Taking a day to let San Francisco wash over us

It’s not often that I wake up with nothing on my agenda.


It’s not often that I wake up with nothing on my agenda. Between running BrokeAssStuart.com, freelance writing, working on my new comedy web series Shaky Ground, and all the other projects I’ve got going on, I often work seven days a week. But last Saturday Kayla and I woke up with no plans other than to give ourselves to San Francisco and see where she took us.

We started out at the new location of Fiorella on Polk Street. They just recently started doing brunch so we filled up on delicious fried polenta, eggs, and pancetta. Not only was the food excellent, the wallpaper was too! Illustrated by Bay Area artists Jorma Taccone and Matt Richie, the wallpaper is covered in caricatures of Bay Area legends like Angela Davis, Joe Montana, and Too $hort, and iconic locales like Alcatraz and the Grand Lake Theater.

After brunch we walked through the Broadway Tunnel howling (because that’s what you’re supposed to do in tunnels), and landed at the North Beach Festival. We were there early enough to miss the crowds, but still got to cruise around and see all the tchotchkes for sale. Plus we got to visit with friends. Wes Burger was doing a popup in a space next to Jeremy Fish’s new gallery and world pizza champion Matt Molina, who was working the door at Columbus Café, told us all about the new spot he’s opening in Oakland called Graffiti Pizza.

We wandered the back alleys of Jackson Square, looking for ghosts of the Barbary Coast, and taking silly photos. We found these bent window bars and I took a pic of Kayla pretending to be the one bending them. I put it on my instagram story with the caption “my girlfriend the cat burglar”. This proved prophetic later in the night.

Having worked up a thirst while frolicking, we settled in for a drink at The Old Ship Saloon. Well a couple drinks really. It helps soak in the atmosphere. The decision was then made that we should rejoin the 21st Century, so we headed off to the free Phono Del Sol music festival at Potrero Del Sol park.

Kid friendly, dog friendly, and skater friendly (there’s a big skate park there), Phono Del Sol was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Lovely and freezing that is. Without exaggerating, it was probably a 40 degree difference from the sweltering Saturday we had the week before. While the music kept us bopping and the drinks kept us buzzing, the frigid SF summer eventually won. We skittered off with our friends Alex and Sara to Junior, the new bar near 24th and Potrero, to warm up with a few more drinks, some sweet tunes by the DJ, and ready access to indoor plumbing.

We were deep into evening by this point and settled on having ramen for dinner so we stalked up and down 24th Street looking for what Alex and Sara swore was “the most amazing ramen place ever.” It no longer existed, so we settled on the next best thing: the first ramen place we saw.

Nobody ordered ramen but we did order a few bottles of sake and some beer and a number of rolls. We cheered and drank and ate and told dirty stories and soaked up that feeling you get when you’re sated and drunk and surrounded by good friends in the beautiful city you mostly love but sometimes hate.

Following dinner, Kayla and I popped by her friends’ place to feed their cats since they were on vacation in Iceland. Walking out the front door after ensuring the cats would survive another day, Kayla realized she’d left her friends’ keys inside the apartment at exactly the same moment that we heard the door go “click”. She’d locked the keys inside and we still had another week of feeding the felines. So she did what anybody who was a few drinks and a few sushi rolls deep would do: she decided to break in.

I gave her a boost that let her shimmy up to a second floor window that was open. She punched in the screen and then crawled in the window. Just before she was all the way in, I snapped a quick grainy pic of her leg sticking out the window. My earlier instagram joke about her being a cat burglar had come true!

All in all it was a wonderful San Francisco day. Whenever The City gets you down, it’s always nice to remember that, on the right day, at the right time, if you give yourself to San Francisco, she’ll still show you a grand old time.

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his mailing list at http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. He is a guest columnist and his point of view is not necessarily that of the Examiner.

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