A Very Cool Thrift Store Find! San Francisco History!

Very Cool Thrift Store Find!

San Francisco History!
The Condor and Big Al’s on Broadway
Original photograph signed by Bob Kreisel and rescued for $2

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Original photograph signed by Bob Kreisel

The Condor   Where It All Began
The birthplace of the world’s first topless & bottomless entertainment
Topless – June 19, 1964   Bottomless – September 3, 1969
Starring Ms. Carol Doda   San Francisco, California

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

The Condor Club and Big Al’s are located at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenue in the North Beach district of San Francisco. The Condor Club opened in 1964. The large marquee sign featured a cartoon image of Carol Doda with red flashing lights on her breasts. Carol Doda’s 44DD breasts were dubbed “the New Twin Peaks of San Francisco” and were insured for $1.5 million with Lloyd’s of London.

NOTE: The other famous clubs on the block are Roaring 20’s and the Hungry 1 Club.

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Carol Doda (August 29, 1937 – November 9, 2015) was the first known topless entertainer and a cultural icon of the 1960’s. She made history on June 19, 1964, when she bared her breasts and performed in a topless “monokini”. The club went “bottomless” on September 3, 1969, and remained full nude until 1972 when it became illegal to serve alcohol in full nude clubs.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

Carol Doda danced at the Condor Club until 1985 and died in 2015. Her only arrest happened in 1965, when police raided the club on April 22. She was arrested along with Pete Mattioli and Gino del Prete, the owners of the club on indecency charges. They were all found not guilty. She retired as a stripper in the 1980s but continued performing, and she also owned Carol Doda’s Champagne and Lace Lingerie Boutique in San Francisco until her death from kidney failure in 2015.

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Broadway and Columbus in North Beach, San Francisco (at night)

The original Condor Club closed in 2000. For a time it was a sports bar (and still is), and then a restaurant and a performance venue. The current Condor Club reopened in 2007 as “San Francisco’s Original Gentlemen’s Club” with a new neon sign.

“You know what’s funny about The Condor? 1) It’s not really a strip club until 6 pm, and 2) it has two entrances: one for the strip club, and one for a pretty unremarkable sports bar with big-picture windows facing Columbus St, a decent-enough draft beer selection, and live music. The two are separated by a small door frame with a velvet curtain drawn, so if you’re new and you make your way in through the Columbus entrance, you might not even put two and two together that you’re in a strip club. And, since we’re in the middle of North Beach, it’s exactly the kind of place a hapless tourist could wander into.” – Lauren Sloss in 2014

Big Al’s (the adult book store) closed in 2009. It is now a sandwich shop and cigar store. They kept the name and the neon sign.

Both clubs are San Francisco landmarks and an important part of the history of the city. The strip clubs of North Beach have been seen in many films and TV shows, featured on postcards and in travel and tourist brochures for over fifty years.

Bob Kreisel

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This bio was on the back of the photograph

The Condor Club560 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133 415-968-8678 http://www.condorsf.com

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ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon!

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon! Ten Days “On The Road” and on a mission.

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Cold Rain and Snow! Ashland, Oregon 3-14-18

Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon and now WE ARE BACK!

NOTE: The road trip happened in early March with the threat of winter weather in the north and in the Siskiyou Pass into Oregon, so we had to time our travel and hope for good weather on both sides.

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Monday Morning Road Trip! Los Angeles to Ashland (670 miles) in 10 hours! Instead of stopping, we decided to make a straight shot on Interstate 5 (via the 405 freeway) to stay ahead of the winter weather in the Siskiyou Pass…

A long, beautiful, uneventful drive north with the intent to get there as soon as possible while driving as safe as possible. “No tickets, no accidents, and no encounters with law enforcement” makes for a good trip. We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs (and other business) along the way, and arrived in Oregon in only 10 hours!

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Tejon Pass, California

NOTE: This Blog Post was delayed again because of technical issues. Our primary computer crashed recently and it had the transferred pics ready to upload.

 

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Mt. Shasta in the Siskiyou Pass, California (things start getting blurry)

670 miles and ten hours later we were in Ashland, Oregon!

WE LOVE ASHLAND!

There was beautiful weather all week long. It had snowed the week before, there was snow on the mountains, Mt. Ashland ski resort was open for business, and there was even still some snow on the ground the first day. It was cold and windy at night the first couple nights, and it was raining/snowing in the pass, but the weather stayed really nice during the day (sunny and in the 70s) from Ashland to Medford most of the time.

