Last weekend, Adam and I went to San Francisco for a very good friend's wedding. The wedding was on a Thursday, so we reserved Friday afternoon to catch up with old friends and walk around the city. Since we lived in SF for two years before moving to LA, going back always feels nostalgic.
Three years ago, we moved here from the Bay Area suburbs where we always felt restless. I guess that's how you know you were meant to live in a city… when peace and quiet really bothers you. Ha! We lived in an apartment complex that was sandwiched between a Starbucks and a strip mall (with another Starbucks in it). Alright, that's an exaggeration, actually, but it was very suburban. There was always some foot traffic from the coffee crowd, but other than that, everything always felt still. I remember noticing the sound of a single car driving by every once in a while, but even that was rare.
Flash forward to move-in day in our Lower Nob Hill apartment— there was construction on our street about two blocks from our new apartment, cars were backed all the way up to our corner, people were leaning on their horns and shouting out their windows, there was a band of bohemian-looking old men singing and playing acoustic guitars near the front steps of our building where they were sheltered from the wild, salty breeze blowing over from the ocean. We had been searching for vibrancy, and boy did we find it. Immediately, it felt like this was our thing.
I got a job two-ish months after moving to the city, and I ended up with this really iconic commute to work. I took the Cable Car (yes, it's a real form of transportation there— it's included in your metro pass!) from Nob Hill all the way down to its second-to-last stop in the Financial District. It passes all those famous hotels, like the Fairmont and the Mark Hopkins, China Town, Grace Cathedral, St. Mary's Square, and almost every hilltop gives you a stunning view of the city or the Bay Bridge. Sometimes it didn't feel real, like a Disneyland ride where the scenery is created to give you a certain experience.
I mean, how can you not fall in love with this? How?! We used to walk down to the Embarcadero on Saturdays and visit the Ferry Building. There are a ton of permanent vendors inside that sell everything from coffee (Blue Bottle) to oysters (Hog Island) to kitchen wares (Heath Ceramics).
Above the action: the upper level of the Ferry Building. We used to come up here after grabbing what seems like a crazy breakfast, but is actually totally normal to San Franciscans: coffee and oysters topped with cocktail sauce. All the vendors are on the first level and no one ever thinks to come up here, so you can slurp (yuck, I hate that word but I don't know how else to say it!) oysters undisturbed while people watching from above the market.
Something I love about wandering through the Ferry Building on Saturday morning: you can sample (almost) everything. Personally, I'm after olive oil and chocolate samples— also the luxurious, organic lotions and body oils, which they have in abundance here.
The produce at the Farmer's Market is too good. When I could get this stuff back to my kitchen in about twenty minutes, this was a dangerous place…
See this picture above? Also a part of my daily Cable Car commute to work… I mean, it doesn't get more iconic San Francisco than this.
Another one of my favorites: Nob Hill Grille. We lived basically across the street from this place, so obviously we went there WAY too much. I've ordered these breakfast sliders more times than I'd like to admit. Mmmm, comfort food!