Who doesn't want to reek of garlic? Our first meal in San Francisco is always, if we can manage it, at The Stinking Rose ("we season our garlic with food") in North Beach. Their website tells us that the restaurant has become famous for celebrating the culinary euphoria of garlic and serving over 3,000 pounds of the pungent herb each month. Named after an historical term for "garlic," The Stinking Rose offers scrumptious, contemporary California-Italian cuisine prepared and adorned with garlic.
We walked the mile and a half from our hotel, and were soon digging into bagna calda ("garlic soaking in a hot tub") and neon ravioli.
City Lights Books was just a few buildings away and we spent some time after the meal browsing the free-spirited selections in the famous bookstore founded back in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin. On our very first date in 1980 (or so) Beez and I had discussed Ferlinghetti's poetry collection, A Coney Island of the Mind; Beez with his usual total recall and me figuratively trotting along, trying to keep up with his quick intellectual strides. Of course, Ferlinghetti's shop has always been special to us.
And speaking of trotting along, I did my best to keep up with daughter Dee and gym rat Beez on the (long) way through Chinatown back to the hotel. At the slightest hint of a hill I stopped to "take a photo" while resting up for the next block. It irritated me that all those hours on the treadmill over the past six months didn't seem to translate to real-world San Francisco walking, but as my son Ben pointed out it would have been a lot harder for me to walk all over the city B.G. (before gym).
Chinatown, San Francisco
Although I was born in Maine, I lived in San Francisco from the age of 3 months until I was eleven. I had no idea that all sorts of forgotten foggy city memories were lodged deep in my brain. More about that next time.