Sunday, 23 August 2015

Last day in San Francisco and on to Santa Cruz

Following on from where we left off on Friday evening.

Friday had been exhausting, dashing all over town and had taken rather a toll so we awoke quite late and had a leisurely toilet. We had hoped to get breakfast at the Boudin Bakery on Fishermans Wharf but by the time we arrived had missed that service by a couple of minutes. We also tried Applebees and Rainforest Cafe but their offering did not inspire.

Instead we bought a churro from one of the vendors and ate that overlooking the marina. It was a beautiful morning, much warmer than the forecast would have had us expecting.

Carrying on up the Embercadero we checked to see is a trip to Alcatraz Island was possible. The next available booking was on the 31st August - in nine days time! Instead we took a look at the exhibits that were available including this fantastic model of the island, I imagined some brilliant Pulp gaming that could be done on this model.

Continuing to the Ferry Plaza we wanted to take in the Farmers Market that had been recommended to us so we completed our late breakfast with a coffee at Peets and then dove into the Farmers Market.

Wonderful sights and sounds with loads of stall selling their freshly grown produce and many others selling meals to go.

We did a couple of laps before deciding what we wanted to buy. First of all we bought some hummus and falafel for our picnic lunch the next day, then we bought a pound of grapes from another stall and half a pound of heritage tomatoes from yet another.

We then spied another stall selling fresh Vegetable Samosas so we had one each to keep us going spread with a lovely sweet chilli glaze and a mint sauce - fantastic!

We then stopped at another stall who was about out of their stock and purchased a large punnet of strawberries. These are the best I have ever tasted Victoria declared. Having had strawberries in the U.S.A. before I was wary, usually they are nothing but flavourless mush, but oh my was she right; they were bloody lovely.

We had spent a good hour on the market and it was now beer o' clock so we retired to one of our favourite bars, the Ferry Plaza Wine Bar where I had another pint of their delicious Fort Point Park Wheat and Victoria again a Sonoma Solstice Syrah,

Quite loaded down with shopping, I bought Victoria a great tote from Cowgirl Creamery (I carried the loaded bag though, gentleman and all that). We then picked up a half pound of coffee beans from Blue Bottle and purchased ourselves an Affogato to share on the water-front, it was delicious.

We had a slow walk back up the Embercadero where we popped into Boudin Bakery to grab a sourdough baguette for our picnic tomorrow. On the way to the apartment we stopped again at 901 Columbus for a happy-hour beer and then completed the short walk to the apartment.

I made some heritage tomato on sourdough for us both and Victoria said she was going to grab a shower. I was awoken by Victoria two hours later, I guess those beers knocked me out!

It was getting dark now and we wanted to enjoy some North Beach night-life. We walked up Columbus through Little Italy and loved soaking up the atmosphere. Just past the City Lights Bookshop we entered the famous Vesuvio bar (where Jack Kerouca would regularly frequent) where we enjoyed a pint of Anchor Steam and all the beat ambience.

After cutting through Jack Kerouca Lane we picked up Columbus again and passed the crowds outside The Stinking Rose before dropping back into Cafe Grecco for a cappuccino and a very tasty coconut macaroon.

There was one last mission for the evening, many people had told us that we should try a pizza from Tony's so we slipped down Stockton and Union and purchased a slice of Margherita to take out. This was eaten on Washington Square and oh my it was fantastic!

It was time to make our way back to the apartment on Jansen Street, just off Columbus and Lombard where we pretty much crashed out straight away.

We were up bright and early to make a start on the packing and left the apartment at about 0900 where we grabbed breakfast at 901 Columbus. Victoria had a cream cheese bagel while I had granola, yoghurt and strawberries.

By 10.00 we were picking up our hire car from Hertz on Washington Square, a rather dowdy Chrysler Sonic given some interest with Washington State plates, then back to apartment to load up our goodies and say goodbye to Peter our AirBnb host.

This is the first time we have used AirBnb but we will certainly do so again.

We drove out of San Francisco and picked up Highway One and after about three quarters of an hour were at our first destination of the day; The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. On our nights out in Nottingham we quite like a pint of their wares so while we are in California we thought it would be a great stop off point.

The bar is great and our server Zac was very helpful. To start with Victoria had a Sandy Beach Blonde while I had a Kolsch Style Ale. We were very tempted by food but we did have goodies from yesterdays trip to the farmers market. As I am driving my next drink was a IBC Root Beer, this had that lovely rich root beer taste I was after, Victoria sampled a 'Not For Sale Calf-Fine' which is a cold brew coffee milk stout and tasted lovely. For the last round I had their own  I.P.A. and Victoria a 'Not For Sale Saison'

Don't worry readers, we were not getting shit-faced at lunchtime, after the initial pint, all the other booze was were 4oz tasters.

We decided to take some carry-out, picking up a couple of bottles of 'Not For Sale Calf-Fine' and the IPA. We also cemented the reason for the trip and bought a dozen cans of the Mavericks Belgian Style Wit, one of Victorias' favourite ever.

So it was about 13.30 and we had spent over $50.00 in a bar, time to take a leisurely lunch on the beach. We enjoyed yesterdays purchases, tucking in to heritage tomatoes on sourdough, hummus and felafel, grapes and those lovely strawberries.

We then drove on for another 30 minutes arriving at Bean Hollow State Beach with is very interesting formations of Tafoni and toilets that would disgrace a Sealed Knot camp-site.

Finally, on to Santa Cruz and the Comfort Inn just off the Boardwalk where I am writing up this post and Victoria is grabbing a nap before an evening at the fun fair!

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