05 December, 2009

First best day in San Francisco

Today was brilliant. We did what we should have done last weekend when I was languishing in bed on my birthday. It started the way a lot of weekends start round here. Sound of small feet padding our way. Pause. "Daddy, do you know where my pencil case is?" You are expected to be on the ball round here, even if you have only just woken up. We had a lazyish breakfast and then sprang (not) into action, and headed off for our first proper encounter with the Pacific Ocean.

We parked on Great Highway at the end of Golden Gate Park. The sky was clear, the waves were big. It's a huge beach and it's on the edge of a city but you don't feel as if you are anywhere near a city. We wandered along the water's edge and at one point all had to make a run for it, after a particularly enthusiastic wave chased us, much to the amusement of some locals. The girls built and decorated a castle. And we met a very charming and handsome park ranger who gave us a map of the State National Park.

Then we headed over to Clement Street in Inner Richmond to visit a bookstore we had heard good things about, find lunch and potter about. The bookstore was Green Apple Books and was wonderful. A mixture of used and new books, it had a lovely children's section, a huge and interesting cooking section and lots of other things to interest us. Also we had a 20 per cent discount thanks to Green Zebra so we bought several books for the girls, a couple of walking books and a history of finance book for Tom. (I'll do a separate post some time about Green Zebra - a great idea.)

Then lunch at Troya which rather against the trend in this part of town (and perhaps for SF in general, I don't know) is Turkish. Very very classy and refined Turkish. We love our Turkish food coming as we do from Stoke Newington in London which if it were the States would have been renamed Little Istanbul. Troya served everything we recognised but rather more elegantly and somehow fresher and with a twist. Tiny warm black olives came first, with a few large lime green olives that Lottie said tasted like broccoli. They didn't, but they were gorgeous. We also had a red pepper dip, yoghurt with carrots, hummus, zucchini cakes (crisp outside, soft and yielding inside and fresh), borek, lovely tender chicken and lamb shish kebab. I think that's it. It all disappeared and when you're out with the girls that doesn't always happen. This time they ate everything.

After that we headed to Kamei Restaurant Supplies which is a large Chinese kitchenware shop. It was heaven. I got over-excited.

Luckily I'd written a list in the restaurant when I discovered we were nearby, or I'd have got undisciplined and bought stuff I don't need. They sell lovely china in gorgeous colours. Things we did buy: a large saute pan with lid, a tea pot (finally!), some lovely bowls with glassy coloured glaze inside, an ice-cream scoop, a slotted spoon, tall glasses, storage jars. Prices are low and there is a huge range. I am glad I didn't head downtown to posh shops before I found this place. I will be back, in particular for a rice cooker, bamboo steamers and some more pretty china.

After that we briefly walked into Golden Gate Park and found a playground for the girls to play on. And then home.

I feel like I've been blown about a bit, fed well and shopped well. It's all good.

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