The Answer to Life is a Sandwich

I found the answer to life the universe and everything. No. it’s not 42. It’s a sandwich.

Ike’s Place is a tiny little sandwich place near the corner of 16th and Sanchez ( 3489 16th St. Across the street from old site). There are at least 100 sandwiches on the menu, including at least 30 vegetarian options. All the sandwiches are grilled with the (soon to be) patented “Ike’s Dirty Secret Sauce” (read: crack sauce!) and fresh baked bread. I had the Menage A Trois, with 3 kinds of cheese and shredded chicken. My husband had the MILF that comes with chicken, buffalo sauce, and jalepeno poppers (yes, on the sandwich). They all cost around $10, but that includes a bag of chips and an apple/caramel sucker (nice touch, Ike!).

This place is a tiny hole-in-the-wall, but it’s really popular! There is usually a 2-hr line out the door and around the block. Note: I went at 4pm on Saturday and didn’t have to wait very long. I will admit that I was overwhelmed by the number of choices, but I quickly learned that that is normal. The lady in line behind me must have seen the confusion on my face, and offered to help me out. She was the one who recommended the sammies I bought. And the cashier was equally helpful. I think that the employees are trained to recognized the menu-confusion face. So when you go, don’t be embarrassed to ask fellow customers or the staff for help deciding. Thanks, Vinnie for telling me about Ike’s Place!!

In other news, I’ve decided to convert to Catholicism. I mean, look at this!!!

photo by

Seriously, name one Protestant church that is this pretty on the inside.

Last weekend, I visited the oldest standing building in San Francisco. It’s a church called Mission Dolores ( 3321 16th St. Officially, Mission San Francisco de Asís). The original building was built in 1791, but now exists only as a museum. The church services take place in the “new” building, built in 1918 (seen above). The old Mission Dolores chapel has survived two major earthquakes, and several minor ones. You can take a tour of the chapel, and the adjacent garden/cemetery for $5. It’s open daily from 9am-4pm.

the original chapel on the left (c.1791). new on right (c. 1918)

it's in excellent condition!

tranquil cemetery

You all know that I love church architecture, so I am a little peeved that there is a big stupid tree out front. I’ve half a mind to sneak by in the middle of the night and cut the tree down! But until then, I’ll just enjoy this photo from the library archives from 1947, i.e.,  before tree.

Photo taken in 2011. See the stupid tree?

photo taken in 1947


SF in a Day

Dear Kim,

My mom and I are planning a one-day visit to San Francisco. Do you have any advice for the best things to see and best places to eat? Thanks!

Speedy Traveler

Dear Speedy Traveler,

I am so pumped that you asked me! This is a very intriguing question. What do I consider the best? How can I help you get the full SF experience in just one day?

The Best of San Francisco

Okay so, here is a list my favorite things to do in San Francisco (in order of awesomeness). Some of my suggestions are obligatory tourist destinations, but I also included things the locals do. I want you to get a good snapshot of the city.  BTW, you can’t do all these things in one day, so I’ve suggested a couple one-day excursions below.

(1) Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. If you don’t have a car, then walk or rent a bike.

(2) Sutro Baths.

sutro baths and cliff house

(3) Fisherman’s Wharf.

(4) Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

(5) Alamo Square Park.

Full House was filmed here!

(6) Coit Tower.

(7) Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. (Saturday only)

The Ferry Building

One-Day Excursions

These adventures are designed so you can walk from one site to another, because driving in SF sucks! Unfortunately, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge was not included in either of these groups. It’s not really close to anything. So if you want to do that, you’ll have to find a way to squeeze it in. Also, if you want to visit ChinaTown, you have to figure that out yourself.

(1) Fisherman’s Wharf + Coit Tower + Farmer’s Market

click to enlarge

If you choose this adventure, you should start your day at the Farmer’s Market because it’s less crowded in the morning. You should plan to stay all morning and eat lunch there at the market. Then walk to Coit Tower, climb to the top and ooh and ahh at the view. If you would like to visit Lombard Street, do it after Coit Tower. Then proceed to Fisherman’s Wharf. You’re gonna want to spend several hours at Fisherman’s Wharf because there’s a lot to see! I recommend that you go shopping at Pier 39, eat dinner at Neptune’s Palace, then meander down to Hyde St. Pier. Finish your day at Ghirardelli Square with an ice cream sundae or an irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe.

(2) Sutro Baths + Haight Ashbury + Alamo Square Park

click to enlarge

Adventure 2 is also a lot of fun! Start your day at Sutro Baths. There is a hiking trail that winds around and gives you great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It will probably take you 2 hours to fully enjoy Sutro Baths. And I want you to eat lunch at the Cliff House, with its spectacular ocean views. Then proceed to Golden Gate Park. There is a ton of stuff to do here, but it all costs money. FYI. Spend as much time as you like, then proceed to Haight-Ashbury. This is such a vibrant neighborhood. It’s best to just wander down the street and window shop and gawk at the hippies colorful people. Haight-Ashbury has several great restaurants, but I recommend Escape from New York Pizza, or Ploy II. End your day watching the sunset at Alamo Square Park.

So there you go, Speedy Traveler. I hope this helps. San Francisco is an amazing place; you’re gonna love it!! I found a great article in Time Magazine that I think you should read: Let me know if you have any questions.

Have fun,

Bay to Breakers

I had a friend write to me a couple weeks ago and make a request for this blog. He told me about this annual race in SF called Bay to Breakers that is, in his words, “unique”. I really wanted to attend, but  unfortunately, I was out of town this weekend. I did some research and found out that I should. not. miss this race next year.

This is the photo stream from the official Bay to Breakers Flickr account.

The Bay to Breakers is a 12K footrace in San Francisco that starts on the bay side of the city, near the Embarcadero, and ends on the ocean side (where the waves break). The event is well-known because a lot of participants wear crazy costumes, and drink lots of “gatorade”. Some even go nekkid. It was started as a way to lift the city’s spirits after the disastrous 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Now on it’s 100th birthday, it is the longest consecutively run footrace in the world (thanks, wikipedia!).

There are a few serious runners that show up, but they start first so the not-so-serious attendees don’t get in their way. Since I wasn’t able to attend, I can’t give my personal account. But I will give you a summary of the media coverage and try to get you excited to attend (with me) in 2012!

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the police tried hard to let everyone party, but still keep order. “Police and security officers set up several “drunk tents” – the first at Hayes and Steiner streets by Alamo Square – where people who have imbibed too much were to be held until they sobered up.”

I really enjoyed this first-hand account from Pacifica Patch’s Editor, Camden Swita… “a man in a disheveled banana suit, its front stained orange, a pink-wigged woman clad in neon yellow spandex from head to toe yelling into her cell phone, an unsteady man wearing a bear suit with a crown..”

My favorite quote came from Beth Sportswood, who writes a blog for the SF Chronicle. “Smack dab in the middle of the intersection, they were slowly moving along when all of a sudden, a computer voice on the dance track deadpans, “Barbara Streisand.” Everyone, myself included, instinctively threw their hands into the air and danced. I couldn’t help it. As much as I thought I’d hate the whole thing, I was having fun.”

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