 

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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

 

Scenes from the Ranch:

 

 

On The Menu in Ashland:

Lunch at Sesame Asian Kitchen in Ashland

Dinner at The Loft in Ashland
NY steak & prawns, fries, veggies, caesar salad, tuna tartare, bread & butter, an excellent 1993 Southing Sea Smoke pinot noir, and a coke
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Pizza (take-out) from Kaleidoscope Pizza in Medford
Lunch (take-out) from Arby’s
Lunch (take-out soups) from Olive Garden

BBQ Tri-Tip Sandwiches for Dinner at the Ranch
Pasta and Meatballs with cheesy bread and a coke for Dinner at the Ranch
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Pizza and Champagne Dinner at the Ranch with friends
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Ice Cream from Grater’s in Cincinnati, Ohio (via UPS)
pints of black raspberry chocolate chip, cherry chocolate chip,
salted caramel chocolate chip, and chocolate chocolate chip
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Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs and Samoas

Dinner (take-out) from La Tapatia in Phoenix (Oregon, not Arizona)
2 chicken street tacos with salsa

Dinner (take-out) from Harvey’s Place in Ashland
roast beef dip sandwich and fries
(Read our previous Blog Post about Harvey’s Place>
)

Sushi Lunch at Bonsai in Medford
sushi, sashimi and cut rolls

Dinner at Beasy’s on the Creek in Ashland
shrimp cocktail, clam chowder, grilled prawns (didn’t eat them, got them “to go”), bread & butter, red wine, a coke, and no dessert thank you

Hand-made Chocolates from Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point

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Oregon Sky 2

 

Walking in Lithia Park on Monday Afternoon (almost alone)
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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park

 

Heading South on Wednesday! Destination: Oakland and then Home!

There was rain and snow in Ashland, in the Siskiyou Pass, and even further south to the Bay Area. And more stormy weather was predicted for Thursday and through the weekend, so when the weather looked clear on Wednesday morning we headed south hoping to get through the pass without incident or chain requirements. It rained a little, it snowed a little, there was a little sleet and then it was clear and beautiful the whole way to Oakland.

We stopped for an hour at the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, California on the I-5.

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Rolling Hills Casino – Corning, California

 

Going south, we had the choice to “stay on or get off?”: stay on and keep going south on the I-5 with Los Angeles as our destination or get off and take the 505 Winters cutoff to the Bay Area with an Oakland stopover as our destination. We almost kept going, but decided to detour west, get a hotel room, have dinner and rest for the night instead.

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San Leandro Bridge and Puffy Clouds 3-14-18

We were going to stay at a hotel in Emeryville where we got off the freeway because East Bay traffic was jammed, but found a good deal on a room at the LaQuinta Inn near the Oakland Airport online and made a same-day reservation through an internet site because it was easy and we were tired. We had Dinner at the Black Bear Diner in Emeryville on Pi Day and tried to connect with a friend who was local via telephone.

On the Menu: Breakfast for dinner.
2 eggs over medium. bacon (with extra bacon), biscuits & gravy, and iced coffee
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and then a small chocolate cream pie “to go”
We enjoyed it with some “free” coffee from the lobby in our hotel room.

 

 

After we ate, we drove over to the La Quinta Inn at the Oakland Airport via surface streets to avoid the freeway traffic and soon arrived at the hotel without too much trouble.
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We checked in, went to the room, unpacked, took a nice hot shower and shaved, and then got dressed to go and meet our friend. But it was too late (almost 8:30pm) so we got undressed and ate some of our pie and quickly fell asleep.

Thursday 7am: Leftover Pie and a Continental Breakfast!

On the Menu (a nice continental breakfast at the hotel): scrambled eggs, bagel with cream cheese, cornflakes and milk, and coffee. We also took a banana, an apple, 2 blueberry muffins, and a bagel with peanut butter and jelly for the road trip home. We also enjoyed the leftover chocolate cream pie and some canned pineapple juice before breakfast.

