Joe loves a good breakfast, and the reviews for Mama’s on Washington Square were ecstatic. We worked up an appetite on the walk there, through the Theatre District and then the bustling markets in Chinatown. The line was short, and soon we were inside. What a great little place! We each had Eggs Benedict. Joe had crab, and Beth had shrimp. You could hardly get a better breakfast.
Headed down Columbus Avenue for the Fisherman Wharf area. We spent some time watching the long distance swimmers in the bay. December. No wet suits. Wow!
Strolled to the Ferry Building. The Marketplace has fabulous foods, and all beautifully displayed. We shopped for pastas and coffee for our kids.
An afternoon rest was in order before dinner. We met Stephen and Brian at Millenium. This is a seriously good restaurant! The booth was comfortable, and the lights were warm and low. We settled in with the menu. How to decide? We shared the cauliflower soup and the Cannellini Runner Bean & Smoked Leek Gratin (braised celery root, white wine cashew cream, pine nut, lemon & caper bread crumbs, roasted Chanterelle mushrooms, grilled Oyster & Maitake mushrooms, seared polenta Nera, bitter greens salad with shallot-pear vinaigrette, truffle-thyme oil). Yes, it was as good as it sounds! The most wonderful taste was yet to come. We all shared dessert, the Chocolate Almond Midnight (almond cashew crust, mocha chocolate filling, raspberry sauce, white chocolate mousse). It was so smooth, rich and creamy deep chocolate. How the chef managed to achieve this with all vegan ingredients is truly amazing!
We strolled over to the Westin St. Francis Hotel to see their holiday sugar-castle in the lobby. It’s twelve feet tall, and a work of art. Before hopping on a trolley and heading back to our hotel, we spotted the famous twins, Marian and Vivian Brown. They were dressed in showy outfits, hats, and had bright red lipstick smiles.
We were ready for a simple breakfast to start the day. We found a narrow little cafe frequented by locals and at the table next to us, a group of utility workers. A shared hearty omelet and fruit were just right.
Then we headed for the Asian Art Museum, which turned out to be much better than we had expected. (We frequent the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, the Smithsonian Museums of Asian Art, which is not as interesting to us.) The collection in San Francisco was based largely on the collection of Avery Brundage.
It’s a really dynamic, interesting, and beautiful collection. We stared back at a Buddha with a face that was eerily calm and life-like. A contemporary painting, “Waterfall”, by Senju Hiroshi, was our favorite. When it was time to leave, we had a hard time tearing ourselves away.
We had just enough time to cross the street and go into City Hall. In front of a magnificent tree decorated with peace cranes in the rotunda, newly married couples posed for the their friends and families.
Our friend, Bob, took us to lunch. Ananda Fuara, a vegetarian restaurant, has a “neat loaf” that he loves. We both tried it and loved it, too! When we got home we googled to find the recipe. I hope mine will taste as good as theirs. A choice of desserts in full view through the glass case enticed us. Now, keep in mind we were on vacation and feeling very happy after a few days in this great city, so, we all threw common sense to the winds and ordered four different desserts to share: apple crumb pie, carrot cake, chocolate cake, and a tasty gingerbread ice cream. Wow! Four just really good desserts were a great way to finish our meal.
..and a great way to leave San Francisco. We descended the escalator with our roll-on luggage to catch the BART train and headed for San Jose. nn