This week’s selection goes back a ways.  It’s Journey’s classic song, Lights; their ode to the city by the bay, San Francisco.  Added bonus, this video features original keyboardist Gregg Rolie who left the band just before the Escape album (he was replaced by Jonathan Cain of The Babys) and goes into the song Stay With Me.

I love the band Journey.  As a female growing up in the SF Bay Area in the 80’s I think it was a requirement to be a rabid Journey fan. It’s been interesting this last decade or so watching a kind of Journey revival.  The band’s hits have popped up in movies and TV shows, on karaoke, they even regularly show up on the iTunes top singles chart.  I have to say that every time some American Idol wannabe or The Voice hopeful attempts a Journey song, I am just reminded of how good Steve Perry’s voice is.  Listening to those bozos on the singing competition shows slaughter Faithfully or Don’t Stop Believing is deeply painful.

My parents moved around a bit for the first eleven years of my life before settling in Santa Rosa in 1980.  I was half way through fifth grade at the time and came to consider Santa Rosa my home town, but I was born in San Francisco.  I’m sixth generation San Franciscan and I feel very connected to the city, although I haven’t lived there since I was a small child.  For some areas six generations might not sound very impressive, but for California, hey, I’m like, old school.

The lights and the bridges of the city beckon we Bay Area residents to it.  My likes and favorite places in San Francisco have altered over the years as I have changed and grown up.  I began by loving Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park and the zoo, then it was dance clubs and bars.  Nowadays, I tend towards the restaurants.  Here are five of my current favorite places.  Should you ever visit, I hope you enjoy them!

1.)  Land’s End- It’s part of Golden Gate Park on the Outer Richmond.  Fabulous views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate.  If you can hike the trail at sunset, so much the better.  Best to do this on a week day though, when it is virtually empty, weekends can be a bit much.

Land's End Maze- a great place to clear your head

2.)  This one is less a place and more a food.  I had a hard time trying to decide between talking about good SF Cioppino and good SF sourdough.  While I love both, many of you have heard me mention my deep sourdough addiction over the years (it’s why I cannot, will not leave the Bay Area), so I have to go with the bread.  I love Boudin’s, but for a really classic loaf with that pure sourdough bite, you have to try Wedemeyer- YUM.  They do not have any stores, but they do Fed Ex.  You can even call in an order and pick it up the next time you are in the city.  They are at:

Wedemeyer Bakery
314 Harbor Way
South San Fransicso CA 94080
Phone: (650) 873-1000
http://www.wedemeyerbakery.com

I cannot overemphasize the yum factor here, people.

3.)  One of my favorite restaurants is just off Union Square.  It used to be the site of Trader Vic’s (a San Francisco classic) and now is the home the French-Vietnamese menu of Le Colonial.  It’s impossible to put into words how good their food is, I can only make yummy sounds and I do not know how to effectively spell those without this reading like goobly-gook.  I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.  Their website is:

http://lecolonialsf.com/

Mind you, there are so many good restaurants in San Francisco, there’s no reason to ever have a meal that is not delectable.

4.)  The Fort Mason Community Garden- Established in 1979, the garden is tucked away in the bluffs looking out over the Bay, across from Alcatraz.  There are now one hundred and twenty-five plots in this community park.  It is a beautiful spot with interesting hidden walks and lots of surprises.  You can even walk to the Golden Gate Bridge from there if you are feeling adventurous.

Fort Mason Community Garden

5.) City Lights Bookstore- now that A Clean Well-Lighted Place For Books has closed, this has to be one of the best independent book stores left on the planet.  They are a book store and a publishing house, super cool.  They can be found at:

261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway
San Francisco, California 94133
Phone 415.362.8193

There’s bonus here in that they are located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, North Beach.  This means you’ll simply HAVE to stop off and eat some really delicious, soul satisfying Italian food.  Incidentally, to visit their website click here.

No blog, travel book or one person can ever hope to hit even a fraction of all the lovely places and things to love about San Francisco, but I hope you’ll check out some of my recommendations.  Also, I would love to hear about yours.  It’s one of those cities that you can never tire of, never see it all.  No wonder Journey missed it so much when they were on the road.

Here are the lyrics to Lights, in case you would like to sing along:

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

Oh, oo, oh
Ohh, oo, ohh
Oh, oo, oh

So you think you’re lonely
Well my friend I’m lonely too
I wanna get back to my city by the bay

Ohh, ohh
Oh, oo, oh

It’s sad, oh there’s been mornings
Out on the road without you
Without your charms

Oh, oo, oh
My, my, my
My, my, my
Ohh, ohh
Oh, oo, oh

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

(Oh, oo, oh)
Ohh, oo, oh
Oh, oh, oh

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

Oh, oo, oh
Ohh, oo, oh
Oh, oh, oh
(Hmm)
Ohh, oo, oh
Oh, oh, oh

Lights by Journey from the album Infinity, released January 20th, 1978

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