did i mention that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day? i even heart breakfast for lunch, dinner or late night snack. depending on my mood, sometimes i'll be in the mood for savoury brekkie and sometimes, i'd crave something fruity and sweet. this means, i'm kinda an expert of good breakfasts.
so this morning, or to be honest, 1130am, kim, kat and myself went to THE breakfast spot, called mama's, located on stockton and filbert, right across washington square park in north beach. this little corner restaurant had a line up of hipsters and hipster-y tourists outside the block and it took us about 20 minutes to get seated; not bad, considering you can wait up to 2 hrs on the weekends. it was worth the wait. mama's makes everything fresh. they bake their own breads, make their own lalaberry jams and grow their own organic tomatoes. you can watch the cooks in the open concept kitchen make your breakfasts right before your eyes.
between the 3 of us, we ordered smoked salmon benedict, french toast with berry topping and eggs florentine...to share. i would totally recommend mama's for the food and eye candy, erm, i mean, patron watching.
peggy met up with us at mama's and after a much satisfying brekkie, we went to check out the most crookedest street in the world, with the tight hare-pin turns; the famous lombard street. it's also one of the prettiest with the flowers and plants lining the serpentine, wind-y road.
we walked down the steep decline of lombard street to fisherman's wharf. we had hoped to get some last minute tickets for alcatraz, but apparently there were no last minute cancellations. slightly disappointed, we walked along the pier and took in the spectacle that is le tourist trap supreme.
(fisheye picture courtesy of peggy)
we came across the infamous "bush man" - a man who disguises himself behind a trellis of fake leaves and hides beside trash bin receptacles or sandwich boards and waits...until some poor, unassuming tourists walk by and he roars at them, making them jump out of their skins. everyone witnessing this laughs, including some of those that got frightened. and then almost all the time, he'll get tips from them for that fright delight. we were on the other side of the street, watching with other tourists, waiting for the next victims and howling at people's reaction. imagine, this guy does this for a living - all day, every day, attempting to scare the bejeezus out of people for money. if you ever find yourself on the wharf, well, you have been warned. luckily for me and peggy, kim didn't walk us right into the bush man himself.
(left picture courtesy of peggy)
we continued to pier 39 to check out the infamous gathering spot of sea lions. you can smell the sea-saltiness and hear the barking of the sea lions before you are in visible range. the pier was packed with people taking pictures of the hundreds and hundreds of banked sea lions, relaxing and playing in the afternoon sun.
further out in the water was the island of alcatraz. i once read that the incarcerated inmates of alcatraz were terribly tortured because here they were cut off from all physical contact with the outside world, yet at the same time, any sounds of cocktail party laughter and joyous celebrations can be heard at night, on boats cruising about on the water or in some cases, as far away as the pier. such mental anguish and unkind punishment; the "so close, yet so far away" syndrome.
keeping our eye on the clock, as we had a family reunion dinner in chinatown, peggy, kim and i skipped taking the cable car with the rice-a-roni view up the 4 steep hills back to the car and instead decided to hoof it. i applaud san franciscans for walking and driving these hills everyday. depending on how one gets from a to b, you could either have awesome cardio, lung capacity and endurance or the best driving skills in the world. lucky for me, i exercise and walk enough that i wasn't huffin' and puffin', nor stopping frequently on the ascent. for the uninitiated and first-timer (peggy), it was a bit of an asphalt-kickin'.
as for driving? well, i'm a stick shift driver and very comfortable driving up hills. of vancouver. but san francisco? even i wonder if i have the confidence to go up these verticals, never mind coming down. and if you were driving behind a couple cars up these hills? hmmm, i wonder how many cars stall? the thought of that happening and rolling back on the hills - yikes.
as any san franciscans are want to do when flatland friends first come to visit, i asked kim to take a driving down the steepest hills for peggy. mind you there are hills, steep hills and then STEEP hills, characterised by signs maked "steep grade", otherwise known as, "don't try it unless you've recently had your brakes checked." we went down the worst or best of them all, depending on your view - the downhill only filbert street between hyde and leavenworth, with a 31.5% gradient. this means that for every 100 feet you travel in the horizontal, there would be an increase of 31.5 feet in the vertical.
kim told me she once went down theses hills on a 10 speed with a friend and it was crap your pants scary, for as you start the decline, you feel like you're going to fly over the handlebars, being positioned so forward. i don't even want to imagine!
top left: cousins sandra and kim
bottom left: kim's car as we approached the drop
top right: our shadows at the top of the hill to show just how steep this mofo is
bottom right: chinatown sign that made me giggle
sitting in the front seat and slowly inching the car over the precipice, you can not see the road below. until the nose of your car tips over, it's looks like a complete vertical drop. now i say that this was for the benefit to show peggy, but really, it also to excite a thrill within me. to be in the front passenger seat was akin to being in the front car of a rollercoaster. alittle nervous (at not being the driver in control of the car and for that driver to joke about putting the car in neutral and braking more than halfway down the hill expertly), i chuckled and found myself pushing my back into the seat instinctively as we descended rather rapidly and breathed a big sigh of relief when we arrived safely at the bottom of the hill. who needs to go to six flags when you can drive the streets of sfo?
here's us going down filbert. that's peggy you hear talking in the clip and the breathless, nervous giggles at the top of the hill? erm, that would be me.
(video courtesy of peggy)
after breathlessly "flying" down these hills a few times, meeting up and going to family dinner tonight with my wacky and eccentric relatives was definitely a walk in the park.