Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Month Anniversary!

Can you believe its been a month since I moved to the City? I can't, but my bank account can. It's gone by so quickly and been so much fun! Two more months in the sublet then its time to find a permanent home. Which should be interesting.

This weekend has been so much fun. I have to say living up the street from Crossroads, the local 2nd hand store doesn't suck. I got a BCBG and a Marc Jacobs shirt this weekend for under $50 bucks on Saturday! My wardrobe will definitely benefit from the proximity. I followed my successful shopping trip with the BEST Ramen I've ever had in Japantown at a place called Bushi Tei. Hmmm just thinking about that soup makes my mouth water.

Last night I met some girlfriends for dinner at The Cigar Bar downtown. The dinner and conversation was fun, but the food left a lot to be desired mostly because it is so overpriced for what it is. I think people love this place because in San Francisco you really can't smoke anywhere but you can here, and they love it. Following The Cigar Bar we headed to the Mission for some drinking and debauchery. The Mission is one of my favorite neighborhoods to visit. I wouldn't want to live there - a little too City for this Peninsula Princess but I do love to visit. Tons of great bars and cute boys abound. It is much more of a hipster scene then a douchebag yuppie scene and I can get down with that. After hanging out at Casanova we finished the night with Burritos at a nearby taqueria and by the time the cab dropped me if it was 3 am! I don't think I've done that since college.

Today, after getting some rest and hauling my butt to the laundromat for a much needed spin cycle, I had brunch with a friend at Crepes n' Coffee on Divisidero and then we walked over the hill from Pacific Heights down to Crissy Fields, the scene of many a movie and most recently where that girl Ali from The Bachelor ruined her grey boots by running around in the water - WTH?. It was a beautiful day in the City and it was nice to get out and about down by the water. It is amazing how small San Francisco seems. I'm sure after walking all of those hills I will feel it in the morning.

Tomorrow is March 1 and the first day of my reigning it in plan - I just can't keep up this breakneck pace, even though it has been so much fun, my pocketbook and my age are begging me to slow it down. Maybe only three nights out next week instead of six....we'll see!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

Its been raining like cats and dogs in the City this week which is not good for my shoes or my hair in any way. The City is a whole different beast in the rain. Buses run slower and are more crowded (if that's even possible), people are grumpier and as I found out last night while I stood in a puddle with a broken $5 umbrella cabbies don't seem to see you even when you are waving like a mad-woman.

Despite the rain it has been a fun and productive week. I've found the best thing about not having TV is that it does force you to get out and about. For example on Sunday, even though it was pouring rain, I picked up my umbrella, put on my boots and headed downtown for what else, shopping! Those of you who know me know that when I'm left to my own devices I will always end up shopping.

The trip was a success as I found a really adorable shirt on sale for $10 at Anthropologie my favorite "chain" boutique. I followed up my success with a celebratory movie...Dear John. I figured this would be a cute, girlie movie (ala "The Notebook") but it was, hands down, HORRIBLE. Three people walked out within a half an hour. I suffered through it but it was difficult.

Monday night I said goodbye to my girl Kat who had been in town for work with a scrumptious dinner at Woodhouse Fish Co on Fillmore. This dinner was absolutely delicious! We shared the scallops with mashed sweet potatoes and an artichoke stuffed with crab AND shrimp. For the portion size and the quality of the food the prices were pretty reasonable. This place will definitely go in my restaurant rotation.

Tonight I'm off to Best Buy to buy a TV. Don't worry I won't have cable to go with the new TV, I will still get out and about and make sure to report back, it will just be easier to watch a movie when I get home.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Marina Lives Up to Its Reputation

I apologize friends, today I've had two very loyal readers complain in regard to my lack of consistency. I do have to admit, keeping up with the blog has been tough mostly because I've been trying to keep up with my life but, I promise to do better. So, here goes....

The Marina is full of douchebags (see visual aid above) - this is the place that most everyone I know and love who lives in the City pretty much avoids like the plague. Don't get me wrong, I have some friends who live and or lived in the Marina whom I love, but most of them happen to be mid to late 30 something men, go figure. I've figured out that the most L.A. part of San Francisco is the Marina, and not in a complimentary way.

