walk of envy

I'm not knocking my little apartment that I love so dearly, but when I'm walking through northern San Francisco on a picture-perfect day, it's impossible not to have real-estate envy. Million-dollar views of the bay and the bridge are enjoyed by some fortunate folks. What I'd do for a little rooftop deck all my own...

Quintessential apartments with bay windows on Leavenworth St. (above left). I love the rooftop deck on this building by George Sterling Park on Russian Hill (above right). This gorgeous building at Larkin+Lombard has an equally gorgeous view of the GG Bridge (below).  
Great corner apartment on Chestnut (above left). Awesome, awesome rooftop deck on Larkin just above Ghirardelli Square (above middle). Beautiful home on Larkin overlooking Alcatraz (above right). These cute apartments on  Union have views of Treasure Island on the east side of the bay (below left). I love the adorable balconies with bay views on these colorful buildings on Montgomery Street at the bottom of Telegraph Hill—so Mediterranean (below right). These fantastic homes on Russian Hill have a stunning vista of the GG Bridge, Sausalito and the Marin Headlands (bottom).


back in tourist mode

The constant drizzle turned me into a bit of a hermit the past two months, but the sun is back out and I am back in tourist mode. Saturday, I made the journey up to Coit Tower. It was a long, uphill walk, but there could be no better day for it, and it was worth the huffing and puffing. With its prime position atop Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower boasts stunning views of San Fran in all directions. The Golden Gate Bridge? Check. The Bay Bridge? Check. Downtown? Check. Russian and Nob Hills? Check. Wild green parrots that congregate on Telegraph Hill and inspired a book and a film? Um, check.

My destination (top). Almost there (below left). Bay Bridge and Ferry Building; the parrots (below right).parrot

The views of the Golden Gate Bridge are phenomenal (below). The Marina District and GG Bridge (below left). The Bay Bridge and Treasure Island (below right). There are some lucky, lucky folks who live on Telegraph Hill, just below Coit Tower, and get this perfect view of the bay (bottom).


a winter hike in pacifica

Pacifica is a pleasant little beachside town about 30 minutes south of San Francisco. It’s popular with surfers, Highway 1 road-trippers and bay-area hikers. Between Pacifica and the San Francisco Bay on the other side of the peninsula is a series of state and county parks with multiple hiking trails offering vast views of the Pacific, the bay and the city. Last week, Jen and I hit the Brooks Falls loop in San Pedro Valley County Park. The weather has been insanely nice the past week; while my fellow Missourians are dealing with bad driving conditions and gray skies, I’ve enjoyed impossibly clear days and 60+ temperatures. So sorry to gloat about the amazing weather, dear family, but these sunny days are well-deserved after relentless rain before and after Christmas. The upside? Rain makes things lush and beautiful. Flowers are blooming. Leaves are green. Sure, there are some normal trees with bare branches, as is expected in the winter, but the amount of flourishing fauna going on around here in the month of January astounds me. It makes for a beautiful hike.


let me eat (cup)cakes

Is there anything better than a cupcake? I don’t think so. Last night a friend brought me a heavenly “sweet vanilla” cupcake from Kara’s Cupcakes in Ghirardelli Square. I passionately dislike the “m” word, but there is no other way to describe the cupcake…it was moist. And decadent. And amazing. I have yet to decide who has the best cupcakes in the city. Is it Kara’s? Or Miette in the Ferry Building? There is always a line at Miette, due to the usual crowds in the Ferry Building, so it loses some points in my book. Standing in line diminishes the enjoyment of the spur-of-the-moment treat. Susie Cakes on Chestnut Street in the Marina is pretty darn good. I had a chocolate one with peanut butter icing there a few weeks back that made me very happy. American Cupcake on Union Street drew me in months ago with its sign in the window that says something like “Cupcakes and French Fries…what else do you need in life?” A damn good question. So I chose a butterscotch cupcake and sat at one of their sidewalk tables to people-watch on a Sunday afternoon. The verdict is still out, so I guess I’ll have to do more research. I’ve heard very good things about Mission Minis. Maybe I’ll check that off my list next week. Oh, the agony of it all.

mietteamerican cupcake







Photos courtesy Google images


neighborhood eats

Lahore Karahi is one of my favorite places to eat in my neighborhood. It’s five blocks away (straight downhill) and serves up cheap, delicious Indian-Pakistani food in a totally bare, un-atmospheric restaurant in the Tenderloin. I don’t go there for the atmosphere. I go there for the lahori chikkar choley (garbanzo beans), the palak methi aloo (spinach and potatoes), the naan and the sweet teenage waiter who is always friendly and adorable. I consider the straight-uphill, five-block walk home an excuse to eat too much.


groceries and a hike

Only in San Francisco is there a canyon behind the local Safeway supermarket. So last week, before doing my weekly grocery shopping, I jaunted out for a little hike in Glen Canyon. It’s not much by typical Bay Area hiking standards, but it’s pretty good for being in the middle of the city.


i'm not in colorado anymore

After two years of living and skiing in Vail, the mother of all American ski resorts, I have a skewed view of what makes for a good experience on the mountain. Vail’s enormity, well-placed lifts and well-trained employees spoil the average skier. When I moved to San Francisco, I was excited to make Lake Tahoe my new skiing home, but I’m finding it difficult to stop comparing the resorts to Vail. Northstar-at-Tahoe is our regular resort now, and what struck me immediately was how tiny it is compared to Vail. It’s hard to escape the crowds and long lift lines when there’s not much space to spread out, but when you get to the top of the resort and catch a glimpse of Lake Tahoe, glimmering in the sunlight and reflecting the mountains, you kind of forget that you stood in a lift line for 20 minutes. Until approximately 45 seconds later when you’re back at the bottom.


a monday momsday

Who needs a job to go to on Monday morning when your mom is in town? Being unemployed is a bit of a blessing when friends and family are visiting—would I have been able to enjoy a delicious lunch of fennel sausage/red pepper/onion pizza and a glass of wine at Pizzeria Delfina and a long walk from Nob Hill to Pac Heights to the Marina if I was pulling a nine-to-fiver? Definitely not.

After a recommendation from my friend and go-to source for all things San Francisco, Kelly, we burned off our lunch with a walk along Lyon Street, from California Street all the way up to the Palace of Fine Arts. This walk took us down the Lyon Street Steps, which was as new to me as it was to my mom. This steep staircase runs between the Presidio and the gorgeous homes of Pacific Heights, offering a view of the Marina District and the bay below.











The Pres
idio from Lyon Street (above) and the views and homes from the Lyon Street Steps (below).
Palace of Fine Arts (bottom).


home sweet tahoe

Our weekend home until the end of March—a fabulous three-bedroom townhouse just outside of Truckee, California in the Old Greenwood neighborhood. Just a 20-minute shuttle ride from Northstar ski resort, this place is pretty awesome.


good grub

There’s a cozy neighborhood restaurant about a block from our apartment called the Nob Hill Grille that has become our preferred spot for brunch, but last Saturday night, we discovered all it has to offer for dinner, as well. The place is always packed on Saturday and Sunday mornings—their good brunch is no secret (I can personally attest to the deliciousness of the French toast, breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros). It’s not, however, packed at dinnertime, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Between three of us (my mom was in town on a 12-hour layover on her way to Singapore), we enjoyed French dip sliders, a colorful autumn salad, sweet potato fries, “magic” mac ‘n’ cheese (the magic is bacon, of course) and seriously fantastic braised beef short ribs over garlic mashed potatoes with a balsamic glaze. The perfect food to send Mom straight to sleep when she boarded her overnight flight.