Monday, June 11, 2012

San Francisco - Day 5: Chinatown / Little Italy / Lombard St.

Wednesday we had a break from the tours to explore areas we hadn't been yet.  That included Chinatown for lunch/shopping, a trolley to Lombard Street, walk around Hyde Street Pier, bus to Coit Tower and a short ride to North Beach/Little Italy for dinner. 

Entrance to Chinatown
Chinatown is best known as a good area to get inexpensive souvenirs and if you enjoy Asian food like Dim Sum (don't ask me what it is) and other favorites, that's the place to go.   We got lots of souvenirs here, stopped by the Fortune Cookie place where they make fortune cookies by hand all day long and we had lunch at a popular local eatery.

Chinese lanterns above the streets in Chinatown
Store named after Michael Jackson because he bought so much stuff there
Inside the Michael store

Lots of ornate buildings
Interesting mural
Dead ducks hanging in the window 
Mmm...pig snouts!  :-o
Alley to Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Handmade fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
For lunch we wandered into a place that was busy with all locals.  We didn't get real adventurous, I stuck with Kung Pao Chicken and the wifey had Orange Chicken.  Really, we weren't impressed, but we are by no means big fans of Chinese/Asian dishes.  All of the locals had these big soup bowls and they were putting stuff in the soup, so apparently we didn't order what we should have.  But with literally over 250 different dishes listed by number to choose from, there should be a little something for everyone.

Covert shot of locals eating noodles and other stuff out of a big bowl
After lunch, we took the trolley up to Lombard Street, walked down about 1/4 of the way and then pretty much you're done here.  This quick visit only took about 15 mins, but it's one of those "must do" touristy things.
View looking down Lombard Street
Me at Lombard Street
 Video of cars going down Lombard Street

View of Coit Tower from Lombard Street
After Lombard Street we went down to the Fisherman's Wharf area and explored the Hyde Street pier, which is just to the left of the main area. 

Ship at Hyde Street Pier
View of Ghirardelli Chocolate
Me at Hyde Street Pier with a view of Alcatraz
 Then we went up to Coit Tower and had a great view of the entire surrounding area.
Coit Tower
Financial District

View of the Embarcadero Area
View of the parking area below at Coit Tower
View of 2 cruise ships, Pier 39 and Alcatraz from Coit Tower
From there we took a very short bus ride to the area known as North Beach, aka Little Italy.  Being a huge fan of pasta/Italian food we were looking forward to heading here.  We first stopped in Washington Square, which is a park in North Beach, just to hang out. 

Hanging out at Washington Square in North Beach
The hotel bartender said to try out Calzones.  She said its not touristy and it's very inexpensive and they have a nice outdoor seating/area.  It did have a great outdoor seating area in the sunshine, which was good cause it was a little cool that afternoon and it was inexpensive, but I wasn't a huge fan.

Wifey enjoying a beverage at Calzones
I got the Lasagna and I'm real picky when it comes to my Lasagna and it was just ok.  The wifey had a tomato basil pasta dish and about 1/2 way through we switched dishes and we each enjoyed each other's dish a little better.  By no means was the food bad, it just wasn't what I was hoping for.  Had we had more time, I would have liked to try another restaurant there.

We then headed back to the hotel and decided to check out the Sir Francis Drake Hotel lobby bar across the street.  I then realized that Sir Francis Drake is the symbol on the Beefeater Gin bottle.  Who knew?!

Sir Francis Drake hotel lobby bar


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