Hike #10 (Urban Hike #4): Outer Richmond, aka the Dumpling trail

Location: San Francisco (the Richmond)

Distance: 5.5m

Entry fee: $0

Hike #10 was cause for celebration on a number of levels.  Not only am I beyond thrilled to be steroid and gauze free, but we have now officially hit the double digits.  Way to go us.

Molly always talks about how she has never spent any significant time in the outskirts of San Francisco, so we decided to take care of that.  We headed out to the Great Highway to knock one of these neighborhoods off the list: the Richmond.

This hike we dubbed the Dumpling Trail (or, if you’d prefer, the Fatty McTubster hike).  We only actually hit up one dumpling spot for food, but we did walk by at least a four dozen others.

The Richmond, which used to be a vast expanse of sand dunes, was built up following the 1906 earthquake to rehouse the population.  It is one of the last Irish enclaves in SF (who came to the city by way of the Transcontinental Railroad) and also has huge Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese populations.  (The Russians/Eastern Europeans came in the 1920s following the Russian Revolution, and again during the Cold War.  The Chinese showed up in the late 1960s after the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted.)  We decided to try to hit up some Irish/Chinese/Russian food/drink/music on this hike to celebrate the cultural diversity of the neighborhood.

First point of action was getting dinner, and dumplings seemed like the right sort of celebratory Chinese cuisine for the occasion.  Decision time.  Options were:

  • King of Chinese Dumpling
  • Shanghai Dumpling King
  • Kingdom of Dumpling

After much research and scrutiny, Shanghai Dumpling King won out.

Good call.  This is the place to go for all things dumpling.  The spicy dumplings were particularly fantastic.

Following dinner we made our way up to Bazaar Cafe on California with plans to hang out in the back garden, listen to some live music, and maybe grab a beer.  We walked in to find…people praying in the back garden and a poetry jam/scripture reading in the front.  Unclear what happened there.  Time to move on to Tia Margarita…because what better way to get over barging in on a prayer group than watching Shani Davis win gold while drinking a margarita the size of your head.

Sidenote: at Tia I asked the bartender for a water with my marg (hydrate before you recreate), he told me they don’t serve water.  I laughed.  He never gave me water.

So at 3 miles, in a light tequila haze, we made our way back down to Geary and over to John Campbell’s Irish Bakery (which, btw, is open until 10pm.)  This place COMPLETELY ROCKS.  We got some apple fluffers, snowballs, and scones.  Because we needed some extra calories.

Final pub stop of the night, The Plough and Stars, where we finally found our live Irish music!  These dudes were definitely Irish, and they jammed.

The final stop on the Dumpling Trail was Michelle’s new digs in Presidio Heights…which just happens to be .5 blocks away from the corner of Washington and Cherry, the location of one of the Zodiac murders.   WAY exciting.

Hike #10: SUCCESS!!  Though we didn’t hit up any perogies or brats…but don’t worry, there are more hikes to come.

Lessons Learned: The Richmond is named after the Richmond District in Melbourne, Australia; a little more research on “live music” at certain venues might be worth your time

Flora and Fauna: 

As you slide down the banister of life, may all the splinters be going in the right direction. ~Irish blessing

Hike #9.5: (Urban Hike #3.5): Western Addition Dinner Hike (Guest blogger)

Location: San Francisco (Western Addition)

Distance: 0.5 miles (I actually google mapped it)

Entry fee: $0

It’s Guest Blogger, Molly, again!  Meagan, Chrissy, Michelle and I planned on having dinner at the Bean Bag Café to catch up and hang out.  Meagan and I needed to get some more hikes in, so we planned a SF Beer Week Hike Part 2 to hit all the bars we didn’t the first time around.  We had a 6 mile route planned, but the actual hike was going to depend on Meagan’s poison oak and how far she could comfortably walk.  Guess the poison oak was feeling really lazy, so it called upon a skin infection to break Meagan out in hives and send her to emergency care.  SF Beer Week Hike Part 2: Cancelled.

The three of us met for dinner anyways, which was quite tasty.  Afterwards, Michelle left to go back to work (boo) but, we had a few hours before Chrissy had to go to a concert at the Independent, so we started a crawl of our own.  We walked a block south on Divis to Madrone, where we both had a beer and enjoyed people watching (strange people in shorts and wasted wobbly people at 7pm).  After hydrating at Madrone, we geared up for our arduous 4 block walk to Candybar.  We walked in, but weren’t feeling the wine and cheese plate vibe, so we moved on.  We hiked another block to Bar 821, which would end up being our final destination.

Hike #9.5: short, but sweet.

Lessons learned: every 0.003 miles counts, as Meagan so succinctly texted us from emergency care

Flora and Fauna: brown sugar cubes at Bar 821 look like croutons, but why would croutons be sitting in a bowl at a bar?

