Tag Archives: san francisco

25 Things You Didn’t Know About San Francisco

Check it. Also, pay special attention to #23.


1. The Chinese fortune cookie was invented by a Japanese resident of San Francisco.

2. Everyone’s favorite – Irish Coffee. It was perfected and popularized in the City by the Bay -bay bay.

3. Fuggetabout Lombard Street. Filbert St. between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets is the steepest—31.5 degrees!

4. San Francisco was part of Mexico until the Mexican-American War in 1848.

5. During the Depression, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed.

6. Business was so good, the city constructed the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge during the Depression.

7. When Al Capone was held at Alcatraz, he gave regular Sunday concerts with the inmate band, the Rock Islanders. He played the banjo.

8. In 1901, the city outlawed burials. Most of its cemeteries are in Colma, Calif. There, the dead outnumber the living by over 1000 to 1.

9. The “Summer of Love” actually started in the winter. The January 1967 Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park kicked it off.

10. Never say this again because Mark Twain actually never did: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

11. The neighborhoods of Marina, Mission Bay, and Hunters Point are all built atop a landfill. Darwinism at it’s best.

12. The first bubonic plague epidemic in the continental US broke out in SF’s Chinatown in 1900.

13. As historical beginnings go, the United Nations Charter was drafted and ratified in San Francisco in 1945.

14. And as historic endings go, the Beatles gave their last full concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.

15. San Francisco was huge on the mid-century treaty circuit. In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco officially ended Japanese hostilities from World War II.

16. When prospectors caught gold fever and hightailed it to California, San Francisco’s port became packed with abandoned ships. With demand to build the city booming, the ships were torn apart and repurposed into banks, businesses, and homes.

17. Decades later, in 1906, three quarters of the city was destroyed by an earthquake and fire.

18. Contemporary reports of the fire note that an unlikely hero helped save the city: Redwood trees. When fire hit buildings made of redwood, which has low resin content and a porous grain that takes in lots of water, they didn’t go up in smoke.

19. In September 1859, San Francisco’s favorite eccentric resident, Joshua Abraham Norton, declared himself America’s emperor.

20. Emperor Norton had a following: Nearly 30,000 people later packed the streets for his funeral. There’s a bar in the T-Loin named after him. You should go there.

21. The bear on California’s state flag is modeled after a California grizzly named Monarch, who was held at Golden Gate Park.

22. The U.S. Navy originally planned on painting the Golden Gate Bridge black with yellow stripes. The famed “International Orange” color was supposed to be a sealant.

23. In 1867, San Francisco instituted America’s first “ugly law,” which prohibited unsightly people from showing their faces in public. (It’s since been repealed.)

24. The city’s cable cars are the only National Historical Monument that can move. And they cost $6 one way, so try to hop on a free ride.

25. The Liberty Bell once vacationed in San Francisco! When San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, America’s most famous bell made a national train tour to be part of the fun. After the exposition ended, it returned to Philadelphia, where it’s stayed ever since. Once you’ve seen San Francisco, why travel anywhere else?

Read the full text here:  —brought to you by mental_floss.


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San Francisco Helicopter Tour

I could never recommend a more spectacular way to see San Francisco than by helicopter. Upon lift off from Sausalito, you’ll soar through the skies, travel over Mt. Tam and over the Golden Gate bridge (and under if you’re lucky, when Karl The Fog plays hookey for the day).

The views are absolutely breathtaking as you fly along the Embarcadero and around all the neighborhoods you have come to know and love: Downtown to North Beach to Pacific Heights to Telegraph Hill to The Mission to Noe Valley and back! We even flew to China Basin, over AT&T Park, out to Treasure Island and Alcatraz, and back to Sausalito.  In 25 minutes of flight time, I truly felt that I was able to see my city from the most amazing vantage point — high up in the skies.

