Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Quick Jaunt to San Francisco

Last week was Mother's Day, and I took my mom to dinner in San Francisco's Italian District.

The benefit of living so close to the city is that the decision was spur-of-the-moment after lunch, and we still got there - after an unusually long wait at the toll plaza for the Bay Bridge - in time to take a quick run through the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.

The cost of admission is small - either $3 or $5 - and the garden is a nice serene little spot within the greater Golden Gate Park, filled with all sorts of flora and fauna as well as a couple of buildings and a few ponds and streams. Not being inclined to botany, I have no idea what I was looking at, but it was pretty.

Our next stop was a short walk away - the rose garden. Literally hundreds of roses are planted in neat rows, and they come in all colors and sizes.

We were getting hungry, so we headed to North Beach to park the car and stop in at Calzone's - one of my favorite restaurants in the Italian District.

After a bruschetta appetizer, I dug into my lasagna calzone. Everything I've tried there has been great, from prosciutto calzones to crab pizzas. We were eating inside, but it's possible to sit on the sidewalk and watch the people go by.

With darkness falling, we stopped into City Lights B
ooks - a great place to get everything that no one else has. Unfortunately, we were both after something everyone else did have, so we headed for the Borders across from AT&T Park.

And ran into a massive traffic jam.

We couldn't figure out why there was so much traffic until we heard the explosions.

A local radio station was having its 15th annual Kaboom concert, and the fireworks were just starting. We maneuvered to a spot in the street where everyone was stopped and had a clear view of the fireworks over the Bay Bridge.

The show went on for quite a while, and my mom said they were the best fireworks she's ever seen. I happen to disagree, as I think the ones over the Washington Monument in D.C. on the Fourth of July were way, way better, but she disagrees.

Once the fireworks ended, the Embarcadero was shut down, all the side streets were choked with pedestrians, and made it to Borders five minutes before closing (just in time to grab a book and head out again).

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