May 23, 2011

Day 4: Camping, Diners and Home Decor

Arrived in SF yesterday afternoon, checked into a motel in Chinatown. The deal I have with myself is that over the course of the trip the cost of campgrounds, cheap hotels and maybe one or two nice places should equalize to a reasonable dollar amount per night. I'm not sure how much reasonable is yet, but am erring on the side of thrifty. This motel isn't as cheap as camping, but it's certainly not as expensive as the place we stayed last September. I don't remember the rate we were quoted at the counter when we arrived, but it was significantly more than the rate Norm had seen in a little publication he picked up at the rest stop (26C and sunny before we got to the city so we stopped to soak it up). I went to the truck and grabbed the magazine to show the clerk the rate. So now we’re here for two nights (first night is $20 more than advertised because they’ve “sold out of those rooms”, and the second night is per the price advertised). Not sure how that works since we're in the same room both nights. Doesn't matter too much - it's clean and right in the middle of everything.

We had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack at Fisherman's Wharf last night. We had been there on our last trip and it was worth a return visit. A couple of pints of Summer Ale and some crab and lobster and I needed a shower. Norm says shellfish is the only dinner that fights back so you end up hungrier than when you started. I say shellfish is the only dinner that makes you feel dirty. No way do you want to wake up in the morning smelling like the night before. Crab is sort of like truffle that way. It smells divine when you're hungry and eating it. It definitely does not smell as appealing the next morning stuck underneath your fingernails.

On our list today was to get to Britex Fabrics in Union Square. It’s a place we didn’t even step into last time because Norm was worried I wouldn’t come out. Also because the amount of fabric we needed wouldn't have made for good airplane carry-on. This time though, we have the luxury of a vehicle and all the "carry-on" we can carry. But first a walk from our motel in Chinatown to the Ferry Building for coffee and a waffle. Then a walk to Union Square. Britex Fabrics is four storeys of floor to ceiling fabrics of every description. Having had little luck in Calgary finding a fabric for our future banquette for the dining room, I figured we’d find something for sure at Britex. And we did. The best part was walking the 14 or so blocks back to the motel – especially through Chinatown - carrying 9 yards of fabric on a 5 foot wide tube. Just imagine carrying a rolled up carpet. Through a mess of people. I’ve never seen so many people crowded onto sidewalks. And not really moving – just sort of browsing, or chatting, or shopping for vegetables (or dried things in wooden bins). And I’m sure they’ve never seen a 5’9” woman with wild curly red hair madly wielding a bolt of fabric in an effort at crowd control. By the end of the walk I was famished for lunch so I handed the fabric to Norm and he waited outside while I went into a place a few doors away from the motel. Your dining options are limited in Chinatown. Reasonably enough, the majority of food establishments seem to be Chinese. I figured I’d just go into the one closest to the motel and grab some of whatever was being served to-go. It was Dim Sum. Which as far as I’ve ever been able to tell is chopped up stuff stuffed inside dough: bread dough, won ton dough, sticky rice, whatever. There was no English on the overhead menu so I asked the lady for something for lunch, enough for two people. She made some suggestions and then proceeded to give me three of each thing I chose. We ate back at the motel room. Most of it was pretty tasty, though I couldn’t tell you what any of it was.

Later today we hope to get to Q Restaurant in the Richmond district of the city. It’s one of the places featured on the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives series. Click the link to see the episode. I’m not in the mood for the duck confit (somehow, soaking duck in duck fat for two weeks and then deep frying it just isn’t speaking to me after the dim sum), but the pulled pork fajita things look good.  First though, I’ll have to wait for Norm to wake up from his nap. He might only be half asleep though, because when I wondered aloud if falling asleep on your back with a toothpick in your mouth was prudent, he indicated that he’d be fine. Doughy dim sum, people. It makes a man sleepy.

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