The thing that made this ride 100x better was that I was able to claim the co-pilot’s seat and every time I looked down, I could see the view below my feet! If you are tired of the same ‘ole hiking trails, biking the Embarcadero, or lounging in the park (and have $200 to spare), then take a ride on the wild side — on a heli above San Francisco!

Click here on Flickr album for a bird’s eye view of San Francisco.


P.S. Watch this video — I helped film it! 😀

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Filed under Neighborhoods, San Francisco, Things to do in sf

San Francisco City Tour

Recently I had some family in town and in true form, we took San Francisco by storm! This is one of the things I love about this city — there is so many things to do, sometimes it is hard to fit it all in a short time! As a local, it’s also really fun to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy San Francisco through the eyes of a tourist.

Day 1 began with the Tour de Ferry Building. We arrived at the busiest time, but that was quite alright given that we were all in the spirit to eat. After strolling by all of the produce outdoors, we entered through Sur La Table and made our first purchase: El Porteno Empanadas. We ordered the Fugazzeta (aged cheddar, onions, oregano) which I found tasty but not too exciting, and the Champinones (local organic mushrooms by Far West Fungi, shallots, parmesan cheese, crème fraiche) which was delicious, earthy and much more complex.

El Porteno Empanadas Stand

As we wandered along, some stopped for vegetarian spring rolls and the interestingly-flavored ICIO Water.

ICIO Water - blood orange tarragon and black currant blueberry

I, however, had my heart set on Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick. I’m a lover of all things cheese, so naturally I went for the gold: Burrata with seasonal vegetables and herbs served atop arugula with crostini and dressed with McEvoy Olive Oil. Drool. My aunt and cousin went for the grilled cheese of the day — that sandwich was very good as well.

Cowgirl Creamery's Milkshed Map

Then we hopped on the F-line and took it down to the start of our San Francisco hop-on hop-off city tour in Fisherman’s Wharf. The tour took us to all of the popular neighborhoods (Golden Gate Park, The Haight, Civic Center, SoMa, Union Square, Chinatown) and I was quite surprised by how many “fun facts” I learned about San Francisco.


San Francisco's breathtaking architecture

I’ve included some of them below just for funsies!

  • The Spreckels mansion is the largest house city in San Francisco – yes we all know that Miss Danielle Steel now resides in that [not so] humble abode
  • The term “Sugar Daddy” was first coined by Alma Spreckels when speaking of her husband, Adoph Spreckles, the sugar baron
  • Any house painted three or more colors is considered a “Painted Lady”
  • That is actually real gold on the City Hall dome!
  • Alma is also the model for the monument in Union Square honoring naval hero Admiral Dewey and the assassinated president William McKinley
  • Twelve faceless statues sit atop 580 California called the “Corporate Goddesses”. These faceless statues are there to remind those in the banking industry to “be honest, even when you think no one is watching”.
  • Denim was invented in San Francisco during the Gold Rush because miners needed durable clothes to wear
  • The Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is designed to look like a baby piano from the outside – if you look closely you can see the white keys, black keys and strings inside.

City Hall

The "Corporate Goddesses"

Day 2 began with a stroll through the North Beach Festival – fairs and festivals are a really great opportunity for visitors and natives alike to get out in the sunshine, check out local vendors and people watch.

North Beach Festival from above

Street art at the festival

After we had our fill at the North Beach Festival, we hightailed it through Chinatown, down into Union Square and hopped on MUNI underground because we all had one track minds — we wanted to devour some sandwiches from Ike’s Place! Once our sandwiches were ready after a brief wait (Tom Brady with vegan breaded chicken, garlic and herb sauce, mushrooms, avocado and cheddar for me), we trekked over to Dolores Park. At the park everyone was happy to give their little feet a break at the park and enjoy the local flavor! We all know what I think about Ike’s (see Ike’s Place, Dolores Park & Bi-Rite Creamery) so no need to get into detail on how delicious they were.

