Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain: San Francisco Peninsula

The park has continued to be a bit of a mystery for me - I have yet to find an official site with a trail map. However, Google Maps comes through for me. You can see the starting point and the trails clearly on the map. This park is dog-friendly but full of critters, including a coyote that watched us from up the trail one day.

Starting at the intersection on the map, head west on Bartlett Way. There are a couple of houses on the undeveloped road (one of which has lost the bridge section of it's driveway - yikes!) then a large gate that enters the park itself. As you walk along the creek, you'll see evidence of an old home and horse corral that were on this road. There is a bit of urban myth / history about this area in this blog. Whatever the history might be, this stretch can be pretty lonely and just ... eerie. Can't explain the feeling, but it is odd.

Maybe part of the eeriness is from another random burnt-out car you'll find when you turn right up the Saltson Trail. The trail gets steeper and as you climb, watch the trees on the left. You'll see the car, part of the collective of burnt out cars in this area.

What the...? Not like there is a road nearby....
You'll reach a junction where you have a choice to make. The path the left takes you up to the houses. The path downhill takes you toward Laurelwood Park. To your right is a wonderful, steep trail to the top of the mountain! Go ahead, climb it! It rises at about a 45 degree angle in most places but it really isn't a long climb overall. From the top, you get 360 degree views of the area.

Fog in the distance, coming over the mountains
From the top, you can extend the hike down into Laurelwood Park where the trail narrows and can be heavy with poison oak. You emerge in the well-groomed park itself - a bit disconcerting after the wildness of Sugarloaf! Alternately, you can re-trace your steps - coming back down the path can be steep and there is loose gravel along the way. Watch yourself. 

And watch for coyotes, deer and bunnies watching you from the side of the trail. ;-)

-- Happy Climbing!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Carmel Mission - From the Archives

This photo is from 2005. This California location has not changed much in recent years. Anyone able to guess where this was taken? Twitter bragging rights to the first correct guess!

Update: No one figured this one out! This is the Mission in Carmel, CA. It's full name is Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo and is the last home of Junipero Serra. It is still a functioning church and school, so pick your visit time appropriately. It is one of the most beautiful missions here in California!

Original photo - courtyard of the Mission

-- Happy Travels

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why am I Anonymous?

One of the important factors of social media is that it is ... well, SOCIAL. So how can you be social and anonymous? pretty much nails this belief in this statement from the Elite Squad site:

"Yelp Eliters are expected to use their real name! We know nicknames and secret identities are fun and all, but if you want to make it into the Elite, we need to know that you are legit, and will stand by your opinionated opinions."

That is all pretty awesome and makes sense. However, here is why I am anonymous:

  • Safety. I am woman and often have to travel alone for work. It freaks me out that everyone in the world (who cared) could know exactly where I am every minute. And then find me. Or rob my house. Either one or both at the same time. 
  • I work for a company who's customers include those airlines, hotels and products that I make scathing, nasty comments about. Our customers also include the ones I really, really like - but to protect myself from massive legal fees and / or losing my job, I try to separate the work person from the snarky person. 
  • If you actually know me well enough and a thing or two about the Internet, I'm really not all that anonymous. I'll talking about you, those few people who have tracked me down. 
So, I stand by my decision to keep posting anonymously. If I ever strike it rich and make a bazillion dollars, I will hire my own security detail for safety, get sharks with laser beams to protect my house and quit my job. Then I will publicly own all my "opinionated opinions" right here. 

Until then, I'm just Sarcastic T.

-- Happy Stealthy Travels

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Random Weird - Photo Fresh

What is fresh? The fish or the restrooms?
Who knows where this is? Bragging rights on Twitter to the person who can answer in the next 48 hours.

-- Happy Travels!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breaking from the Crowd: Peninsula Chefs

As San Franciscans, we are very proud of our local culinary talents. "Big-box" and francises are frowned on and openly blocked at times. The irony - as you leave the city, folks assume all you have is McDonalds and second-rate chefs who couldn't "make it" in the city.

An interesting trend says the opposite: some chefs have tired of the city or come down the peninsula to do things their way, to find less expensive locations and to take root in smaller, growing downtowns.

My favorite example: The Refuge in San Carlos. The menu: burgers, pastrami, belgian beer, foie gras. Eclectic to say the least, but the shining stars are the beer and the pastrami. I can't say I was a huge fan of pastrami before - it was one of those "meh" things. However, I clearly had never had REAL pastrami - anything pastrami-based on the menu is stunning. The foie gras is always amazing and the seasonal changes to the menu give enough variety that if I ever wanted to try something else, I could. Vegetarians are not left out - there are usually a couple of vegetarian dishes and steamed veggies on the menu. But wait - it gets better! They have a nice covered outdoor area with heat lamps and they are dog-friendly!

In San Mateo, 231 Ellsworth boasts their chef left Masa's in San Francisco to join the peninsula crowd - and clearly, this has worked well for both the chef and the restaurant. They are both Michelin recommended and won the Opentable 2011 Diners' Choice award.

Do you have a favorite peninsula place that highlights an escapist chef? Please share it!

-- Happy Eating!