Monday, June 7, 2010
Jenny and I drove to the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday and had a delightful evening. Along the way we saw some cool sites. [Click images for larger views]
The gloriously art deco Orinda Theater, for example, is still showing first-run movies while managing to retain a classic sense of grandeur that can't be replicated in modern metroplexes.
We also found some swell ghost signage in Oakland's Chinatown district. Apparently this campaign for MJB Coffee goes back a century to 1910 when "Why?" signs were painted on walls to inspire thoughtful reflection, and sales. Thanks to a recent refurbishment effort, this sign still gets folks thinking. MJB Coffee: Why indeed?
In Alameda, we stopped at my favorite Bay Area tiki bar, Forbidden Island. Jenny, ever a sport about these things, ordered strictly virgin libations while I sampled a Rose Sazerac and a Trader Vic's-style Mai Tai. The appetizers here aren't that impressive, but the drinks are perfect. And yes, that's Gilligan's Island on the TV.
In San Francisco, we lucked out and easily found parking near Alamo Square, joining a happy group of photographers waiting for the right light to take snaps of the iconic Painted Ladies vista. As you can see, I am still practicing my HDR technique. Afterward, Jenny and I walked to Haight Street and enjoyed a surprisingly superb meal at Memphis Mennie's. I'm not sure I agree with Gourmet Magazine's assessment that this joint "may well be the finest barbecue restaurant in the state," but I know it's the best 'que in town. Oh, and ask for a sample of the Smoked Pecan Bacon Brittle!
With still a bit of wanderlust between us, we crossed the Golden Gate in search of a nice spot to take a picture. Naturally we started at Vista Point, but we were disappointed by the view. Then Jenny spotted a road looping its way up a hill, so we took the Alexander Ave. exit to Conzelman Road and - ahhhh - that's the spot! There are even better angles to shoot, but I loved seeing the fog roll in over the city.
Driving home, expecting a midnight arrival, I couldn't resist one final stop to photograph this motel on Geary Blvd. Heck, I even shot a video of the sign with my D5000 [please select 720p for best view]. Finally, well after 12:30, we stumbled into bed. Sometimes getting to and around the Bay Area can be a real pain, but I am invariably grateful for the hassle. What an amazing place.
(Photographs by Andrew Wood)