Monday, January 23, 2012

16th Ave Tiled Steps Project

On a clear day in San Francisco, the 16th Ave Tiled Steps Project is a great place to see panoramic views of the city. Located on Moraga between 16th and 17th Street, the 163 mosaic steps soar straight up to the base of Grand View Park (one of San Francisco's highest points). The steps paint a picture of the sea flowing into the sky. A colorful twist of water and sea life swirl up the steps to land with flowers, plants, birds, and frogs and ends with a beautiful sky with stars and even a massive sun. 

The project started as a community effort to beautify the steps and ended up a work of art known around the world. Started in 2003, the 16th Ave Tiled Steps Project along with hundreds of volunteers helped the vision become a reality. Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher created the unique design of the risers and over 300 community volunteers helped make the tiles and bring the project to life.

The steps aren't only known for their beauty. Many locals enjoy using the 163 as a work-out or a place to sit and reflect. The steps are located in Golden Gate Heights, a quiet neighborhood in the Sunset. They are easy to reach by Muni or by car with ample parking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jackson Fillmore Trattoria

Jackson Fillmore Trattoria is a cozy little neighborhood restaurant in the Fillmore District. I recently went there for dinner with two friends. The restaurant's decor is very simple in keeping with the family/neighborhood motif. We were immediately greeted at the door and sat on time for our reservation. A ton of reviews on Yelp complain about the size of the restaurant and the wait for a table. To those people who don't appreciate the cozy friendly neighborhood vibe of this place, you should hit the local Olive Garden. When a restaurant claims they are "cozy", it means they are small, so plan accordingly.

I ordered the Linguini Fra Diavolo which claims to be "a total Jackson Fillmore classic", but sadly I wasn't very impressed. The sauce was nice, but lacked the spice that I usually find in a Fra Diavolo sauce. I was expecting my mouth to be on fire with the devil, but sadly it wasn't. My friends ordered the Zuppetta Di Pesce and the Polla Alla Noci. The Zuppetta Di Pesce was a hit and my friend was very happy with her cioppino-like dish. The Pollo Alla Noci literally disappeared into my friends stomach in 2 minutes. (I think he liked it.) The dish was a boneless chicken breast covered with mushrooms, walnuts, pine nuts, sherry wine and a touch of cream. It looked delicious. If I wan't allergic to nuts, I would have asked for a taste. The waiter was super friendly in that he noticed my friend inhailed his dish and we were still eating, so he offered to bring him some bread to slop up the sauce.

I liked Jackson Fillmore Trattoria; however, I don't know if it tops my list of neighborhood pasta joints. The service is friendly and the price is right. My favorite part of the meal was the complimentary bruschetta for the table. I wasn't as impressed with my meal as my friends were with theirs.

A final positive for the restaurant was that I made a reservation by leaving a message on their voicemail as their service wasn't working properly. I quickly received a call back which was a nice personal touch by the staff. Too often restaurants don't call you back and assume you will call them again, which is just plain rude.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pearl's Delux Burgers

As we continue the search for the best burger in San Francisco, we stumbled upon Pearl's Delux Burgers last Saturday night. I have no idea how we missed this unassuming establishment for so long. It isn't as fancy as a Sliders or as trendy hip as Umami Burger in the Marina, but it's damn well tastier.

We hit up the Pearl's in downtown San Francisco on Post and Jones. There are two other locations, one in SOMA and another in Alameda. Pearl's has an assortment of standard burgers as well as some out-of the-ordinary choices like the Bomb Burger, an open faced burger smothered in chili, shredded cheese, and diced onions. I chose the mini-burger (1/4 lb.) as opposed to my husband who chose the Delux (Standard) 1/2lb burger. The burger was absolutely melt in your mouth delicious. Pearl's doesn't offer a "topping bar" like Sliders, because the burgers speak for themselves. No need to dress them up. Two points for Pearls also in that they had a bucket of serve yourself pickles on the counter. (Yum) Pearl's also offers fancy burgers like Kobe beef and buffalo meat for almost double the price.

I'd say my second favorite thing about Pearl's besides the delicious burger is that the Post location is right down the street from 2 international hostels. I couldn't figure out if I was in a hostel common room or an actual restaurant in San Francisco. I loved it! Listening to all the hipster travelers brought me back to my good old traveling days. I would probably walk the extra few blocks from our house past Sliders to hit up Pearl's just for the entertaining conversation.