After we were finished, we made our way back the hotel room to enjoy a glass of wine and some good family time before everyone had to part ways. It was amazing how much ground one can cover in a single weekend in San Francisco — also, important to note that I figured out what a walking drill sergeant I can be. So when I say “oh it’s just a couple blocks”, it really is 5-10 blocks. In my defense, San Francisco is such a walking city — you hardly even notice the distance you’ve gone when you walk by yourself! However even I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed putting my feel up for a rest, sipping red wine and surveying the rooftops from the balcony. This was the perfect way to play tour guide and show my relatives San Francisco’s best!

B.R. Cohn and Ghirardelli Chocolate - nice pairing.

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Filed under Family Ties, Neighborhoods, San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf, Weekend Warrior

Museum Monday

Okay, so I didn’t really go to the museum on a Monday — I mean, who has the time with a 9 to 5 right?

I did, however, get to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art on a Sunday a few weeks back to check out the “How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now” Exhibit which closed on April 17th. This was a pretty awesome, modern exhibit and naturally the oenophile in me needed to see what it was all about.

Before we got to the main attraction, I met up with a friend and we perused the art on the first few floors. There was some modern art (as always), pieces by Frieda Kahlo, and there was also a really trippy Voyeurism exhibit. It was pretty graphic and not for the young, but this exhibit opened my eyes up to all of the violations that can take place when our photo is taken without our consent.

The famous "Flower Carrier" by Diego Rivera

We finally made it to the big kahuna – the How Wine Became Modern Exhibit. It was a wine lover’s dream and had great displays on The Judgment of Paris, the various types of stemware, decanters and the like, and a wine label exhibit (which was my personal favorite). Unfortunately my photos don’t do [art] justice, as the entire wall was grouped into clusters according to wine label. I don’t know about you all, but I always find wine label art fascinating and love comparing the modern/artistic vs. traditional/minimalist wine labels.

Kenwood Bottle with the famous "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve included some photos in this post but the remainder can be found in my Flickr set San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The next special exhibition due to hit SF MoMa is The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde which runs from May 21 to September 6, 2011. I recommend you go check it out! Maybe I will run into you while gazing at Femme au chapeau by Matisse (one of my favs!).



Filed under San Francisco, Things to do in sf

The Dating Life Cycle

Dating in San Francisco. Is it truly more difficult here than any other city on earth? I think so. In another blog post I will go more into the nuances of dating in San Francisco, but for now I’m just gonna stick with the basic concept of dating. It has definitely evolved over the years and our pals Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte of Sex and The City are all well versed in the ups and downs.

There are a few different approaches. Some are the pursuer, some are pursuees, and some (perhaps the smartest) just have hands-off, relaxed approach. Don’t they say that when you’re not looking, that’s when someone will just fall in your lap? Well we aren’t all so fortunate to be blessed with the virtue of patience!

Here are a few interesting dating observations I’ve compiled based on real-life evidence of a twenty-something:

