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San Francisco in a Day

I have loved San Francisco ever since I was a kid. I love the cool air, the ocean-side views, the food, the stores, the many different and unique neighborhoods and so much more.  I especially love walking around pier 39. This is usually where I go when I hit the city.  The smell of the salt water, fish, clam chowder and the freshly baked sour dough bread that does not taste better anywhere else on earth makes my heart skip a beat. I make the short drive over to the city by the bay every chance I get.
Luckily my not so little anymore cousin loves San Francisco just as much as I do.  When deciding what to do with our one full day together this past Monday, there was only one choice!
This trip did not go as smoothly as all of my other trips to San Francisco but it was still fun and totally worth it.
Traffic was crazy so we decided to take the Bart part of the way in. We had to try two different Bart stations and three different parking lots before we were able to find a spot to park.

After an hour and a half, we finally settled into a bench at the West Pleasanton/Dublin station.

This was already the longest trip ever to San Francisco and we were only half way there. Part of me wanted to say, “FORGET IT! Let’s eat here then go home.” Pleasanton is a pretty cool bay area city with lots of great food and one of the better malls so it would not have been a total waste.
I resisted the temptation  to give up on our day out in San Francisco and persevered. It took us a total of three hours to get into the city. This is a first for me. It usually takes me 1 hour if I drive the entire way in and a little more than 1 ½ if I take the Bart.
We were on a mission, literally. We were starving and headed to the Mission District to eat at Tartine.  It is a very popular little place. If you are a foodie like my cousin and I, you have likely heard of it.
Here is how to get there:
Take Bart station exit Mission/16th.

When you emerge from down under this (ABOVE) is where you will be. Go left. You will be on 16th  heading toward Gerrero.
Right about here (ABOVE) you may get a whiff of sewage or something. Just keep going, it won't last long. When you get to the corner, make a left on Gerrero.
Head toward 18th street. Tartine is on the corner of Gerrero and 18th.
How was the food? Amazing! I had a quiche. I was so excited I took a bite before I remembered to take a picture and so did my cousin. 

My cousin had the Sopressata, Fontina, Brocolli Rabe Pesto  

I had to taste it and it was surprisingly good. However, if you’re not adventurous when it comes to food stick with the Panini’s.
This place was packed. If you are claustrophobic, prepare yourself. The whole dining area is about the size of my living room. The entire time we were there, a constant flow of people came in and out. My cousin and I must be slow eaters.  
You cannot be shy when you visit Tartine either. If someone leaves their table you better snatch it up, if you are still in line split up!  Oh and brush up on your waiting skills because you have to grab your own water and silverware. Did I mention that you get to bus your own table too?
I have never had the pleasure of visiting a place like this before and I am sure there is no place like it anywhere else. If you’re a hipster or just a hippie at heart like me, you will feel right at home. If not and you are new to San Francisco, be prepared for a fun and funky ride. It is totally worth the experience and the food is awesome.
After lunch, we took a different way back to the Bart and found the famous ELBO ROOM. Okay, so I have never heard of it but my super cool, young and hip cousin has and got very excited when we spotted it.
We also stumbled upon the Community Thrift Store. Of course we went in. When have I ever passed up a thrift store, NEVER that's when. It had the largest selection of used books I have ever seen with a pretty impressive anthropology, sociology and health section.  I don't know why I was surprised, this is San Francisco.
There are at least 3 or 4 more of those tall standing book shelves in the back that cannot be seen in this picture and books along the whole back wall.

This was a very different trip than my usual visits to San Francisco but fun, adventurous and yummy. I cannot wait to hit the Mission District again in search of the best Mexican restaurant. There were tons of them and we already decided that when my cousin comes back we will go on a quest to find the best one.
If you have never been to a big city before and are afraid of public transportation, homeless people and the occasional random guy yelling "Hey you, girl with the big butt, yeah you, come here", then travel in a small group but don't let that stop you from experiencing a cool new place. It will be fun I promise. Just make sure your phone is fully charged!!


UPDATE
The cost of this trip was as follows:
Gas $16.80
Bart $11.50 X2=$23
Lunch at Tartine $26 for two including tax and tip
Book at thrift store $2.75
Total cost= $68.55

I am sure I would have spent more if we were not so tired that we missed the union square stop. If you have never been to SF, this is where all the big stores are.

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