Tuesday, August 20, 2013

History, Food and Screaming Goats in San Francisco (A Few Notes From Vacation)

There’s a huge difference between visiting a city for business, where the sprint to the next meeting consumes all available time and energy, and visiting on vacation.  We were able to spend a few days in San Francisco recently catching up with family and actually enjoying the life and times.  I made a few notes along the way, in between bites.

1. This was the first year a living survivor of the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake was unable to attend the annual memorial ceremony on April 18.  The city knows of at least three living quake survivors.  One, 107-year-old Winnie Hook of San Jose, was slated to appear but decided the trek would be too much.  Meanwhile, the ceremonial spraying of gold paint on “the fire hydrant that saved the Mission District” at 20th and Church streets went off with only slight delay. 

It's proof that we're now watching the first decade of the 20th century transform from current event to history book.

2. And while we're watching, all hail the Munchery!  Download the app and then purchase excellent, affordable meals from great San Francisco chefs (but do it by 10 a.m. or you're apt to be shut out).  The delivery fee is a pittance.  Wow.  We need this in Boston.  North Shore Boston, to be precise.

3. Like the Neanderthal, wireless only seems like progress.  It's destined to replace the battery as the new technical laggard.  Please, Mr. Innkeeper, give us back our dependable wires.  I am nostalgic for the little clicking sound of the cable nestling into the wall.  I am tired of endlessly spinning WiFi.

4. San Francisco has the coolest alley and building art.  It’s everywhere, if you just have a little time to poke around.

5. And while you're poking, all hail StreatFood Park!  We had Sunday brunch here and folks were walking around with pitchers of sangria at 11 a.m.  If you’re not ready for sangria before lunchtime, try the frozen custard.  I hear it's a great place to be during a 49er's game.  Again, we need a StreatFood Park in, well, every city.

6. Screaming goats.  These have nothing to do with San Francisco—only that I heard about them at a family dinner in San Francisco.  I was apparently the last person on earth to know that goats screamed.  Once aware, it put me off goat cheese for a few meals.  See here if you are even less YouTube-savvy than I.

7. The same people who historically got richest in tradition-bound, industrial America—guys--are the same people getting rich in web-savvy, 21st-centry Silicon Valley.  Amazing.  See the great New York Times graphic here for context, and then see here.  “Every person in the top ten is male.”  Time for a change.

8. My get-rich-fast vote goes to the two ladies who founded Smitten Ice Cream.  “It all began,” the website says, “with a Radio Flyer wagon, an innovative hand-welded machine, and an abiding love for ice cream….”  Show up at Octavia and Linden and it’s 60 seconds to great ice cream from a microwave with a personality disorder. 

9. And finally, as long as you're in Japantown, you might as well catch a movie at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema.  It has beer, food and reserved seating.  I mean, really--what genius thought of that?