Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CA Trip - Chinatown & Off The Grid

All week long, our bus rides would take us through Chinatown, but it wasn't on our itinerary to experience until Friday morning.  We headed towards the main entrance - Dragon Gate - and started a walking tour.  The tour just pointed out a couple different shops, the public square and its history, and the history of some of the buildings.  Our favorite stop in Chinatown was at a fortune cookie factory!  We got to see the cookies being folded, got to taste them warm & fresh, and even purchased a bag of "adult" cookies.

(Dragon Gate marking the official entrance into Chinatown)

(Chinatown Lanterns)

(Bean slept the whole first half of our Chinatown walk.  I just carried her in the carrier while she slept.  Then we transferred her to the stroller until it was time to head back to our apartment.)

We headed to lunch at a deli and then headed over to Grace Cathedral.  The Cathedral is home to many mosaics, stained glass windows, and two labyrinths -one inside and one outside.  Many come to meditate as they walk the labyrinth mazes.

(Grace Cathedral, the outdoor labyrinth is located at the top of the stairs to the right.)

(Inside the cathedral)

(Posing inside the Cathedral -- notice the un-socked feet.  Keeping socks on was a constant battle all week.  I discovered she had one pair of knee high socks with us that it took her a long time to work off.  She pretty much wore those all week, but I'd let her take them off when the sun was out.)

(Looking up at the stained glass window)

(Outdoor labyrinth.  You can see the starting point right in the middle on the edge.  You just walk the path as it winds around itself until you reach the center.  At a leisurely pace, it takes 5-10 min to complete.)

After visiting the church, we walked downhill to go visit the Cable Car Museum.  It was sort of a hole in the wall kind of set up, but it was pretty neat!  They had some old style cable cars and equipment on display.  But the really neat part was seeing the cables in motion.  The whole basement was open and you could look down and view the cables moving and read about how the cables run and move the cars.

(Cable Car Museum)

(Looking down into "the basement" at the cables.  The cables wound around those big wheels in a figure 8 pattern before circling back under the street.  It's crazy to think that as we were watching the cables, cars were attaching and detaching and moving along the road.)

(How the cable cars originally looked.  There was a front car that had all the equipment and pulled a passenger car with it.)

We could definitely tell that our trip was nearing its end by how worn out we felt by mid afternoon.  We headed back to the apartment to rest and recuperate for the evening.  Steve laid down and took a nap while Bean and I ventured down the block to a little mini-mart for some snacks.  After relaxing, we headed out just before dinner to travel to the Fort Mason area and go to an even bigger Off The Grid event.  There were around 30 food trucks, tons of people, and even some game tents set up.

We felt like such locals knowing about the food truck organization and being able to experience it.  The tamales stand that we ate at on Wednesday night was there, and I had been eyeing a Parmesan corn on the cob from it.  I pulled the trigger and got it Friday night.  My corn on the cob should have been free from all the advertising I did for the stand, haha.  I had at least 6 people come up and ask me where I got the corn.  It was delicious!  And I will admit, since being home, I have tried to duplicate that corn on the cob (sour cream, Parmesan, and a little hot sauce), but it's just not the same.

(Off The Grid @ Fort Mason.  Off The Grid is the organization that helps organize the food truck events.  They have a website that explains the rotation of the trucks and locations according to each night.)

(There was a dj playing music while we there, but there was a stage set up for a live band to perform later.  We didn't last that long to see the band.  We had to leave for "baby's" bedtime.)

(MMMmmmmm, finally got my corn on the cob.  I didn't realize there would be hot sauce on it, or I would have asked them to leave it off.  The tacos we had just eaten were pretty spicy and I didn't want to push the spicy limit.  I did scrape a little off, but it still tasted oh so good.)

(This by far was our favorite - a warm, fresh, strawberry glazed donut.  MMmmmmmm)

On Friday night alone, we ate authentic tacos, Parmesan corn on the cob, strawberry glazed donut, and a Japanese strawberry shortcake crepe dessert.  Add that to the Korean pork, and the pork and chicken tamales from Wednesday night, and I'd say we really enjoyed the food trucks -- yum!  There were some others that we wanted to try, but didn't want to wait in the long lines or pay the prices.  There was a cotton candy stand, crème brûlée stand, and an ice cream taco stand that we were eyeing, but we figured our donut and crepe was sufficient.

We went home full and happy and prepared for our last day in San Francisco.

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