Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Archive for the ‘Bay Area’ Category

Roxy cafe in mission district of SFO

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Roxy is a small cafe on Market street, mission district of San Francisco. Great food and don’t be fooled by the sign on the door that says shakes and pastries. At the time we turned up, they had no pastries left. The one interesting thing about kitchen is they only have access to sous vide machines, blenders and torches. No stove and exhaust. A fantastic meal overall.

Potato coconut soup with purple cauliflower and prosciutto


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Written by locomotoring

February 17, 2014 at 6:15 am

Art of joy

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What makes people happy?

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Written by Som

June 24, 2013 at 6:18 am

Glamping in Big Sur

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Gateway – Internet on one side and beach on the other …

After 14 years of living in Bay Area and passing by Big Sur at least a dozen times, we finally decided to spend a weekend there. What can I say, better late than never? And thanks to airbnb, we found this wonderful cabin within a stone’s throw of Pffifer State Park. And what a cabin! Constructed from a winery barrel  that once held Burgundy in the foot hills of the Sierras, it offered the view of forest canopy, blue skies, blue sea,  stars at night, and most importantly a full kitchen, porcelain toilet and a hot bath. The weekend was unusually warm for May making the trip to the Andrew Molera State Park  more than just picture perfect. From the parking spot, the beach is a short 2 miles away that takes you through the camp site along the Big Sur river to where the river meets the ocean.
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Written by Som

June 3, 2013 at 2:09 am

Bombay Street Food in Oakland

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Juhu Beach Club

Juhu Beach Club in Oakland is all about very Indian flavors served up in a modern setting. If I didn’t know I were in Oakland, I would have thought I was eating in London.
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Written by Som

May 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

An incredible 747 flight …

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Looking at Endeavour being flown around on top of a 747 reminded me of a baby whale being accompanied by its mother. Following photos are some of my favorite NASA photos (source: NASA flickr photostream) during its flight around Bay Area.

Endeavour over Ames Research Center (ACD12-0146-018) Endeavour over the Golden Gate Bridge (ACD12-0146-008)
Endeavour over the Golden Gate Bridge (ACD12-0146-010) Endeavour Over The Golden Gate Bridge (ED12-0317-012)
Endeavour Over California's Bay Bridge (ED12-0317-011) Endeavour Fly Over California  (ED12-0317-008)

Written by locomotoring

September 29, 2012 at 6:16 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, San Francisco, USA

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Gaultier at de Young Museum

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Gaultier’s exhibition at de Young ended last weekend.  The dimly lit cavernous space of de Young felt appropriate for Gaultier’s over the top couture. Projected facial expressions on faces of the mannikins was a brilliant touch that animated the show and added to the sense of engagement.
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Written by locomotoring

August 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Old man and the sea, Pacific Heights

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Old man and his friend at an old age home in Pacific Heights

Old man and his friend at an old age home in Pacific Heights

Like Lonely Planet says, Pacific Heights is a wander and look operation. Most notable sights in this neighborhood are old Victorian style homes. Some gorgeous, most in 1-3 million dollar range. There are parks tucked away for you to catch a snooze or get beautiful shots of the painted ladies. From top of the hills, the bay beckons with its little sailboats. You can spot landmarks such as the Palace of Fine Arts and Golden Gate bridge.

If you go with the city guides, you will get a very detailed understanding of the architecture and evolution of these Victorian homes. The guides will also tell you exciting tales, for instance being mooned by Danielle Steel’s children. Wandering and look operations are hard to describe, who knows where you will choose to wander. I am going to provide a sample of what we found on our wanderings. A link to more photos and map is provided at the bottom of the post.

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Written by Som

June 27, 2010 at 1:57 am

Mission accomplished

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Courtyard of Mission Carmel

Courtyard of Mission Carmel

I have been meaning to do a circuit trip of missions around Bay Area. There are quite a few of these missions, so one can’t hope to cover all of them in a day. I have had eyes on a few – Carmel, Jolon and Soledad with possibility of San Miguel thrown in. Opportunity presented itself this memorial day weekend – so I packed some sandwiches, a few slices of the wonderfully moist and orange flavored cake ala Clotilde and, a thermos full of Chai. We left early on this Sunday summer morning – a perfect California day that held promises of a warm clear blue skied summer afternoon.

