Monday, August 10, 2009

Castro and the Mission

Sunday, August 9: Today Jeff and I had breakfast with Patrick and his girlfriend, Tracy. We had bagels with Lucerne cream cheese (which is really good!). Then Jeff and I walked around nearby neighborhoods. First we went into a game store really close to Patrick's apartment - it was a great store! We went to Divisadero and kept going as it turned into Castro. A few blocks later we were in the Castro, the gay neighborhood. We found lots of cool stores in the Castro, and there was a group trying to adopt out older dogs on the street. There were lots of gay couples around, and lots of dogs. It was a really cool neighborhood. We then turned left on 18th street to walk towards the Mission. We passed Dolores Park which is supposed to be really interesting and came upon Bi-Rite Creamery on the left. There wasn't a line at the time and we got some strawberry kiwi sorbet and took it to the park to eat. We talked to a woman getting support to overturn Prop 8 but they wanted money, so we pressed onward. We got cheese samples at a random little market and then saw a bakery with a huge line (turns out it was probably Tartine, which was highly recommended). So we turned right on Valencia to walk up in the Mission. First we came upon Paxton Gate, which was described by Eric and Patrick as the 'gothic plant store'. They meant more like Victorian gothic than goth, I discovered. It was full of taxidermied animals, weird books and plants. The one notable thing was the taxidermied mice dressed up to look like different things, like pirates, a bride and groom, a priest. They were amazing. Next door to that was the pirate store, 826 Valencia. It's well known - it was made into a pirate store to front for a non-profit teaching center (because they couldn't be just that due to zoning regulations). It became so popular that there are stores like it in NYC, Chicago, Ann Arbor, LA, Seattle, and maybe a couple other places. It was amazing and hilarious. We wandered into lots of other cool shops, including some vintage clothing stores. Eventually we got hungry and ended up at Ali Baba's Cave, where I got the most gigantic falafel sandwich (it was on lavash) that I've ever seen. The roll thing Jeff got wasn't very good so he just ended up eating half my sandwich. I had been craving falafel and this didn't disappoint. The sun was making me feel dizzy so we went in lots of shops. We wandered back up Valencia and found Good Vibrations, which is a really well-recommended vibrator and sex toy store. They even had display models of all the vibes so you could really tell how loud and powerful and everything they were! It was great. We then stopped in at a café called Muddy Waters and got some delicious root beer that seems to be everywhere here. The bathroom was covered in graffiti, and there was an old anarchist outside, and a guy doing bong hits. SF is a very hippy city. I saw so many VW buses today! Anyway, we found a by-the-pound vintage clothes store, and then made it back to Patrick's. We relaxed for a while and actually met one of the roommates, Megan. Then Patrick, Tracy, Jeff, and I played Settlers of Catan. Jeff won. After that we went to this amazing café on Divisadero called the Bean Bag Café. I got Millano pasta which had tomatos, spinach, cream sauce, and pesto. So good! Tomorrow I think Jeff and I are going to do some shopping in the Upper Haight, and check out Golden Gate park, and potentially go up to Buena Vista Park.

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