Colby had to start working on Monday, but only in the afternoon. We wandered around the downtown area until we ate lunch and went in and out of a few stores. We're staying in the Grand Hyatt, did I mention that before? It's across the street from the largest Macy's I've ever seen. It's a high rise and in the basement is a food court featuring a few interesting restaurants, including Frontera Fresco.
Frontera Fresco is basically a food court presentation of Rick Bayless' Mexican food and it's a lot easier to get into than his other restaurants. There are several in existence and they're all in Macy's, with most being in Illinois. I got the shrimp tacos, Colby got a cubana torta, and we split a bowl of the tortilla soup. It was way tasty and made for a great lunch.
Afterwards, we went to Chinatown to walk around and see it during the daytime. Last year, Colby stayed in a boutique hotel in Chinatown and said that everything was dead after about 6 PM. San Francisco has the oldest and largest Chinatown. It covers an area of 1.34 sq miles (Austin's Chinatown, by comparison, is a shopping center.) and is filled with crazy souvenir shops, dim sum restaurants, food markets and more. It seems like there's a lot of haggling going on which, quite frankly, scares the crap out of me. We walked into a jewelry store and some guy offered a Pandora charm for $25 and then $20. We declined because Colby is a killjoy.
Chinatown is intensely crowded, busy, and vibrant. It was a lot of fun
to walk through just to see all the people bustling about. I really
wanted to buy Ramona some slippers (they were soo pretty!) but did I
mention that Colby is a killjoy? We stopped in at a dim sum restaurant to pick up an afternoon snack (a steamed pork bun, these little chewy bean paste? cookies, and a couple of pieces of har gow) and then headed back to the hotel room.
Afterwards, Colby went to the Marriott next to the convention center and did his work stuff. I tried feeding Ramona some fruit and discovered a couple new things about her: a) she really likes watermelon and b) she is TERRIFIED of pigeons. I found yet another playground (huge slides=lots of stairs for her to climb!) at the Yerba Buena Gardens and let Ramona play for awhile. Eventually, she got grumpy, so I put her back in the ergo and she fell asleep while i walked around some sketchy looking areas and waited for Colby to be done. I ended up back near the play area at the YBG and at a little cafe called Beard Papa. I ate a cheesecake stick while waiting for Colby and then we regrouped and went back to the hotel room again.
We ventured out for dinner up Nob Hill to the Nob Hill Cafe. Up until this point, I didn't really remember that San Francisco was known for its hills. The downtown area around us isn't too bad and I had managed to avoid the hills around Chinatown. This hill was NO JOKE and we ended up going up one street that had stairs carved into it because of the inclination. OMGWTFBBQ? But seriously, the problem isn't going up the hills, it's trying not to fall on your face while you're going down. ANYWHO.
The Nob Hill Cafe was great. We had a 40 minute wait, which sucked, but Ramona was asleep on top of Colby, so the worst part about waiting (the potentially grumpy baby) was not a problem. It's a really tiny restaurant, but we got there as part of the last group that ate, so we weren't rushed out as we were finishing up. This is something that people have complained about on Yelp, but I wasn't too bothered. We got a misto something or other appetizer, which was basically par-cooked vegetables drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with some mozzarella, prosciutto, and olives. (Again, pictures when we get home). Colby got lasagna and I got the gnocchi. Colby won dinner that night, but the gnocchi were great and Ramona seemed to like the little bits of ground meat from the sauce. She also like throwing food on the floor in a mostly non-disruptive way. By the time dessert came around, she was about ready to leave, so we got tiramisu to go and we walked back (down, slowly) to our hotel to eat it.