The Great City of Fog and Hills

Having driven from sunny Sonoma Valley, we were struck by two things upon our arrival into San Francisco: first, it was freezing; second, it is damned hilly! But few things could shake us of our excitement. We were, after all, in the city for which Kristen has felt a certain mangetic pull (despite never having actually visited).

Our friends Sean and Ellen have an apartment in Russian Hill, a super hilly neighborhood where parallel parking seems like such a gamble (do you over compensate for the hill and slam into the car up the hill from you, or are you too slow to accelerate and roll into the car downhill?) that the city has allowed for perpendicular parking in the hilliest sections. This perpendicular parking thing is a little strange; it seems like the car will just tumble over onto its side and then roll down the rest of the hill. Also, there’s the danger that when you open the door, everything in the car will just spill out, including you. Once we remembered how gravity works, we were fine, and we soon learned that the great hills offer great views of the city. As an added bonus, the hills also act as a buffer to keep riffraff out of the neighborhood (shopping carts packed full of personal belongings don’t fare well going uphill).

After we’d unpacked, the four of us set off on the bus to head over to the Marina, where festivities were under way in celebration of the America’s Cup, a set of world-class sailing regattas to be hosted in San Fran through 2013. Part of the celebration included a free concert by Dr. Dog, a music group with such a classic sound that they’ve been compared to The Beatles, and who Kristen and Loren have seen both at Bonnaroo and the 930 club. The music was great, and the people-watching was even better; armed with some sweet potato fries, we were set to enjoy both shows.

Free Dr. Dog concert!

Our hosts, Sean and Ellen

By the end of the music, we were all a bit shivery - it had to be in the low 50s, no sun, full fog, cold breeze. (As a quick sidenote, we learned that the Fog of San Francisco has a name, Karl, and a twitter feed. Apparently, Karl can be kind of snarky and a bit flamboyant, and most city dwellers both love and hate Karl. Thought that was cute and funny.)

It was time for a hot meal. After attempting but failing to get a table at not one but two different German restaurants, each separated by a ten-minute taxi ride, we decided German food was conspiring against us. So we walked to the nearby restaurant Absinthe, and enjoyed a very delicious dinner. We shared a French onion soup, stonefruit salad, and a duo of pork, and were lucky enough to sample some of our hosts’ dishes as well.

Dinner at Absinthe