For our dear friend Charlene’s birthday, Ander and I took her for a San Francisco whirlwind tour of some of our favorite places. We did not tell her where we were going, so each stop was a surprise.
First we had a lovely lunch at Fog City Diner on Battery and The Embarcadero. I used to go here a lot when my friends were working around the corner. The food was still great after all these years. Luckily we made reservations ahead because it was pretty hopping. I had a crispy reddened snapper sandwich which was spicy and delish, and Ander had a 1/2 pound Niman Ranch burger. Charlene had the Chicken Schnitzel with broccolini and lemon caper butter. Everything was served promptly by a very responsive waitress and was terrific. The restaurant looks a bit garish on the outside, but the inside is all dark wood and there are booths or tables and a busy liquor and oyster bar.
After our meal we moved on to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. I chose this because she and I both enjoy gardening and flowers. It turned out Charlene had always wanted to go here and so it was perfect!
The Conservatory is one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in San Francisco and the 12,000 square-foot greenhouse is the oldest existing glass and wood conservatory in the United States. i think it looks like the American version of the Taj Mahal!
The greenhouse is divided up into environments: lowland tropics, highland tropics, aquatic plants, potted plants, and a special exhibit area. The temperature changes as you move from one are to the next.
These tropical flowers brought a smile because they reminded me of my mother and grandmother who lived in Hawaii.
This little guy was fascinated by the fiddle heads. There were many kids there with their parents.
The special exhibit area featured info on pollinators of all kinds – bats, birds, wasps, bees, and butterflies. A few butterflies fluttered about to the delight of the many kids.
I love the aquatic area – check out the video:
Walking in this most wondrous place I really got a sense of peace and calm. Charlene’s comment was, “How can you not believe that there is a higher source after being here.”
Last on the tour was the De Young Museum. Here we stopped for coffee and shared a fruit tart and opened presents. We then went up the elevator to the 9th floor to see the view of Golden Gate Park and surrounding San Francisco area. It was a bit foggy, but that just added to the timeless, mysterious, landscape of The City.
Here is the birthday beauty!
It was nice to be a tourist and have a play date with our dear friend. I recommend getting out there and enjoying our local venues to remember why you live in this terrific area.