Monday, December 15, 2008

Rice-a-Roni: The San Francisco Treat

My wonderful husband surprised me with a getaway to one of our favorite California cities: San Francisco. And while I knew that we were headed there to see a special show, I had no idea that my hubby had purchased tickets to The Phantom of the Opera! See, I'd always wanted to experience Phantom--and really felt like I had seen it because my parents played the CD over and over again growing up--but Brian had already seen it, so it wasn't at the top of our theatre picks list. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to finally see it--and viewing it in the newly-renovated Orpheum Theatre was icing on the cake.

Our hotel, too, was fabulous! We stayed two nights at the Chancellor Hotel, adjacent to Union Square. (In the picture, it's smack dab between the Union Square Christmas tree and Saks Fifth Avenue.) Apparently, when Brian made the hotel reservation, he requested a view of Union Square. Upon arrival, the hotel clerk informed us that we had been upgraded to Helen's suite on the 15th floor.

What a sweet suite it was! Here's the bedroom, which had an adjacent walk-in closet, along with a bathroom.

Lying on the bed was this Pillow Talk card, offering us twelve different pillow options! While we were content with the standard down pillows, we could have chosen a Snore No-More pillow, Magnetic Therapy pillow, Satin pillow, Body pillow, etc. In all of our travels, we've never been this pillow-spoiled!

Our suite also had an elegant living room, along with a second bathroom. It was just like at home, where I take up residence in the guest bathroom and Brian uses the master bathroom. Who needs separate sinks when you can have separate bathrooms?!

In each bathroom, we were greeted by an adorable Santa Rubber Ducky. (Isn't he cute?!)

I love when hotels attend to the little things--the details that elevate a good stay to a fabulous one.

Another one of those details: warm, yummy peppermint cookies!

The room was spectacular, just like the views from our windows. I couldn't even count the number of wreaths hanging in the Macy's windows. It was just beautiful...

Brian captured this picture, too, of the Union Square skating rink using our 70-300mm lens.

As much as I loved our hotel, I also wanted to venture out into the city and see the sights...and ride a cable car or two. I just can't go to S.F. without riding one! (And whenever I think of San Francisco cable cars, the Rice-a-Roni song pops into my head, which helps to explain the title of this post. Random, I know!)

On one of our cable car rides, the car actually got stuck on a hill. First time that's ever happened! A cab driver had parked his car on the cable car line, so the cable car had to slow down and come to a complete stop, as it waited for him to move his car. Because the cable car had to stop midway up the hill, it lost the momentum it needed to make it to the top. As we were waiting for the cabbie to move his vehicle, about eight cars had lined up behind the cable car. After the cable car drivers yelled at the cabbie, they presented us with two options: a) all of the cars had to back down the hill (including the cable car) and try the ascent again or b) we (the riders) could jump off, walk up to the top of the hill, and the cable car would pick us up there. It was a no-brainer; we all jumped off and walked the short distance up to the next intersection. The cable car was there in an instant to pick us up and off we went!

We rode the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf, where we ate lunch at Boudin's. I had their delicious clam chowder, while Brian feasted on a yummy crab cake sandwich. (Notice how I had taken my jacket off? A little birdie decided to poop on me while I sat at a uncovered table on the patio waiting for Brian to come out with our food. Ewww! I ran to the bathroom, scrubbed my coat, and then Brian and I opted to relocate to a table covered by an awning. Much better!)

Boudin's makes some of the cutest sourdough bread animals. Check out these adorable mini turtles!

And this nearly life-sized crocodile! (Reminds me of our trip to Costa Rica where we saw many cocodrilos!)

After ogling over the various sourdough creations at Boudin's, we ambled down to Pier 39 where we viewed this beautiful Christmas Tree. Then, for the next few hours, we shuffled in and out of the shops on Pier 39. Since all of our Christmas shopping was done, we just did a lot of looking. The hat shop provided at least a half hour of entertainment...we're easily amused! Check out the pictures I captured of Brian trying on a variety of hats.

Football anyone?!

He looks so cute in this hat...too bad we don't live in a colder climate! (Just kidding...I wouldn't trade our mild winter weather for anything.)

Maybe for his 31st birthday?!

This one is my favorite...looks just like Bullwinkle! :-)

Brian was such a good sport about trying on hat, after hat, after hat, but in the end, he decided to leave them all in San Francisco. I, on the other hand, bought this fun newsboy hat and sported it the rest of the day. Even to dinner at Bumba Gump's where we ate lots of seafood and I gulped down my favorite drink, a Louisiana Lemonade.

Thanks to my wonderful husband for a fantastically fun trip--it was such a treat--and one that will provide me with heartwarming memories in the New Year and beyond.

(By the way, it's official: You are HUSBAND of the year!)

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