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Chocolate and coffee at Chocolatier Blue

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Chocolates from Chocolatier Blue

Chocolates from Chocolatier Blue

Chocolatier Blue is a new addition to our chocolate and coffee series. The earlier ones being Recchiuti, Fog City News, TchoXoX, Choco-la, ….

  • Location: Fourth Street, Berkeley
  • Coffee: I forgot to notice – chocolates were too pretty. There is a Peet’s coffee in the vicinity.
  • Chocolates: Chocolate tart and flavored Amedei chocolates – champagne and popcorn, grains of paradise (a west African aromatic and peppery spice), ….

Combine growing up on self-sustaining farms, training at Charlie Trotter’s and a passion for the best ingredients … and then add the sensitivity of an artist (this comes from the better half) – you end up with great tasting chocolates  so pretty that you wish you have a young love and Valentine’s day just around the corner.

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Written by locomotoring

March 14, 2010 at 12:28 am

Sex in the city

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Financial District, San Francisco

Financial District, San Francisco

Should have called it “Taste of Italy”….

Find out what Italian food and kinky sex has in common at Perbacco.

If you are going to the financial district of San Francisco, also check out:

  • For chocolate lovers – Coffee and chocolate at Fog City News (more)
  • A touch of nostalgia – on the old Barbary coast (more)

Written by locomotoring

March 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Presidio – An escape from within

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Officers quarters at Presidio, fog covered Golden Gate bridge in the backround

Officers quarters at Presidio, fog covered Golden Gate bridge in the backround

For me, San Francisco is a pretty city with great food. But, the traffic gets on my nerves. Before our household got a GPS assistant, going to the city invariably meant an argument – about taking the one way only turn, and not finding a parking that cost less than the meal. Now, at least we avoid taking the wrong turn and if we do, we are not pathetically lost.

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Written by Som

October 14, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Kailasa at Stern Grove Festival 2009

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Beer and music at Stern Grove

Beer and music at Stern Grove

We have recently returned from a short visit to Delhi  and are a little home sick. So a couple of weekends ago we decided to go to the Stern Grove Festival for Kailash Kher’s group Kailasa. The thought of soaking in the coolness of Stern Grove listening to  Tauba Tauba sounded fantastic after Delhi’s grueling heat and mugginess.

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Birds and Bees of Telegraph Hill

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Houses of Telegraph Hill

Houses of Telegraph Hill

Yes, the famous parrots. Not as many bees as there are flowers. And, last but not the least – the stairs – lots of them.

Telegraph Hill is where Coit Tower sits. You can’t miss Coit Tower if you are in San Francisco. You can see it from far and wide, standing out like a light house which it is not. Long time back, and for San Francisco, 150 years is a long time ago, Telegraph Hill used to be a bald hill. Because of the line of visibility, the location was used as a semaphore line. The role of the obervatory was to note the type of shipping vessel crossing Golden Gate Strait and let the town folk know. Even now, in spite of the dense foliage on the hill, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.

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The very edge of San Francisco

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Sutro baths from Cliff House

Sutro baths from Cliff House

What have we got at the edge of San Francisco? Sutro baths of course. Our very own modern ruins. And fog. I doubt a hundred years have changed the course of San Francisco’s weather. So, who built a public bath house on a generally cold and often foggy beach? A rich dude, of course. In 1896, Mr. Sutro, who owned most of San Francisco’s western front, built an indoor swimming pool, in fact a set of seven swimming pools, at a cost of over a million dollars. Why? I guess, because he could.

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Urban hike in San Francisco, from Ferry Plaza to Fort Point

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Kites at Marina Greens

Marina Greens; Click for a photos from this hike ...

Choose a day that isn’t too cold. Start the walk from  Ferry Plaza. If you start on a Saturday, you will be able to pick up your lunch from the Farmer’s market. When you are done exploring Ferry Plaza, start walking westwards and stay as close to the bay as possible. Many of these piers offer pedestrian walkways. The route is unmistakable, so there is little to no chance of getting lost. If you are planning on completing the hike, plan on walking about 10-12 miles and spending anywhere between 3-6 hours.

Here is what you will see on this hike – San Francisco skyline from several vista points, sailboats dotting the sea, yachts moored at the harbors, large container ships crossing underneath the Golden Gate bridge, kites doing acrobatic maneuvers by the marina, kids playing in big or small groups, people of all ages sunbathing or jogging, couples of all genders holding hands or kissing, buildings with military architecture – extensions of Presidio. In spring, you will see Crissy Field in a wildflower bloom.

