A couple weekends ago, Sam and I headed to the Castro district for lunch. We didn’t plan ahead very well—as usual—but despite a few surprises, we enjoyed the day out.
I don’t know much of the history of San Francisco (except for that earthquake in 1906 of course!) and I especially don’t know much about the different neighborhoods, other than a few stereotypes.
Want to indulge in some neighborhood gossip? Well, So-and-So told me that Nob Hill is snobby, Marina is preppy, Haight Ashbury is hippy, North Beach is Italian, Chinatown and Japantown are obvious, Mission is hipster, Richmond is expensive, Tenderloin is ghetto, Downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf are touristy, Sunset is residential, and (I’m probably leaving a few out) Castro is known for its large gay population. That was fun!
So obviously, I know very little about these neighborhoods except by passing through and what I hear from others, and from what I could tell by walking through the Castro, it’s very well maintained with cute shops and restaurants. And a few pants-less men. But, you know, that’s not too unusual for San Francisco in general! There’s a reason that People Watching is my favorite sport here!
Our destination was Ike’s Place, famous for its sandwiches—there are over 100 different combinations—and it’s the most reviewed place in San Francisco on Yelp. Sam had heard that little tidbit, but we both failed to actually read any of the reviews online.
If we had read even one single review, we would have learned that 1) the food is epic 2)the lines are epic and 3)the lack of seating is also epic.
We were hungry and had to take two buses to get to the Castro neighborhood, so we didn’t get in line until 2 pm on a Sunday. And the wait-time was well over an hour. Luckily, this guy kept us all entertained.
He asked trivia questions and gave away lollipops. If we hadn’t already been hungry, and if we had expected a long line, the wait probably wouldn’t have seemed so bad.
The sandwiches are indeed epic. Unusual combinations with unusual names and unusually high-quality ingredients. Plus, half the fun for all the hipsters is ordering a sandwich that isn’t listed on the menu—there isn’t enough room for the 100+ sandwiches, so you can go online for the entire list or you can just be one of those people “in the know.” You know us millennials love being in on the secret!
Sam ordered the Super Mario (meatballs, mozzarella sticks, marinara) on Dutch Crunch bread with VooDoo chips and I got the Love Triangle (vegan breaded chicken, real honey, honey mustard, bbq sauce, with pepper jack, swiss, and cheddar cheese) on the same bread with Cracked Pepper and Salt chips. (Yes, I know the term “vegan chicken” is an oxymoron… don’t ask me!) The chips came free with the sandwich, but my inner frugal gal was grumbling that there was no way that two sandwiches could be worth $34 and nowhere to sit!
Fear not, because Delores Park was only a couple blocks away. We settled onto a patch of grass (if we’d actually planned ahead, we could’ve brought a picnic blanket), and started in on our sandwiches. The sandwiches were very close to worth it! They definitely hit the spot, and the flavor combinations were certainly out of the ordinary.
And a picnic lunch—while not what we originally intended—was the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon activity!
Delores Park was ripe for people watching, and we hung out for a couple hours just enjoying the sunny weather. The bus stop was right next to the park, which was super convenient, and we were back home in no time!
More city sights coming soon as we continue to explore San Francisco!