San Francisco: Great Beer, Amazing Coffee, Adventures and Tattoos

Let me start by acknowledging that 4 days is not nearly enough time to explore San Francisco.

Last week we went to the bay area for a Family Reunion. I have no family that lives there, we all live in different parts of the states so every so often we pick a new place to go explore.

The downfall in travelling in groups is that we are all bound by different interests. Because there is so much walking in San Francisco, physical abilities are also a factor. All that to say that I would have preferred more exploration and less worrying if all 10 of us were accounted for. However,  I had a great time with the experience of seeing the small piece of the city we did see and also connecting with family.

I swore to myself that I would get pictures of food from all the restaurants I ate at, and I forgot at every one. NOT ONE SINGLE PICTURE OF FOOD!

Adventure Blog FAIL!

Here’s what we did get to do.

Wednesday. Arrived at approximately 10pm:

After delays due to heavy fog in the bay area we finally arrived  at San Francisco airport about an hour late. Our Airbnb was in Oakland. After contemplating on uber vs taxi we found a cab driver who was willing to lower his price and we didn’t need to wait for the less expensive uber option.

When we reached our home for the week we found that the neighborhood wasn’t as safe as we’d liked. At midnight there were several people just hanging out in the area. A lot of people. As an observation, in nicer neighborhoods there usually aren’t people out all hours of the night.

The house itself was great, very cute and eclectic style. I was very happy with this rental. The property was gated and we had no issue during the day or in the house.

Since we were 2 blocks from the BART we had planned to either use that or uber for transportation.

This only worked if we were willing to walk through the neighborhood at night.

Safety first!  

So the next morning we rented a car and, besides for getting hit with a high price for the immediate rental car everything else went really smooth.

TRAVEL TIP: Know the neighborhood you’re staying in. Once I figure out the most reliable way to do that I’ll update this post with my suggestions.

Thursday Day 2:

After renting a the car we headed to Rose Gold’s Tattoo in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood for a 12:30 appointment.

san francisco rose golds tattoo

Several years ago in Maui I got a tattoo of a heart with my wedding date on it. I have remained Facebook friends with the artist, Sadie Kennedy. Since then she has moved to San Francisco and when I realized that we were going there I knew that I needed to  get a tattoo that I had been thinking about for a while.

Most of Thursday was spent doing that.

Here’s a photo of her original art and the actual tattoo.

SCAN0006pheonix rose golds sadie kennedy


After leaving the studio, we found the rest of the family that had come in that day and went and got some dinner.

After a lot of back and forth we settled on Izzy’s Steak and Chop House.


The food here was great. We had to wait a while for them to put a table together for us but it was worth the wait.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t terribly hungry and was looking for something light and moderately healthy so I chose the Caesar salad with grilled chicken and a side of Izzy’s Own Potatoes. The salad was pretty good. Not much I can say about that, a good Caesar. The potatoes though. Delicious Au gratin potatoes.




Friday Day 3:

Fisherman’s Wharf!

fishermans wharf



This has been on my list for a while now. A day to explore the pier.

After meeting up with the family we embarked on the journey to the wharf via the BART and buses. This was an adventure in itself. Navigating was a challenge. The public transportation wasn’t incredibly intuitive. Knowing how much and what to pay were tough questions to get answered. Not to mention making sure we were headed to the right places. An attitude of “What’s the worst that can happen?” and a few kind people along the way helped and we made it there with little difficulty.


san francisco street car

Fisherman’s wharf was pretty incredible. Just about every kind of vendor you could think of was there. We found our way to Good Beer was found at the beer store and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe was satisfying.


San Francisco Seals

The highlight of the pier was definitely the sea lions at Pier 39. There was lots of barking and competing for the best spots.

I didn’t think to shoot a video, but fortunately there’s YouTube! We only saw about ⅓ of the sea lions that day, but it was still pretty amusing.


Saturday  Day 4:


The Golden Gate Bridge and The San Francisco Zoo!


IMG_0501After missing the sudden exit twice on the way to the bridge we finally made it.  

Unfortunately it was a really foggy day but it still allowed for a good view and some perfect pictures. I can see why it’s revered the way it is. It’s a massive statement to quality engineering.

We walked to the halfway point before heading back. This  was a really great way to have casual conversations and get some amazing photos.



After the bridge we trekked to the zoo.

We were so exhausted at this point from walking for the past 2 days that this might have been a mistake. We did, however, make a valiant effort and some really great exhibits.


After the Zoo Angie had decided she also needs her first Tattoo and after meeting Sadie she decided that she was the wanted. While a few people called it a day,  most of us went back to Haight-Ashbury.


grace tattoo

While Angie was getting a tattoo the others the rest of us went across the street to Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery for food and beer. I highly recommend the Great Pretender IPA


San Fransisco Magnolia Great Pretender


Sunday Day 5:

A quick meet up with the family and then off to  the airport.

We did find a very environmentally friendly coffee shop on the way called Bicycle Coffee Company .  The coffee was fantastic!

The barista’s parents were from our small town of Enumclaw.  Small World.

He gave us a pound of coffee to bring back with us. My wife, who usually brews her coffee at home, is very disappointed that this will soon be running out. We are going to  Los Angeles in a few weeks and she is now insisting that we stock up from their Los Angeles location.

bicycle coffee company