A few weekends ago my sisters and I ended up in the Marina after a few greyhounds at the Lion's Pub and actually had a good time of it. I realize now that I was falsely swayed into believing that the Marina was not as bad as it was made it out to be, not the hell hole of self absorption that so many label it. The rumors of d-bags reeking havoc and moronic scantily clad women were all over exaggerated and couldn't be true. Wrong my friends - oh so WRONG. We happened to be there over President's weekend when all the Marina so and so's were hanging at Mommy and Daddy's Tahoe ski cabins. This past weekend I was able to see the neighborhood's true colors when I returned with my friends who were up visiting from the Peninsula - and it was a very different and bleak story.

My takeaways from the evening in the neighborhood I've now deemed, "The Jersey Shore of San Francisco"

1. I'm not 23 and even when I was, I wasn't that much of an idiot.
2. I don't care what college you went to, and in fact after listening to you talk for five seconds I'm pretty sure you didn't go to *insert college here* because you are having a hard time stringing a sentence together much less a Bachelors degree.
3. Is that a V-neck sweatshirt you are wearing? I didn't even know they made those - oh you made it yourself, makes perfect sense.
4. Nothing like yuppies singing "Sweet Caroline" at Mel's Drive In drunk at 2 am on a Saturday. Seriously were they filming a movie or something? The cheese factor of this experience almost put me over the edge. I actually felt sorry for the restaurant staff.

Do you need more evidence? If so, check out these voice-mail messages left from a real, true blue Marina D-Bag. It truly speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Never again. I'm much happier hanging in a bar like Fly on Divisadero, which is much more up my alley. That is the best thing about City living, figuring out which neighborhood fits you, and which don't. Although I haven't quite figured out which SF neighborhood says, "Me", I know I can cross one of them off the list, only 99 to go.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Lips Are Sealed

Okay, okay I've been shirking my blogging duties, I blame it all on the fresh Greyhounds at Lions Pub, but I'm back so stop your whining! Truth be told I've been recovering from my crazy, exciting, wonderful weekend. I did however make a rule with my sisters that what happens in San Francisco stays in San Francisco and doesn't end up on the Blog soooo I can't give you too many details in regard to Saturday Night. I can say after a lovely dinner we ended up at the Hi-Fi in the Marina. Yes, there was dancing. Enough said. The Hi-Fi kind of reminded me of a cooler version of the 'Burbs attempt at a fun club with booze and dancing, the Carlos Club, which is why I'm bringing my 'Burbs girls (who I lovingly refer to as my "Bridge and Tunnel Crew") who are coming up this weekend there after some Mexican food at La Barca. Woot Woot - someone better call Betty Ford because after a month in this town I think I'm going to need to check in! But with all the money I'm spending, I hope they have a scholarship program because I can't afford to pay. Just kidding Mom and Dad.

I spent Valentine's Day with the City and just wandered around. I had a chance to stroll along Polk Street and check out Russian Hill, which I liked a lot. I may end up living there for the simple fact that the rents in Pacific Heights are pretty high right now and my sublet runs out on April 30th. But, Russian Hill is a fantastic alternative full of fun places to check out, Green's Sports Bar and Nick's Crispy Tacos come to mind. We will see.

Tonight I'm excited to try out Pizzeria Delfina which happens to be on my block with one of my favorite people who happens to be in town from Seattle. I picked this place for a few reasons, 1) It is always packed, 2) the pizza looks ridiculously good, 3) Wine corkage only $15 ;) Bring it on!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Party Like A Rockstar!

Holy Hangover Batman, courtesy of Lion Pub aka The Lions Den, my new favorite dive bar within a four block radius of my house. I fell in love with the place the minute I walked in the door. Cocktails made with fresh squeezed juice, a cheese and cracker bar they replenish throughout the night. Who could ask for more? I went here Wednesday night and it made for a pretty rough Thursday hence the lack of post yesterday.

This 3-Day weekend is chocked full of excitement. Tomorrow I'm viewing the Cartier Exhibit at the Legion of Honor followed by a birthday dinner with my Sisters at Dosa and a night out on the Town with friends on Sunday in celebration of "Single Awareness Day" aka Valentine's Day.

