Friday, August 3, 2012

TGIF: Outer-(lands), San Francisco



As an East Bay native, I always have to confess to visitors that I don't know San Francisco as well as I really should, given my close proximity to the city. Growing up on the other side of the bay, I developed a keen sense that San Francisco was some mystical, far-away Emerald City--where you go for a special pre-Christmas shopping trip, or where you have to suffer long international embassy lines, or where one's dad disappears to every day for work. Besides, I boast some headstrong suburban pride: I grew up in the rattlesnake-breeding suburbs, surrounded by an odd combination of rough gang ghettos, fancy yacht parks, rolling golden hills, and health food nuts who bought organic food before it was cool. And, after all, my first love in the Bay Area will always be Berkeley (which I will boldly and belligerently proclaim to be the superior city).


But slowly, piece by piece, I've been getting to know San Francisco better and better lately--learning its neighborhoods and how its streets fit together, finding pockets that I love, figuring out its widely varied quirks and personalities, and venturing out of my old comfort zones of the pre-Christmas-shopping financial district areas. A few weeks ago, Jackie (of A Happy Day) and I finally made it out to the Outer Sunset and specifically to Outerlands, which we've been meaning to go to for months now. The Outer Sunset is the area of San Francisco at its westernmost slice, right smack next to the big, bad Pacific Ocean. "Outerlands" is actually a very apt name for this area: it feels like the outerlands of San Francisco, far-flung from the hustle and bustle of the business centers and from the way-too-much-personality-to-squeeze-into-a-tiny-space hipster-y Mission and Castro neighborhoods. In the outerlands of SF--the Outer Sunset--, life feels a bit slower, less frenetic, though plenty hipster still, thankyouSanFranciscogentrification. The Sunday we were there, it was foggy and hazy, which is typical of SF summer mornings, and people strolled slowly around on the streets towards their morning coffees or brunches, and garages opened to reveal tiny make-shift stands of homemade jewelry wares randomly on every few blocks.


The actual Outerlands restaurant itself (at 4001 Judah Street) is beautiful, which is pretty much why everyone kept telling me to go. Delicately lit with windows every few feet, the walls and counters are all lined with planks of reclaimed (drift)wood. It was like someone took a small restaurant from Portland and air-lifted it directly into San Francisco--smartly dressed and accessorized staff along with it. The food itself was solidly good (though still doesn't hold a candle to my favorite breakfast in the Bay, which is--of course, surprise surprise--in Berkeley), particularly the Dutch pancake served with perfectly ripe small strawberries and a deliciously made cappuccino, which was a welcome sight after the excellent ones I had had in Italy and have been hitherto unable to obtain here.


Post-breakfast, in search of some major gusts of wind, Jackie and I went off to explore Fort Funston, a hang-glider and dog park (no hang-gliding dogs, that I know of) along the coast, which I've been hearing so much about from my dog-owning San Francisco friends. In addition to great views of the bending Pacific coastline that made me long for another road-trip down along Highway 1, Jackie and I did manage to seek out some satisfyingly robust wind for flying scarf photographs as well as plenty of dogs to gawk at, wishing that we had our very own. No hang-gliders in sight that day, though.


A few more friends come into town this weekend, so there's a bit more San Francisco exploration on the immediate agenda for me. I'm also very much looking forward to at least a whole day at home... in the suburbs.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

--

Check out Jackie's point of view of our day together on her blog!

21 comments:

  1. What a yummy looking brekkie - poached eggs done well are an instant winner. And by such a picturesque coastline to boot ;)

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  2. i was living in berkeley some months last year (i'm originally from europe) and loved it!!! i liked san francisco too, but me and my fiancé said we could imagine living in berkeley some day!!!

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  3. gorgeous, I love the scarf flying photos & breakfast looks delish :)

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  4. What lovely photos to wake up to - thanks for the quick trip

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  5. Gah, gorgeous shots. I really love the above the table shot - seriously looks like a well thought out and lit purposefully shot that you styled in the studio.

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  6. hahaha, it's funny that you say that because we were ironically seated at the table in a dark spot with the least amount of light!

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  7. How beautiful. My gentleman is going to the Bay Area for two weeks this month, but I unfortunately can't go with him -- I'll be living vicariously through your photos.

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  8. Dannii @Hungry Healthy HappyAugust 4, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    Such great shots!

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  9. Big city versus suburbanite snobbery is the worst. I know because I come from Chicago and I hate when people assume that I'm from a suburb, but I'm probably in the wrong there and would find places as cool in their own way if only I would venture out more. Beautiful pictures.

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  10. My humanities TA at UCSD, Nadeen, told me about your blog. It is simply marvelous. You take such nice pictures. It is always a pleasure to see your posts. Keep on creating beauty!

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  11. beautiful commentary, beautiful photos.

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  12. Alanna Taylor-TobinAugust 5, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Exquisite photos. Outerlands is indeed the bomb, and I'm a huge La Note fan, too. : )


    Have you been to Plow on Potrero Hill? Another excellent SF breakfast spot.

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  13. Tina -townabovewater-August 6, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    lovely post!

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  14. It is SO cool to be able to see each of your perspectives, here. This is going in the places-to-go-and-explore list, for sure.

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  15. I haven't been to Plow! Now it's definitely on the list of places to try.

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  16. Another reason why I want to visit San Fran. From everything I've seen or heard it looks spectacular. And loved your view from this part of the area. Lovely snaps too!

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  17. You probably knew I wouldn't be able to resist commenting on this post! :-) Gorgeous, as usual. I will restrain myself and my gushing love of the Sunset, and instead just point interested readers to http://www.outsidelands.org/ for a collection of historical photos and stories from San Francisco's sandy western neighborhoods.

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  18. Toni @ Boulder LocavoreAugust 12, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    I love this! I lived in the City on Lombard between Polk and Van Ness and loved that in such a short distance the weather and vibe could be so different. You now have me scratching my head about the name of the long time famous restaurant overlooking the beach there. I think it's been there for 1000 years right near the ruins of the old bath house from the 20's maybe? This is a lovely spot. Love the scarf shots as they capture the essence of what I recall from the moody weather there!

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  19. Like Vicky, I love the scarf photos. And wouldn't mind drinking some of that coffee:)

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I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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