We decided to start our second day off by checking out the locally acclaimed breakfast spot called Dottie’s True Blue Café. We first stopped by the coffee shop across the street from our room and proceeded to walk down to Dottie’s. As we got closer, we realized that there was quite a line of people outside the restaurant waiting to be seated. After a quick debate, we agreed that we’d stay in line to see what all the hype was about.

Our wait was about 45 minutes, and it wasn’t without entertainment of different sorts. Just two doors down, there we could see some homeless people coming back and forth looking pretty out of it. There was a certain burning smell in the air, but it didn’t smell like anything that I’d ever come across before. Lori and I figured that it was probably the homeless folks firing up some sort of drugs, right there in the open, facing the door of an unoccupied business. You could smell this pungent burning and then the “addicts” would come walking down the street, half out of it, talking all crazy. There was some inaudible yelling, laughing, and then back to the little nook they’d go with a new person, most likely firing one up again. This went on for about 20 minutes, keeping everyone in line amused while we all waited for our turn to be seated in Dottie’s.

One thing that we found out about the area that we were in was that a lot of places don’t take credit cards; “Cash Only Please.” We quickly learned that carrying a little cash was going to be essential in case we ran across a place like that. While in line, I thought about this and remembered that I didn’t have any cash on me. Now was the time to find out if this was one of those establishments.

I headed to the front of the line so that I could poke my head in the door and ask about the payment situation before it was too late. Toward the front of the line, I asked a couple people if they had eaten there before. A friendly girl confirmed that yes, this was not her first time. I then asked “Do y’all know if they take credit cards?” I could see that there was a Discover card sign, but nothing else. The girl said that she didn’t know. Then a guy friend of her said “but I don’t think that they serve people that say y’all.” And with that he and his friends laughed. I got a good laugh out of it too.

Not getting the answer that I was looking for, I walked into the small restaurant and asked one of the busboys. He said “yes, we take Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover”. Perfect! We were in good shape. As I started to walk back to our spot in line, I passed the guy that made the “y’all” comment. The girl that he was with said “Do they?” and I replied with “Yes,” looked at her male companion, and said “And they DO serve people that say y’all!” Everyone got a kick out of my response.

I got back in line with Lori and we started talking to an older couple right in front of us. They were from New York. He worked in Theater financing in NY and also for the Discount Ticket box there. She did non-profit work for theater. They were pretty cool to talk to while we waited outside. They had just eaten there the day before and said that it was well worth the wait.

Our time finally came to be seated. Everything on the menu looked great. I took pictures of the both sides of the menu so you could see what they had to offer. Lori ordered a Coconut Vanilla muffin (I don’t like coconut myself so she had it all to herself. According to her, it was delicious.) I ordered a spinach, corn, roasted tomato, scallion and goat cheese omelet. The order came with homemade buttermilk dill toast and potatoes, which happened to be new potatoes. I’ve got a picture of the food that we ordered as well. It was dynamite, to say the least. Definitely well worth the wait.

The restaurant was a cozy little establishment with red, white and black mosaic tiled flooring. The decorations around the place made it feel retro. Kind of a kickback to the old-time diners. The wait staff has to be commended too. Even with as busy as they were, our waitress still made time to come by our table to let us know that she had 2 orders to take before ours and then she’d be back to us. True to her word, she took our order once the helped the 2 tables in front of us.

That started our second day. From there, we were off to Union Square. We didn’t have a Muni Pass (good for all public transportation) yet, so walking was our only option. While in Union Square, we stopped in at the Visitors Information Center. Browsing through the vast selection of tour offerings, restaurant guides, local maps, and other “while you are here” suggestion brochures, we began to pick out the ones that interested us the most. Of course, we ended up with quite a bit more than we’d be able to accomplish during the short week that we’d be in city by the Bay. The most important thing that we got while we were at the Visitor Center were 2 Muni Passes good for 3 days each. We got them for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The 3-day passes were $18 each, but well worth it considering that it worked for the bus system as well as the classic San Francisco Cable Car system that’s been running through that city for the past 133 years.

