Monday, March 7, 2011

Chinatown At Last!

Ornate Entrance to Chinatown

Some of our most prominent readers (our moms) have been begging for some Chinatown action in the blog so we're delivering the goods right now.  Starting with this video of a lovely Traci walking along in Chinatown:

Traci and I decided to start our Saturday of adventure with a little brunch, or as they say in Chinatown: "Dim Sum?".  Dim sum is all about leisurely tea sipping and munching on small tapas-sized Asian dishes.

When a much younger Conery and Traci first visited San Francisco in 2000, we landed, got to our hotel (in Chinatown) and were STARVING.  It was 11AM local time but to our stomachs, it was definitely 3PM and lunchtime had come and gone somewhere in the air as we crossed time zones.  We wandered around the area until we found a place that seemed open, which turned out to be a restaurant called The Four Seas.  We entered an unassuming door under an unassuming awning and were greeted with a surprise - a very large, plush, long staircase leading up.  We followed that to the top and reached the hostess stand.  We were seated and almost immediately treated to a bevy of waiters and waitresses walking around to all the occupied tables with big rolling steam carts crying "Dim sum?".  That was our first foray into dim sum and we were hooked, making sure to visit an Orlando dim sum place as soon as possible after our return.

Flash forward to Saturday and we thought it only fitting to bust our SF resident dim sum cherry at the place where it all started, The Four Seas in Chinatown.  Below is a little video of part of our walk to, and entrance into, the restaurant.

Once we were seated, we were given the regular menu as well as this smaller dim sum menu:

We were the only people in the restaurant so we figured we'd have better luck at getting what we wanted if we just ordered instead of waiting for whatever the steam carts held for us.  The randomness of it part of the allure, but we had miles to go before we slept that day and went the easy route.  Along with the obligatory tea, we enjoyed some beef balls, deep fried pork dumplings (which were battered in something akin to corn dog batter, slightly sweet and doughy), some delicious pot stickers and then ended the meal with an order of sweet custard buns (which were not the same as the ones to which we'd grown accustomed in Orlando, but not bad).

While we were eating we saw that there was someone with a small camera rig filming below us.  The picture I took of that is not worth posting really as there was a pole blocking all but the edge of the camera.  It didn't matter anyway, because soon after, there was a large commotion downstairs as a local school band started playing their drums.  That was followed by a very large string of very large firecrackers going off in the street below.  They are still celebrating the Chinese New Year weeks after it officially occurred.  We paid our bill and went downstairs in time to catch this action:

Pretty amazing stuff happening at all times in the city as far as we can tell!

We moved on to the rest of our day which included a nice drive through the Presidio area (which is beautiful) on a very twisty road that was a little scary (as evidenced by the end of the video below):

After we found the location of the Andy Goldsworthy installation Traci blogged about earlier, I took some photos of it as well as some shots of the bay from that area.

It was a gorgeous day and we had a ball exploring touristy things knowing we didn't have to pack it all in to one day like an actual tourist.

The best part of living in your favorite city on Earth?  You never have to leave.

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