Report from San Francisco

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I spent Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, a city I hadn't been to in a while. It was gorgeous. When the weather's good there's no prettier city in the U.S. A few thoughts on some of the stuff I encountered there after the jump...

1. The highlight for me was the new De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Photos do not do the building justice. It's magnificent! Not just the tower with its cool views of SF (though it is indeed pretty damn cool) but other parts, too. I think the area that will stick with me the most was a huge overhang (I'm sure there's a better word, but it's after 5pm) cantilevered over a terrace. Just unbelievable. We spent most of our time in the Nan Kempner fashion exhibit--my partner and I were in SF with his grandmother, who likes style and design--which isn't really my thing. But I insisted we check out the James Turrell "skyspace" in the sculpture garden. I love his work, as you can tell from Sky High, a story we did on his skyspaces a few months back.

2. The food is still impeccable. Although the best meals we had were at two longstanding SF favorites: Zuni Cafe and the Slanted Door. (The steak at the former was so fine, and if you go to the Slanted Door--and you should--order all the vegetables you can handle. It helps if you crave peanut oil like I do.) We also went to A16 in the Marina District (noisy and hot, and the pizza can't remotely compare to Franny's in Brooklyn) and Town Hall in SoMa (very banker-y).

3. Our hotel, the Hotel Vitale, was a splurge (for Adam, anyway--I was his guest on this trip). I was iffy on it, but that may be because I've stayed at too many so-called boutique hotels and I was ticked at being in a room directly above the outdoor bar area. (When you walk into your hotel room only to discover a noise machine, be afraid.) When I complained to the front desk, they were cavalier. But the location was fierce: It's on the Embarcadero, right across from the Ferry Terminal, which has been converted into a terrific upscale foodie shopping mall, the Ferry Building Marketplace. Actually, the shops strike me as sort of weak, at least when you compare them to the farmer's market that's held on Tuesday and Saturday. The Saturday one also has lots of restaurant vendors, which are a bit hit or miss. And why have a BLT when you can eat fresh peaches?

I've got more, but it'll have to wait...

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