The best part of my weekend is starting in about 10 minutes with a HH after work. Big ups to Alli for planning it for me as a welcome to the big Cit-AY. Happy Hour at Harrington's + Harry's. Harry's is within stumbling distance to home! Can't wait. As we speak I'm doing some stretches and stocking up on Advil getting ready for a big weekend of FUN! Get your game faces on folks it is going to be a wild one. I promise a full weekend re-cap coming to you on Monday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On The #1

You knew it was coming....the bus post. Riding the bus in San Francisco is a pretty ridiculous experience. Even though I am lucky that I happen to have an express to downtown bus right outside my door, by the time it actually gets to my door, it looks like this:

The Positives:

1. It takes 15 minutes to get downtown from my house in the morning a huge improvement over my former commute on BART which took 45 minutes.
2. It's an express, so you don't have to deal with all the stops along the way.

The Negatives:

1. Please refer to above picture. Enough said.
2. Having to listen to the awkward conversation between a woman and man who are obviously on the morning side of a one night stand.
3. Having to listen to the guy next to me call his parents and the conversation begins, "Hey Dad.....its me........Brian........your son?......". Maybe you shouldn't be calling your father who you obviously haven't talked to in a while from a crowded City bus, just a thought.

A Guide to San Francisco Buses (as I currently know it):

#1BX - Express to downtown bus, "The Home Turf". Full of working yuppies and singletons giving the "Muni-Face", crowded as all get out, at least one overheard moronic conversation per day. Just a quick aside, "Muni-Face" is defined as, eyes on the floor, no smiling, no talking. It is easier to give good "Face" while checking your Facebook on your PDA.

#1 (non-express) - This bus route goes directly through Chinatown, which everyone has told me was not a good thing. I didn't understand why until yesterday riding home. I was pretty comfortable, had a seat (which is a total perk), was good to go, UNTIL, the bus stopped in Chinatown and about 40 people got on. This is why my friend refers to the #1 as "The Orient Express"

#22 - I like to call this one the "Hampton Jitney". It's full of Marina types decked out in Lulu Lemon active wear off to shop on Union and Chestnut Streets.

#24 - My friend Jen lives right off of this line, so I call it "The Jen Express". I like this bus line because it brings you cross-town on Divisidero to The Haight, which is one of my favorite shopping haunts.

#38L - "The 38 Sleazy", runs up and down Geary. This is the bus line that has been made famous for Muni fights between women as seen on YouTube. I try to stay away from this one. In fact, I try to stay away from Geary altogether, unless I'm going to the Fillmore or The Boom Boom Room!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Shop 'Til You Drop

Today I figured out that San Francisco is pretty small for a big City. What better excuse then shopping to get out and about on a beautiful Sunday in SF? After a lazy morning, I made the choice to head over to Union Street to find some "comfortable" flats. I quoted "comfortable" because as you ladies know unless you break down and wear tennis shoes (which I might have to do with all this walking) it is hard to find a cute and comfortable shoe. I always error on the side of cute myself and I have the blisters to prove it.

Anyway, I hopped on the #22, braved the small dogs, Lulu Lemon sweatsuits and Frat boys swilling Bloody Marys at Perry's to venture to the Marina in search of the perfect shoe. I'm happy to say I survived and even liked Union Street, which is full of cafes, cute little boutiques mixed in with some Chain stores. All in all a great place to stroll, shop and people watch.

After finding the perfect shoe (just not in my size), I was headed up to Cole Valley anyway to watch the Super Bowl at my friend's house and since Cole Valley is oh so close to the Haight I decided to do a little more shopping prior to kick-off.

I love the Haight and I'm pretty comfortable there as this is the place we've been coming to since High School. The Haight is where 'Burbs kids go to go Thrift Storing, get something pierced or tattooed and score weed. Not that I've done any of those things there - well the Thrift Storing I can cop to. Cole Valley sits right above the Haight on the hill. It is such a darling little neighborhood filled with beautiful tree lined streets but due to the steep incline of the hill connecting it to the Haight, it is close to but well out of the fray. I like Cole Valley, its quiet and serene but a little removed from the core of the City for me.

I've found walking to be a great way to see the City. I can feel my butt shaping up. And getting into shape isn't the only benefit to all this walking, you get to admire the very cool and unique architecture in SF and stumble across all sorts of great coffee houses, restaurants and shops. I must've taken thirty mental notes about places I wanted to go back to that would be perfect to just lounge around on a sunny day and sip a latte or brunch with friends. That is the great thing about living here it seems everyone is my age, doing what I'm doing. After living in the 'Burbs where my weekends usually consisted of Target runs and running into people from High School at the same three boring bars, the density of things to do here and places to go and people to meet is a wonderful and refreshing change.

