Where Your Fortune is Created:Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

It wasn’t till after we left that it occurred to me that for a couple bucks they probably would have let me write my own fortune to have stuffed inside a cookie. Tip to anyone considering a proposal of marriage; visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory located in a tiny alley in San Francisco’s Chinatown.IMG_5998

In Ross alley is a little shop about the size of my living room, where dreams are created. Well, maybe not dreams, but rather the little cookies you get with your sweet and sour chicken. I had never considered how these little treats are made, just as I have never really considered how my iPhone or a kazoo are constructed, but when confronted with an opportunity, why not?IMG_5991

There ya go. That’s pretty much it. A circular conveyor belt with a hundred Forman Grill like hot plates spins around spitting out hot pancakes that are peeled off the press and the folded around a slip of pre printed paper  into the shape of a croissant. You walk in, go “huh.” Then buy a bulk bag of cookies and go on your way. That is my style of learning.IMG_5736Going there is worth the trip and being there is even better. I find it incredibly American. American in that it is very much IN America, but in a place where a large number of people have come from somewhere else in hope of a better life. That is American.IMG_5990

What is also very American is gawking at the the culture of others without any real back story or true cultural understanding. That was my part in the whole visit. I played my part well and I am through and through American. Below I present exhibit A:IMG_5993

I appreciate drying your laundry the cheapest way possible and I don’t mind dried fish, but combining the two displeases me. I would guess that were it otherwise I would displease most of the people who might sit next to me on a bus.

But that is my opinion and this is America where we are each entitled to our own opinions… and smells.IMG_5997

 

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How Can You Look at Stars When the Building is So Cool? Griffith Observatory

Just a note, don’t go when it is even close to convenient, you are in a hurry, don’t want to walk a million miles, or don’t want to be with other people, because this place is popular. It is also worth it.IMG_6869

The observatory is built on Mt. Hollywood, the same one that has the big Hollywood sign, in 1935. From its inception it was open to the public for free. It was meant to make astronomy approachable and accessible to the masses and the masses show up en masse.IMG_6873

The copper domes really do house legit telescopes that aid real-life science (see what I did there?). Smart people doing smart things that I don’t understand, work there. I didn’t work there, I just looked there.IMG_6878The city, the sky, and the building. The art deco scalloped smooth lined solid colored building, the pastel fading multicolored shapeless sky, and the staccato jumbled lit up city.

You can only go there when you have some time.IMG_6870

Only go there when all those crowds and lack of parking and walking don’t matter. Because despite all that, you have to go.IMG_6875

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MILK: and Macarons…. Oooooooh Macarons

I’ve been to MILK twice, once on a weekday, the other a weekend, and on both occasions the line stretched out the door. I haven’t been to Disneyland but I hear they have the same problem over there. I also hear that just as at MILK, the waiting is worth it.IMG_7076

They make Nutella ice cream. How can you argue with that? They make and sell all sorts of baked goods, sandwiches, cupcakes, and pretty much whatever it is that you hadn’t thought existed but once you do know- you need it.IMG_7074

For instance, macarons. I have heard of macarons. What I had not considered was making ice cream sandwiches out of macarons. what I had also not considered was a lime hibiscus and  clove soda. I now love both of those things.IMG_7062

Going to MILK every day is not an option for me, and not recommended for anyone. Not recommended in the same way that gluttony, overindulgence, and food abstinence are not recommended.

Of course taking recommendations is not recommended… unless it involves macaron ice cream sandwiches and lime, hibiscus, and clove soda.IMG_7079

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That Place Looks Crazy: Walt Disney Concert Hall

Imagine a soda can with no label, no colors, just metallic silver. Now imagine you took this chromey can and smashed it, bent and twisted it all up. Then… imagine that metal mess was about five stories tall. If you cannot imagine such a think don’t worry, I know where you can see one; and it is awesome.IMG_7255

The place opened in 2003, was designed by a famous guy (Frank Gehry), and is the home of the LA Philharmonic. all of those things are true, and perhaps relevant, but what is important, is that it is a wonder to look at.IMG_7248

I want to write about it, tell you stuff, but its all blah, blah, blah, when what is important, is what you see.IMG_7252

 

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Credit Where Credit is Due: Pop ‘n Sweets

I have not been know to look for nice things to say about Provo Utah. Not wanting to be a generally negative person I have often kept my mouth shout when wanting to say bad things about the place. I find myself now in a position where I have no choice… I must praise the place. Or at least I must praise one place that is in that place.

