Philadelphia/San Francisco Day 5 + 6

Day 5 T-Shirt of Choice: Robocopper by Olly Moss

Wednesday coast-to-coast travel. From the east coast to the west coast, we made our way from the City of Brotherly Love to the City by the Bay. But before spending 6 hours in the sky and about 3 in airports, we were sure to get a good and hearty breakfast. We decided on the Morning Glory Diner, suggested by fellow tee blogger and traveler extraordinaire, Andy Bowness of Hide Your Arms. Michelle went with the Glory Cakes: three pancakes served with real maple syrup and I had the Foccacia Breakfast Sandwich with a fried egg and cheese served with potatoes. I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast, but Michelle was a bit more reserved when it came to her pancakes – she thought Sabrina’s was a better breakfast spot!

After breakfast, we walked about two blocks down to Isgro’s Patries. Yes, we were there a few days earlier, but, we were both amazed by the baked goodies that we took home prior that we needed to go and grab some more delicious delectables for the long flight to San Francisco. We bought a bag full of assorted cookies – so soft and delicious and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Once we found our way back to the Loews Hotel, we quickly grabbed our things and caught a taxi to Philadelphia International Airport. Security was quick and in no time we were waiting to board our plane to Las Vegas en route to San Francisco. We had about a 2 hour stop at Las Vegas’ McCarren Airport and then we boarded our flight to San Francisco – yes, finally!

We arrived at our hotel, the Parc 55, at about 6:30 pm but had to quickly get ready for 8 pm reservations at the very swank Masa’s on Bush Street in San Francisco’s Nob Hill. Masa’s offers a set menu of French cuisine. They offer 3 course, 5 course and 9 course options. I went with the 5 course and Michelle settled on the 3 course. My 5 course menu consisted of a potato confit to start, Japanese sea bass topped with caviar, Sautéed Breast of Paine Farms Squab (with peppercorn glazed d’anjou pears, melted brussels sprouts, “confit” leg, and squab sauce), Herb Roasted Double Chop of Australian Lamb (with melted japanese eggplant, chickpea cake, baby artichokes, and lamb jus), and a platter of in-house chocolates.

Overall, I enjoyed Masa’s. It is fine dining, so expect to spend around $250 for a party of two (if both get the 5 course menu) or up to $500+ of you decide on the 9 course menu. The ambiance was classy, the waiters were very nice, friendly and not high-browed at all. Masa’s is definitely an “event” type restaurant. Go there for an anniversary or birthday with that special someone and it will definitely be an experience to remember.

[Sorry for the lack of Day 5 photos.]

Day 6 T-Shirt of Choice: Phenom Polo by Electric Zombie (not a T-Shirt, I know, but it is made by a popular indie designer who we’ve featured on this site many times before).

This being our second visit to San Francisco (see 2008 recaps), we searched for breakfast spots that we had missed out on the first time around. This search led us to Mama’s on Washington Square. When we got to the popular breakfast spot at 10:30 am, the line had already wrapped around the building. We didn’t get inside until about 11:30 am. That’s a one hour wait in line! But let me tell you, it was well worth it. I ordered the Mama’s French Toast Sampler plate and I was not disappointed. It was a nice, refreshing change from my usual eggs, meat and potato choice. The sampler plate consisted of Swedish Cinnamon, Banana Nut, and Kugelhopf (House Baked Brioche Bread with Golden Raisins, Cinnamon, Dates, and Sliced Almonds). Mama’s french toast was a fruity mouthgasm – so good!

Mama's on Washington Square

After breakfast we caught the MUNI to Coit Tower, which was was built in Pioneer Park atop Telegraph Hill in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the City of San Francisco. It cost 5 bucks to get to the top, but once you do get to the top of the tower, you get a nice view of the city. You can even see the famed “crookedest street in the world” Lombard Street from afar.

Coit Tower

We then caught the MUNI yet again to The Haight, which includes the famous intersection, Haight and Ashbury. The area features a bohemian ambiance and has a thriving center of independent local businesses. Being a T-Shirt fan, I had to stop by Kid Robot and Ashbury T-Shirts. I did more window shopping then I did actual shopping, though, we did stop by a little crepe shop and picked up two nutella and banana crepes.