Having the privilege to wander around shopping and drinking coffee is pretty cool and it was a great way to end my first official week in the City. I have to say I'm pretty impressed with how much I was able to pack in. I'm looking forward to a new week of adventures coming up and I'm trying to hold on to the sense of wonderment and excitement I have about being here. I can really say this has been one of the most exciting weeks I have had in a while. I love discovering all this new stuff and being able to walk to it! I love being at the center of all the action and meeting new people every day. So, cheers to week one - I feel I'm well on my way to being Cityfied! Can't wait to see what week 2 has to offer.

Oh, one more note in regard to last night. I went to the much talked about Kabuki Theatre to see Crazy Heart (which was awesome by the way, I mean so good that you should run out and see it right now....seriously, why are you still sitting there? GO!) The movie ticket? $14. FOURTEEN DOLLARS! Highway robbery. Small popcorn plus bottle of water? $8.25. And what did I get for my $23 dollar evening, you ask? A bad assigned seat and a rat running up the aisle when the lights went down. Boo on the Kabuki - I don't care if you can drink in the balcony, I'd rather pay $10 and see a movie downtown at the Embarcadero. Okay, I'm done with my rant. One more thing I had to throw in just for my Sis - a guy just drove by my apartment blasting the classic 1987 INXS song Your One of My Kind - you just gotta love City living!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lifestyles of the Rich and Richer

My first full weekend in the big City and I've been packing it in. Last night I went to Restaurant Lulu for dinner after work. I'm lucky that this happens to be where my brother-in-law works so it was nice to see a friendly face and even nicer to enjoy a delicious dinner of suckling pig and roasted squash. Hmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Come to think of it, I'm going to heat up the leftovers now, be right back......

Now that I've had a little sustenance, on with the blog! After dinner last night I went to catch The Honey Island Swamp Band at the Boom Boom Room. This place is a San Francisco classic and I love that the bouncers at the door are fully decked out in Zoot Suits. The band was eh, but it was a nice way to spend a Friday night.

This morning after a fitful night of sleep mainly due to ill fitting earplugs (I'm testing out a new brand tonight!), my parents came up to see my new place and take me to brunch (thanks Mom and Dad). After a couple false starts, we found a great cafe right around the corner. The Elite Cafe was a little bit of Old San Francisco. With private booths, deviled eggs and the best baked mashed potatoes I've ever had. The host even told us back in the day it used to be a Chinese Restaurant complete with an illegal gambling ring in the basement - gotta love it!

After Mom and Dad hit the road so did I, on foot. I took a walk up to the ritzy Mansion area of my new neighborhood and was amazed at how big some of those houses are! I actually passed the one in the photo above. After Mansion admiring, I did a little shopping in the equally ritzy boutiques on Fillmore. I did manage to score a gorgeous shirt at my new favorite second hand store Crossroads! Can't wait to wear that out next weekend when my sisters come to visit.

Tonight I'm off to the Kabuki Theatre to check out Crazy Heart. I heard you can bring your own booze. Do you think it would be strange if I showed up solo with a bottle of wine? Probably huh? Okay, I won't do it then.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

I won't lie to you, change is hard. Currently the people reading this blog are the ones who know me best, therefore it shouldn't come as a surprise that I kind of suck at change. As much as I'm excited about my new life, there are a lot of things I miss about my old one. I miss TV, my car, knowing how to find the Safeway. For me, missing things can make me feel lonely. The loneliness is different here. There are all kinds of lonely in this City. Single lonely, homeless lonely, misguided lonely, happy lonely. You can see it in the faces of the people sitting across the aisle on the bus.

In the 'Burbs, convenience is King. I think it is one of the biggest reasons people live there. It is easy to do the things that you want to do. In the City, you have to work for it. You want to go to Nopa? You have to figure out what bus gets you there (the 24), walk to it (4 blocks), wait for it (every 15 minutes). You can't control your destiny in the City the way you do in the 'Burbs. You aren't the one steering the ship and that is hard to get used to.

