Tuesday was wide open. I could do whatever I wanted. Again I woke up early. I took on a couple of things for work (it being 5 a.m. Pacific but 8 a.m. Eastern for me). I took another run-up in Nob Hill and enjoyed a warm shower and breakfast (eggs & toast again). Then I set out for my day of adventure. And what a day it would be.
First I walked down through the Financial District again. Stopping by the fronts of a number of stores. It was still early then. Maybe about 9 or 9:30 in the morning. I tried to get into the AppleStore to talk to a couple of people as I hadn't actually set foot in a flagship store yet. I didn't take any photos inside. Though I did get a couple of good shots outside (One, Two, Three, Four). After the AppleStore, it was on to Japan Town.
It was a long walk, but I enjoyed it. Straight up Geary Street to the Miyako Hotel and the Japan Center Pagoda. The pagoda was apparently built and sponsored by a Japanese cult. I'm not too sure of the details, but I'd love to know more.
In Japan Town, I spotted a number of places of interest. A grocery store on a corner a block and a half away is where I stopped for an early morning beverage to bide my time until other places opened. There was one store open at the time which I stopped into to look at dishes and wall scrolls as well as a number of Japanese coverings for Kitchen entryways (I forget the name of the item).
I took a walk around the area (decidedly smaller than China Town) and ended up back around just in time for the video shop to open (CDs, DVDs, VHS of RAW Japanese TV shows - not subtitled). It was interesting looking through a number of the shows and titles and being able to identify them and their placement in my collection of Asian entertainment media. I stopped across the street for a pre-lunch of some Korean food (yes, still in Japan Town) at DooBu. The food was delicious. I took a number of photos while in the restaurant because I fell in love with their decor. The bar was even a nifty place to be (playing Korean TV or FoodTV all day). After I finished up at DooBu I headed down to the financial district for lunch with Mary Beth a friend of my friend Sonia's.
We met up at Embarcadero Center where she had been doing some work beforehand. We walked around a bit while she was indecisive about where to eat. Since I'm not picky it was kind of annoying, but I know lots of people who could walk around for hours not sure where to eat because they've no idea what they want. We ended up walking past this beautiful (if humorous) scene of palm trees set in front of a beach. Both behind an ice skating rink with this guy who clearly had never skated in his life. I couldn't help but laugh at the poor guy. We moved on quickly and agreed after quite a bit more walking in a place called The Brass Elephant. It was another Irish Pub & Restaurant. I had a delicious pot pie. We chatted a bit about sports. Her work and mine. Our friendships with Sonia and my love for dancing and making a fool of myself. The food was expensive but tasty.
After eating we walked a bit so she could catch the BArt train South to another station spot she needed to get to. We chatted a bit more and split up near the AppleStore. I decided to head back to Japan Town and run around a bit more. And so I did. I took a few shots inside of the mall and poked around in a few shops. A candy store I'd noted earlier was open. So were a number of the interiors and artwork stores (none of which had any decent wall scrolls by the way). There was a store on the West end of the mall that had some nice Japanese traditional floor chairs (which I may pick up a couple of). I met an interesting woman in one of the art stores downstairs (Asakichi Art). We had a conversation about teas (I recommended my favorite Genmaicha, and we went our ways.
After poking around a bit more, I was hungry again and I started looking around at a few noodle places. I found this really interesting-looking noodle place downstairs but they were closed. Apparently, lots of Japanese places are closed on Tuesdays in San Francisco. Most here in Cincinnati are closed on Mondays. Anyway, I kept looking and found this place called Maki which is a quaint-looking little dive-sized place (four or five tables) that serves a specialty handmade Udon flown in fresh from Japan every couple of days (it's called Inawa Udon). I met this fun couple outside of the restaurant and we got to talking about the different types of Udon and how I rate a Japanese restaurant on its Udon noodles. We showed up just before they opened for the dinner period and snagged a quick cramped spot at the bar (doubly cramped because I was carrying my camera & tripod everywhere). We talked a bit more about Japanese culture, food, its place and impact on cultural development, and other fun topics when Dugh called me to go out. I had ordered some tea but nothing else yet. I apologized to the couple that I would not be able to finish a meal with them that evening and instead would be getting together with Dugh to go out somewhere in the Mission district for dinner. They were disappointed since we'd had some good conversation going but didn't seem to object too much since I was just visiting town and couldn't turn a friend down. When the couple left I decided to exit Maki. As I did so I noticed the woman from earlier at Asakichi and spoke to her a while longer. She'd been waiting for a friend to show up and ordered some sushi for her friend who was running mightily late. As the couple was walking by they said goodbye and we all spoke for a few moments and noted that the woman from Asakichi, her friend, and the couple were all slated to go to a pre-screening of a film not too far away which was first-come first-served and had limited seating. We wished the couple well and continued chatting. Shortly after Dugh showed up and I had to go, but wished her a farewell after placing introductions. Then Dugh and I left.
After leaving Japan Center we headed down to the Mission District. It was a relatively short drive. We parked in front of a church (which we weren't certain we could do, but did anyway) and walked a couple blocks down. Dugh noted we'd be eating crepes at a place to our left called Ti Couz. As we walked by it didn't seem to be very crowded and we decided to walk a bit and check out a couple of bookstores, and other places. As we walked Dugh noted that a Pirate shop was nearby and we went to check it out. However, when we got there it had closed for the evening. During its evenings the shop turns into a writing guild for the young and aspiring. How fantastic is that!?! We continued on and found this nice little bookstore that only deals in Sci-Fi and Fantasy books. I introduced Dugh to my favorite book series EVER. I need to find out what he thinks about it so far. We left the bookstore and found our way to this store with odd trinkets and animal skeletons. It was pretty neat to see skeletons of newts, salamanders, and other small animals. We moved on to another bookstore which dealt in a lot more areas but was filled with TONS of old literature. The owner had a cat whom he'd named the manager of the store. So, the manager's name was Kafka. After fiddling with a couple of books we went back to get some food.
Ti Couz has a lively atmosphere and a comfortable setting. The people all seem engaged and in their own little worlds which is sometimes difficult for a restaurant to do. I'd never had crepes before, and always envisioned them as a dessert. It amazed me that you could make a full meal out of something like that. I ordered a lemonade to drink and the Mushroom with mushroom sauce crepe and added salmon. To break it lightly... AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! That is the only way I can describe the food! I was thoroughly pleased. The crepe melted in my mouth. I think I can still taste it right now. The lemonade was unique, and I would expect to be served lemonade in the South (think Civil War). They simply brought out a jug of water, a glass with ice and lemon squeeze, and some light sweetener. It was also delicious. For dessert, I ordered a crepe of mixed berries and white chocolate. The prices at Ti Couz are great and the food was, I think, underpriced for the taste (though perhaps not the number of items - though bountiful I think for crepes). During dinner, we spoke on all kinds of topics from Dugh's being raised in the Midwest to his transition to San Francisco and more. God, good conversation is always hard to come by.
When we left Ti Couz we went for a walk around the Mission for a bit. I enjoyed looking at a lot of the buildings and our awesome conversation continued for the next forty minutes or so. We walked by a number of interesting places and Dugh noted a few things here and there. It got a bit chilly if I recall correctly. Dugh drove me back to the hotel where I slept comfortably.