Haight and Ashbury

Haight and Ashbury

Nutella and Banana Crepe

Once we finished checking out the eclectic scene at The Haight, we walked down towards Alamo Square. If you grew up in the 80′s, then you’re familiar with Alamo Square and probably don’t even know it. Alamo Square is the park that is heavily featured in the opening sequence of the hit ABC show, Full House. It also faces the Full House “House,” which is actually part of a well known row of homes known as the Painted Ladies.

Alamo Square / Painted Ladies / Full House

After a long day of walking and jumping on and off the MUNI, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up before dinner. I should note that if you do visit San Francisco, it is totally worth it to purchase a MUNI Passport. We bought the 3-day pass for $20 and got our money’s worth within our first day of using the pass. Pick up your MUNI pass in the MUNI kiosk in Union Square.

Since we were entirely pooped after a long day of journeying the streets of San Francisco, we opted for an easy dinner. Easy meaning that we walked just a few blocks up Powell Street to Lori’s Diner for some burgers and fries (me) and steak (Michelle). The last time we visited San Francisco, we had a late night meal at a Lori’s Diner that is located on the opposite end of Powell near our old hotel, The Orchard. The burger wasn’t as good as I had remembered it being, though. I think my memory of the previous burger might have been clouded due to the hunger I had been experiencing at the time of consumption.

Lori's Diner

[Check Back for Day 5 Video]

Philadelphia/San Francisco Day 4

Day 4 T-Shirt of Choice: Love Your Fellow As Yourself by schmoo

Unlike yesterday, Day 4 started off with a nice chunk of sunshine. That was a relief. We were able to do a few of the things that we missed out on yesterday when it was pouring cats and dogs. The day started by walking to City Hall, which is located just a few blocks from the Loews Hotel. We signed up for the tower tour and went to the top of the City Hall clock tower, just below the large William Penn statue that overlooks the City of Philadelphia.

LOVE Sculpture Philadelphi

After taking a few pics from the top of City Hall, we walked over to Love Park, where Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture stands. We took a gazillion photos and then moved on to the Comcast Center. The Comcast Center has a neat (and very huge) HD video wall, with short videos playing throughout the day. Below the lobby you’ll find a small market. We made a pit stop there, where I picked up a drink and a small croissant. The croissant served as a warmup to our Pat’s and Geno’s pilgrimage.

Geno's Steaks

Pat's

(Top: Genos is all glitz and glamour but lacking in the taste department. Bottom: Pat’s, good but not as good as Jim’s Steaks)

My frist experience with a Philly Cheesesteak came to me at Jim’s Steaks. After that first cheesesteak, my mind was blown and I was ready to experience the much hyped Pat’s and Geno’s variety. We caught a taxi from the Loews Hotel to the Cheesesteak mecca of the world. For the uninitiated, Pat’s and Geno’s are located right across of each other and are considered rival cheesesteak stands. So of course, we had to experience both Pat’s and Geno’s. Pat’s was alright, and Geno’s felt a bit too generic (though, their fries were good). My conclusion, Jim’s Steaks dominates both Pat’s and Geno’s. If you want a Philly Cheesesteak, then know this: Jim’s Steaks is the center of the universe.

Despite the disappointing Pat’s and Geno’s experience, dinner more than made up for it! In our attempt to hit up the restaurants of all of the Iron Chefs, we just had to experience the newest Iron Chef Jose Garcia’s restaurant, Amada. Garcia’s Amada specializes in authentic Spanish Tapas. We settled on three different dishes, the LECHÓN CON QUESO (Braised Pork Shoulder, La Peral, Pine Nut, Apple & Fennel), ENTRECÔTE A LA CATALAN (Prime Sirloin with Catalán Spinach, Membrillo & Goat Cheese), and the ARROZ DE LANGOSTA (Lobster Bomba Rice with Clams, Lemon Zest & Golden Pea Shoots). The dishes were nicely proportioned, and, more importantly, tasted oh so good.

Amada

We decided to pass on dessert at Amada and opted instead to get some ice cream at the famed Franklin Fountain. This old school ice cream fountain is like a time warp, as evidenced by the decor and the staff who were dressed as if it was the 1920′s. You might recall that Adam Richman of Man Vs. Food had the Mt. Visuvious here. I decided on the Franklin Mint and Michelle had the Banana Split For My Baby. Both were very indulgent choices. We honestly should have shared one, but, I was intent on mint ice cream. Needless to say, we tried as hard as we could, but in the end, neither of us ate more than half of our ice cream dishes.

Franklin Fountain

And as I’ve been doing, here’s a video slideshow of some of the photos that we took during this lovely day in Philly!