San Francisco and I started off on the wrong foot. I arrived after 14 hours of train travel and attempted to navigate the transit system. And failed. Well, only slightly, overshooting my final destination. But by such time, not only was I lost, I was tired and confused and disoriented and fed-up. (But happy to see Katharine!) SF was considerably colder and less sunny than L.A. or San Diego so putting on a sweater and a scarf begrudged me a little more. But a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge and North Beach put me on good terms again. San Francisco and I were in it for the long haul. And San Francisco was laying on the charm. Thick.
With a capricious sine-curve topography and no home left without bay windows or colorful coats, it was hard not to enjoy San Francisco's fun and chill temperament. I could even pardon its all-in-one weather, cold to hot, clear to cloudy, sunny to rainy, windy to foggy... sometimes all in the same day.
Culinary treasures abounded from the homemade pumpkin ravioli of Osteria del Forno to the eye-widening deliciousness of Limon Rotisserie's yucca fries with "yellow" sauce, and not to forget Tartine's morning bun, Arizmendi's potato and pesto pizza, the Ghoshal matriarch's feast or Alembic's Kobe beef tongue sliders. Truly a city after my stomach.
While museums and their architecture were interesting (the desert storm exterior of the de Young, the eco-friendly roof of the California Academy of Arts and Science, the wildly modern wacko addition at the Contemporary Jewish), I valued San Francisco more for the time I got to spend with old friends: Katharine, Shivani, Allie, Tatiana, and Annemarie. I was truly overjoyed to rekindle friendship with Annemarie, we seem to have uncovered again the hope-filled days of freshman year and giggled and smiled our way through our time together.
And then I was off for one last night on the culinary scene with dear Angela, hitting CUT and Father's Office (not her father's office) and meeting the legendary cousin. It felt like a natural finish to return to the airport and head back home but I am glad I discovered the mythic California and brought that dream that I've nurtured for so long to life.