We would like to introduce you to Kate, our friend over at The Kate Keeper. We are both huge fans of this blog, so we wanted to share her writing with you!
We asked her to write about living in San Francisco, just to drive ourselves crazy with jealousy. Enjoy living vicariously through this smart and talented blogger as she tells us about her city!
~ Miss Mélange
On Calling San Francisco Home
Before moving to San Francisco, we were planning to move to New York, one of my favorite places on the planet. The things I love about New York—its cosmopolitan manner, never ending list of things to do, and lively, center-of-the-world energy—were the things I suspected San Francisco lacked. San Francisco was on the table and all, because it was the closest city to both of our homes. When considering it, though, I thought of San Francisco as a crunchy, granola city, which is to say earthy, slow-paced and small town.
Maybe it was because San Francisco was the closest city growing up, and I had my sights set on the East Coast, or maybe it was because I had lived in a small beach town for two years and was itching to get back to urban life so badly that I thought no city but New York City would quench my cosmopolitan thirst. Even after college back east and many a weekend spent in Manhattan at my older sister’s place, my love for the right coast had only been solidified, but San Francisco is where we (me and a handsome mountain biker) moved.
I realize what a ridiculous sentiment this was to have about such a world-class city now. A year and half into our San Francisco adventure, I love this city like a sister; I know its quirks and faults and love watching it show off its fortes—mainly views, vittles, and outdoor diversion. So when Emily and Stephanie asked me to profile a bit of San Francisco life, I jumped at the opportunity. I hope you enjoy this virtual walk through my city set against the backdrop of the San Francisco things that won me over, things that make me sigh in happiness that this place is my home.
San Francisco Stereotyping
When I first got here, I fretted that the city was filled only with people that were into yoga and vegetarian cooking, which was particularly amusing since I like both of those things. To my ignorant surprise, many types of people live here. Meeting people in San Francisco that weren’t from the area and hearing them talk about how they had “always wanted to move to San Francisco” helped me start to see San Francisco for what it really is: more cosmopolitan than I expected.
Not that “crunchy” fits poorly on this city. It’s just that the crunchiness exists on a scale from neighborhood to neighborhood, from coffee shop to coffee shop, and there’s so much more to this city than organic food and Patagonia jackets. More than anything, I’d say it’s an outdoorsy city, and who doesn’t like that? All the perks of a bustling metropolis, plus mountains and beaches? Oh, if I must.
Throw out your high heels
One of my favorite things about living in San Francisco is something I expected I was going to like before we moved here. That’s how walkable it is. The weather is temperate year round, and the city is pretty compact, so I walk a lot when I’m in the right shoes. I joke about my shoes needing replacements every hundred miles like car tires, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard San Franciscans say, “I never wear my cutest shoes anymore!” The hills are killer in flats. In heels they’re a face-plant waiting to happen. Cabs Uber rides exist here for girls in heels.
Walking around town is a treat, not just for the exercise, but also for the views. Here, your eyes feast on architecture, ocean vistas, and the way the busy streets fade into oblivion at the crest of the hills, like this.
I particularly love walking north along Fillmore Street to Broadway, where you’re rewarded with this view.
During the day, sailboats often play upon the white caps in the bay and at night, Sausalito and Tiburon—across the bay—light up like an evening wedding. Notice that the grade is so steep here that the sidewalk has been carved into a set of stairs. This is one of my favorite places in the city.
I’m always hungry for San Francisco.
Another realization made me love San Francisco even more: If you walk enough, you can do what I do and enter a state of perpetual mild hunger, which is perfect since San Francisco is bursting with culinary delights. In a short amount of time, San Francisco proved its food chops to me, and the first step was finding a burrito place. It’s actually a funny story.
Said handsome mountain biker and I had walked past Tacobar for months before he suggested we try it. The only taqueria we’d tried so far was delicious but far out of the way, so we were still in the market for one. Considering we’d lived in the city for six months tops, I have no idea why that day I adamantly suggested the less-than-authentic taco place we’d been to a few times. I’d barely scathed the surface of Mexican eateries, and I was already waving the red flag, signaling that we’d never find a closer-to-our-apartment taqueria!
If I had to venture a guess about why I put up a fight about it, I’d guess it’s because I can be judgmental (of taquerias) and stubborn (in general). Fortunately, stubbornness is something we dabble in together, and he won that day. Yes, I lost by having to eat the best damn veggie burrito in the city. This is both the story of how we found our burrito place and why we’re good together. Barely a week goes by that we don’t visit Tacobar.
But there’s more than burritos here. Whether you want a cocktail made by a mixologist with business cards, cold-brewed artisan coffee, carbs from an establishment dedicated entirely to the business of turning bread into toast, or a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a stand, you’ll find it here. And, since you asked, yes, I will supply you with a short list of things to consume from some of my favorite places in San Francisco.
That should get you started. When you’re full…
Escape the city
One thing that San Francisco has on New York is its wide variety of city escapes just over yonder. Actually, you don’t even have to leave the city to escape the city here, though you definitely can. For inside-the-city escapes, note that not all of the hills here have hotels and restaurants on top of them. The untouched ones are hardly untouched, since San Franciscans make hiking and biking trails up them. I love that in this city, you can park your car in a neighborhood, hike for an hour to the top of the hill and back, and then walk just past your car to a café for brunch or beers.
If you want to leave the city, Yosemite, Tahoe, Santa Cruz and so many other vacation destinations beckon from mere hours drives. Still, you don’t have to go far for even more al fresco adventures. Stare up at the redwoods just across the Golden Gate Bridge, head to wine country for outdoor day drinking or a spa day, drive in any direction for hiking, or head west out of the city until you hit the beach. Part of this city is the outdoors, and it makes for urban living that feels both metropolitan and rustic. Yin and yang, folks.
San Francisco is a treat.
So, I was wrong guys, and I’ll be the first to tell you. Do I still fantasize about traipsing between the five boroughs in amazing shoes, reading my book club book on the most efficient subway system on the planet, and living with the knowledge that at any moment Jerry Seinfeld or Joanna could sit down next to me at the bar? Practically daily. New York might never be mine in the way I want to be, but in the meantime, San Francisco and I have a great thing going.
I’d love to know how long it took you to settle into your current city. Did anything take you by surprise? Was it your first choice of place to live?
For more San Franciscan adventures and stories about things I care about, come say hi at The Kate Keeper.