Sunday, December 01, 2013

Let's Hear It For the Ladies Who Lunch

Well, tea, really.

Yesterday, my friend Meghan, her daughter Roz, and I all set off for San Francisco. We started early, leaving their place at 8:00 in the morning.

I was ready to go.

Hair curled, red scarf, red lippy.

We left Rosie Pro in El Cerrito, choosing to take BART into the city. Once there, we wandered around Market Street, the Ferry Building, then back up Market to the Blue Bottle Coffee Company, a favorite of Richard of Keane.

Of course, I had my phone out the whole time, snapping Instagram pics. I adore San Francisco--it is a truly photogenic city, full of architectural details and public art. So many things to take in. Every time I visit, I see something I haven't noticed before.

At the outdoor market by the ferry building.

The Ferry Building.

Orange Creamsicle donut.

We detoured specifically to get pics of these giant red

Roz and Meghan.

Megan and Meghan.

Established 1849, making it the oldest restaurant in the
State of California.

Just look at this city!

The Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
After the brief coffee stop, we walked on towards Macy's, browsing in a shop or two. At Macy's there were adoptable kittens in the window display, a yearly tradition that finds homes for a lot of homeless animals. We oohed and ahhed before moving on towards Union Square.

There, we stepped into Tiffany & Co. I've never been in before and...

Well, just wow.

Deck the streets with boughs and trolleys?

A Macy's kitten.

Macy's goes all out. A huge wreath in every window, the
tree, kittens...

Union Square

Next to the tree.

Window display at Tiffany & Co.

The view out the window on the 2nd floor of Tiffany & Co.

Yes. Yes, I made my first-ever Tiffany & Co. purchase. I
bought a beautiful porcelain candy cane ornament and
this might just become a tradition. Sometimes a lady just
needs to splurge!
By the time we left Tiffany & Co, it was getting time to hike up the hill to the International Continental Mark Hopkins Hotel. It's in the gorgeous Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, which is not only beautiful (the buildings are spectacular, and the views are amazing), it's also, well, uphill.

There's a reason San Francisco has trolleys, you know.

This picture doesn't give the hill justice. It was steep. I'm in
pretty darned good shape, and it left me a bit breathless.

Near the hotel, the cathedral.

The restaurant is, of course, at the top of the hotel, for the
spectacular views.

Looking down the hill. Now you get a good sense of it.
 We headed up to the Top of the Mark. It's not the tallest hotel, but it is situated among few tall buildings at the top of a massive hill, so, as I've mentioned, the views are stunning. I was not the only person with a camera out throughout the afternoon. As the fog rolled into the bay, and the light changed later in the afternoon, I just couldn't stop taking pictures. You'll understand why; just keep scrolling.

The tea itself was marvelous. Delicious food, gorgeous presentation. Roz and I both chose the Good Tidings blend tea, which had, as far as we could figure, apple, cranberry, orange, cinnamon, was lovely. Meghan had the cinnamon cardamom, which smelled lovely.

When you step off the elevator into the lobby, you're
greeted by this view. That's the TransAmerica building  to
the right.

From our table, the city, and yes, that is the Golden Gate
Bridge out there, with Karl the Fog rolling in underneath it.

The cathedral. I can't remember the name.

Meghan and I had champagne.

Scones, preserves, Devonshire cream, lemon curd.

The sandwiches were salmon (topped with caviar), egg with
mint and a bit of raspberry on top, sun-dried tomato with
rosemary, and cucumber topped with an olive.

The desserts.

In the end, all that was left was Santa...and he didn't last.
By this time, the battery on my phone was very low, so I switched over to my camera.

A candid of Roz and Meghan.

Ladies Who Lunch!

A close-up of the Golden Gate and Karl the Fog (that is what people
actually call it. He has a Twitter and Instagram and everything).

From our table, I could see this window framing the
Trans-America building.

Looking to the southeastern side of downtown--the Bay Bridge and Yerba
Buena Island can just be seen behind the buildings.

South San Francisco off in the distance.

From our table, we had a view of this building and behind it,
Alcatraz and Angel Island.

Fabulous old Nob Hill mansion--one that was not destroyed in the 1906

Even from the Top of the Mark, I can find a sign picture.

Way off in the distance, west of us.

Karl continued rolling in, the sun started going down, and San Francisco
got even lovelier, if that is even possible.

I love the colors in this one!

Back by the elevator, I took another shot, loving the pinks and purples.

The Mark Hopkins mansion, in candy form--the mansion was destroyed in
the 1906 quake, but its legacy lives on in the hotel built on the site.
After leaving the Mark, we wandered back down the hill (which is actually quite hard on the knees), towards Union Square, Market Street, and BART. I took some more pictures, and found some new signs for my collection. Finally, we caught BART back to El Cerrito, where Rosie was waiting.

The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins.

Nob Hill homes.


When I got home, I showed off my splurge from Tiffany & Co. to Mom and Dad, then hung it on the tree where we can all enjoy it. I'm keeping the little robin's egg blue box with the white ribbon to store the ornament in, and the little shopping bag as well. It's not every day a Lady Who Lunches makes her first Tiffany & Co. purchase!

It was a marvelous day--a lovely experience with lovely company. I haven't been to San Francisco in a while--I've just been too busy--and it was great to spend a day exploring that incredible city. Meghan and I are talking of making tea at the Top of the Mark an annual tradition!

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