I’ve just come off one of the busiest, ultra fun weekends I’ve had in a long time!
It all started Friday evening (as most weekends do, right?)…
I joined some friends in Hayes Valley for the holiday block party. Hayes Valley is home to a whole slew of great shops, galleries, restaurants, etc. I’ll definitely be returning to do some serious shopping. We walked around and nibbled on cookies and chocolates before heading over to Suppenkuche for our 8pm reservation. Suppenkuche is an experience. You can read more about it on their site, but the photos (they really should update to color) make the place look cold. It’s quite the opposite. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting. Everyone is there to have great Northern European food and beer. The decor is understated but very creative with tree branches, paper birds and tiny disco balls hung from the ceiling. (The disco balls may just be for the holidays, though).
After dinner, we walked over to a neighborhood bar and tried our hardest to beat Rodrigo at foosball. The best we did (3 on 1) was score one goal to his supreme domination. On to another bar, Sugar Lounge. This is where the night became hazy as many shots and rounds were shared. Needless to say, a good time was had by all, including yours truly.
Saturday, Larisa arrived from SoCal. After catching up over a nice, late Thai lunch, we jumped right into our SF explorations. First things first: a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. Gorgeous. From there, we drove downtown (in Larisa’s totally gangsta black Chrysler 300 rental car, no less!) and achieved the impossible—found a downtown parking space on the street directly across from the corner where our walking tour met. (More on that to come).
Since we had some time to kill before our tour, we walked down to Union Square. It’s decorated for the holidays, and crowds of shoppers are jamming the sidewalks. Hustle and bustle.
We enjoyed a quick drink and hiked back up to Nob Hill to join our tour: the Vampire Tour of San Francisco! I happened to come across this tour on my Goldstar Events email. I love learning the history of places, and what better way to learn than from a vampiress? And Larisa was game! On the tour we visited Grace Cathedral, Nob Hill Café, Huntington Park, The Pacific-Union Club, The Fairmont Hotel, and The Mark Hopkins Hotel. The tour content was 85% true history, 15% vampire embellishment, but fun just the same.
It was sad to leave that gem of a parking spot after the tour, but we desperately needed to warm up. So we drove back to my neighborhood and found The Plough and the Stars, where Larisa’s favorite Irish band Culann’s Hounds was scheduled to be playing…on Friday night. Too bad it was Saturday and we only realized this as we were walking into the bar! No matter. We stayed long enough for the local Irish boys to buy us a drink and leave before they hijacked us into their Guinness stupor.
Sunday brought another bright and beautiful day. We kicked off with pizza and bloody marys at Pizza Orgasmica. This was my suggestion as I had enjoyed a fantastic bloody mary made by Wyman (sp?) the Arkansas-native bartender the week before. Although Wyman wasn’t there, we had a good lunch.
Nourished and ready to go, Larisa and I caught the bus downtown. Crowded doesn’t even begin to describe this particular adventure. The highlight of the trip was watching a young mother with her two little girls and their two cousins (also girls). People tried to give up their seats for them, but the mother kept denying and opted to stand. When they got off at their stop (which isn’t easy on a crowded bus) I saw the oldest girl jump up and down and cheer and scream “we made it!” I have to say it made me giggle, and I felt the same way when we got off further down the route.
We proceeded to catch the F train to the Embarcadero, looked at the local art fair, and took a quick stroll through the Ferry Building.
Up next: cable cars! We rode over to Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoyed a clam chowder bread bowl and a cracked crab at Sabella & La Torre. (My first cracked crab!) Over a post-crab coffee, we decided to cable-car back up to North Beach (Little Italy) to pop into City Lights bookstore. I think we were there for under 60 seconds as I checked the time and discovered we were about to be late for our show at the Warfield Theater.
Rather than cable-car back to Market Street as previously planned, we grabbed a cab and zipped on over to the theater and made it there in time to see the first act: Levi Weaver. He was a one-man, acoustic guitar show, but impressed and surprised me by using a violin bow on his guitar and a vintage mic at times. He even covered a Radiohead song (title escapes me) by live recording and looping right on stage! Until then, I had only seen this live once before at a Jon Brion show at Largo, but I knew I was in store for it with the headliner.
Act two: Kid Beyond—crazy stoopid beatbox master! He, too, was a one-man show, but this time there were no instruments. It was just him, his mic, a foot-pedal on the stage and the speakers. He produced his songs right on stage and had the crowd going nuts! I found this spot on NPR and bought his EP on iTunes this morning.
The reason for the night: Imogen Heap. Here’s the story. I passed on seeing her show in LA earlier this year because I wanted to save dollars or something lame like that. A few days later Natalie told me about seeing her in Atlanta and how great it was. Then I read an online review of her show (as equally glowing as Natalie’s take), and I immediately regretted not going. So when I saw she was going to be in SF I sprung for an early birthday gift for myself.
This show has easily leaped to the top three live shows I’ve attended. (The other two are U2 and Zero 7). The venue was great. Considering I bought the tickets fairly late in the game (the show was sold out), the seats were great. The opening acts were great. Great great great!
Cruising on a good-show high, Larisa and I made our way to the bus stop and took a not-so-crowded bus ride home. We rose this morning, got a bagel a couple of blocks away, and then I saw her off (in the P-I-M-P 300).
Now that was a good weekend!