san francisco…off the beaten path

Yesterday I shared my top five adventures that my family had while on summer vacation in San Francisco…the Golden Gate Bridge, riding the cable cars, Alcatraz, Coit Tower, and walking up Lombard Street.  I know what you are thinking…these are all very touristy activities; but we had to experience them since we were in “the city by the bay” and we were tourists, after all!

We did seek out some activities that were off the beaten path…no mention of them in our travel guide books.

Taylor Street Coffee Shop 

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

Appropriately named, the Taylor Street Coffee Shop is on Taylor Street in the Tenderloin section of San Francisco.  This is more than a coffee shop…they serve breakfast and lunch.  We ate there two out of the five mornings we were in the city.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

The food was all cooked from scratch…Swedish pancakes, omelets, hash browns, eggs benedict, oatmeal, and many more options.  Everything is served with a side of fresh fruit, which was a mixture of blackberries, melon, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and honeydew, all beautifully presented.  So pretty and tasty!

The tastiest item on the menu is the Millionaires Bacon.  It is thick, free range bacon, baked with brown sugar, cayenne, red , and black pepper.  Such a great flavor!

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

Although I don’t consider this a place for tourists, it is a busy breakfast spot.  It is small in size (maybe seats 20-30 people), and there is usually a wait.  But SO worth the wait!  The service is quick and efficient, so don’t let the line out the door fool you.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

We loved it so much that we left our “mark” on the map as we left the Taylor Street Coffee Shop.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

Full House house

As you know, I have three daughters of various ages.  They all LOVE the 90’s sitcom Full House.  My older two loved watching the show back when the Olsen twins were coming of age in their own movies, and my youngest has since discovered the Full House series.  You can usually find it in syndication…and if not, we own several of the seasons on DVD.  So it was without question that we were going to try to find the actual Full House house while in San Francisco!

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

The story is that one of the Painted Ladies is the Tanner family house.  This is a myth…however, those houses are shown in the background in the opening credits of the show when the family is having a picnic in Alamo Square.

san francisco | polka dots and picket fences

After a little online searching, I found the address of the house used for the exterior shots on the show.  We set out to find 1709 Broderick Street!

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

I had read online that it was no longer white.  It had been painted a dark blue, so I prepared the girls ahead of time.  We found it pretty easily, and we knew we were in the right spot as other people were there doing the same thing we were!

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

Besides the color, we noticed another big change…the tree in front had grown considerably!  It was hard to see the house because it was so tall.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

While we were there, the owners backed out of their garage.  I imagine they don’t like the notoriety of their house…I noticed the fence around the front steps along with an alarm system sign, both of which were not features on the surrounding houses.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

It was quite fun seeing a part of 90’s pop culture!  I don’t think we will view Full House in quite the same way anymore.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory 

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

One of my favorite bloggers, Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day, lives in San Francisco.  She recently posted about a three hour exploration of the city.  One of her suggestions was to visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown.  We had the address, which was a good thing because we would not have found it on our own.  It is definitely off the beaten path.  In fact, it is located on Ross Alley.  Such a tiny place, and we almost missed it!

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

It was fascinating to watch the fortune cookies being made.  The batter was squeezed onto a circular hot press, and then the dough formed.  Next, the thin circular cookie was pulled off the press.  A fortune was then placed inside the flat, hot dough.  Finally, the soft, hot cookie was shaped by placing it on a board with holes cut out for bending the dough into place to form a fortune cookie.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

One fun thing about the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is that you can make your own fortune cookie for $1.00.  We were given a blank piece of paper on which to write a fortune, and then it was folded inside a cookie which was placed in a takeout container.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

What a fun souvenir of our trip to Chinatown!

Flax Art

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

A friend of mine suggested that I visit Flax Art while I was in San Francisco, and I am so glad she did.  I took my daughters while P watched the final basketball playoff game at our hotel.  What a great place to inspire creativity!

This store has so much…but most importantly, it has stacks and stacks of specialty type papers (one of my favorite things).  It is kept organized in aisle after aisle of drawers.  I wish I had been able to purchase some of the loose sheets of paper, but I was sure it would not be safe in my suitcase.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

Flax Art also carries rubber stamps, cardstock in every possible color, washi tape, wrapping paper, ribbon, fine stationery, desk organizers, stickers, Italian crepe paper…there is something for everyone!  There is even a kids section for the younger artists.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

We easily found a few items that we could not live without (and would fit in our suitcase).  I also learned that you can order most items from their website…I will definitely be checking into that for future paper purchases.

san francisco...off the beaten path | polka dots and picket fences

We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation to San Francisco…both the tourist part and the “off the beaten path” part!

5 thoughts on “san francisco…off the beaten path

  1. That sounds fabulous. I love doing off the beaten path stuff. If we ever find ourselves in San Francisco, I’m headed directly to the fortune cookie place!!!

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