Thursday 11am: On The Road Again!
I-5 south (via 580) Oakland to Los Angeles

The LaQuinta loyalty program offers a late check-out to guests, so we could have stayed until 1pm. Instead we enjoyed the “free” breakfast, packed our bags, and loaded the car The early storm passed and morning Bay Area traffic cleared and we left at 11am to get on the road and get clear of the weather. From Oakland we had the choice to take the faster Interstate 5 (east route) or more scenic US highway 101 (west route) south to Los Angeles and so we chose the 5 south, again because of the stormy weather on the coast.

There was a little residual rain as we left the Bay Area at Livermore, but then it was blue skies all day and the whole way to L.A. and it only took 5 & 1/2 hours with one stop for gas.

 

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Los Angeles Again 3-15-18

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Oakland Sunrise 3-15-18

Vista Point – Benecia, California

Vista Point – Benecia, California
(exit Lake Herman Rd from the 680 freeway)

“Do you know the way to San Jose? I forgot my map from Triple A!”

Coming south on our Oregon roadtrip from Winters on the 505 freeway and Highway 80, there was too much traffic going into San Francisco! We should have stopped in Napa & Sonoma wine country, but instead took the 680 freeway towards San Jose. There’s a great Vista Point in Benecia at the Lake Herman Rd exit so we decided to stretch our legs and take in the view.

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The View of the Reserve Fleet at the Vista Point – Benecia, California

 

Benicia is a waterside city in Solano County, California, United States. It served as the state capital for nearly thirteen months from 1853 to 1854. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area along the north bank of the Carquinez Strait, Benicia is just east of Vallejo and across the strait from Martinez.

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Connections to Benicia include Interstate 680 from Martinez to the south and Cordelia Junction (Fairfield) to the north, and Interstate 780, Columbus Parkway, and other local roads from Vallejo to the west. Amtrak runs past the city north towards Sacramento, but the nearest train station is in Martinez across the Carquinez Strait. Amtrak and the Union Pacific Railroad cross the strait alongside the Benicia–Martinez Bridge.

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Vista Point – Benecia, California (From Google Maps)

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Travel Answers: San Francisco! Yosemite!

Travel Answers for San Francisco and Yosemite:

Q: What’s a great day trip from SF that’s not wine country?

A: Great Day Trip from San Francisco?

Drive south on beautiful Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Stop along the way in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Davenport and/or at Ano Nuevo State Reserve and see the Elephant Seals.

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Visit the beach and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, shop the Pacific Garden Mall, and check out the University of California, Santa Cruz (arboretum, performances, museums & special collections at the McHenry Library). Tour the campus, there are great views of Monterey Bay, art installations and walking paths/roads through the meadows, pastures and redwood forest on the hill (just stop and get a visitor pass at the main gate).

There are plentiful beaches, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, wineries, clubs and other performance venues in Santa Cruz and in the nearby communities of Capitola, Aptos, Felton & Bonny Doon.

Check out the world famous Mystery Spot and Lighthouse Field State Beach! The Evergreen Cemetery est. ~1885 is one of the oldest in the bay area and state and it’s now a tourist attraction.

Return to San Francisco via Highways 17 (880) to San Jose and the 280 or 101 freeways back to the city sometime after sunset.


 

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Best 3-day weekend trip from San Francisco? Looking for something outdoorsy that would be a good use of weekend summer trip. Ideally somewhere warm enough for sun, swimming & shorts. Probably for a small group (either 2 or 4 ppl).

A: 3-Day Trip from San Francisco? People have already recommended Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz to the south. Marin, Napa, Vallejo, Mendocino, and Lake Tahoe to the north. So how about going east to Yosemite National Park? Yosemite, Merced, Mariposa are all within driving distance and only a few hours away. Just make sure to make a reservation! http://www.nps.gov

Half Dome - Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome – Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Best airport to fly into for a week at Yosemite?

I’m planning a fall trip to Yosemite and trying to figure out which airport to fly into: Sacramento, Fresno, San Fran? I’m coming from New York so I have some airline options. I’m most concerned about which airport will have sufficient car rental options and flights at all hours.

A: If you’re flying in from NYC, you’re going to have to land in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland or Los Angeles. Each has it positives and negatives, so base your decision on the cost of airfare and then determine the best mode of transport from your destination city.

Rent a car (get unlimited mileage plus insurance) or take Amtrak (train and bus combo) from Los Angeles or San Francisco/Oakland. The bus will take you right into Yosemite National Park and drop you at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and it’s both less expensive and cleaner than driving! www.amtrak.com/san-joaquin-train

The drive from Los Angeles is about 6 hours, and you’ll travel the 5 freeway to interstate 99 through Bakersfield, Fresno and the Central Valley to interstate 41 into Yosemite.

