Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Impressions Of San Francisco 

California Road Trip with Dad: Day 10

For starters, there's a Gap on the corner of Haight and Ashbery. Sure, the surrounding blocks boast psychadelic storefronts and vintage clothing stores, but the block is otherwise full of faux hippie cache no true hippie could ever afford. And no, the Ben and Jerry's on the opposite corner doesn't make up for it. Overcommodified hippiedom isn't real hippiedom.

The Exploratorium may be an award-winning, world-class museum of science and technology, but on free Wednesdays in July it's packed so full of hyperactive schoolkids it's hard to get at the otherwise stellar exhibit tidbitry. Bonus, though: adjacent to the museum is what appears to be the world's largest pushbutton. In bright orange. On roman pillars, overlooking a pond with painted turtles and huge catfish that let you get up close to take pictures. You can see it from all over the city; Dad says they build it for some world's fair and never took it down.

Lunch and biscotti in North Beach, which is neither North nor a beach. San Francisco's answer to Little Italy seems on the verge of being swallowed whole by Chinatown. Hard to picture the Chinese moving into those great old churchsteeples.

Found a great storefront among the clonestores in Chinatown today which featured more Hello Kitty merch than even the most avid collector could fit in their studio apartment. Total bonus here, too: not one but two unlicensed almost-ran characters, a "Mr. Bear" Winnie the Pooh riding a barrel labeled chingdong and an orange plastic robot that turns into a Rhinocerous and back again labeled -- I kid you not -- Trans Forner. That'll teach me not to bring my camera everywhere, eh?

Dinner at Helmand, yet another Zagat-rated eatery. The restaurant, "an oasis of good taste on Broadway's garish topless strip," features the best Afghani food in a thousand miles. The lamb and yogurt was amazing; the pumpkin divine; the tableside Turkish coffee prep a stellar end to a gourmet's delight of a meal. Can't speak for the neon pornshacks nearby, but they, too, seemed pretty empty for a Wednesday night.

Home tomorrow, a full day of nothing but travel. We start at 10:30 with a rental car return, fly out at 1:30, and, if we're lucky, I'll be in the Newton Mariott with my sleeping wife and kids by midnight. Miss you, girls. Daddy's coming home soon, I promise.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:10 PM |

There's a Helmand in Cambridge, too. I've only been there once but I remember the pumpkin as being totally spectacular.
Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening