We weren't sure how much the town had changed since we left, but we were happy to see a lot of our old faves still thriving — a welcome sign coming from a city that seems to flip businesses like they're going out of, well, business. There does seem to be a fresher, Upper-West-Side chicness blended into the culture, something we learned is the result of relatively local dotcoms that have blown up in the years since we've been gone. Big-namers like Facebook and Google run shuttle services that cart their employees in and out the Bay Area, a move that's driven up rents and added heft to the commonest of price tags. We even hear the grimy Tenderloin will be spiffing up soon with the arrival of the Instagram headquarters. Oh, snap!
For our trip, we mostly stuck to the areas we knew best, strolling through hoods like the Mission, Haight and Castro, visiting our favorite eateries, and reveling in the departure from reality that comes with being in that crazy-ass city. Here are some quick highlights:
|A sugar and his scone.|
Favorite Haunts: On our first night, we had dinner at Miyabi, a nondescript sushi spot in the Castro that makes the Godzilla Roll, a thick mix of crab, unagi and spicy tuna that's dipped in a deep fryer and drizzled with something orgasmic. Yes, it was just as delish as we remembered. We also had great return-to-memory-lane meals at Herbivore vegetarian restaurant, Samovar tea lounge and one of the best cakeries I've ever known, Sweet Inspiration. I love you, Lemon Poppy Seed cake.
New Places: The trip wasn't all about hitting up places we frequented before; we wanted to try a few new things, too. We had a divine meal at Gracias Madre, a brand new vegan/organic Mexican joint in the Mission. One night we sipped on absinthe drinks in Blackbird, a bar in the Castro that specializes in fancy, old-school spirit and tincture concoctions. It was an awesome place, but my Kentucky came out when I got snippy with a guy who kept shoving us out of the way. I told him to "try excuse me next time." He called me a "cunt." We also stumbled across a beautiful, modern tea shop around the corner from our apartment called Taste, where we each had a cup of chilled rooibos and a French-style macaroon. Le mmm!
|Virgin Mary chic.|
Science: Partnered with a scientist, it's only natural that our trips involve some sort of total nerdery. After visiting the de Young we met up with our friend Matthew and hit up the California Academy of Sciences' (CAS) weekly NightLife soiree, where we sipped wine, got our sweat on in the humid rainforest dome and trekked up to the Living Roof to peek at Venus through a high-powered telescope. (It looked like a quarter moon). Another science highlight was when we saw a hawk swoop down and catch a mouse in the park between the CAS and de Young Museum. It clawed that sucker up, flew it to its nest and started choking it down. Alan got a picture. I almost barfed.
It's not technically a science outing, but on Saturday afternoon we went to Pacifica to have brunch with a group of Alan's former UCSF lab mates. It was hosted at the home of our friends Traci and Kerim, which sits on a giant hill that faces a valley in the foreground and a peek at the Pacific Ocean in the back. We spent a lot of time with this group of people when we lived here, so it was great to catch up and see them all doing so well.
|A gay and his smoothie.|