The drive from the Bay Area is about 4 and 1/2 hours (could be longer with traffic) on highway 580 through San Leandro and Livermore to highway 205 through Manteca to interstate 120 into Yosemite.

NOTE: If you’re driving in the Sierra Mountains in the Fall, be prepared for rain and snow at higher elevations, some roads may require tire chains (sometimes a problem with a rental vehicle).

There are also tour companies that have chartered buses that will take you into the park, or backpack/bus adventure travel companies like Green Tortoise from San Francisco that include more than just transport: www.greentortoise.com/adventures/yosemite-national-park-tour-3d.php

NOTE: If you’re going to take a chartered bus, make sure the company is CA state licensed and check their safety and consumer record before buying a ticket!

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Most impressive staircases you’ve ever seen?

I recently saw some of the craziest staircases in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Where else in the world has cool, winding, or even weird staircases? Want to plan some trips to see them..pictures would be awesome, thanks!

A: In Yosemite Valley there is a stairway to the top of Vernal Nevada Falls that was carved out of the granite rock. You can start at the bottom of Vernal Falls and climb 2000 feet to the top of Nevada Falls and the rim of the valley.

“Climb along nature’s giant staircase, where you are rewarded with close-up views of two waterfalls and numerous geologic features (depending on how far you choose to hike)…Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer (hence the name for this trail!).”

Follow the Mist Trail 0.5 miles up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps! Continue on to the top of Half Dome if you have a permit (and “weather permitting”).


Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Where was your favorite backpacking destination? Out of all the places in the world, where was your favorite backpacking destination and why?

A: My favorite backpacking destination: Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in northern Yosemite National Park. Picture a valley just like Yosemite except there are no other people, no cars, no shuttle buses, no buildings… just an amazing wilderness all to yourself. It’s a long day hike uphill to reach the Tiltill Valley, but it’s worth the trip!

The trailhead begins at the Hetch Hetchy parking area, and it’s a rugged uphill trek past the reservoir and into the backcountry (be sure to get your permits at the ranger station and be aware you are in “BEAR COUNTRY” – problem bears are relocated to this area of the park).

p.s. I don’t recommend backpacking solo, you should always have at least one travel buddy when you are in the backcountry!


Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: How many days would I need to explore most of what Yosemite has to offer? I’m planning on going there some day and I would like to know how much days would I need to explore most of what the National Park has to offer! Thanks.

A: How many days in Yosemite National Park? It depends on how much of the park you want to explore. If you just want to see Yosemite Valley, you should allow at least three days. You should add more days if you want to really see everything! It also depends on how active a hiker you are because there are great things to do and day trips with varying degrees of difficulty you can experience. Ride the Shuttlebus and walk the valley, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, picnic at Yosemite Beach, hike to the top of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley, climb to the top of Half Dome or El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Village and the Ansel Adams Gallery and be sure to check out the The Ahwahnee Hotel.

Accommodations in the park range from tent and camp sites, RV sites, covered campsites, tent cabins, and hotel rooms. You need to make reservations for any of the concession vendors a long time in advance at nps.gov and there are lots of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before and during your visit.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

There are other areas to see within the park or just outside: Tuolumne Meadows, Mariposa Grove and the Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees, Wawona Point (and historic hotel), skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass in winter), Bass Lake, Oakhurst, and many others. You should allow 1-3 days or more for each area depending on how active a hiker/camper/skier/snowboarder you are.

If you want to experience the backcountry as a backpacker/camper you should plan 3-14 day trips. there are great areas in and around the park. I’ve been to the Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Loop and down the South Fork Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, both of which were excellent backpacking trips! Be sure to learn the necessary skills and the park rules and regulations before entering the wilderness.

You are also close to Lee Vining, Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake State Preserve which are near the east entrance to the park.

See also John Muir Trail and the Yosemite Park website nps.gov for more info.


 

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: You have a day to explore Yosemite. What do you HAVE to see?

I love everything about being outdoors, especially around water. I like hiking, but I don’t get too extreme. Viewpoints that are hidden/will make me never want to leave would be loved.

A: What to see in Yosemite Valley? Everything!

