We are not sure where this started, but it had to have started at Ghiradelli’s Chocolates on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Leanna May and I had a great time the entire trip, yelling CHOCOLATE, whenever we were EXTREMELY HAPPY!!!!  So, whenever you need a boost, JUST DO IT!!


Fisherman’s Wharf

When I was about 10 or 11, my dad and mom took us to California for a wonderful vacation.  One of my fondest memories with my daddy, is walking hand-in-hand late at night, down the hills from our hotel to Fisherman’s Wharf, in order to get a “giant shrimp cocktail”.  Indeed, it was the biggest shrimp cocktail I had ever seen, with plump big shrimp decoratively placed around an elegant glass dish.  The best part of this experience was having all of my daddy’s attention, though, I must say!!  If my memory serves me well, the wharf was very rustic then with brown planks and a working wharf appearance.  Now, it is a very busy place, built up with large, neon-adorned restaurants, stores, etc.  However,  it was still a joy to revisit with our kids.  We spent quite a bit of time walking the wharf, particularly the area around Hyde Street pier, viewing all of the huge fishing ships and sailboats.  Brandon and Dad also enjoyed the Arcade Museum, looking at amazing antique arcade machines.  Brandon took particular interest in using my camera to take pictures of an old rowboat on a small beach beside the piers.  Watching the waves encounter the sand on the beach brought a slight tear to my eye for our beautiful Gulf of Mexico being invaded by oil!!  After roaming the wharf, we enjoyed a snack of shrimp cocktail, calamari, oysters, shrimp and octopus at #9 Fisherman’s Grotto Restaurant on the Wharf.  The shrimp cocktail did not remotely resemble the plump shrimp I have held in my mind all of these years, but the little ones were very tasty, anyway!  The memories in our minds often TRUMP the actual events!!!!!

Cable Car Ride through the City

We acquired our cable car passes at the start of the Powell & Mason line, watching the men working the breaks who joined the driver in turning the cable cars around on what appeared to be a giant “lazy susan” revolver built into the paving of the street itself.  Our day passes cost $13.00 per person, a far cry from the 5 cents of long ago.  Beautiful flowers hanging from lightposts lined the street, with a huge Nordstrom’s store in the background.  Drummers, street salesmen, coffee mongers, etc. chatted with people waiting to board the cable cars, attempting to gather funds.  They pack the cable cars very full, and you are fortunate if you get along the outer seats for a better view of the hills and sites.  Riders were frequently warned to remove backpacks and lean forward when another cable car was passing.  One man almost lost his head when he wasn’t listening!

Morning Walk in San Francisco

We spent our first morning in SF wandering the streets, searching for a great breakfast for Brett.  Breakfast is just about Brett’s favorite meal and at the corner of Geary and Mason streets, we found the perfect spot:  The Pine Crest Diner.  Pine Crest is a 24/7 diner with fabulous food for any meal you desire.  Pine Crest receives an A+ from our family on decor, service, taste and bargain price.  The diner is small, but cozy with a long counter on one wall, deep-cushioned booths  and Formica tables. The decor reflects the “time of its last remodeling somewhere back in the late ’60s”.   During our breakfast of Pine Crest omelettes, Spanish omelettes with California avocados (my favorite), strawberry waffles and breakfast links and eggs, BG struck up a conversation with a fine, Greek gentleman dressed in a really fine gray suit, and pink tie.  “Bill” turned out to be the founder of Pine Crest restaurant.  BG informed him that “my name is Beeuhl, too.”  We were happy to tell Bill how much we enjoyed his diner.  We returned for two more meals here during the week

Pine Crest Diner in SF
Brandon and Brett check out the menu!

, as it was one of our favorites.

Arrival in San Francisco

Bill, Brandon, Brett, Leanna and I departed from Houston Hobby with great anticipation on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 in the late afternoon.   Our initial flight was unremarkable with one brief stop in San Diego; then, on to San Francisco.  With a two hour time change, we loaded up our cab to the city approximately 8:00 p.m.  Our cab driver gave us a “rousing” welcome to the big city by responding to Leanna’s excited “So, do you have any recommendations on restaurants in San Francisco?” with a gruff “I eat at home”.

BG attempted to initiate a conversation with the driver by acquiring his middle eastern accent (the boys and I have  noted frequently that BG acquires the prosody or accent of whomever he is speaking with).  Billy asked the driver,”   “This Sienna, what year?”  to which the driver responded with a grand single word “2004”.  And that was indeed “his final answer.

The sites of the city on our way to our hotel were quite impressive.  We arrived at our downtown hotel “The Villa Florence” in Union Square and were delighted with its old ambiance and sounds of the city.  Exhausted from our travels,  we walked next door to an Italian Deli, Bellini’s and enjoyed eggplant parmigiana, penne, ravioli, pizza and BG’s standard meal at Italian restaurants, Spaghetti and meatballs.