Archive for May, 2015

On the Beach

May 26, 2015

Until we got a dog, I rarely went to San Francisco’s beaches. If I wanted go to the ocean, I usually went out of town to Santa Cruz or Marin. But having a dog has changed all that.

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While most SF beaches aren’t as wild or secluded as some of the beaches up or down the coast, they have the advantage of being extremely dog friendly (most have an off-leash area).

And the beach is so clearly our dog’s happy place. She jumps around happily the minute her feet hit the sand. She digs, plays in the water, and pursues sea birds with intensity and purpose. We try our best to prevent her from rolling on dead sea birds and eating hermit crab shells.

bakerbeachlaborday14

It’s become one of my happy places, too. On warm days, I’ll pack a towel and a copy of the New Yorker, and I’ll read while our dog digs nearby, and it feels as if I’m on vacation. And being at the beach offers such a different view of San Francisco — as a place where people surf and fish and sunbathe naked, and also as a place where crabs, sand dollars and even the strange blue velella wash ashore.

velella

The beach has become one of the things I really value about living in SF. I love that there are so many different beaches to choose from: the giant dog park that is Fort Funston; the long, graffiti-lined stretch of Ocean Beach; and the postcard-worthy views from Baker Beach or Crissy Field.

And I love that we have such easy access to the beach. I feel downright smug at times that we can head to the beach for an hour or two. We don’t have to cross bridges, fight traffic, or pack up and spend a full day there. Instead, we can head home if it’s too windy or crowded or we can pop over just to take in the sunset.

oceanbeachsunset

 

New York You Make it Happen

May 21, 2015

There’s something about New York that stays with me long after I’m back home in San Francisco, something that doesn’t get washed away once I’ve fallen back into my usual day-to-day routine.

New York gives me a renewed appreciation for San Francisco. It reminds me why I live in a city, why I love cities, and it motivates me to treat San Francisco the way I treat New York — with more of a sense of adventure and a willingness to go out of my way to experience more of what a city has to offer.

nycskyline

During our four days in New York, we hit up six coffee shops (eight if I count each Blue Bottle location separately). Blitzed from the red-eye, we stumbled into a tiny Cafe Grumpy location in the Lower East Side and then had more coffee on the High Line (where we saw our dentist). We had macchiatos in Brooklyn where we sat in front of the actress Hope Davis, and we had coffee in the East Village next to a mural of MCA. On our last day, we got coffee at a little espresso outpost located in the back of a working barber shop.

parlorcoffee
And it got me thinking about some of the coffee shops in SF that I rarely get to. Sightglass, for example, has a seriously gorgeous cafe in the Mission. It serves good coffee and carries excellent pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse, and yet, I’d been there just once because the location isn’t particularly convenient for me, and I tend to get turned around in that part of the Mission.

When we were hunting down sandwiches on our last day in New York, I thought about Cane Rosso in the Ferry Building. I’d loved their sandwiches, and I thought they were some of the best sandwiches in SF. But I hadn’t been there in at least a year, even though it’s walking distance from work. I put off going to Cane because I didn’t want to brave the crowds of tourists in the Ferry Building, and I’d have to go early in order to avoid the lines.

Being in New York helped me get beyond these excuses and think beyond my well-worth path between work and home. It made me realize that by only going to places that were convenient or familiar, I was limiting my experience of SF and my life here.

And so on our first week back from New York, we went to that lovely Sightglass cafe in the Mission and had coffee and pastries among the techies and yoga-mat toting customers. And then we crossed town and got more coffee at Andytown in the outer Sunset where there were parents and kids inside and three dogs tied up outside.

We took the dog to Ocean Beach — easy access to the ocean is another thing I appreciate about SF after being in New York — and then we stopped at Outerlands, which had expanded over a year ago but we’d yet to check out the new space. (The design was better than the food).

And last week, I took an early lunch break and went back to Cane Rosso, where I confirmed that the brisket sandwich is still delicious.