Today’s words have zippy to do with wine, but I warned you that would happen from time to time. I just got back from Spring Break in San Francisco with my teenage daughter, one of my best friends, and her teenage daughter. Last year, we took the girls to New York. And I love New York. New York is chaotic, loud, crowded, and it kinda smells. It’s glorious. But only for three days. And then I need to get the hell out of New York.
San Francisco, on the other hand . . . I’d move to San Francisco tomorrow if I could afford to live there. Honestly, I’m not sure who can afford to live in San Francisco. A typical real estate sign in San Francisco reads: One room condo, with bathroom. $1.4 million. Unreal. And the prohibitive prices extend well beyond San Francisco.
The Mr. and I used to live in Monterey (south of San Francisco). I spent the first three days we were there in tears because we couldn’t afford the housing. Not even the slightly frightening, one-room dacha that was almost assuredly owned by an Eastern European crime syndicate. We ended up renting a house on the out-out-skirts of Monterey in Marina, which turned out to be one of the best houses we’ve ever lived in. And, we were able to visit San Francisco pretty much whenever the mood struck. And I fell in love with the city . . .
Despite San Francisco’s proximity to Napa Valley, I only drank one glass of wine the entire trip. Instead, I went on a little martini spree. I love a good dry martini (gin, not vodka), but I hate making them. How can a drink with so few ingredients be so difficult to make?!? It was a short spree though, because cocktails in San Francisco hover at about $17 each.
The teenagers were determined to eat at In-N-Out Burger (we don’t have one on the east coast), and the only one in San Francisco is at Fisherman’s Wharf, which is right about the 5th Ring of Hell in my book (too crowded and too touristy). We even went at an off time (though I’m not sure there is an off time at In-N-Out), but the line was out the door. You want a table? Get ready to throw some elbows. But eventually, we got our animal-style everything and left very full and very happy.
After our burger binge, we had an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista. It’s cliché, but you can’t go to San Francisco without having an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista. The same bartender has been making Irish Coffee there for 45 years. I can barely even process that. I asked him how many bottles of whiskey they go through in an average day. The answer? 100 bottles. Damn.
We spent an entire day in Haight-Ashbury and the Castro — fabulous neighborhoods. Well, save for the God-awful combination of patchouli and pot that seems to be the official smell of the Haight. My daughter got all excited because a hippie complimented her on her pants. Her dad, brother, and boyfriend all agreed the hippie wasn’t really complimenting her pants. But for the record, they were really cute pants.
And, in a first for me, we even went horseback riding on the beach. Yes, in San Francisco. I ride a horse about once a decade (truth be told, I don’t especially like horses), so I had my doubts, but it was one of the highlights of the trip. The meandering, ice-plant covered trail down to the beach made me miss everything about living in Monterey. Except the price of living in Monterey.
At the end of the trip, we asked the girls if they preferred New York or San Francisco. It wasn’t even close. We left our hearts (and our money) in San Francisco.