Thursday, September 6, 2007

San Francisco, Day 2: Borders Surfing and Sushi

In our travels, we’ve learned that the cheapest way to find a good meal is to go to a bookstore and peruse their Michelin Red guide. Not buy it, mind you, just borrow it for a few minutes, all the while saying things like “hmmmm, should we buy this? Is this book any good? Hmmmm…”

So when we ventured out again after our nap, we went to the Borders on Union Square and found a Michelin rated Japanese place right across the street from the hotel. At that point, we had probably looked at it 10 times already, but never guessed it was any good.

I didn’t find anything in the red guide for Fisherman’s Warf, so naturally, that’s where we headed, via a circuitous route up Russian Hill and down Lombard Street, where we got to watch a you couple skate board down between the flowers to the amusement of all. We also walked up the “street” that Armistead Maupin used as a model for Barbary Lane in his Tales of the City series. It wasn’t so much a street or even lane, as a pathway up a hill through a jungle. Pretty darn cool.

My wife wanted Dungeness crab, but Fisherman’s Wharf was so crowded we couldn’t even get near the out door fish vendors. Plus, we couldn’t figure out the logistics of eating whole crabs while standing up. The wharf was about what we expected, kind of a more gritty version of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. So we walked back up the long hill to Sutter Street and went to our newly discovered Japanese place.

It was the best Japanese food I’ve ever had. They had sake that actually tasted good, unlike what you might get at Benihana or even Blue Fin. We got a sampler, served cold. I’m sure they were serving those bottles you see in the liquor store that cost like $30 for a half liter. But it’s worth buying even at that price!

The sushi and sashimi were excellent. Back at the hotel, we stopped in the pub, decorated in old English pub style with lots of bright work paneling and molding. There were a good many locals there who said it was their neighborhood hang-out. And it wasn’t a neighborhood hang-out a-la The Tune Inn, where men go to get drunk fast. It was more of a Jane Jacob’s style “third place.” We split a Guinness and headed for bed.

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