Yesterday I went to San Francisco with my friend Neva for the day. We both took the day off of work, and went in to play hooky. What fun! First stop was Macy's, because I wanted to bask in the glory of the Union Square Macy's, which has at least 10 times the offerings of my local suburban Macy's. Breathed it in. Loved it. It reminded me of being a teenager and coming in to the City to shop there, and also how I used to go there on my lunch break when I worked at a nearby hotel. We had an early-ish lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, which was tasty but expensive. Should have gotten the clam chowder in a bread bowl we could have gotten downstairs. After Macy's, we walked around the square so she could look at necklaces at Tiffany, and I saw one I liked as well, though not enough to pay $400 for it. Then we were going to drive over to Green Apple Books, but at the last possible minute, while looking for parking, I decided to show her the Legion of Honor instead. See, Neva has never spent much time in the City. She doesn't know its many wonders and gems. I don't know most of them, either, since I only lived there for 7 years, and it's been 16 years since I left, and even then I was a full-time student (undergrad and grad) and a full-time hotel employee and planned our wedding and had friends and so on, so there was a lot that I missed. Anyway, I had to show her the Legion of Honor. It's closed on Mondays, which is too bad because they currently have an exhibit that she would have really liked. It's pictures of the City right after the earthquake of 1906, and those same landscapes now, so you can see the change.
She was so impressed by the view that I decided we should blow off Green Apple and go to the Cliff House for another history lesson (Sutro Baths and the many incarnations of the restaurant, and a bit about Musee Mechanique, though since it's currently housed at Fisherman's Wharf, it's not much of a lesson). So we went there and got a glass of wine and watched the ships go through the gate. Very relaxing.
Then over to Haight Street. She had never been to Haight street. Dang it, I forgot to pick up the $30 Leather coat at Aardvark's Odd Ark, the used clothing place at the corner. It was a nice coat, and mine is falling apart. Oh well. We stopped in at Ambiance, which is always fabulous, and I got 2 tops, which at Ambiance can break the bank. Here's the cheap one (They don't have much online...much more in the store, so the other shirt isn't online. Oh well again.). Then we walked around a bit, but it was getting cold again, so we hopped back in the '86 Volvo, and went to dinner at Elite Cafe. Here's where my story gets sad. The Elite is under new ownership. They have some of the same things on the menu, but no Etouffee. Sigh. And you have to pay for bread. And the wine by the glass is served in mighty skimpy portions (Would have gotten a bottle, but we had already had a glass at the Cliff House). The waitress and the hostess both mentioned that the new chef/owner came over from The Meetinghouse, like that was supposed to inspire awe. Nope, never been (though we used to go to a restaurant in that same location, before it was the Meetinghouse, with Matt and Casey every year...planned a few elopements before we got married, too. Ah, good times.), and I wanted my etouffee. I tried to get over it and enjoy my pulled pork. The pork was mighty tasty, and Neva's ribs were literally fall-off-the-bone tender. Very nice. Just not what I remember. Elite was one of my favorite places for so long...that's where we were going to go to dinner the night of the earthquake in '89. That's a place where I've gone for champagne on my birthday. Dined on oysters at the oyster bar (gone now). Sigh. You can't go home again, at least not if you expect everything to always be exactly the same. But it was a LOVELY day, nonetheless.