We were carrying 2 umbrellas with us during the day that we bought the day before due to the rain that made up our first actual day in the city. We took them with us again, just in case. Lori was getting tired of carrying her purse in addition to her umbrella so we decided to go in search of a cheap messenger bag. Store after store, it seemed like no one was selling these bags. Yet, everyone we saw walking the streets of San Francisco seemed to have one slung across their shoulders. After an hour or so, we finally came across one at Pacific Sunwear that was on sale from $39 down to $6.99. Couldn’t beat that! We got it, loaded it with our odds and ends, including the 2 umbrellas and once again, we were on our way, on foot, through the city.

After Lori (who was the most awesome navigator and directional planner anyone could ask for) pointed us in the direction of Chinatown. We began our trek toward this historic part of the area. She was ecstatic once we got there! She’d always wanted to go there, and now this was her chance. It’s so crazy how it was almost like being in a different world when you walked the streets of Chinatown. More than a few of the restaurants, bazaars, etc had nothing but Chinese writing in them. The architecture in the area was amazing to behold. It kind of made you feel like you were actually in China when you walked through certain areas. The sites, sounds, smells, all let you know what you weren’t just in any old city or neighborhood. Again, we took plenty of pictures while we traversed our way through Chinatown.

Toward the end of the day, we both needed to find a restroom (which seemed almost impossible in Chinatown). A local American at one of the street corners overheard us talking about it and pointed us in the direction of a coffee shop that he was pretty fond of. It’s called Café Trieste. As far as he was concerned, they had some of the best coffee around. And there was a public restroom in there as well. He also suggested that for dinner, we should head up this treacherous hill (toward Nobb Hill – one of the well-to-do areas) and find a taco place called Nick’s Tacos.

We thanked the guy and walked up to the coffee shop that he suggested. As recommended, the coffee was excellent. I also thought it’d be nice to try a piece of their tiramisu. They had generous helpings to offer and, Lori loves the stuff, and I just couldn’t pass it up. The tiramisu lived up to the same standards as the coffee.

A funny little story about while I was in the store waiting in line to make our order. Lori went outside to get a sidewalk table for us. There was an empty seat next to two guys that were sitting out there. She asked if the one seat was taken and one of the guys said “it is now,” with a conniving smile. She said “Well, what about this one too (pointing at another empty chair), I’ll need that one for my husband.” With that, the reality that the guy would not be able to score with Lori hit him. Too bad, so sad. He wasn’t a jerk about it though. Seemed like a nice enough guy when I got out there with our coffee and dessert.

Coffee shop done with, we started the journey up hill. Walking up the hill was a feat in and of itself, but once we made it up there, the view was breathtaking of the city down below! Exhausted as we were from the strenuous walk, it was well worth it. Off in the distance we could see the Bay Bridge with fog just starting to roll in. I tried taking some pictures of it, but they didn’t turn out quite as well as I would have expected. But, I’m not complaining, at least we got to see and experience the wonderful view.

By the time we caught our breath and relaxed a little from that 500-mile walk up hill, we started making our way back to our room. On the agenda for tomorrow, start using the Muni passes and see as much of the city as we could, including a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s the part that I was excited about – the San Francisco icon itself.

Our day was over and since we weren’t using the transportation passes yet, everything was all by foot. We were wiped out by 7:00pm, but it was a packed day of sightseeing and picture taking. The houses, businesses and buildings in general have so much great design to them. The architecture in Texas pales in comparison with what this place has to offer. We tried to capture as much of the architecture as we could before the battery for my camera ran out.

We got a ton of pictures that you can see on http://storyteller.myphotoalbum.com.

We are done for the day and ready for some rest. What a trip this has already been, and we really haven’t even started it yet.

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