Ride the Shuttlebus, walk the valley paths and bridges, raft or inner tube down the river, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, Picnic at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, hike to the top of any of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley or to the top of Half Dome, climb El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Villageand see the Visitor Center and the Ansel Adams Gallery, shop at Curry Village and be sure to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel. See my other answers for more.


Wawona Hotel - Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Hotel – Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Places to stay in Yosemite? If anyone is familiar with places to stay IN the Yosemite Park… I am trying to decide between a few places… Curry Village, Yosemite at the Falls & Wawona Hotel. From what I gather there aren’t bathrooms in Wawona Hotel (not so thrilled with that idea). Any advice, please on these 3 places?

A: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is the best place to stay, unless you can afford the Ahwahnee Hotel. It’s centrally located in Yosemite Valley near Yosemite Falls and a couple shuttle stops (almost walking distance) from Yosemite Village. The accommodations are “motel quality” but nice enough considering you won’t want to be inside very much.

Curry Village is near Half Dome, and on the shuttle route. The accommodations are mostly tent cabins with shared facilities and some full cabins with private facilities.

Both Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village have a “cafeteria” style restaurant, a “hamburger stand”, a bar/restaurant and mini-market/gift shops. Yosemite Lodge also has a nice sit-down upscale restaurant.

The Wawona Hotel sits up on the rim of the valley about a 45 minute drive from the valley floor and the village. It’s a very nice historic hotel, but not really convenient if you want to be in the valley. There are cabins with private facilities and they are very nice if you don’t mind walking outdoors to get to the main building (more of a problem in winter). Wawona is great if you want to ski at Badger Pass Ski Area, visit Glacier Point or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwoods.

There are Ranger led nature talks available and other entertainment at all three locations. Yosemite Village has a market, a Visitor’s Center with an Indian Village and interpretive programs, the Ansel Adams Gallery, the post office and more restaurants and gift shops.

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Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)





 

 

Happy Birthday Simon Bolivar! See the Statue at United Nations Plaza at the Civic Center in San Francisco!

SAN FRANCISCO! (Part 1)

On my last trip to San Francisco, I stopped at the Civic Center and walked around downtown taking pictures. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Here are a few of the pictures:

San Francisco Civic Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco Civic Center and City Hall (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Asian American Art Museum in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

State of California Building in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

State of California Building in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I’ll be posting more pictures from this trip and telling stories in future Blogs, so be sure to FOLLOW us! And please LIKE our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIMON BOLIVAR!

Simon Bolivar Statue at United Nations Plaza at the Civic Center in San Francisco

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

As I was walking around Grosvernor Square, I came upon United Nations Plaza and the statue-monument of Simon Bolivar. Now you’re probably wondering who he was…

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

WHO WAS SIMON BOLIVAR?

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Jose Antonio de la Santisima Trinidad Bolivar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco aka Simon Bolivar  24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830

He liberated Venezuela, Colombia (including Panama at the time), Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia (a country named after him) from the Spanish Empire and helped lay the foundation for democracy in Latin America. He was President and Dictator of the Gran Colombia Republic from 1819-1830.

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: There is a statue just like this one in Bolivar Plaza in Caracas, Venezuela. There are other statues, monuments, plazas, squares and streets in honor of him all over the world.

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

United Nations Plaza at the Civic Center in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

WHAT SAN FRANCISCO DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE:

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

“Wha’Cha Need?” at the Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There’s a HUGE homeless population in the city of San Francisco! Go back to the first picture and you’ll see people sleeping on the lawn and hanging out on the plaza. Everywhere you go in the city there are homeless! Many of them are in need of serious mental health services!

The picture of the homeless at the statue (above) is actually a picture of an open-air drug market! While I was walking around taking pictures, I witnessed deals going down here and at other locations at the UN Plaza. Although not unexpected, I was surprised by the obvious nature of their unlawful enterprise and the lack of police presence and attention. While I did see a pair of cops walking down by the fountain, you can see in the picture that the dealers operate without concern for keeping it undercover….

San Francisco is a beautiful and historic city, but the terrible traffic, the huge homeless population and the current urban blight really takes the shine off the city by the bay.

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue, “California” and City Hall in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

As a final note, I didn’t know it was Simon Bolivar’s birthday when I started this blog, so that’s either a happy coincidence or something else….

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Sushi and Sake! Dinner at Yoshi’s in San Francisco!

