San Francisco 2011, Day Nine

I’ve been behind by a day throughout this trip, and it looks like I might finally catch up if I can knock this one out before I fall asleep. Today was our long-awaited Chinatown1 day. We strolled down Stockton Street and found ourselves in the midst of a bustling food market that extended several blocks in each direction. Every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine, seafood, dried who-knows-what, candy, tea, snacks, noodles… the list goes on. But the highlight of the day turned out to be the bizarre toys we found in bazaars and gift shops. These ranged from angry wooden toys to  zombie stickers that are designed to attach to your mirror so you can pretend to be a zombie in the morning,2 to “handerpants“, which, as the name suggests, are underpants for your hands.

Along with the hilarious gift items, there were also some really beautiful earthenware bowls and teapots, scarves, tapestries, and I think I noticed decorative swords for sale in nearly every shop. (Careful, kids.) We lunched at a vegetarian restaurant called “Lucky Creation”, where I enjoyed the best potstickers of my life and my friend had the “sizzling spicy shrimp balls”,3 which was poured into a hot iron dish in front of us so we could see the sizzling action first-hand.

Then on to City Lights bookstore, one of our regular stops. Instead of looking at books this time, I just sat and enjoyed the feeling of an independent bookstore filled with people.4

As the sun went down, we swung by a local Italian restaurant, Trattoria Contadina, for a scrumptious dinner.5 Later in the evening I researched ground transportation from Dulles airport back to DC, and thought about how sad I’ll be to leave my favorite city.6

More photos on Flickr.

  1. It is, in fact, the oldest Chinatown in North America. []
  2. I don’t need to pretend. []
  3. When his food arrived, I quipped, “Shouldn’t they be a little smaller than that?” and sniggered quietly for a few minutes. []
  4. I also discovered that one of my favorite versions of Pinocchio, beautifully written and illustrated by French graphic artist Winshluss, now has an English language version. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t carry the French one, but ultimately happy that it’s been brought to an American audience. Be prepared, though, for an unconventional, graphic, and occasionally obscene retelling. As one reviewer on Amazon puts it, “No child should ever see a woman riding Pinocchio’s face.” []
  5. I had a beet/arugula/ radish/goat cheese/pistachio salad, followed by ravioli, and then  a spumoni cake with four delicious flavors of gelato for dessert. []
  6. Especially since summer is in full swing by now back home; 90-degree temperatures and suffocating humidity. []

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