At some point, you’ll want to eat, and there’s no better spot than Greens, in another old fort on the edge of the strait between the Pacific and the San Francisco Bay. It’s one of the few restaurants with a direct view of the bridge. Chef Annie Somerville has been offering gourmet vegetarian fare there for almost three decades; the asparagus pizza is a particular star. The servers tend to be amusingly Zen, yoga slender, and in the waiting area there’s a massive sculptural burl taken from a California redwood tree. Just in case, with the bridge in the distance, you should forget for a moment where you are.
Leah Rosenberg is a San Francisco-based visual artist and pastry chef. She explains how she spends a great day in her adopted city.
“I'm originally from Saskatoon – the City of Bridges – and lived in Vancouver, but of all the bridges I have crossed in my life, not one is like the Golden Gate. I love the orangey-red colour – International Orange to be exact – and the swoops and cables. Every time I catch a glimpse of it from Strawberry Hill in Golden Gate Park, or the top of Bernal Heights, my neighbourhood, I think to myself, ‘I live here.’ Every time.
“The bridge is part of the tour I give visitors – of course. Afterward, we might cross back over to the city and go farther south along the coast to this little strip of places I like in the Outer Sunset neighbourhood. The General Store has housewares and local artists' books and a backyard greenhouse space done up by artist Jesse Schlesinger. I like Trouble Coffee because it's so small you end up talking to whoever else is in there. And there's also the restaurant Outer Lands, where the ambience is warm and rustic, and you can really count on the soup and a wedge of bread. On the way out, I recommend buying a caramel – it will take forever to eat.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT TO SEE
Marshall’s Beach is an idyllic (and less frequented) place from which to shoot the bridge. Two entrances to the beach are found on Lincoln Boulevard in the Presidio.
After bad days, locals come to the Yoda fountain outside the Lucasfilm headquarters in the Presidio park to commune with the tiny guru from Star Wars. One Letterman Dr.
At the Disney Museum, the Fantasia theatre shows films, old and new, while the exhibits relate a surprisingly unvarnished version of Walt Disney’s life. 104 Montgomery St., 415-345-6800, disney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum
Angel Island: The immigration station museum tells the story of the detention of Asian visitors seeking admission to the U.S. in the late 19th century; the view of the bridge from Perimeter Road is panoramic. angelisland.com , 415-435-3544
Alcatraz: From a window in the former prison, inmates could see the swooping bridge and the city’s skylines, both taunting images of the freedom available to those on the outside. alcatraztickets.com , 888-814-2305
San Francisco National Cemetery: An orderly grid of white gravestones marks the deaths, in and out of combat, of soldiers in every U.S. conflict since the Civil War. One Lincoln Blvd. 650-589-7737
WHERE TO EAT
Greens: Chef Annie Somerville’s vegetarian haute cuisine often makes converts of diehard carnivores. 15 Marina Blvd., Fort Mason, 415-771-6222, greensrestaurant.com WHERE TO STAY
Inn at the Presidio: The former army quarters have been converted into a stylish hotel. Room rates range from $195 to $350. 42 Moraga Ave., 415-800-7356, innatthepresidio.com
Cavallo Point Lodge: The clubby, fireplace-warmed Farley Bar at this hotel is a good place to unwind after a chilly bridge walk. Rooms range from, roughly, $300 to $800 a night. 601 Murray Circle, Fort Baker, Sausalito, 415-339-4700, cavallopoint.com.
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