Sushi and Sake! Dinner at Yoshi’s in San Francisco!

Saturday, 21 June 2014 – 6:00pm

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

As part of the weekend road trip to San Francisco and the St. Paul’s Reunion, Pub Crawl and Brunch it was decided by Doug that we would have an early dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Our reservation was for six o’clock, so we taxied from the hotel to the restaurant and met our friends there.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Our party of 14 was seated right away in a rectangular glass dining room with a long wood table within the larger dining room. It wasn’t private, but it was separated from the rest of the tables and other guests. The dining room is very large and the ceilings are super high. It’s very stylish, with black lacquered furniture and Japanese flourishes, and decorated with large and funky “paper lantern” light fixtures.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And there’s live jazz performed during the dinner service. They also have a jazz club adjacent to the restaurant and bar, and if you have dinner you get preferred seating with your admission ticket for the show. Bobby Caldwell was playing the night we were there and the restaurant was full when we arrived. I took these interior pics after the early dinner crowd had gone into the club.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Live Jazz! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There’s an Open Kitchen behind glass off the dining room.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Open Kitchen behind glass (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Open Kitchen behind glass (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On The Menu:

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

We ordered a fancy yuzu cold sake and edamame for the table, and then some appetizers: crab cocktail with avocado mousse, crispy brussel sprouts, and shishito peppers.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Shishito Peppers starter (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Crab cocktail with avocado puree (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Everyone ordered their own dinner and then we shared. The management sent us a complimentary Red Dragon Roll, which was nice. The food presentation was beautiful! We ordered a bunch of different rolls, sushi and sashimi, and a few people had the dinner entrees : Steak Diane, Scallops, Flank Steak and Pork Loin.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F.  – Hamachi sushi (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Spider Roll (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I enjoyed the appetizers. The crab cocktail was a WINNER! I ordered the 49er roll: salmon, crab and avocado; and an order of Hamachi (yellowtail) sushi. I also sampled the spider roll, red dragon roll, the three kingdom roll, and the butterfish roll. I love sushi! Everything I ate was super fresh and yummy. Knowing that we had some drinking to do, I didn’t want to stuff myself too much, so we exercised some restraint.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Complimentary Red Dragon Roll (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Salmon and Tuna Sashimi (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Scallop dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Three Kingdom Roll (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Steak Diane dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Pork Loin dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Flank Steak dinner (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And a couple people had dessert: chocolate mousse and gelato and coffee mousse.

I did not.

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Chocolate Mousse (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert at Yoshi’s in S.F. – Coffee Mousse! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A good time was had by all. The food was good. The service was good, but not great. Since I didn’t make the reservation or choose the restaurant, I was just along for the ride. If you have a party of 14 and a “private room” the service should really be GREAT! 

8:15pm Our limousine arrived at 8:00pm and was waiting for us outside the restaurant.

Your Limosine is waiting.

Your Limosine is waiting.

Yoshi’s1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115 http://www.yoshis.com

I’m told they have a great “Happy Hour” menu in the bar from 5-7pm daily.

UPDATE March 21, 2015: In October 2014, Yoshi’s changed names to The Addition. In January 2105, The Addition closed. Yoshi’s in Oakland remains open.

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The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco!

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California

Turn on the “Way-Back” machine!

My Grandmother (of blessed memory) and my sister in San Francisco, circa 1977.

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.

Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco, circa 1977 (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

In 1964 the original Palace was completely demolished, with only the steel structure of the exhibit hall left standing. The buildings were then reconstructed in permanent, light-weight, poured-in-place concrete, and steel I-beams were hoisted into place for the dome of the rotunda. All the decorations and sculpture were constructed anew. The only changes were the absence of the murals in the dome, two end pylons of the colonnade, and the original ornamentation of the exhibit hall.

 

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12-MAR-13: Golden Gate Bridge in the Fog

Taken from the Marin side.

San Francisco, open your golden gate!

Golden Gate Bridge in the Fog - San Francisco, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

Golden Gate Bridge in the Fog taken from the Marin side – San Francisco, California (copyright 2011 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco, here is your wandering one
Saying I’ll wander no more
Other places only make me love you best
Tell me you’re the heart of all the golden west

San Francisco, welcome me home again
I’m coming home to go roaming no more!

Plan your next trip to San Francisco and Marin County!

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