I've spent most of my time in San Francisco since fleeing the oppressive summer heat of Texas. Since then, mostly thanks to awesome recommendations from other people, I've discovered some amazing places here. This is a selection of my favorites... all of which should be checked out by anyone who lives here. Know somewhere else amazing? Let me know!
Samovar Tea Lounge
If you like tea you should come to Samovar. If you love tea, you'll probably end up coming here every day like I do. Samovar does tea like tea is meant to be done: large servings of loose leaf tea, steeped for the exact right time in the exact right temperature water. The lounges are very pleasant comfortable places, and the employees are awesome people. There are three locations; I like the Page Street one the best.
Adult Night at the Exploratorium
Museums are fun, but not interactive enough. The Exploratorium is a giant space set in what looks like some sort of Greek castle. Inside are hundreds of exhibits, all of which are interactive. You don't see things, you do things and learn.
Even better, on the first Thursday of every month they have adult night where they have music, alcoholic beverages, and special themed exhibits. For twenty five bucks you can become a night member and go to ever adult night.
I've. only been once so far, but I was the last person to leave, shooed out by the tired museum staff. It was three hours of pure fun and satisfaction... I can't wait to go again.
Adult Night at the California Academy of Sciences
While I'm on the subject, check out the adult night at the Academy of Sciences. They put it on every Thursday night, and it's a really cool place to be. DJs, drinks, and all the usual exhibits. They also have telescopes on the living roof, aimed at interesting things in the sky. I think the Exploratorium is more fun, but it's definitely worth checking out the Academy at least once.
I was a little bit worried after going to three Ethiopian restaurants in San Francisco. Each one completely blended the food to the consistency of baby food. Gross. Ethiopian food is one of my favorites, and not coincidentally, one of few ethnic cuisines that fits my diet.
Luckily I found Sheba lounge. They have a great veggie combo plate, really good live Jazz music, and super comfortable seating. They're also open late. There's nothing like sitting on their big leather couches in front of the fireplace, eating delicious Ethiopian food, when it's freezing cold and rainy outside.
I don't go here anymore, since I got a membership at Burke Williams spa (also awesome), but I really enjoyed our weekly ritual of going to Kabuki. I've already written about it here, so I won't go on and on about it.
Just get the Tea Leaf Salad. It is the greatest salad in the world, dressed with fermented tea leaves. I NEVER order just a salad, but my friends and I go here and get nothing else. Just amazing.
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate park is spectacular. It's larger than Central Park and has way weirder stuff. There's a Japanese garden that really feels like Japan (skip the mediocre tea), a lake with a hill you can climb in the middle, tons of fields, and even a herd of buffalo. If you go all the way to the water there's a great beach with first-come-first-served fire rings you can use.
Overall I just love San Francisco and could talk all day about the great things in it, but these are my absolute favorites. Do you have somewhere super cool in SF that I have to go? Tell me about it in the comments...
i am planning to take my bf to San Francisco bc he has never been in the States before! so any suggestions! i am looking for romantic, fun and out door activities!!
Thanks for this post...I should really keep up with the site instead of emailing you with "Hey Tynan, whats a good veg place in SF...etc" HA!
Samovara was a 10. Thanks bro. I'll keep checking in more often.
There was a nice family sauna in the sunset about a block or so north of the N Juda streetcar and about 2 blocks west of 19th below the park. 20 years ago I lived there when I was at SFSU and would walk around the corner and sauna for a few bucks and hour. Nice to have sorry don't know if it is still there. By the way where do you park ? Sunset beach would be cool, down by the ZOO? Also SFSU had student parking cheap per day and people lived in vans I know who attended the ART and film programs when I was there. Da Swami
It could just be me, but I would love to see some of your favorite recipes that you hook up in the RV.
Nice list. It's been too long since I've been in S.F.
Curious about your favorite neighborhoods/Districts in S.F. Do you settle in a favorite place or move around a bit?
Perfect timing, as I'm heading out to San Francisco for the first time in a couple of weeks! will have to check some of these out.
I first heard about Vipassana from Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer for Weezer. He was explaining that despite being a rock star, he was celibate because of Vipassana. Powerful stuff, I guess. He raved about the benefits of it, although I don't remember exactly what he said anymore. It stuck in my mind, and over the years I thought about signing up, but something always seemed to be in the way of me leaving society for ten days to learn how to meditate.
The idea is simple and extreme, both of which appealed to me. You go to a meditation center in the middle of nowhere, agree to be silent and without any contact with the other world for ten days. Then, on a donation only basis, they teach you how to meditate, which you do for ten hours each day.
Finally, after knowing about it for five years, I signed up and went to a course. No notepads were allowed in, so this is reconstructed pretty faithfully from memory.
This week I want to tell you a little about our Samovar Organic Ryokucha green tea, our take on the classic genmaicha. Samovar Ryokucha is not a pure green tea, but a savory blend of our organic Japanese green tea delicately tossed with toasted rice kernels and our finest organicmatcha, a powdered Japanese green tea. The result is something completely new: the rice adds a satisfying depth to balance the bright flavors of the green tea; the matcha dissolves completely into the brew creating creating a vibrant green color and a milky smooth infusion.
I often drink our Ryokucha as a part of my morning ritual. It has just enough caffeine to give me a morning boost and I love waking to the smell of grassy fields on a hot summer day. It's the perfect complement to a breakfast bagel with lox, or stop by the Samovar Tea Lounge and order a pot to go along with our Tea Soup with Salmon.
I'm also excited to introduce you to the new Samovar Vivid Brewpot. One of the pleasures of drinking tea is taking the time to slow down and be present, watching as the tea tranforms, with leaves unfurling and a brilliant color spreading throughout the pot. It's a simple thing. And a beautiful thing. This unique teapot lets you watch the whole show, and a steel mesh filter in the lid strains the leaves when you are ready to serve.
Now's a great time to try our Ryokucha--or to restock! This week only you can order both products from our online shop at a special price.Enter Coupon Code: VIVIDRYOKU and receive 10% off through this Tuesday, September 25, 2012.