05 April 2014

Travel tales: Haight, Dottie's, Stinson Beach and Boulevard.

A couple of months ago Darren Hayes and I were chatting on Twitter and I mentioned I was going to San Francisco. He lived in Sausalito for a number of years and so I knew he'd have a local's perspective of the city. I asked him for some tips, he asked me to email him, and when I did, he replied with an email full of places to visit. I planned to do the Darren Hayes Day Out during my time here, and it was only fitting that I did most of it with another fan of his.

Darren recommended breakfast at Dottie's, a trip to Stinson Beach, Haight and dinner at Boulevard.

On Wednesday afternoon I went to Haight - it's a hippy part of town, a lot like Brunswick Streer in Melbourne. There's an eclectic range of shops selling everything from lingerie to smoking pipes, and cafes dotted along the street. I loved the street art on Haight.

Here's Urge Burger, where I did stop to have a late lunch of clam chowder on Wednesday. (This pic was taken on Wednesday.)

The door of a Tibetan gift shop :
A themed series on lower Haight:

On Thursday I transferred from Larisa's place to a hotel. Carolyn, who's a Darren Hayes fan and also happens to have Ichthyosis, had driven all the way from Southern California to meet me. She picked me up and after dropping my cases at the hotel (which is in the Tenderloin district - a rather disconcerting neighbourhood rife with homeless and drug addicts) we set off to continue Darren's recommendations.

First stop was Dottie's True Blue Cafe where there was a bit of a wait to get inside - it's very popular. The doorman was very good at crowd control, calling customers in when a table became available and shutting the door firmly in front of those left waiting! It's at 28 6th Street - again, a non fancy part of town. We were approached by a man who was selling line drawings - he said he gave them to school children to colour in. I couldn't decipher any sort of pictures in these drawings, but one was a playboy theme, which he gave to Carolyn after she gave him a few dollars. As we waited in the queue I asked Carolyn if she'd be in a photo, and then asked a man in front of us if he'd take our picture.

I ordered a delicious hot chocolate which came in a mason jar. It was thick and chocolatey - perfect for the cool weather here.

We both had the true blue plate - eggs cooked how we wanted (we both had scrambled), bacon, ham or sausage (we both had bacon), home style fries and a choice of pancakes or French toast (I had pancakes and Carolyn had French toast). The serving size was huge! I ate half my meal.

Those were cinnamon and ginger pancakes were the best I've ever tasted. And I did eat both!

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Next was driving across the Gollden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. The sky is so blue here. I love it.

We picked up Carolyn's mother and then took a scenic drive to Stinson Beach in Marin County. It was about a thirty minute windy drive through lush green mountains. Look at the view!

I'd never tire of looking at the sparkling water and clear skies. Beautiful!

Carolyn was such a patient driver, stopping at my request and laughing when we got lost. She stopped so I could take a photo of O'Farrell's Theatre - which I believe is a strip club - but I just liked the whales.

I had a rest back at my hotel (too scared to venture out!) and Carolyn and her mum went back to Sausilito, and then we went to dinner - on Darren's final recommendation for our day out.

We went to Boulevard Restaurant (1 Mission Street) to experience some fine dining. I highly recommend Boulevard - it's on the pricey side for American food, but is probably on par with a good meal (mains and entree/dessert plus drinks) in Melbourne. I had quail done two ways (crispy and rolled then baked), and buffalo milk deconstructed cheesecake with pear spheres. Yum!

Carolyn had lamb for her mains, and butterscotch pudding for dessert. She had wine, I had an elderflower soda.

It's such a small world - the waiter at Boulevard was the same man who took our photo in the queue at Dottie's True Blue Cafe earlier in the day! He was a great waiter (they all are here) and we got talking about what we did in the day.

Boulevard on Urbanspoon

Darren saw my tweets about Boulevard and told us that it's a special place for him. It was lovely to experience San Francisco through the recommendations of a man whose career we've followed for so long, and really special to dine at Boulevard because of what it means to him.

It was a lovely day out! Thanks for driving me Carolyn, and thanks for the guidance, Darren!

Not only did Carolyn and I talk so much about our shared experiences of life with Ichthyosis (our conditions and treatments vary but our attitudes towards it and peoples' reactions are very similar), we bonded over our fandom for Darren Hayes. His music, seeing him live, traveling to see him and connecting with him on Twitter has had a similar effect on us. We can both remember when his music entered his life - me in 1995 and Carolyn in 2005. She's made life-longfriends across the world through the Darren Hayes fan club. It's pretty special how an artist can create a community.

1 comment:

  1. I am living so vicariously through you right now, Carly! If I ever get back to San Fran, I'll print this out and take it with me :) Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, and keep enjoying your time away :)

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