“San Franciscans will save the world.” “My heart is in my throat right now!” “Did you hear that?!? He told me to take as many photos as I’d like!” “Dear reader, after not that much thought and consideration, I’ve decided to stay in San Francisco…” “This chicken dish totally deserves a four-page long recipe.” “Can you believe it? I’m standing where once David Lebovitz baked!” “Can you please just leave me here for a couple of months?” “So, you call this a brownie?” “I am so glad we took a detour that day.” “How will we eat another pizza again?” “I’ll die. I’ll just die!” “Shit! There isn’t a single shot of the Golden Gate Bridge!” “Yes yes yes! He’s showing us to the table closest to the kitchen!” “I don’t quite remember how quickly I managed to get there and had no idea it was going to be this scary, but there was one thing I was certain of – I really didn’t want to die. So I packed my things and started running…”
Just a couple of sentences I thought would work great as the introduction. Or, I should rather say, if I had filmed the 12 days I’ve spent in San Francisco, those are the scenes I would have picked for the trailer.
Obviously, I don’t know where to start… 12 days in San Francisco & Big Sur, 2000+ photos, Highway 1, the best chicken I’ve ever had, the best Vacherin I’ve ever had, Dublin Dr. Pepper, the Berkeley Bowl, dinner at Chez Panisse…
I guess I’d better start from the beginning. Now, if you’re a long-time reader, you’ll get this instantly (and if you’re not, I’ll summarize right after the photo). Guess what appeared in front of me as we were boarding for San Francisco?
I don’t know how this happens and whether there’s a divine connection between The Golden Girls, me and San Francisco or not, but every time I go there, the girls are with me. It was just a single episode on Lufthansa’s in-flight entertainment programme, but it sure put me in a good mood. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I am a huge fan of The Golden Girls. So much so that I’ve even named my blog after Rose Nylund’s one-eyed teddy bear, Fernando. If you’re not scared to read more about this obsession of mine, you’re welcome to check out this post. Or this one.)
Before I spent an unbelievable amount of time looking for a nice, central, safe and affordable place to stay in San Francisco, I had every intention on staying somewhere close to my old place in the Marina. Lombard Street is known for its affordable motels, so I thought the only problem could have been deciding which one to stay at. But then I’ve read countless horror stories (summary: bed bugs, mold and musty smell) and decided to stay away from the area. I’ve found an amazing bed and breakfast on Union street, but it was way out of my price range.
According to my calculations, the difference between their cheapest room and the room I’ve stayed in amounts to a Mauviel sugar pot. Daily. And I can sacrifice a lot more for a Mauviel sugar pot.
So I’ve decided on staying at Hotel Tomo (it is now called The Kimpton Buchanan), which is located in Japantown, very close to the lively Fillmore Street.
The best part about this hotel is its location. Not only it is just a few blocks away from amazing restaurants, design shops, antique stores and cafes on Fillmore Street, it is also located in the middle of everywhere.
A 10-minute bus ride will take you to downtown, Mission Dolores or the Marina.
In fact, it can be considered walking distance to the Marina. Once you reach Broadway & Fillmore, it is downhill all the way to the Marina, and with magnificent views.
The view from our balcony wasn’t bad either.
Actually, you can easily spend a few days without moving anywhere. There’s Pizzeria Delfina, Woodhouse, Out The Door, Citizen Cake (now closed) and Dosa nearby. For breakfast, our only option was La Boulange (now closed) as it was the only place that served hot dishes at 7 AM, but there’s lots more to choose from for people waking up at normal hours.
There is also a Wallgreens nearby, but that might only interest me as I am crazy about double-zipper freezer bags and stocking up on them was at the top of my list as they are not available in Istanbul. Also, we got addicted to the Blue Bottle coffee and Valrhona frozen yogurt served at Fraiche (now closed) and the best part is they are open until late hours everyday.
Aside from food, Fillmore is filled with great design shops and antique stores.
If you ever visit, make sure to stop by my favorites: Zinc Details, Jonathan Adler, Nest, Paper Source, and Mureta’s Antiques.
I’ll soon start writing about my favorite places in greater detail, but I’m currently working against a deadline to finalize the photos for the first two chapters of my book. Until then, I’ve put together a photo gallery with some of the photos I took in San Francisco for you to enjoy. I’ll be back with the remaining thousands.
Love your pictures especially the Golden Bridge at night. This is a city where I could move to.
I love to see my country from your eyes!! Very nice photos!
And the descriptions are wonderful!
Thank you for taking us along on your short vacation!
You took such lovely photos, Cenk! My favorite was the one with the asparagus, such a pretty shade of green. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in the bay area. It better not take you another 2257 days to come for another visit!
What great photos! They reminded me of why I love this city so much. Thanks for sharing!
and… just back from my own visit to the Berkeley Bowl I am greeted by your lovely post! It looks and sounds like you had a great time in SF! If you forgot anything let me know — we are a mere two months from visiting Turkey and eating at Ciya (the most anticipated meal or meals of the trip)!!!! XO – Shelley in Oaktown
Delicious pictures and descriptions! I feel like I could just go to San Francisco now and I’d have a road map of how to have a delectable and entertaining time from where to stay to what to eat to where to go. So glad you had a good time!
amazing photos Cenk!
I can’t wait to hear more about your trip. Lovely photos.
Do you ever sell your photos? I want to buy like 100 of them 🙂
Cenk – You are very good with words. And extremely funny. And talented. I wish I were your travel partner 😉
Incredible pictures as always. I think my favorite is the Tartine croissant.
Such a beautiful city and your photos are stunning. Great job!
It’s so exciting to see your images of SF, Cenk. You are making me fall in love with “my” city all over again. I can’t wait for the rest.
I’m glad to come here and find a new post.
Love your blog and all the recipes.
Looks like you had great fun there! I love the pictures!
Great post! Nice pictures! This summer we are staying in SF for 6 days. We’re also going to stay in Japantown. We found a place to stay through airbnb.com, which made our trip a bit cheaper (I also looked at that nice, but expensive b&b). Hopefully you will be able to make a list of places we all should visit in SF. Thanks for your great website!
i wish i’d have known you were coming you could’ve taken my apt. while i was away! although i’m on telegraph hill, not anywhere near as centrally located as the place you landed.
next time you come, email me, i’m gone a lot and would be honored to have you stay in my place!
loved seeing my city through your eyes. thanks for such a lovely post!
peg – Very generous of you! Thanks. I’ll definitely take you up on your offer the next time I visit.
Hi Cenk, I’m a San Franciscan visiting in Istanbul at the moment. Despite the worst jet lag I have ever encountered – is there something in the SF-Istanbul trip that is just killer? – I am having an amazing time here, on my second trip to Istanbul. I love your blog. SF and Istanbul, two of my favorite cities. Next time you want to come to SF, send me an email. Like the Telegraph Hill reader, we are also gone a lot and would be happy to lend you our Inner Richmond apartment, which is not too far from your beloved Marina.
Jane Leu – Thank you so much for the generous offer! Hope you have a great time in Istanbul. Let me know if you need any suggestions.
San Francisco is an amazing city! You truly captured it well in this post and with your photos.
LOVIN’ your SF photos.. Brings back happy memories of when I used to visit a friend up there a few times a year.. One of my fav. cities in the world.. and you capture it sooo well on film!
Nice pictures! This summer We found a place to stay through airbnb.com, which made our trip a bit cheaper. Hopefully you will be able to make a list of places we all should visit in SF. Thanks for your great website. Great post!