San Francisco Discoveries

  

San Francisco Discoveries

There are 4,415 restaurants in San Francisco, which outnumber every city in America. Fifty-four of them have the highest honor Michelin stars. This information above, which I found online, is from 2018, and does not include my new discovery – “One 65”, which opened only recently. A few weeks ago I was meeting a business acquaintance for a cup of tea/coffee, downtown. We planned to meet at Starbucks on Powell Street; however, instead we ended at a coffee/pastry shop at 165 O’Farrell. I have never been there before and was drawn by the attractive pastries, which I usually try not to eat, but for my photographic eye, it was a delicious view. I ordered a hot chocolate and yes – we shared a dessert. Suddenly a man appeared dressed in dark suit and tie. I introduced myself, and shared my appreciation. The man turned out to be the General Manager, Oliver de Roany, who introduced me to the head of the establishment, Michelin Star and James Beard Award Winner, Chef Claude Le Tonic, who last ran Joel Robschon’s three Michel’s star restaurant in Las Vegas. Mr. de Roany told me that the owners bought the dilapidated 6-story building across from Macy’s three years ago. It was the time when due to the never ending road work and closure of Sutter Street, many stores were financially suffering and leaving the area. The decision was to convert the building into a six story eating experience with French flair. We took the elevator to the sixth floor where the main kitchen is located with special rooms for small parties and a chef’s dining experience. From there, we went down to a restaurant called O’ by Claude Le Tohic, and below that was a bar and lounge and a Bistro, and I almost forgot to mention the rooms for private parties and the chocolate that was being made in front of our own eyes. They also make their own bread and their own ice-cream, which you can buy on the ground floor.

After the tour, I decided to surprise my wife and bring her here for our 52nd wedding anniversary, which was last Thursday, August 8th. The restaurant is conveniently located next to the O’Farrell/Ellis garage.

When I made a reservation, I did not know the difference, and we ended up in the Bistro. The food was delicious and since we did not drink any wine and shared some of the dishes (but we had two desserts), the price tag was reasonable. After dinner we went upstairs to see the rest of the place. When I made a reservation, I thought that we were supposedly to be in O’ restaurant. It wasn’t until I saw the menu — a 10 course prefixed dinner, starting at $250. They also have an a la carte menu. (I do not think I can handle more than three courses). We will definitely come back with friends for another celebration. Regardless of your budget, I strongly recommend “One65”. You can start as I did, from the first floor.

P.S. Online I found a lot of information about the place and photos of the meals. My four images show the sweet part of the experience, and do not forget to check out the cheeses.

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Yes to Santa Fe

  

Yes to Santa Fe

A few weeks ago I shared my experiences from attending the Santa Fe Photography Workshop with you. The city of Santa Fe (which means, “holy faith” in Spanish), was founded by Spanish colonists in 1610, making it the oldest state capital.

We first visited Santa Fe in 1990, during our children’s winter break. The time-share we stayed in is called Otra Vez, and is in the heart of the old city. It was during the holiday season, and there were bags filled with sand and a lit candle inside everywhere, which created a beautiful picture at night. On Christmas Eve, owners of the galleries lined up along Canyon Road were serving hot punch. In the local Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which was built in 1837, there was a midnight mass that was attended by thousands of people. (Almost thirty years later, I still see the picture in my mind).

Since then, we returned here again and again, throughout different times of the year — just to relax, shop and dine. We drove around, visiting Taos and other local destinations. Once we came here in October with a special purpose to visit the Abiquiu home and Studio, where the famous painter Georgia O’Keeffe lived her last years (her museum is in Santa Fe), about an hour drive from Santa Fe. When I woke up in the morning, I was surprised to see what looked like San Francisco’s fog through the window. It was snow slowly falling down and covering the grounds and our car, which we had to dig out to get there on time. This trip, like many others, left a lot of pleasant memories. And then, about seven years ago, I discovered the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop. Since then, our trips here are connected with my improving photography skills.

To get there, we usually fly to Albuquerque, though there is a small local airport in Santa Fe. It takes about an hour and a half to climb up to 7000 ft. Because of the elevation, we need to drink a lot of water while here. There is so much to experience. There is a very good, small art museum. On Sundays, local Indian tribe members sell their exquisite jewelry in the main square. We have dined at a variety of fine restaurants. This town is known for many art galleries and the great “Photo-Eye Books & Prints” store. During this trip, I bought eight books, which cannot be found in other stores. The store does not carry my “42 Encounters” books yet; though I plan to send them for the future. But you do not have to wait. Just go to Amazon.com and check out “42 Encounters”.

P.S. I hope that this short story will entice you to visit this magical place. Meanwhile, enjoy these four images.

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Where Is The East Cut?

  

Where Is The East Cut?

I had no idea where it is either, and I imagine most San Franciscans hadn’t either. I first read about it in an article by Carl Nolte, who is a regular contributor to the Sunday SF Chronicle. On July 14th, 2019 the article titled, “Neighborhoods renamed, but history remains” informed the readers that the last time an area in our city was renamed was in 1847, when Yerba Buena was rechristened San Francisco.

This time, a part of the neighborhood known as SOMA (South of Market), got a new name: “Start at the East Cutand end up at Thrive City. Its only about 2 miles. Right through a new world. To start with, the names will baffle a lot of San Franciscans.” I guess it was important to name the part of San Francisco which represents the new important face of our city – the technology hub, but also the new bus terminal, and the urban garden on its roof. The article prompted my interest to visit the park named Salesforce Park. The official address of the bus terminal is 425 Mission Street. So on Sunday afternoon, we took Max and drove there. We were lucky to find parking on Fremont Street, not far from the Park. The elevator took us to the fourth floor. From Mission Street, visitors can also “get to the park with a ride on a gondolaa boxy car slung below steelcables”. And suddenly we arrived into a different world. From the congestion of the high-rise building, we stepped out into the garden. The place reminded me of the High Line elevated park in New York, which opened in 2009. Perhaps by coincidence, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which opened in 1871, was modeled after New York’s Central Park, which opened in 1857.

What makes the Park unique is that it is surrounded by San Francisco’s major technology companies. The new Salesforce Tower is located at 415 Mission, and I was told that its 6,600 employees occupy three other neighboring buildings as well. The company paid $110 million for a 25-year sponsorship to have the name of the park be Salesforce Park as well as Salesforce Transit Center. Another giant company, Facebook, is located next door at 181 Fremont. Thanks to them and San Francisco’s urban planners, people who live in the East Cut can enjoy a beautiful oasis.

P.S. While walking around the park, we saw a children’s playground, a place to sit and relax, and even a library. To keep the place orderly and clean, there are many “ambassadors” in yellow jackets. One of them, seeing Max, asked if he is a service dog (he is, since I secured my “Emotional support Animal” card for him). What I think is lacking in the park is a playground for dogs, since there is no other place in downtown for dog lovers to enjoy their companions. You can see more dog lovers in San Francisco in my photo-story book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers, buy it on Amazon.com.

These four images are my encounters in the park.

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