My Best iPhone Pix II

Last year, I posted pictures taken from my iPhone in to order to show you the things I see around town. This is a great way for me to show you more of the city with a collection of random pictures.

This one is definitely the best picture of 2012. My husband and I were driving across the bridge right at sunset and we captured this stunning view of our city’s favorite icon.


If you look closely, you can see that there’s a homemade sign that says “Hogwarts”. I always thought Hogwarts was in Britain, but apparently it’s in Berkeley, CA.


This is City Hall. It is a gorgeous gold-plated building that can be seen from all over the city. It is surrounded by the striking gardens of UN Plaza and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It’s one of my favorite buildings in the city! Fun fact: this dome is the 5th largest dome in the world.


Windmills. I feel like San Francisco is one of the few places you will see something that is funky/artsy that also creates green energy at the same time. I saw these at the GG Bridge 75th anniversary party.


I exercise with two friends every morning in the Dogpatch neighborhood. One part of our jog gives us this awesome view of the skyline. This is the 20th Street bridge (near Pennslyvania Ave). For about a month now, the sun has come up at 6am, and it’s so peaceful to see the sun rise over the quiet city.


This is St. Charles Church at the intersection of 18th and Van Ness. I forgot I had this picture when I did the article with all the churches. I love the Spanish-style and the bright orange trim! I think this church might be closed. That’s a shame because I bet it’s beautiful on the inside too.

So remind me… when am I allowed to park here?


This picture was taken from the Bay Trail in Berkeley, CA. It’s a path along the water with an amazing view of San Francisco and the GG Bridge. There are usually a ton of people jogging and biking along this path, enjoying the ocean breeze and the view.


This woman was literally sleeping on a fire hydrant. What more can I say?




Houses of Worship

Holy Virgin Cathedral

I am obsessed with church architecture. My faithful readers probably already know that. But I haven’t shown any recently. Well, I’m gonna make up for it now. I went out today to photograph seven historic churches in San Francisco.

Saint Ignatius Church

Going out to photograph landmarks all over the city is difficult. I normally take the bus around town, but today I drove since I had great distances to cover. This means that I parked illegally everywhere I went, cab drivers yelled at me, and I got stuck in Giants traffic. But it was all worth it to show you these amazing feats of architecture.

Saint Dominic's Church

Ever since I saw Vertigo, I have made a point to see other movies and tv shows that are filmed here. This church, Saints Peter and Paul, was featured in the movie Dirty Harry. Remember the scene where Harry and the other guy are waiting for the Scorpio Killer because they think his next victim will be a catholic priest?

Saint Peter and Paul's Church

I was reading about all the cathedrals I visited and found out that several of them were damaged in the earthquake of 1906. Most of these churches were built in the 1800’s when San Francisco was still growing. The churches that were damaged in 1906 include Saint Dominic’s and Saint Ignatius. Both churches were restored. But then when the second major earthquake hit in 1989, several of these buildings were determined to be seismically unstable.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Most of the time, when a religious facility is found to be unstable, the congregation raises money to fix it and make it “earthquake-proof”. Saint Dominic’s now has flying buttresses to keep it stable. But one church was not so lucky. Saint Joseph’s members could not raise the money to restore the church so the building was condemned. It now stands empty, run down, and ugly.

Saint Joseph's

Then three years ago, someone bought the church with the intention of fixing it up and turning it into office buildings. The owner promises that he’s going to keep it looking like a church on the outside so we can all enjoy it, but I’m still a little sad about this fate. I want him to fix it up and restore it as a church. But on the other hand, it would be awfully cool to work there! Here’s a link to the full article in the SF Chronicle.

Saint Patrick's

So I hope you enjoyed this religious tour of San Francisco. I certainly did!

Holy Virgin Cathedral. 27th and Geary Blvd.
Saint Ignatius Church. On USF campus at Parker and Bush.
Saint Dominic’s Church. Bush and Filmore.
Saints Peter and Paul. Filbert and Powell.
Trinity Episcopal Church. Bush and Gough.
Saint Joseph’s. 10th and Howard.
Saint Patrick’s. 4th and Mission. 

The Sunset is the Sunniest

The Sunset District is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in San Francisco. It’s located on the Pacific coast in the southwest corner of the city. It’s known to be a surf-y community with a small-town feel. I’ve heard it called SF’s “urban suburb”. I went down there last week and took pictures right at sunset.