  • At the funeral (aka last time you are seeing the person you are dating) absolutely make sure you get all of your stuff back. When you were dating your schedules matched up so perfectly, but somehow once you have broken up there isn’t enough time in the day to exchange “the stuff” . Solution: mail the s***. Or just fuggedaboutit. And move on.
  • So you moved on and you’re on the prowl. Girls: the maximum party size is 2 when you are out at the bar. Your cohort is your wingwoman; treat her well. It’s difficult for guys to approach you when you are out with 10 gals. Or with men. Plus there is less competition this way (not that I think like that).
  • Where is a suitable place to meet someone? At the bar? I guess. At the park? Yeah, shows they are active and all into the outdoors. At a professional event? That works. Friends of friends don’t workout, trust me. There’s always that awkward phase when something doesn’t workout. I guess we don’t discriminate in San Francisco – we take ’em when we can get ’em.
  • Exchanging cards. Do or don’t? On one hand, you look professional. “Yeah, I gots a J-O-B”. But on the other hand, the ball is in their court. Which is something you want to avoid AT ALL COSTS. Solution: be sure to take the other party’s card. If you are interested, of course!
  • OR — exchanging numbers. That says booty call all over it, so get right to the point.
  • So you have a card in your hand (or a number in your iPhone), what is the right amount of time to wait to email? Do you wait 3 days to make contact? And, once that email has come that makes your heart flutter (“OMG he’s into me, I’m into him, he emailed me, YAY!”). How long do you sit on it? If you met him/her last night and they’ve already emailed you, clearly they are interested so you can email on the same day. However, if he was too busy aka playin’ the game and decided to wait the standard (?) 3 days, you should definitely hold out on emailing back that same day. At least you know where you stand.
  • Once you’ve established some email contact, what is the standard frequency? If you email all day, that says “I’m so into you, that I’m willing to forsake all others (and my job) to talk to you”. Say you are emailing all day and its all witty banter and s*** — well I hate to break it to you, but that’s the climax. It just all goes downhill from there, because you cannot possibly sustain emailing 10 times in one day. Truth. I say wait a few hours (or maybe days) and then respond. Be sure to keep up that witty banter – it shows that you are interesting even if you aren’t actually interesting at all. Email is good too because you can think before you respond. As opposed to having to come up with something funny to say on the spot.
  • The Date. aka The Meet Up (for all you commitment-phobes out there). Okay so the anticipation is building again, we’re back climbing the peak. How soon do you see each other again? I’m an instant gratification kinda gal, so I’d say set something up in the same week. BUT (and this is a huge BUT) you risk seeming too available. So keep livin’ your life, hang with the girlfriends and meet other guys. Make plans for the next week.
  • When you do make plans, where do you go? Okay drinks are cool, again that is non-committal. If you go for the all out dinner-date, that’s a big step. A BIG step for all parties involved (aka you and this mysterious fellow) because you are stuck with this person for 2+ hours having dinner (see side notes below). In this case make sure you have an SOS escape plan for if the date takes a nosedive. Get some spinach between your teeth – I’m sure he’ll want to plant a big one on you then.
  • Does he look as good in daylight as he did at night aka after you have taken your vodka/wine/beer goggles off? If so, fairplay. If not, game over.
  • So you had the first date and you held out – kudos to you! Do you make plans for a second date on that night or wait for follow up? People, people — this is pretty much like a job interview so if you don’t follow up, it shows you’re not interested in the position. And in this case I mean position in your life. Or in your bed. Or whatever you fancy. Also, is it kosher to text that night to “say you had a good time”. Or can you do that the next day? AM or PM? Hmm…I guess that would depends on how much you actually enjoyed the date.
  • You’ve had a few dates, things are going well. Good for you! You’re jumping hurdles left and right. But here’s the thing about relationships: they can go either 1 of 2 ways. 1) You fall in love, get married, have kids, grow old — you know, the fairytale. 2) You break up. And this is what happens 99% of the time. It’s inevitable, but you know what? It’s like a sport: it gets easier and easier the more you practice.
  • Titles: how do these come about? When does The Guy I Met Last Night become The Guy I’m Seeing and then The Guy I’m Dating to My Boyfriend. That’s a doozy. I guess its probably better to have the conversation than assume he’s your new BF. Because you know what they say: when you assume, you make an -ass- out of -u- and -me-. In this case you will be the ass embarrassed if you introduce him to your friends as such and he says “I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that”. Relationship FAIL.
  • We’re coming full relationship cycle right now and I hope you a ready for it: The Break Up. If it’s done via text message or email – that is not respectful. If that’s his form of break up, he doesn’t deserve you in his life. A phone call is a bit easier, it softens the blow. Sometimes it’s mutual so it’s easier done in person. This is only for the most professional of daters because they are not scared of flying objects. But here is the ultimate worst way to break up: The Ignore. It’s like, c’mon I know you didn’t fall of the face of the planet and die – well at least I hope you didn’t. When did ignoring someone become a way to break up? It’s like they are thinking “If I just ignore this problem it will just go away”. No dude, this problem will not go away. In fact, it’s bound to just get worst. The best way to break up? Just rip the band aid off the wound quickly. It will scab up eventually and heal (am I grossing you out yet?) and then you meet someone amazing [for the time being]. Things just didn’t work out and you are finally free to go explore the land of singledom, fully armed with knowledge of what you want/don’t want in a relationship. CONGRATULATIONS!

