Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fillmore Street, San Francisco (Picture heavy!)

Being the close vicinity of Japantown, inevitably Fillmore Street is my second favorite part of town, which means every time I visit Japan Town, I have to visit Fillmore Street also ^.^ While there are numerous fun streets in SF, Fillmore is quite special. There's the ollection of neat little shops lining both of its side. And then there's the slow rise slowly to a high point (Broadway Street) before the steep drop all the way down to the ocean, directly to the Marina Green with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge at left, Alcatraz Island at center right, and Fort Mason at far right. 

So, the shops. My favorite is probably Fillmore Bakeshop, food, of course :P Fillmore Bakeshop is home my favorite buttercream filled French cookie sandwiches, the colorful macarons. I do agree that the food coloring is a bit too garish and the macarons themselves can look bulky, but be rest assured they're yummy, you bet because I've tried macarons from several other places and those didn't quite hit the spot. My favorite from Fillmore Bakeshop is the Irish Coffee macaron, which has the best coffee cream ever! Hubby's favorite is the coconut macaroons (no, that's not a typo, and yes, they're two different cookies).

Another shop is Narumi (Japanese Antiques), which I wouldn't call my favorite, but it's totally worth visiting because it's rather, umm, otherworldly. It's an understatement to say the shop is creepy. It's like a time capsule of feudal Japan, and stepping into it is like taking a step back in time. On text, that sounds totally cool, only when hubby and I were there the little hairs on our arms and necks were standing up the whole time. No, the shop attendances are two very soft spoken and kind gentlemen, and I doubt the shop itself is haunted or anything funky like that. But go on in and look around, and see if you get as creeped out as hubby and I were looking at the decades and century-old dolls and figurines displayed inside. 

We had lunch at this Bun Mee Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery once and never wanted to come back LOL! Somehow, the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich has become super trendy in SF, and there are lots of poshy banh mi sandwich shops like this popping up all over town. But sorry, I grew up on this stuff and poshness alone isn't going to cut it. They're going to have to try a lot harder for my recognition of a "true" banh mi.   

For our lunch we each got a different sandwich, spring rolls, and egg rolls. By the looks, they're authentic. Taste, not so much. Where do I begin? Well, the rice vermicelli in the spring rolls were crumbly and not chewy. They had pickled carrots in it, but added mangoes instead of pickled daikons. The worst offense was probably the coconut something rather in the peanut sauce, which made it taste stale and disgusting. The egg rolls themselves were okay, but the dipping sauce was more syrupy sweet, which was just wrong. Not all egg rolls are meant to be dipped in sweet and sour sauce. Not this one. But I understand the need to cater to local taste, and of course dipping fish sauce for Vietnamese egg rolls takes some getting used to.

For our sandwiches hubby got a five-spice grilled chicken, which was bland and a waste of the five-spice seasoning, and I got a grilled pork. My grill pork was much better, but there were all but may be 3 strips of meat inside T.T But the pickled carrots, radish, fresh cilantro, and fresh jalapeno slices were authentic ^.^

Broadway Street is the highest crossing point on Fillmore, and this is where the steep drop all the way out to the ocean begins. From Broadway, you see cars disappears beyond the crosswalk, and then cropping up out of nowhere. 

And when I say steep, I mean really steep, so steep they had to build steps into the sidewalk so people can climb and not crawl, or roll. So far, my cousin J. has visited back in March, and my parents and siblings visited just a couple of weeks ago. I took both parties here each time, and everyone really enjoyed both the view and the thrill. J. loved the walk downhill while my parents, especially my mom, totally freaked out in the car as I drove everyone down to the ocean xD I didn't want to drive because the walk is so much more fun, but my parents visited on a weekend and parking is pretty much impossible on any given weekend on Fillmore.

When J. visited, we walked here and took a funny video showing her walking while leaning far back to compensate for the steep drop. And yet people drive up and down and park sideways on this hill every single day! Nuts, huh? The view is gorgeous though, especially on a sunny day ^.^ I stood here at this point with J. looking out to the ocean and contemplated whether we should walk, or take the bus down. We estimated it would be ten blocks and the ocean looked close enough.

Wrong. Well, it was ten blocks, but it was a hell of a long walk. But the view totally made up for our aching feet, no doubt. And there were pretty flowers to admire along the way too!

Fillmore street ends here at this three-way. There is a bus goes up and down this street and this is where it turns around and goes right back up.

On the other side of the three-way is the Marina Green, basically a green grass field behind the boardwalk where every kid on the block comes to play and practice their soccer games on the weekends. 

Standing at the Marina Green, the view at left is of the Golden Gate Bridge.

At center right is Alcatraz Island, here with my sister ^.^

And Fort Mason is to the far right. You can also see this 360-degree video I took when J. was visiting.

There are always many seagulls around the area ^.^

Here's looking straight up Fillmore Street from the Marina Green. At lower left center is the top of the hill, that Broadway Street crosswalk. In the right picture, J. and I took the bus back uphill, because there was no way we would (or could!) trek back up after the long walk down :P

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