Pop ‘n Sweets.IMG_6344

They have nice story about how they came to be and who owns the place but that doesn’t mater much in this case. This candy and soda shop could have been founded by the devil and it would still be worth the visit (incidentally the devil has been outlawed in Provo so it couldn’t have been founded by him).IMG_6304

Long story short, they have soda. All kinds of soda. Soda on tap, Soda from Austria, Soda that’s funny, soda that is sophisticated, a lot of soda. I like that. They have candy too but I’m not so much into wasting calories on that when there is a red capped Blenheim ginger ale to be had.IMG_6339

Or perhaps a mate mojito? A birch beer maybe? Whatever your flavor grab one and have a seat at the counter or in a booth.IMG_6318

This place was good enough that I wanted to hang around… in Provo. I want to go again… to Provo. I can’t believe I ‘m typing this. I’m being forced to shift my fundamental belief system. My foundation is crumbling.

Crumbling into a sweet, fizzy, bubbly, wonderful pool of soda.IMG_6320

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My Imagined Mediterranean: Sausalito

The buildings, stacked one upon another, clinging to the sides of hills that drop directly into the sea, were just as I had imagined them. The winding road at the bottom of the hill, just above the waters edge, was faced with small cafes and clothiers. Everything was exactly as I would have hoped for in any romantic Mediterranean town.

I have of course, never been to the Mediterranean. IMG_6003

Sausalito is just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. It is small. Small enough that Google chrome, which recognizes the need to capitalize the words “Golden Gate”, insists that the word is a misspelling of an unknown word. I insist it is a wonderful place that I should visit more often.IMG_5999

I’m not sure exactly why I should visit, it is mostly full of people waiting in line to catch the ferry and weekend cyclists in unsafe numbers, but I liked it. Probably I liked the idea of it.

Such is the case with most things; I like the idea of them.IMG_5981

Sausalito has lots of yachts and I like the idea of sailing yachts. It has an expansive and expensive men’s clothier in which I found nothing I could afford. Or at least I found nothing I was willing to afford.IMG_6049

But I liked the idea of buying something there and boarding my sailboat for a leisurely cruise across the bay with my well dressed friends who all tell wonderfully intelligent stories while snacking charcuterie.IMG_5946

 

But reality is that I don’t own a boat, most of my friends prefer hamburgers, and my clothing normally qualifies as acceptable rather than fine. I’m okay with reality. Reality is my favorite.IMG_5979

But… How great would it be if my reality included: a sailboat, the time and ability to sail, a respectable clothing budget, a good tailor, a good cafe on every corner, more aged gouda, a trip to the Mediterranean, a restored 1967 Ford Bronco, a publisher, a pilot’s license…

and another trip to Sausalito.

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Pigs and Cheese in San Francisco

The Ferry building in San Francisco is in some ways, exactly what it sounds like. You can ketch the Ferry to Sausalito there, or if you are like me, you can catch lunch.

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Crowded, yet surprisingly sterile, the hungry masses are provided a wealth of options. Tacos, burgers, and bears Oh my. I did see tacos and burgers, I got carried away with the bears bit, ya know, alliteration and all. With so many choices one can pretty much do as they please, and what pleased me, pleased me in a big way.

First, How can anyone pass up a sign with the tagline “Tasty Salted Pig Parts”?IMG_5705

I did not know that other word but it did not matter. It may just be a stall in a glorified food court, but in the case of Boccalone, the glory was well deserved. I have not been to any other food court vendor that had a locker in which it was aging its own meat. Besides, any place that can stay in business only doing one simple thing (salting pig parts), is likely doing it rather well. They are doing it well.IMG_6022

Having obtained a pile of prosciutto carried like a snow cone I walked around the corner for part two of lunch. Cheese. Good cheese.

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Faux western kitsch normally repels me like a cattle prod, but this bucking bronco logo-ed shop had aged Gouda in the isles. Aged Gouda fixes everything. So does brie, Gruyere, and Stilton. The Cowgirl Creamery is better than their logo shtick implies. IMG_6020

There was a line full of the lunch crowd standing at their window and I joined them. The chalk board told me I had my choice of brie and apple, ham and Swiss, or any variation of cheese and bread. I went with a grilled cheese and fig jam.

I chose correctly.IMG_6024

 

 

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