Hike #9: (Urban Hike #3): SF Beer Week (Guest blogger)

Location: San Francisco (SOMA, Mission, Lower Haight)

Distance: 6 miles (planned…actual – much, much shorter)

Entry fee: $0

Stop #1 - Anchor and Hope

Hello to the Meggawho Blogosphere!  Molly here guest blogging for Hike #9, which Meagan unfortunately missed.  Be nice, I’m an engineer by profession and haven’t written much since college, so bear with me.  I’ll do my best to be as witty and informative as Meagan.

I received an email from a friend informing me that SF Beer Week was happening and we decided that it would be a great theme for an urban hike.  For once, we planned our route early enough to have a bunch of friends join us.  Everything was set until the very last minute when Meagan had to leave early for Santa Cruz and nurse her poison oak butt.  However, that didn’t stop the rest of us from foraging on ahead without our fearless leader!  Allie and I got out of work early, so we decided to add the Anchor and Hope event to the hike.  I started the crawl with a delicious Czech Pilsner that has been brewed in since 1008.


Next, we walked to City Beer Store – a fun little place with a wide selection of bottled beer that you can buy beers for either to go, or you can pay a fee and enjoy it right in the store.  Next,  we were set to meet Meagan’s replacement,  Paul, at Rosamunde in the Mission…and since we thought we were in a hurry to meet him there,we decided to skip this leg of the walk and cab it over.   Here, we had a specially tapped Stone IPA that I paired with my beer sausage dinner.  Deeeelish. After fueling up at Rosamunde, we noticed our walk to Toronado was quite far and decided to get a beer to go.  At the next corner store we got a Bud Light tall boy, which we split into the To-Go cups that Allie so thoughtful brought with her from work.  But, after a few blocks of walking and the tall boy almost gone, we hopped into a cab.

Toronado ended up being the designated meeting place for a few more friends, which was great, but kinda derailed the remaining two stops on our hike.  Oh well.  While at Toronado, the Edel-Weiss beers were flowing and we started to miss our blogger extraordinaire.  So, with the aid of my awesome and handy Droid, we sent her a series of photos and texts so she wouldn’t miss out.

Having Fun
But sad at the same time (we missed you, Meagan!)

Hike #8: failure on actually “hiking,” but a success in enjoying delicious beers for SF Beer week

Lessons learned: without Meagan, I’m pretty lazy and can be talked out of actually “hiking” on an urban hike

Flora and Fauna: allie f, paul h, chrissy, allie c, ferg, carl, brian, and paul b:  awesome friends to have beers with on a Friday night.

Hike #3: First urban hike- Marina/North Beach

Location: San Francisco, CA (Pac Heights, The Marina, North Beach)

Distance: 5 miles

Entry fee: $0

Blisters: 2

This whole week it has been POURING, which has really put a damper (ha) on our ability to do any serious hiking.  So on Thursday Molly and I decided we were going to brave the rain and set out on Urban Hike #1 (still trying to come up with a good name for it.)  Decked out in rain gear and galoshes, we started out at my apartment, heading over Divisadero, through the Marina, up to Aquatic Park and North Beach, and finished up by the TransAmerica building in the Financial District.  Because the weather was so bad, we decided we should probably take shelter periodically to avoid getting too cold and, you know, pneumonia.

Fish Bowl--stop 1

First shelter we found was the Fish Bowl, ~.6 miles from my home.  I actually met Molly there.  She was alone at the bar.

We made our way over Divis without much trouble.  Molly demonstrated some of her x-treme hiking technique, but my camera is apparently not extreme enough to fully capture the skill involved at night in the rain.

DONAHUE'S!--stop 2

Though this wasn’t an originally scheduled stop on our trip, our spontaneous break at Donahue’s in the Marina turned out to be (not surprisingly, look at the name) one of the best of the night.   We made a ton of new white, slightly overweight, middle-aged male friends and got some free drinks from the owner, Tommy Donahue.  Sully, the bartender, also provided me with a few Donahue coasters.  We’ll be going back.

Next we stopped by Ghirardelli Square to see the gazebo that Molly designed.  It was VERY cool and made me feel like I have accomplished little in life, you should go see it.  Or maybe even sit in it.

We also made a visit to the Buena Vista cafe, where the first Irish Coffee was made.  Who knew.  Molly’s roommate, Laura, met us there.  She joined us for the remaining 1.3 miles.

La Trappe -- stop 4 (hydrating before recreating)

1.8 miles after Donahue’s we made a stop at La Trappe for a little taste of Belgium.  The night quickly deteriorated from there.

We arrived Vesuvio, our final destination, about 2 blocks up the street from the Trans America building (on the left), just in time for me to catch a cab home and (almost) make my 10pm bedtime goal.

Urban hike #1: success…though we may need to readjust the bar:mile ratio for the next one.

Molly imitating art at Vasuvio -- stop 6

Lessons learned: the first Irish coffee wasn’t made in Ireland, hiking 5 miles in galoshes isn’t as bad as you would think, Molly should model

Flora and Fauna: Tommy Donahue