Family Visits San Francisco, Part II

I returned from my week of depositions last night.  It was a whirlwind couple of days there, I’ll tell ya.  I could not be happier it is the weekend!

A bit ago I drafted a little post on here called Family Visits San Francisco, Part I.   This very, very creatively titled post was about the first evening and first day my two guncles, Uncle Wen & Brian, drove up from Los Angeles with my mom to visit me in San Francisco for the first time.  Collectively, “My Parents”.

This just as suspensefully titled post is the follow-up piece about the rest of My Parents’ stay up here.  In Part I, I left you with our goofy time at Chez Panisse in Berkeley on Saturday night.  So let’s pick up the following morning when I wanted to share the San Francisco coffee culture with everyone, so we went to the Ferry Market to drink Blue Bottle Coffee.  Max was able to join us because his weekend had started.  We had reservations for brunch at one of the very best brunch places in the city, Boulettes Larder, but I just really, really wanted everyone to have some excellent coffee because I’m always going on about my lattes.  Yes, the coffee really is better in San Francisco-although, interestingly my Starbucks experiences up here have been quite poor.  The coffee purists do not like it when you put sugar in your coffee, but I’ve never been one to bend to what’s cool.

Mom's first Blue Bottle.  Love at first sip.

Mom’s first Blue Bottle. Love at first sip.


Me ruining amazing coffee.

Me ruining amazing coffee.

After brunch and a walk around the Ferry Market, where Max and I spent an inordinate amount of time at the Heath stall, we dropped Max back off at home so he could get in a few extra hours of sleep.  He keeps those crazy late restaurant hours.



While he was sleeping off the week, the rest of us went to check out this area in the Presidio, one of Uncle Wen’s old finds, with a Eucalyptus grove on one end of the street and a Twin Peaks-esque viewing area/mini park on the other. The smell! So soothing and gentle.  The walk is easy and short, the day was uncharacteristically gorgeous. Still, Max would not have enjoyed the Eucalyptus hike, so we probably timed all of this pretty well.  



Always take a picture of the cat.

Always take a picture of the cat.





The other side of the street.

The other side of the street.

Mom looking pensive.

Mom looking pensive.


For dinner, we took everyone to one of Max’s favorite spots in the whole city, I’ll venture to say, Z & Y. When Max’s restaurant received its third Michelin Star last October while I was still back in Los Angeles, this is the place they all chose to celebrate! We have taken Max’s parents here and will probably take just about everyone we know when they come to visit us.  Max orders it from online delivery services every chance he gets and would like nothing more than for me to keep the fridge continually stocked with Z & Y leftovers.  Luckily, we ate pretty early, so we didn’t have to wait too long.  It won everyone over quickly; a huge hit.  I know this sounds weird, but Creamy Prawns with Walnut Honey.  Trust.

It is as hot as it looks.

It is as hot as it looks.

So Brian has a taste for the kitsch.  One of the things he gets off on is Tiki Bars, so we thought it would be fun to take everyone to the Tonga Room for after dinner Tiki cocktails.  Neither Max or I had ever been, so it was a new experience for everyone. Pretty fun.  A band plays on this boat in the middle of a pool.  There is some thunder-y type noises that happen now and again.  People get up and dance.  Alway fun to watch people dance.  We were pretty sad that our drink would not light on fire, (They used to do that, but there was an “incident”, so no more.), but clearly that did not stop us from enjoying ourselves.  Somehow the night became a Tiki crawl and we took My Parents to Smugglers Cove, right near our house, which everyone actually like even more than the epic Tonga Room. They will light your drink on fire at Smugglers Cove!






Tonga Room history

Tonga Room history


I took Monday off work to spend the last day with My Parents.  Uncle Wen had researched this thing called The Wave Organ that sounded cool, so we wanted to go check it out.  You can only go during high tide, so we timed it out.  It was kind of a walk to get there, so give yourself 20 minutes or so to walk there if you parked.  You don’t want to get there and then miss high tide.  That would suck.  So, The Wave Organ-eh, maybe don’t knock yourself out fitting it into your schedule.  Very pretty.  Definitely pretty. And you should read about how it was built! But we thought it would play some sort of tune or something.  It just kind of allows you to hear the sounds of the waves from an underwater vantage point through tubes that come up from the ocean.  It is literally the sounds of waves-sounds kind of like a toilet, we joked.  It is an Exploratorium project, and I’m all about the Exploratorium.  It’s interesting, ok?








All of our brunch and lunch plans fell through because it was Monday and all restaurant people are off on Mondays, meaning most places close.  Had we been able to, we would have taken them to either Monsieur Benjamin, right down the street from us, or Zuni Cafe, a restaurant industry institution and both are favorites of ours.  We ended up at some horrid places on Hayes, which shall remain nameless because of how bad it was, but then it gave me the opportunity to show My Parents around Hayes Valley, which is the closest thing I have to a neighborhood.

We had coffee at Ritual and I showed them The Temple and The Proxy (See Hayes Valley post here).  I often talk to my mom on the phone on my way to or from there, so it was cool for me to get to show her this stuff.  I was all “and this is where I was when I told you…” “and remember that picture I sent you? That was from here!”.

We also walked around Haight Street and Noe Valley.  My mom fell in love with Noe Valley, which I get.  It is the quintessential “young family” neighborhood.  Tatooed mamas pushing baby carriages and all that jazz.  So she is now pushing hard for us to just move there, buy the baby carriage and get the show on the road already. haha.  She called me recently to tell me she’d been checking housing prices in Noe Valley and that she thinks we can afford it.  Both sets of potential grandparents are ready for this baby.  Now we just have to get the potential parents ready. haha.



After walking around all day, we went our separate ways, rested changed our clothes and met for dinner in Hayes Valley at Rich Table.  The first time I ever at there I knew it was the one place I just HAD to take My Parents.  It is their type of food.  We’ve never had anything but a spectacular meal there and this night was no exception.  It was the perfect way to say goodbye.


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