We started our first day in San Francisco with a quick bite to eat at Starbucks, we're Seattlites, it's an addiction, and then drove the nearly 45 minutes over the Bay Bridge and into San Francisco. If you intend to go to San Francisco keep in mind that there is a daily toll to enter into San Francisco from the bridge.
First, we found parking near Chinatown just north of the Dragon Gate. We walked from the gate to the Good Mong Kok Bakery, a popular dim sum bakery for the locals, and home to some of the best (and most affordable) options of any dim sum location in San Francisco. If you get the opportunity you should try the barbecue pork buns and I was told that anything with shrimp goes super fast because it’s the best, we got there at ten and they were already sold out! The bakery itself lacks seating and so we walked to the Old St. Mary’s Cathedral and ate at the park of the same name just across the street.
After that we went to the Chinese Cultural Center that presides within the Hilton Hotel. They had a riveting exhibit called ‘Task of Remembrance’ happening during our visit that talked about the precarious history that Chinese immigrants faced, the hardships of living in communist China, and what it was to survive that.
We walked past the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory but with a line six yards out the door it wasn’t an option we were interested in waiting for, rather we walked into a local tea shop and tried some green teas and fruit teas.
After that, we drove to where we thought we might be able to best see the Golden Gate Bridge, but came upon only fog on the horizon. By this point hopes of seeing the monument at all today had become futile, the fog either left by noon or stayed for the day by the local telling. On the bright side, our adventures to attempt to find the perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge led us to see the roof of the Palace of Fine Arts in the distance and we made our way towards this new location of exploration. What a perfect find it was, the blue skies and gorgeous scenery made for the perfect spontaneous photoshoot locale.
Following our surprise stop we drove to Fisherman’s Wharf where we stopped first at the Boudin Bakery, which makes 25,000 sourdough bread bowls each day, to eat lunch, dungeness crab chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, and then walked to the nearby WWII submarine which immediately peaked my dad’s interest. We toured the vessel and then tried to find a fish vendor to purchase salmon off of only to be informed that the only fish sales happened in the morning between seven and noon, and so we had missed all of the vendors. It was a bit of a surprise to realize that the market called ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ didn’t sell fish all the time, while our market back home ‘Pike Place Market’ not only did, but was famous for throwing whole fish to customers all day.
We drove back to Chinatown for dinner from the Mong Kok Bakery and then on to Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission District area for dessert. We both had a European hot chocolate which is a thick, decadent hot chocolate that belays so much more flavor than the American version that is made from a sugar-chocolate powder.