Our first night we arrived in San Fran around 7pm on Monday after a four to five hour drive from Santa Barbara. We stayed at the Adante Hotel (the picture above is the view from our hotel) on Geary which is on the west end of the Union Square area. The reason we chose this hotel is that it was the only hotel that offered a reasonably priced "parking included" package. If you're driving to San Fran it's a LOT more expensive to find a place to park your car. Most hotels charge around $30 a day for parking. Outrageous! We only paid $79 a night included parking (with in-and-out priveleges).
We did, however, have to endure the hideous murals on the walls. I knew about that ahead of time from online reviews so I wasn't surprised. I would only recommend this hotel for budget travellers (like us, who were on a SUPER tight budget). We think they were stealing the cable for their tv because 1) it was on eastern time and 2) only around 4 channels came in clearly (the rest had bars on the screen or were fuzzy). If you stay here, ask for their bigger rooms (7th floor?). Our first room was tiny.
Since we were starved that first night we decided to take a walk around the area to look for a place to eat. I had left my tour guides in the car (which was parked far away in the valet lot) so we decided to play it by sight. When I started to get a feel for the neighborhood I realized that Bar Crudo was nearby (a bar that serves fresh small plates that was recommended by a fellow blogger). We found the tiny restaurant but the menu was too pricey for our hunger. We knew we would be eating a lot and many of the small dishes were around $12. However, the place was very cute and the food looked delicious from what I could tell. The restaurant seems to only fit around 10 people (unless looks are deceiving) and it was already almost full. When we move there in a few years I will definitely check out Bar Crudo to find out what it's all about.
On our journey to find a good meal we walked through the Union Square area and up into the Nob Hill area. We were amazed (and our amazement continued throughout the trip) that there were so many massage parlours. I asked my husband if he thought these were the kind of places that offered "happy endings" and his assumption was that "yes, I'd guess only 1% of these places do not offer happy endings." Anyone know the answer?
We soon wandered into Chinatown. I hadn't realized how easy it was to walk around the city. Strike That. Actually, it's easy for the average person. I'm very out of shape from dealing with migraines constantly for the last year and those hills are killer. Fortunately I managed to make it through the trip and feel very good about myself for walking the bzillion miles that I hadn't expected to survive.
Since it was a Monday everything looked closed or abandoned. In fact, the whole city was generally vacant during our trip since it was 1) rainy 2) January 3) during a time before colleges start up again and before tourist season. So Chinatown was out that night. Plus we were ready to pass out from starvation.
We ended up going to a Thai restaurant around the corner from our hotel on Post called Thai Stick. The place seemed clean and cute and was populated by locals (all single men, it was a little strange). Immediately we ordered Thai ice tea and "My Aunt's eggrolls". I've had a lot of Thai ice tea in my day and it's fascinating to me how different they can taste. This one was nice and sweet. The eggrolls were great but a little greasy.
For our main meal we ordered Shrimp prig king (the sauce is made with chili paste and peanuts and served with shrimp and green beans). The beans were nice and crisp and the sauce was just spicy enough without worrying about having "tummy troubles" later. We also ordered cashew chicken with white meat (my safety dish when I'm completely unsure how the food will taste). The chicken was extremely dry but the sauce was fine.
I felt uneasy about taking pictures during most of my trip to San Fran restaurants because most of them were so small that it just didn't feel comfortable to pull out my big digital camera and take pictures. I promise next time I'll gather up more courage and take pictures.
Stay tuned for Day 2 in San Francisco