Other random tidbits:

  • The Facebook friend-ing: Do or Don’t? I say don’t. Just keep it so that the other person can still admire you from afar, but not question who is writing on your wall. You will also avoid the whole we’re-not-dating-anymore-so-now-I-need-to-defriend-him. And if you keep the “friend” status after “breaking up” a) you are lying to the world and b) you have to see when they start dating someone else
  • Sometimes hot guys are just fun to look at. And that is all.
  • I don’t know about you all, but this is San Francisco. Where he takes you to dinner says a lot about the person. So listen up: Cotogna? WELL DONE. If he got a reservation there, he’s a winner. If he is a local at a nice restaurant or bar and the staff know his name, points for that too. However if he takes you Olive Garden, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Commercials are misleading.
  • Doing an activity together is fun – it takes away from having to act like you are paying attention and interested in that the other person is saying. Things that get you out of your comfort zone like dancing, hiking, skydiving, swimming with sharks and playing tricks with tigers are all acceptable forms of activity.
  • When talking to friends about the multiple men you are juggling, make up nicknames. It’s fun, you can laugh about it, and you can trade stories. “So how was last night with Mr. X?” “What’s up with CFO dude?” “You did WHAT with Hipster Bartender?!”
  • Unless you are really sure something is going to work out, don’t tell your Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle/Gramma, for obvious reasons. It’s hard to say to your aging grandmother “No, I’m not seeing him anymore. No, you still have to wait a while to see your first great-grandchild”. Awkward.
  • The old “It’s not you, i’ts me” — this is bull***. George said it best.

That’s all [for now] folks, but I will be sure to check in with more fun dating chronicles.

Until next time, xo.

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Spinsters of San Francisco Patrons’ Reception

Ladies and gentleman turned out in their classy cocktail attire on March 26th for Spinsters annual Patrons’ Reception.

Muchas gracias for the lovely ladies who put on this fabulous event benefiting City of Dreams!

The wine was flowing, dice were rolling, and DJ Ms. Jackson was spinning her tunes while we all had a blast on the dance floor.

Merci beaucoup to Miss Spinster for putting together the following stats and info:

  • $15,000  raised at Patron’s Reception for City of Dreams – WHOOP

To read more seriously sweet coverage of the event, check out the below:

Eventbrite SF Newsletter

Vivanista Notes from the Chair

7×7 Newsletter

All you San Francisco peeps out there, I reommend you check it out next year! It’s an evening of good fun, friends, and all for a fantastic cause!

P.S.  Photo courtesy: Drew Altizer Photography, Venue: Stanford Court Renaissance Hotel


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Filed under Celebration, Culture, San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf

Spinsters Prospective Member Happy Hour

Calling all fabulous San Francisco ladies!

Spinsters of San Francisco is having their first large new member happy hour at The Republic. Please join us! This will be a great opportunity to meet current Spinnies and learn more about our organization.


I have been a part of this young professional, non-profit woman’s group for a year now and have loved every moment! It is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends in the Big Little City. Also, you have the opportunity to volunteer your time and give back to our lovely community. If you are interested in becoming a Spinster, I encourage you to attend this evening!

The event takes place from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at 3213 Scott Street in San Francisco. Please RSVP at Eventbrite or click here to view the official invite.

We hope you can attend!


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