I think the houses in this area are so fun! They’re all painted bright colors like pink and yellow; it reminds me of South Beach in Miami. And all the houses touch and that makes these adorable streets with picturesque houses along each side. The neighborhood is divided into four subsections: the Inner Sunset, the Outer Sunset, Parkside, and West Portal. Each of these has is own charm and personality, and is worth a blog article of their own.

Some other cool things include the streets are in alphabetical order: Hugo, Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega, Ortega, Pacheco, Quintara, Rivera, Santiago, Taraval, Ulloa, Vicente,Wawona, Xavier and Yorba. Also, the HQ of CraigsList is in this neighborhood.

West Portal Lutheran Church

In case you’re wondering, yes the zoo is in the Sunset. In full disclosure, I’ll admit I took all these pictures the same day I visited Banana Sam. I thought it was a really fun way to spent the day: start by visiting the animals at the zoo, then finish your day with a sunset picnic on the beach. Trust me, you’ll love it!

San Francisco: A History (part 1)

My affection for this city is growing, and lately I’ve been researching its history. I feel like I need to understand SF’s past in order to fully appreciate the city today.

mission dolores c.1791

I have a friend who was actually born here (a rarity, I’ve discovered), and I love hearing him recite the history lessons he’s known since childhood. You see, I grew up in Georgia, and I can talk ad nauseam about its history (13 original colonies, slavery, Sherman’s March). But I know very little about California’s history. My friend was telling me about something called a mission, and I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even know what that was.

Spanish settlers arrived on the Pacific coast of North America in the mid-1700’s. The settlers were interested in converting the natives to Catholicism, and set up several outposts of evangelism, called missions. The first mission was established in San Diego in 1769. Over the next fifty years, 21 missions were set up from San Diego to Sonoma, spaced approximately one day’s journey apart by horse. There was a road connecting the missions called El Camino Real (The Royal Road). Over the years, El Camino Real gave way to modern highways, principally Routes 101 and 82.

thanks to

In 1894, an effort began to commemorate the important route, so iron bells were erected as mile-markers along the road. There were 450 bells total. I really don’t understand why they put up bells instead of, say, signs. Did they ring the bells as they passed by? Can you imagine traveling by horse and stopping every mile to ring a bell? What would happen if you didn’t ring it? Any of my readers know?

“There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
this could be heaven or this could be hell”

from photo dictionary

Today, one of the missions is still operating as if it’s 1850. You can visit San Juan Bautista and get a glimpse into the life of the settlers 160 years ago. (1 hour south of SF

photo is from

  • Missions:
    1. San Francisco de Solano (Sonoma Mission) (1823). Sonoma County.
    2. San Rafael Arcángel (1817) . Marin County.
    3. San Francisco de Asís [also known as Mission Delores] (1776). San Francisco County.
    4. San José (1797). Alameda County.
    5. Santa Clara de Asís (1777) Santa Clara County.
    6. Santa Cruz (1791). Santa Cruz County.
    7. San Juan Bautista (1797). San Benito County.
    8. San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (1770), also known as Carmel Mission. Monterey County
    9. San Antonio de Padua (1771). Monterey County.
    10. Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (1791) . Monterey County.
    11. San Miguel Arcangel (1797). San Luis Obispo County.
    12. San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (1772). San Luis Obispo County.
    13. La Purísima Concepción (1787). Santa Barbara County.
    14. Santa Inés (1804). Santa Barbara County.
    15. Santa Bárbara (1786). Santa Barbara County.
    16. San Buenaventura (1782). Ventura County.
    17. San Fernando Rey de España (1797). Los Angeles County.
    18. San Gabriel Archangel (1771). Los Angeles County.
    19. San Juan Capistrano (1776). Orange County.
    20. San Luis Rey de Francia (1798). San Diego County.
    21. San Diego de Alcalá (1769). San Diego County.

Grace Cathedral plus Food x2

I started writing this blog because I was unemployed and I needed a hobby. Over time, my mission and purpose changed, so now I’m writing for you. I know many of you have never been to San Francisco so I’m hoping to show you how beautiful it is, and hopefully, inspire you to visit.

so steep it needs stairs

Since it’s all about you, I’m am introducing new ways that I can interact with you. I have set up a Facebook fan page for this site. I will use this page to talk to you, answer questions, post pictures, and even give you sneak peaks of things to come! So please go to my Facebook page and click “Like” so I can make sure I’m writing about the things that interest you!

