Saturday morning. I woke up to the grey and dreary view in the window. My first intention was to crawl back under the covers and stay in bed all day. But the I thought: “Wow, my first rain in over 4 months in SF! ” I dragged myself out of the house and onto the wet streets.
I was surprised to see how different the city looks! All streets that are so familiar looked somehow different, they were empty and sooo quiet. No pedestrians, almost no cars, and no homeless people. Just raindrops in the air, on the ground, everywhere.
But SF didn’t stay paralyzed with the rain for a long time. Dog walkers (dogs def had a blast), committed runners (feels like everybody runs in SF), and young mommies with strollers soon filled up the streets. Shops opened up their doors putting out a bucket for wet umbrellas.
City was slowly waking up and getting back to its usual rhythm. Me? I am just strolling down the streets with my purple umbrella enjoying the city and the rain.
Wanna do something tasty and fancy in SF without putting on weight? Try a walking chocolate tour! You’ll visit the best chocolate spots in SF, get high on chocolate in under 2 hours, and stay happy for the rest of the day. Check out Groupon for some good deals (regular price was 65 bucks, bit we got it for 18) and don’t forget a bottle of water! With all the sweets you will definitely need one. When to start shopping? Well, you can buy a little bit of everything at each stop, or wait till the last one (if you can) and then make up your chocolate mind :)
For a chocolate lover like me this was the best birthday present.
We start with the Fog City News. They actually sell magazines, but they also have a great selection of very unique chocolates. 88% dark Dolfin chocolate is just perfect -creamy strong but not bitter at all. BTW, experts say that dark chocolate has a richer tasting profile than most wines!
Heaven is a place on Earth!
See’s chocolate - my dream job. Chocolate is so-so, but they have an eat all policy for their employees :)
Mr. Ghirardelli came to the USA to get rich in the Gold Rush. Little did he know that it would be the ‘chocolate gold’ that would make him rich and famous.
Ghirardelli's. Among all American chocolates, this one is actually edible :)
Our chocolate experience at Spicely Organic Spices and Teas Boutique was very special. They pair different types of tea with different types of chocolate. Something new!
Afterwords, you can purchase any tea or chocolate. I LOVED the white tea (just found out that it’s very good for your skin). Each box costs about 10-15 USD, a little pricy but definitely worth it!
Next stop - exotic Japanes sweets. Most of them are made out of rice and are extremely sweet. The reason for that is as follows: they are usually paired with a Japanese tea which is very bitter.
We tried something more simple, but still very sweet. Chocolate ganache cream sandwiched between mini chocolate pancakes. Sweet, soft, delicious.
Back to Europe! Leonidas - exquisite Belgian chocolate. Made me recall my good times in Antwerp… Mmm… and, finally, the best of the best and my personal favorite chocolate from Switzerland - Teuscher.
Here you can find the cutes presents for your friends! Teuscher is famous not only for its chocolate but also for their creative packages. Each single figure is a chocolate box and has a delicious praline inside.
Halloween army of little Draculas :)
Ty personal favorite - Champagne Truffle. It has a dark chocolate ganache center that is enriched by a creamy infusion containing finest Dom Perignon Champagne. No picture! You have to try it yourself!
The last present surprise was to find vodka truffle. Tastes unexpectedly cool!
Great start of one more year filled with chocolate for me :)
Mid of August, but summer hasn’t started yet. Foggy and grey Saturday morning in SF… Looking for some fun and bright colors, I headed to the most cheerful and colorful neighborhood of the city on a walking tour around Castro with San Francisco Walking Tours. Not only had I a good time walking around, but I picked up a couple of fun facts and learned something new :)
Our guide Russell embodied the character of the neighborhood and entertained us with lots of interesting stories along the way. I am not going to go deep into the history, but it was cool to know that that over the past two centuries Castro changed from being Mexican-Scandinavian-working-class blue-color Irish quoter with dairy farms and dirt roads to being a vibrant and trendy gay village of SF.
Castro neighborhood (or gayborhood as Russell said) got its specific flair due to the activism in 1960-70s and one man in particular - Harvey Milk (if you, like me, haven’t heard of him before, check this out - Harvey Milk, a man with an amazing life story). Harvey Milk moved to SF from NY. He became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. He did a lot of things for the community and the the neighborhood, being a great visionary and a passionate gar rights activist. Sadly, he was assassinated by his political antagonist. Russell also recommended to check out the movie about Harvey Milk (2008).
The Flag. Milk was involved in creating the rainbow flag for the first 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Celebration. Turns out that rainbow flag wasn’t the first gay symbol used (the roots of the previous ones go back the sad times when pink triangles used during the WWII). The original flag designed in 1978 had far more colors but each of them had a specific meaning. Modern flag is a little simpler, but still bright and rainbow-like.
The Castro Theater is absolutely beautiful. Built in 1922, it’s Baroque facade and even more beautiful interior will amaze you. Plan a visit during your time in SF for sure!
The streets. Well, I guess you have to see it with your own eyes. Great restaurants, trendy shops with sexy underwear, cozy houses and unexpected things. TwinPeaksTavern, also called gateway to Castro, was the first open gay bar. Now there are a lot of them. I wonder why they don’t have a night tour around Castro. That would be fun!
Come over for colors and fun. Be open and let the neighborhood surprise you ;)