December 9, 2015

USA DIARIES PART 4: Surprise bridal shower and a stroll through Chinatown

August 8, 2015. Back home and just 2 days away from the #soINGlove wedding, we stealthily planned a bridal shower for Mausy. It wasn’t an easy task given the short time and her well-honed radar to pick up even the subtlest of clues and slightest hint that something was up but I’d like to think that we pulled the surprise successfully. Family and friends came with overflowing food and gifts and everybody had fun and were super competitive at the games.

August 9, 2015. On a Sunday, our LA based good friends Ruth and Isaac, brought us to Chinatown. The hanging laundries clipped on lines to prevent them from flying greeted us and signaled the delineation of the area from the rest of San Francisco. There was a functional chaotic vibe in the area so different from the rest of the city we’ve seen so far. It was huge and lively and there’s a cacophony of Asian tongue. Chinatown is successful in retaining its own identity.

We walked the streets up and down ducking in steamy dimsum restaurants debating whether we should sample the goodies in their bamboo trays, but we just had breakfast and saving room for lunch. We passed windows lined with peking ducks and whole roasted birds, passed stores with dried fruit candies, passed deeply colored fruits and vegetables spilling into the sidewalk with their skin glistening in the sun. The smell of aromatic herbal and Chinese medicine is in the air.

And then we came by a seafood store with huge aquariums.  It was unfortunate that we got there in time while a huge fish was being whacked mercilessly while still clearly alive. Poor fish was trying its darnedest to slither away and escape. The fishmonger sliced off only the tail part and brought the top half of the squirming fish back on display with gills gasping weakly. Beside it are turtle meat ripped out of their shells. I had nightmares that night. That was our cue to start walking away.

We followed our noses to find Stinking Rose for lunch. Ruth made reservations at this contemporary Californian-Italian restaurant showcasing garlic. The resto is located in North Beach, the renowned little Italy of SF.

We were promptly seated in a booth and we appreciated the restaurant’s whimsical d├ęcor. We ordered the sizzling iron skillet of mussels, shrimp and crab, the forty-clove garlic chicken roasted on the bone and Italian garlic meatloaf with pan gravy. It was more food than the 4 of us can muster but we gave it our best efforts. It was indeed garlicky and we loved all the dishes. Oddly enough, even after the Chinatown whacking scene, we still have our appetites.

In the afternoon, after driving over the notoriously curvy Lombard Street and couldn’t find parking, we were dropped off at the hotel to meet up with the family. We’ve taken residence for 2 nights at the Comfort Inn and Suites near the airport in South San Francisco so we are closer to the wedding venues and for our flight to Vegas.

Dinner was an introduction to Double-Double and animal fries at the beloved Californian burger chain In-N-Out in Daly City. It’s particularly good with thick vanilla milk shake and we’ve had it several more times for the rest of our stay.

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