San Francisco Journals

San Fran at a Glance …

A May 2005 trip to San Francisco by nik-nak

Hotel Bijou Photo, San Francisco, California More Photos
Quote: After hearing the hype about artsy-fied San Francisco, I decided it would be my destination for Memorial Day weekend. Although I would’ve preferred someplace with sultry temps, I wanted to experience a contrast to LaLa Land and was ready for the change of scenery.

Hotel Bijou

Hotel

Hotel Bijou Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We stayed at Hotel Bijou, which was conveniently located in the heart of Union Square. This boutique-style hotel was an ode to film and even had a mini-theater where two different movies were shown each evening. Walls were adorned with vintage movie posters of Hollywood icons. I was initially a bit leery about staying at a two-star hotel, but we found it to be exceptionally clean, and the staff was friendly and accommodating. The rooms were small, but who comes to visit a place to sit in the hotel room anyway? The only drawback was the close proximity to and occasional late-night noise of the Tenderloin, but I tended to be in such a coma every night anyway, I didn’t find it to be too disruptive. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 11, 2005

Hotel Bijou
111 Mason Street
San Francisco, California 94102
415-771-1200

Quote:
Our Saturday evening vittles were at a Mexican tapas bistro called Colibrí. That’s right, I said Mexican tapas, not Spanish. It wasn’t a very memorable meal, but more like a little bit of food for a whole lot of money. For me, it was just a pit stop to fuel up for a late night of salsa dancing.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 11, 2005

Colibri Mexican Bistro
438 Geary St.
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 440-2737

Le Cheval

Restaurant

Le Cheval Photo, Oakland, California
Quote:
The highlight of feasting was no doubt our venture to Le Cheval, a Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland. The menu was extensive, and not only were the hearty portions of food exceptional, but the prices were as well. The Bird’s Nest dish I ordered (literally a massive nest of crispy noodles heaped with an array of veggies, meat, and fish) was only $8.50! After scoffing as Darryl inhaled everything but his plate, I too had to let out a resounding "mmmm" when I tasted his calamari salad. The walls were filled with paintings, mostly of its namesake ("le cheval" means "horse" in French). Service was friendly and quick, with adequate seating in an open, airy space. Our dining experience at Le Cheval was defini...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 11, 2005

Le Cheval
1007 Clay Street
Oakland, California 94607
(510) 763-8957

The Buena Vista Cafe

Restaurant | "Buena Vista Cafe"

Quote:
Lunch during our stint at Fisherman's Wharf was at the famous Buena Vista Cafe, known for its yummy Irish cream coffee. With a menu loaded with American fare (plenty of seafood, of course) and a friendly pub atmosphere, this popular hot spot is a good refuge from the bay breeze.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 11, 2005

The Buena Vista Cafe
2765 Hyde Street
San Francisco, California 94109
(415) 474-5044

Union Square Plaza

Attraction | "Union Square Shopping"

Quote:
You know fatigue didn’t stop Traci and me from boutique-hopping in her 'hood and making our way via the Muni (the train system) to Union Square, where we spent at least two hours in Loehmann’s shoe store. For all my fellow shoe horses, Loehmann’s is a gold mine! How fantabulous it was to see Pucci and Versace shoes at a huge discount! It was there that I scored Dolce & Gabbana and Nicole Miller sandals for less than a hundred dollars each! That alone made dragging my weary body along worth it. And of course, the Loehmann’s department store across the street beckoned to us as well. With only forty minutes until closing, we power-shoppers understood that conversation was unnecessary, and we were about t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 11, 2005

Union Square Plaza
Bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets
San Francisco, California

Cafe Cocomo

Attraction | "Salsa Dancing at Club Cocomo"

Quote:
Tucked away in an industrial area was Club Cocomo. For just a mere $10 cover, we got high-energy salsa from a slammin’ live band. Although I wished my former dance partner was there with me, I was relieved to see that the place was packed with salseros (ie, good dancers), and I ended up with a couple of good leads.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 11, 2005

Cafe Cocomo
650 Indiana Street
San Francisco, California 94107
(415) 824-6910

Bay-Bound

Story/Tip

Quote:
My flight landed in Oakland, and I cabbed it to my friend Traci’s quaint little place on a hill Thursday evening. After exchanging friendly pleasantries, we headed to Market Street, where we ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant called Pasta Pomodoro. The bread with pesto was to-die-for, and hearty portions of pasta filled our bellies. After hours of chatting, we called it a night, but unfortunately for me, I soon realized I was freezing but couldn’t fathom moving to get more covers. So much for starting off the trip "fresh" and rested. Between the night of minimal sleep and the two-hour time difference, a sistah was broken down! In fact, throughout the weekend, I couldn’t tell you what time I ...Read More

Friend or Foe?

Story/Tip

Quote:
From Friday evening on, I was with my friend Darryl, who flew in from Philadelphia. In a way, this trip was a way for me to find out if we’d be able to tolerate one another for a trip to Bahia, Brazil. Think planner vs. free spirit. Our first major butting of heads occurred our first morning in the hotel. I could not tell you what he was doing that took him so long to get up and about, but we didn’t make it out of the room until after 1 o’clock! "What are you doing?" I shrieked, trying to prod him into hurrying up. Ultimately, I stormed off to the Punjab Kabob House, a restaurant serving Pakistani/Indian cuisine across the street. I indulged in a saucy dose of chicken tikka masala with naan bre...Read More
welcome to carnaval! Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Late Saturday afternoon, we met up with Traci and headed over to the Mission District to catch the tail end of a Carnaval festival. As we strolled down the seven-block stretch, checking out vendors, I ingested the pulsating melodies of Latin jazz, Reggaeton, Merengue, and Salsa from the different stages. Crowds gathered around those bold salseros who couldn’t resist dancing. The walk to the bus stop through the Mission was even more interesting. A Salsa jam session was in progress outside of La Parrilla Grill. Naturally, as the music drew more onlookers, the crowd spilled over into the street. I finagled my way to the inner parts of the circle to see the musicians in action. One guy sat perched...Read More
me @ golden gate bridge Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Sunday was a kick-back kind of a day, and we intended to play it by ear. For time’s sake, Darryl and I went our separate ways for the morning: him to work out and me to shop a bit more. After braving the inclines in heels, I also figured I’d indulge in a bit of self-pampering, since manis and pedis are cheaper on the West Coast. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a disappointment. It was cheap, but not so neat. We decided to only get the rental car for our last day to see a few sights, since parking was such a headache everywhere. After driving down Lombard’s crookedest street and to some of the highest points overlooking the city, we did Fisherman’s Wharf at a glance, taking in the obvious: G...Read More

Farewell, Frisco!

Story/Tip

Quote:
Our intention was to hit a jazz club in Oakland for our last night, but our dining went later than intended. There was the option of going to a place in the Mission, but after the vibe in broad daylight, we were very skeptical about hanging out there in the dark. We resolved to stay in and prepare for our early departure. Not the most entertaining choice, but a wise one. After only four days, it was time to say farewell to San Fran and head back to reality. Will it become a frequent hot spot for me to escape to? Probably not, as I realize I’m an East Coast kinda girl to the core, and Cali doesn’t tickle my fancy. Although I still can’t pinpoint an actual feeling that I’d associate with the place...Read More