West Coast, Best Coast

Back in August, I had the long-overdue pleasure of taking my first trip out to California. First stop: San Francisco. As Mark Twain once wrote, the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge

I had to knock some things off the touristy checklist … so I took a bike ride along the bay then over the Golden Gate Bridge, got some nice shots of Alcatraz, walked up and down Lombard Street, saw the Painted Ladies, took a few rides on the Hyde Street Cable Car, and hiked through Muir Woods.

But then of course, there was the checklist of artistic pilgrimages. First, I took an afternoon to peruse the SFMOMA. The museum had a great collection (some favorites of mine—Rothko, Klee & Albers), an impressive exhibition of portraits by Cindy Sherman, and a relaxing rooftop sculpture garden. I also stopped by William Stout Architectural Books, per an old professor’s recommendation. I wish I had scoped it out earlier in my trip because I probably could have spent an entire day and life savings there. The breadth of the store’s collection was incredible. I picked up some books on Mackintosh and Wagner. Lastly, I did some design idol stalking and stopped by TitleCase. This is the studio of renowned  typographers and letterers, Erik Marinovich and Jessica Hische.

SFMOMA

Where's Waldo at the SFMOMA

And to wrap up San Fran, there was the culinary checklist of unforgettable food. First stop upon arrival to SFO was Saigon Sandwich. Can I just say, I’m still dreaming about those freakin’ delicious Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches? Another day, I enjoyed lunch al fresco at the hipstery Tartine Bakery & Cafe. The line was an obvious pronunciation of legitimacy. My local line neighbor insisted on getting a banana cream pie and his suggestion wasn’t bad in the least. As I walked over to Dolores Park, I stopped at the Bi-Rite Creamery walk-up window for a salted-caramel ice cream. Bi-Rite is responsible for the quintessential market across the street from the Creamery and some pretty stellar cookbooks. Finally, my last night in San Fran consisted of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. How do I imagine perfect thin-crust, brick-oven baked margherita pizza? Exactly as they served me. Coupled it with a local San Francisco brew, Anchor Steam, and I was happy as a clam.

Bahn Mi

Next stop: Los Angeles. I knew when I was over on the west coast, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit my best friends, Kate and Nate. These two entertainers moved to LA with their dreams and cardigans hoping to make it in show business. They’re on their ways and I’m glad to have them as creative friends.

After Nate jet-set for Austin, Kate and I enjoyed a few days of best friend time. We had an active day, which included a ride down Venice beach on a tandem bicycle (hilarious and much harder than it looks) as well as a sunset hike up and down Runyon Canyon. My last day in Cali was our artsy day. First, we spent the afternoon at the Getty Center to see the Klimt “Magic of Line” exhibition. Klimt is one of my all-time favorite artists, mostly because he’s Viennese. The exhibition was showcasing some of his early drawings as well as the Beethoven Frieze. I saw these in Vienna last year, but it was refreshing to be reminded of his work and thoughts this summer. We then took a drive and personal pilgrimage to see the Eames house. Too bad for us, we found it 30 minutes passed closing time. Whoever was in the house wasn’t too pleased when we ducked under the fence to try and see the property. But I snapped a few pictures anyways…

At the Getty Center

The Eames House

We took one last cliché, unwritten drive down the PCH before heading to LAX to catch my red-eye back to ol’ Virginny. It was an all-around good trip and I can only hope I make it back out to the west side someday soon.