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City, Food

San Francisco: Blazing Saddles

Posted by Sara / July 5, 2006

During Montreal's tantilizingly short summers, I prefer to stay in the city. Dog and skid-ball watching in the park, sweating into a giant beer at Idée Fixe, cruising down the Rachel path on my (er, I mean Mike's) bike... this is why I live here, bitter winters and grim career prospects be damned.

Unfortunately, the Powers That Be don't generally consult me about such matters, and I spend a lot of these sunny days doing the Willy Loman thing far from home. But it turns out that it's summer in California right now, too, and as Señor Hill's postcard-perfect pics attest, San Francisco has bike paths that make ours look like chipped beef on toast.

We started with a stroll down to Pier 39, home of the class war-winning sea lions. I always forget until I'm standing directly in front of these guys how utterly engrossing they are. I could watch them bark and rassle and bake their fat brown heads in the sun all day.

IMG_3541.jpgWe got our cuteness fix and headed to Blazing Saddles, a hilariously-named bike rental kiosk on Fisherman's Wharf. Our cycling expert, who insisted that we scream his name (pronounced roughly TattaTAOWW) when addressing him, hooked us up with fancy-pants mountain bikes and maps
that would take us down the waterfront, across the imposing Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito.

The Blazing Saddles dudes kept promising that it was a really easy bike ride, but they were lying liars. I'm grateful for their deception, because if they had given us even a hint of the treacherous hills and typhoon-force winds ahead, I might have reconsidered the trip and missed out on a most excellent adventure.

After a feel-the-burn climb through towering redwoods, we arrived at the sidewalk that would take us across the 1.7 mile bridge. Undaunted by pummeling winds, we stopped a few times to bravely dangle our feet over the edge and take lots of photos of ourselves making retarded faces in our aerodynamic helmets.

We caught our breath at Vista Point on the north side of the bridge and took about a bazillion more pictures before a fun downhill coast into Sausalito. This area, once a hideout for members of the Weather Underground, is now awfully hoity-toity for my tastes, and despite the nearly incapacitating aroma of roasted chicken from a bayside vendor, we didn't stay to check out any of the galleries or boutiques.

The 45-minute ferry trip back to the opposite shore amounts to a free cruise of the bay, with gorgeous sunset views of the skyline, Alcatraz, and both bridges. Cold Coronas in hand, we sat back and marvelled at our incredible kick-assedness for biking so far.
That night, we ate gut-wrenching fried seafood at some dive on the wharf (not exactly what your body craves after a two-hour workout). We made it up to our mouths and stomachs a few nights later with a vist to our favorite SF resto, Bisssp Boabab. This warm, casual spot in the the historic and lively Mission district offers traditional Senegalese specialties and exotic cocktails featuring rum, ginger, tamarind and hibiscus. Everyone seemed gaga over their lamb and fish dishes, and I still get weekly cravings for the tofu skewers in a tangy tomato and peanut sauce.

We washed it all down at our quasi-punk rock hangout in the Castro, Lucky 13. Free popcorn, $2 PBR, fooseball, and the Best Jukebox in the Entire Country... what was it I liked about summer in Montreal again?



Dave / July 6, 2006 at 01:06 am
Remember when we almost died on the bridge? Seriously, that wind shits on Mt Washington wind. Like, diarrhea shit.

J Mac / July 7, 2006 at 08:52 am
TatatTTTAOOW? Bissssp Baobab? Are they inventing their own language there? Or are they just being deliberately "eccentric?" Dicks.
Sara / July 7, 2006 at 02:49 pm
yeah, i've never even tried to pronounce that bisssp boabab--come on, THREE s's?
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