We flew to San Francisco to attend my brother-in-law’s wedding, but Danielle and I had wanted to go there for years so we decided to have a week-long vacation. Scarlett was amazing on the airplane. It was her second flight in her short life. However, the flight to Florida is so short that if you can time it with a nap, it’s EASY to travel with her. The 6 hour trip to San Francisco is another matter entirely. However, we kept her entertained and that kept her calm. There were a lot of other little kids on the plane including a 2-3 year old who spent 30 minutes crying. Scarlett never cried although she does whine every now and again if she doesn’t her needs met – it only lasts a minute or two. We brought crayons and painter’s tape (to stick to the seat) and that seemed to keep her pretty well entertained. When she grew bored of that, I walked her up and back the aisle. She seemed to love seeing so many people. We went back and forth a half dozen times before I grew tired of almost falling onto her when going towards the back of the plane. (The plane was angled up)
We stayed at Hotel Diva in the Union Square area. The hotel is quite nice. We had a king bed and a murphy bed and the room was pretty huge. The bathroom, on the other hand, was so tiny that if one person was on the toilet, the other person couldn’t wash his/her hands. The hotel was in the perfect location. Only two blocks from Union Square itself (stockton? I can’t remember), it was near two Walgreens, a bunch of diners, and some high class restaurants. More on some of that in future posts. The maintenance and cleaning staff was awesome. Special mentions to Jose Navarette who was so great to interact with. The front desk was a little unprepared to answer our questions of where stuff was, but maybe the type of guests that stay there aren’t typically looking for hole in the wall authentic Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mexican food. But why go somewhere and not sample their cuisine? If it’s your first time in San Francisco and you go eat at The Cheesecake Factory you’re doing something wrong. So we headed off towards Grant Street and Chinatown.
This trip made me realize that if you’ve seen one Chinatown (not counting DC which is NOT a Chinatown – it’s a China block ever since they razed most of it for the stadium), you’ve seen them all. San Francisco’s Chinatown was just like New York’s Chinatown with two differences: less people and less restaurants. Otherwise they’re the same – stores selling cheap knockoffs of Mickey Mouse stuff, stores selling fabric, stores selling over-expensive Eastern stuff for your house, and Chinese restaurants. SF’s Chinatown (at least on Grant Street) seemed to have a lot less noodle shops and a lot more Dim Sum places.
I asked Danielle if she wanted Chinese food or Vietnamese food. She wanted Viet food and we assumed that, like most places, all asian culture was represented in Chinatown. (A South Park episode had a funny sendup of this trend) We walked and walked and almost made it to Little Italy (North Beach) when we decided to try a side street.
No luck there either, but I decided to ask one of the nail salon workers as I figured they’re most likely to know the neighborhood the work in. (I know all the places to eat near MY workplace) She directed me in the right direction and we finally found a Vietnamese place. (Little did I know – as I would later find out – we just had to go find Little Saigon which was nowhere near Chinatown) It was OK. I’d say 6/10. We hadn’t passed the Walgreens yet since it was on a street that wasn’t Grant St, we didn’t know where to get water and we needed some to reconstitute Scarlett’s formula. (Back home she was on cow milk, but that’s super annoying for travel since it tends to spoil and all) So I went into an herbal tea shop that looked like something out of an exploitation film. The guy helped me find a market where I could buy a few individual bottles.