovered the statue a couple of years ago.

While cruising around San Francisco in Ginger’s sweet ride, the three of us explored the beautifully reimagined Presidio — the place was kind of a ghost town when we lived in SF in the 1990’s — in search of the mythical Yoda statue. It was getting dark, and it was cold and totally foggy, and we were about to give up the search  entirely when I spotted an unmarked employee entrance to the Lucasfilm offices near the base of the Presidio.

And after driving the wrong way through the “exit only” driveway — much to the chagrin of both Christine and Ginger! — I found my Yoda statue! And though I had to drag them out of the car with me, we posed for tons of pics outside the gleaming new home of Lucasfilm’s Letterman Digital Arts Center. Then, to our horror, a security guard emerged from the building…

But rather than making a run for the car, being the gigantic goober that I am, I asked him to take a picture of the three of us with Yoda. I know, nerd-tastic! But he was super cool and not only took a picture, but actually invited us inside to see some of the full-scale “Star Wars” models in the lobby.

Aside from shelves full of awards, they had a life size statue of both Darth Vader and Boba Fett towering over the couches in the waiting area…I’m not kidding, man, I just about fainted…talk about geek heaven!

Sadly, most of those pics we took that day were lost to the ages when my laptop Hal 9000 fried earlier this year. So, this past July, I begged Ginger to drive us over to the Presidio (again!) for some all new pics with Master Yoda. And guess what…she agreed! Thanks, Ginger!

So, here, for your viewing enjoyment are my favorite pics of the amazing Yoda statue/fountain at the Presidio. We didn’t get to go inside this time, but hey, been there, done that. Getting some fresh pics with Yoda was my goal, and as you can see, we picked a perfect day for it!

Rock on, Master Yoda! And may the Force be with you…always.

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