Playing tourists

To be honest, I still feel like I am a tourist when I’m wandering around San Francisco. But I usually avoid Fisherman’s Wharf and other touristy sites at all costs because the crowds make me crazy.

This weekend, though, we decided that instead of taking a road trip, we’d explore a place locally that Mike and I hadn’t seen yet — Alcatraz.

We got up early on Saturday, took the (surprisingly crowded) BART across the bay, and started our day at the Ferry Building market. If you ever visit San Francisco, I highly recommend stopping there because the building itself is full of all these great local artisan foodie shops.

My favorites? Blue Bottle Coffee, of course. I had a cafe au lait, my first coffee in a long time. I decided I’m okay with some caffeine here and there. (Just no Diet Coke…) Next time we have to try Blue Bottle’s little handheld Belgian waffles. Have to!

(Side note: I love how disposable things like cups, lids, and plastic silverware here are all compostable, and there are separate bins for compost in public spaces. Also, Mike says a lot of coffee places give discounts for bringing your own cup. It’s just easy to be green.)

Also I fell in the love with the adorable Miette bakery. Resisting sugar was almost impossible there.

For breakfast we decided to have a mini rhubarb galette and a vegan yogurt/fruit parfait. I didn’t take a photo of the parfait, but it was really good. We also tried a vegan cheesecake made with cashew cream, which inspired me to make a similar recipe at home. I’ll share that with you soon.

We also picked up some of these dried orange slices to snack on later. (Which reminds me – the tangerines I wrote about the other day? Those were actually Shasta mandarins. Oops!)

I’ve never seen so many different kinds of dried fruits (and mushrooms, and cheeses, and lavendar-infused gourmet salts…). This definitely inspired me to go to farmers markets more often.

After breakfast, we wandered down the pier and just enjoyed the beautiful day.

Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill.

We were glad we remembered the previous night to check on tickets because they were sold out by Saturday morning. Can’t imagine what it’s like in the summertime.

After a short ferry ride we got to The Rock.

It is as daunting and crumbling and creepy as you think it would be.

Our tour guide sort of looked like Drew Carey but needed a little more practice at his stand-up.

I didn’t know about the native American occupation in 1969, so I was intrigued to learn about that part.

Inside, I just couldn’t believe how small everything was. I can’t imagine spending years and years trapped inside such a small building, let alone the microscopic cells.

The ironic part is that Alcatraz probably has the best view of San Francisco you can find.

Love all the sailboats near the Golden Gate.

By the time we finished our tour, the sky had turned gray and it was starting to get colder.

We checked out the birds, including these cormorants with their whiskery feathers, and some of the cool flowers.

After we got back, we decided to keep playing tourists. We stopped at Boudin Bakery and got a sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder. Mike said, “Isn’t that pretty much everything you don’t eat anymore?”

It’s true. But I figured since we split it and ate it with a huge salad after walking all day, I could make an exception.

We’re having visitors soon, so I’m sure we’ll get to play tourists again in the near future. I still haven’t been up to Coit Tower or seen the Telegraph Hill parrots, among other things. There is just so much to explore here. So. much. I love it.