We were all a bit slow to rise on Sunday morning, and by noon had barely gotten our names onto the Outerlands multi-page brunch wait list before they stopped accepting names. Knowing we’d have quite a wait ahead of us but not quite sure what we’d gotten ourselves into, we paid a visit to the nearby Trouble Coffee Company. (They didn’t allow Kristen to photograph the place... boo!) Not only with delicious coffee, Trouble has delicious-looking pastries, cookies, and the mother of all, texas toast.
We sipped our gourmet blends and nibbled on buttery cinnamon toast just outside of Trouble at one of San Francisco’s Parklets, a section of parallel parking spots that have been converted into a mini-park. We love this idea: stores/cafes/bars/etc can petition for the city to purchase parking spots outside of their storefronts to turning the spaces into public mini-park. This one had beautiful natural wood benches, and was a perfect spot to enjoy our pre-brunch snack.
That is, until we stepped into the General Store, which is possibly the coolest store we’d ever seen, with handmade knick knacks, letterpress cards, ceramics, terrariums, knitted goods, books, architectural magazines... it was so easy to get lost in the store, feeling inspired by all of the amazing objects on the display shelves. Kristen ached for her knitting needles, taking mental note of some of the excellent ideas on display at the store.
Eventually snapping out of it and leaving without actually purchasing anything, which was a feat in itself, we perched just outside of the cafe for another hour or so, until we were finally called. It was sometime in the mid-afternoon by that point, and we’d probably waited about 3 hours, which was not unlike the “brunch village” skit from Portlandia. At least it was sunny and warm outside!
We sat down with reinvigorated appetites as the menus slid before us. Rather than OD on caffeine, Kristen opted for the hot ginger cider spiked with bourbon, which tasted like fall and got her feeling ready for the seasons to change already. She ordered the fried egg an open-faced sandwich with gruyere with a nice little salad as well. For Loren, eggs in jail (aka frog in a hole). Everything was yummy, and the we marveled at the decor, which included an indulgent woodsy touch and a fabulous swirly driftwood bar. It was dreamy.
After brunch, we continued to revel in the good weather, and drove down the street to the shore. We’re not sure how this could be possible, but it actually seemed warmer on the San Francisco beach than it did on San Diego’s beach. Maybe this SanFran beach was special: it was, after all, the site of the original Burning Man festival... so maybe the ghosts of burning man’s past keep the sands extra warm?
Sean and Ellen dropped us at the DeYoung museum, with about 20 minutes to spare before the museum closed (Sunday...). We were able to ride the elevator up to see the beautiful 360 degree views of the Golden Gate Park and surrounds on the upper deck – free and open to the public. Once we were kicked out, we decided to set off on what ended up being a pretty long walk through the park and out to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
While museums may have been closing prematurely on that Sunday afternoon, Haight-Ashbury was coming to life. We joined the crowds of people slowly moving past the flamboyant storefronts, adding to the traffic jams here and there to snap a few photos. When we realized we were short on time, we hopped a bus to head back toward Russian Hill, where we’d again meet with our hosts for dinner.
But first, we made a mistake and hopped off the bus a bit too early and found ourselves in the exact wrong part of the SOMA neighborhood, alongside junkies and homeless people babbling nonsense. Kristen was in full blinder mode and we walked with purpose to get the heck out of there. What can we say? San Francisco is a big city, so it’s bound to have some riffraff.
We made it home in time for the dinner party, which Chef Ellen (she’s a chef) had prepared for a group which all knows each other courtesy of the Pappas Group (Loren’s former employer). After catching up, we enjoyed a veg risotto with stone fruit salad, topped off with bread pudding and washed down with some beer and wine. We are still kicking ourselves that we didn't take any photos....