That being said, you may be wondering why I keep posting pictures of churches. I’ll tell you there are two reasons: (a) I am obsessed. (b) I think the churches help you see the history and character of the city. So here’s the latest: Grace Cathedral ( 1100 California St. at Taylor). This is the most gorgeous church I’ve seen so far! It looks like Notre Dame (but I make the comparison based on pictures since I’ve never been to Paris). Just FYI it’s at the top of a huge hill and I wish I’d taken the trolley instead of walking up it (gasps, wheezes).

look at the crazy fog!

view of the church across Huntington Park

I was talking to a new friend a couple weeks ago, and he asked if I had ever been to Patxi’s Pizza in Noe Valley. No, I hadn’t. And I was shocked! How could there be a pizza place in my neighborhood that I didn’t know about?!

Patxi’s Pizza is a little tiny restaurant, with a tiny sign, and I bet I walked by 100 times and never noticed it was there. It is located on the 24th street “strip” (pronounced PAY-cheese. 4042 24th St. Noe Valley). They serve authentic, Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza. My husband and I ate there last week with the aforementioned new friend and his lovely wife. The 4 of us split the spinach-pesto-chicken pizza and also a pepperoni, but couldn’t finish it all!

Thanks to Patxi’s, I am now a deep-dish snob. Why would I settle for regular old pizza when I can have a “heap” of pizza?! Deep-dish is so amazing and Patxi’s makes it scrumptious! Seriously y’all, look at this:

What’s that? You say you want another restaurant review? You got it!
I’ve eaten a lot of chinese food in my lifetime. A lot. And I was convinced that it’s all the same and it’s all terrible (so why do I eat so much?). Well, I am here to inform you that there is a Chinese restaurant here in SF that has really amazing food. Seriously, the. best. chinese food I’ve ever had!!

Red Jade is located in the Castro neighborhood at the corner of Market and Church ( 245 Church St). I ordered the same thing I always order: sesame chicken, general tso’s chicken (for my sweetie), pot stickers, and egg rolls. But this time is was awesome! I actually “mmmm”ed out loud. I will never again eat at [the chinese takeout place down the street]; I’m getting my chinese fix at Red Jade from now on.

OK, that’s it for this week. Don’t forget to LIKE me on Facebook!

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

Bubble Tea: Not For Me.

I took this picture of Old St. Mary’s Cathedral on the same day I went to Chinatown. It’s on the corner of Grant Ave. and California St. The top picture is the one I took in 2011, and the one below was taken in 1957. It is from the library archives.  Cool huh?

I found this wikipedia link for Chinatown that is full of useful information. The Bow Hon Restaurant is mentioned here (so now you know I didn’t eat at some sketchy joint). It also gives information about other stuff to do in the same area.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that Rachael Ray came to SF for $40 a Day and she ate at the Oriental Pearl Restaurant (corner of Grant and Clay). I wanted to eat there but it was closed the day I went.

Now I’m gonna tell you about bubble tea (a.ka. Pearl Tea or Pearl Milk). This is a huge new fad here in SF an everybody’s drinking it. Not me. You either order regular iced tea with “bubbles” in it, or you get a slushy with “bubbles” in it. And what are the “bubbles”, you ask? They are little tapioca balls that sink to the bottom of the cup (the black things in the photo above). If you’ve never had tapioca pudding, this is gonna be really hard for you to imagine. Tapioca balls are about the size of aspirin tablets and they’re squishy and chewy. You drink your tea (or slushy) with a big straw and suck up the tapioca balls while you drink. It’s a very strange feeling. I can’t stand don’t find many occasions to drink bubble tea, but I’m the only one in the whole city. All my friends drink it and go gaga over it. My friend, @stammy, recommends that you get your tea at Ten Ren (949 Grant Ave).  I think it should be called Pebble Tea because the balls sink…but that’s just me.

And finally, in an effort to keep you here a little longer, I want to mention one more thing. There are no trees or bushes on the sidewalks of Fisherman’s Wharf. None whatsoever. So if you see a shrub, it’s probably a homeless guy hiding and waiting to jump and scare the s#!t out of you. Don’t worry, they’re not going to rob you; they are hoping that you’ll see someone else get frightened and pay for the laugh.

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