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Walking tour of San Francisco’s Chinatown

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San Franacisco Chinatown

Click for photos of San Francisco Chinatown

At first glance, San Francisco’s Chinatown appears to be a collection of trinket shops. Only during the Chinese New Year celebration does this place truly come alive and then one has to be prepared to brave the cold winter rains which often afflicts the celebration, and huge crowds.

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Bread, merguez, jam and coffee on a Saturday

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Peach gallery

Peach gallery; Click for Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market photos

My favorite bread is Acme, charcuterie Fatted Calf, jam June Taylor and coffee Blue Bottle. One place where I can find them all is Ferry Plaza farmer’s market on a Saturday.

It is no doubt a bit of drive from Bay Area. But once you manage to get yourself there, you will definitely break your budget. I promise you that.

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Elephant seals of Ano Nuevo

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Papa and baby elephant seal

Papa and baby elephant seal

December to March – they arrive, they mate, they have babies.

Elephant seals are big, brown, and blubbery. If you come to Ano Nuevo Beach – a small state park on the California coastline  between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz – you will see hundreds of them. Blue sea, choppy waves, rocky waterfront, sandy coastline and what looks like large brown blubbery sacks littered all around. Males weigh 5000 lbs, females 4000 and newborns about 100. Maybe they are called elephant seals because they are elephantine versions of seals, or maybe it is because of the trunk the males have for a nose. Harems of alpha males number in hundreds. Sounds more exciting than seventy two virgins, eh?

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Written by Som

March 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Palo Alto, A Joy of Exurbia

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Cakes at SAtura Bakery, Palo Alto, CA

Cakes at Satura Bakery, Palo Alto, CA

Aside from being one of the most expensive real estate areas in US that allows them to keep the riffraff out, Palo Alto is also the home of one the best universities in the world, the Stanford University.  Its campus, although not as beautiful as the old and dilapidated Berkeley, is home to a wonderful museum, The Cantor Arts Center. This museum comes together with the second largest Rodin collection in the world – an outdoor bronze sculpture garden and indoor collection of wax and terracotta pieces. Rodin was a bit of subversive artist in his times and was considered progenitor of modern sculpture, so now that we are in a modern world, his art reaches out to normal folks who are totally uneducated about mythologies and scriptures. Gates of Hell is a particularly awe inspiring piece that has nearly 200 individual sculptures, including a miniature Thinking Man. In this exurbia devoid of any public collections of great art, this museum is charming.

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Gates to nowhere in a sinking city

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Alviso Marina

Alviso Marina

I am talking of Alviso, the little town that can be approached at from Hwy 237, at the southernmost edge of the San Francisco Bay. It had a glorious past and was all set to become an town of utmost importance. But that didn’t happen – train tracks were built to bypass the town. The building of Bayside Cannery – one of the top 5 canneries in US in its heyday –  is still standing with murals depicting Alviso’s past and present.

With views as glorious and a neighborhood as quiet, you would think that the real estate prices would be skyrocketing. But Alviso is sinking, little by little. So, it has become a forgotten neighborhood where Bay Area locals come to get a glimpse of the past and enjoy the marshes.  Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge leads tours of the Alviso marshes to explain this area’s ecology. They also have events like “Beginning Birdwatching” or “Beginning Bird Photography”.

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Grassy Knolls of Skyline Ridge

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Russian Ridge Open Space Reserve

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. That one is a mouthful. Never found anything Russian about it. It is a bald hill in the midst of not so bald hills, full of dry grasses early in the winter, tall green grasses in the peak of winter and then full of wildflowers in the spring. There are other grassy knolls along the Skyline Blvd but this one is prettier than most. The parking site is a “vista point”. From here, you can see most of the Bay Area including the Bay and the bridges across the bay, which is more often than not, covered in smog.

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Written by Som

December 31, 2008 at 7:29 am

A hike on a mid-summer day

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A leaf on the trail

A leaf on the trail

Purisima Creek trail, a trail through a cool moist canyon is especially delicious on a summer afternoon. I love the towering redwoods, the sound of the creek, the ferns growing along the trail and the wild flowers. I like the challenge of the 1000 feet elevation change and the relative isolation of its 8 miles. I even like the 5 miles of winding Black Mountain Road that connects Woodside to Skyline Blvd.

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Written by Som

July 21, 2008 at 9:35 pm