Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Friends, Food, & Photography

Yesterday, good friends from San Diego were in the area so we arranged to spend a day in San Francisco together before they flew home.  We had a gorgeous day, filled with good food and lots of talk and laughter and plenty of time walking around the city.

After picking them up at their hotel in the financial district, we headed to our very favorite dim sum restaurant, Yank Sing.  (This is well worth a visit if you are in SF, folks.  You won't regret it.)  

Dim sum is the perfect lunch when you are with friends and want to just talk and enjoy without that bother of reading menus and making decisions.  Food comes by on carts and you choose based on what looks good.  We had those gorgeous broth and meat filled dumplings above, and the pork shu mai below...

And a bunch of other goodies as well!  But our unanimous favorite was these sea bass and sweet basil pieces, wrapped in a thin layer of sweet potato (we guessed).  Heavenly.

From there, we headed over to a place we'd never been before, the Pier 24 Photography gallery.  I would not have known about this place but for our friends, who are big photography collectors and enthusiasts.  Turns out that Pier 24 is a beautiful exhibit space run by the Pilara Foundation Collection, and is designed to show photography to the public.  So it's essentially a small, FREE museum showcasing the best that photographic arts have to offer. And it really is in the historic Pier 24 building, directly under the Bay Bridge.

The current exhibit, "About Face," is all about portraits, and showcased a wonderful and large collection of portrait photography from around the world.  There were photos from Dorthea Lange, including several of her migrant farm family photos.

There was an odd but fascinating wall full of mug shot photos from the 1930s and 1940s, work by Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon, amazing photographs from South Africa, China and Japan, even a quirky set of Famous Photographer baseball cards, featuring photographers in baseball player poses.  Ever imagine seeing Ansel Adams as a catcher?!  This photo by South African photographer Pieter Hugo made me return to it several times, due to the intensity of the subject's gaze.

There was a room full of Richard Avedon photos, called The Family, from photographs of political figures from 1976 taken for a Rolling Stone special edition.

It was a fascinating exhibit.  I don't know much about photography in terms of the photographers  and it made me want to learn more.  Our friends could walk through the exhibit and identify who was the artist behind almost every photograph, and I felt like we had a personally guided tour as they knew so much.

If you're interested in visiting Pier 24, be aware that it's open to the public but by appointment only. You must visit the website and make an appointment for a specific day and 2-hour window.  They ensure that the visiting groups are small that way, and that you can enjoy the exhibit in a quiet and spacious atmosphere.

From there, we strolled down to the Ferry Building, another of my favorite SF places. 

Inside, it's a market full of wonderful shops and food stalls, contained by all of the ferry building gorgeous architecture.

We were drawn to the sweet shops -- we spent a long time looking at the beautiful pastries at Miette

but ultimately bought a few bits of chocolate at the Scharffenberger chocolate stall.  We had to save ourselves for our next stop, dinner at the Fog City Diner.

This is another of our favorite SF places -- it's on the Embarcadero, has easy parking (no small thing in SF) and most importantly, great food.  We sat with a view of the bay and enjoyed delicious small plates of food (the pulled pork in hoisin sauce sliders were to DIE for) while we compared calendars to figure out when we could next get together, and bemoaned the fact that Gail and Mel had to leave so soon.

What a fun, fun day. 

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