But, with the lonely comes hope. Anticipation. The beauty of the unknown. My life in the 'Burbs was pretty predictable. It was the same thing over and over. In that predictability, there was a sense of comfort. Like mac n' cheese. It tastes so good but you know deep down while you're eating it that its going right to your thighs. I made the choice to shake things up and start a new life in the City. It is different and I've had to give up some of the convenience I'm used to.

In return, I've gained possibilities. Here, you never know what card you will pull from the deck. It may be a fantastic dinner with friends at a brand new hot trendy restaurant like last night. Or maybe its a run in with a weirdo that results in some laughs with your sister over the phone or celebrating the fact that you chased down the bus in the rain and caught it with a high-five from a perfect stranger. Little miracles everywhere, just waiting to be celebrated. Although it might sound dumb, I feel these are the stories I will tell when I'm older to teenage grandchildren who will be busy rolling their eyes and texting on their PDA.

Adjusting takes time, but I can say since I've moved here, I find myself smiling without realizing it. I find myself believing things are possible. I won't bullshit you, I get lonely sometimes and I miss my family and friends in the 'Burbs, and my 567 channels (including HBO and Starz) but sometimes when you kick yourself out of your comfort zone and you finally do find the Safeway or learn a new bus line you will find yourself basking in those florescent lights like an actress at curtain call. When you catch yourself smiling without realizing it, losing convenience somehow seems totally worth it because you replaced it with yourself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lesson Learned

I learned a valuable lesson last night...San Francisco is full of crazy people and it is okay to NOT be very nice to them. I decided to skip trivia seeing I haven't being sleeping well and hit up Walgreen's instead to load up on earplugs and Unisom. Conveniently, Walgreen's is just a short jaunt away.

As I was walking down my cute little street enjoying the window shopping along the way I was approached by a man with his hand held out to shake and a clipboard. Now I probably should have been tipped off by the girl in front of me as she pulled a wide arc around the guy while glaring straight ahead, not missing a beat and totally ignoring him. Me on the other hand? Not so much. I shook the hand, and with that kind deed, I was trapped. The man proceeded to walk in stride with me telling me about all the dead homeless children under a bridge I could be saving if I just give him twenty bucks. Oh and that Dick Cheney was the reason for all the Country's problems, which I feel he actually had a valid point on that one.

So, what do you do when you get cornered on the street by a crazy because you messed up and shook the hand? Well, if you are me, you duck into the first bar you see leaving the man on the street talking to himself. Luckily, I ran into a very nice bartender who not only gave me some great area restaurant recommendations but also the golden rule of San Francisco, NEVER SHAKE THE HAND.

I did eventually make it to Walgreen's last night, and thanks to earplugs and a little Pharmaceutical help....I slept like a baby. Thank god!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why Didn't I Do This Sooner?

Day two and I’m happy to report City life has been wonderful, chocked full of surprises and new experiences. I took my first bus ride to work yesterday morning and it wasn’t bad at all. I heard through the grapevine there were some people who were a little skeptical about my bus riding abilities. Happy to say I passed with flying colors albeit I did off-board about three stops early but hey I fixed that little mistake today and shaved 30 minutes off of my morning commute! It does come in handy to have an express to downtown bus only steps away from my apartment.

Last night, the end to my first day as a City-dweller, after hitting up a little Company sponsored Happy Hour / Going Away Party at
Cosmopolitan, which was actually a really classy joint that just needs a better name; I tagged along with some friends to a Manuary party. Yep, you read that right MANuary – in other words the celebration of the Mustache and a benefit to raise money for prostate cancer research at Bullitt on Russian Hill.

A little aside on Bullitt to set the scene:

1. They serve 40 OZ of Old English malt liquor in brown paper bags accompanied by a condom
2. They have Makers Mark…..on tap!
3. Burgers come with a side of mac n’ cheese instead of French fries.

Add to the above a bunch of mustached ladies and gents and that is a mixture for F.U.N, which is what ensued. The best part is I did not have to take an hour train ride home. At the end of the night I hopped into a cab and was entertained by the cabbie’s story about how his green card marriage to a lesbian from Singapore isn’t going so well (seriously, I couldn’t make that up!) Within five minutes I was at my front door with my two dollars in change from the cabbie in nickels (?!?) ready to hit the hay.

Now, if I could just get used to the City noise overnight, maybe I could get some sleep! Oh and if you have a little extra time check out the video that was sent to me today by one of the esteemed mustached guests, too funny!

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