There’s no place like home
Poet Maya Angelou may have famously said, “You can never go home again” but in all fairness she wasn’t from San Francisco. I was born in New York but down to the very marrow of my bones I’m from San Francisco. I simply don’t breathe easier in any other city on earth. It’s my city, whose streets and alleys are tattooed into my psyche like a beloved well worn novel. My city, whose hills and rooftops run through me and calm me like a good single malt scotch—equally warm and cold at the same time. With air you can actually see before you take it in, heady with eucalyptus, salt water and bitter french roast coffee. San Francisco has an endless unraveling rope to which I’ll always be tethered, extending itself longer each time I reach.
When I do get to visit, which isn’t often enough, there’s never enough time for everything. I’ve learned to accept that. But there are always a few non-negotiables, depending on the time of year of course.
A steaming hot Cha Shao Bao eaten while standing on a lantern lit street in Chinatown.
A defiant dive into the sea of literary rebellion that is the legendary City Lights Bookstore.
As many Yank Sing soup dumplings as one person can possibly ingest in one sitting.
A well made sazerac from The Comstock Saloon, preferably sipped while a pale faced beauty with a red rose in her hair sings cheerful standards in a sad voice while playing a Gold Rush era piano.
A cocktail enhanced stumble down the infamous Barbary Trail through North Beach.
The sensational ocular assault of color that is the Dahlia Garden in Golden Gate Park.
Watching a chef crack open beautiful fresh pale blue eggs while reading the Chronicle at the communal table at Boullette’s Larder.
Getting my fortune read by a mechanical gypsy at the Musee Mechanique.
At least one winding drive through the Presidio to the Sea Cliff.
Walking the streets of the Mission debating the pros and cons of each Mexican food establishment before eventually ending up agreeing that it’s all about Taqueria Cancun.
Plenty of examples why there’s never enough time or adjustable waistbands for that matter.
As comforting as old haunts always are there’s nothing like discovering something brand new in a place you thought you knew. On my last trip that discovery was The Inn Above Tide in Sausalito.
I spent almost my entire childhood growing up in Marin County and even lived on a houseboat in Sausalito for a while so I thought I knew just about every nook and cranny of the place, turns out not so much. A good friend of ours gave us a room there for the night as a gift and we were excited to get to spend a night by the water but just figured for some reason it would be a typical touristy waterfront hotel. WRONG! The Inn Above Tide is an intimate and luxurious, yet laid back hidden gem of a hotel that somehow has been hiding in plain sight for years.
Our room didn’t just have a view of the water it was ON the water with the most priceless view of the glittering city we adore. Best part? We didn’t even have to leave the cocoon of our own bed to enjoy it! The simple joy of listening to the the fireplace crackle and the waves roll in while staring out across the bay at the flickering skyline was just the medicine we needed. Turns out this little hotel has some major restorative powers! Now, If only I could bottle the feeling of this place I could rule the world!
Breakfast on the deck the next morning just confirmed what we already knew, we would be back, and next time for longer. I guess you really can go home again and sometimes if you’re lucky enough to be from the city by the bay it’s even better than you remember.