Ive been meaning to put together lists of things Ive grown to appreciate in the Bay Area.
The morning mystery.. will it stay or will it go. I used to think of it as all fog, but now I can tell the difference between fog, clouds and bad weather.
Pick a hill or high point. Almost any one. On the Penisnsula, the East Bay, the Marin Headlands.
Then look out and down on the bay.
Takes your breath away. Even with no fog.
Ive tasted em from all over.. but the donuts here often border on the sublime. The Bear Claws mix cinnamon, almonds and cream into an intoxicating mix.
In New York (and Chicago), these places would usually be Greek run.
Here, theyre usually Cambodian or Thai.
New Yorkers like to say their tap water is the best tasting in the world, coming from the upstate reservoirs.
I never bought into that.
The water in the East Bay (and San Francisco) comes from the Sierras. Water from Yosemite Park an' shit.
TRUE mountain-fed spring water.
Cold and sweet specially when your tap is close to the city mains.
What I miss
Goat cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, kale .. these are the things that you can expect on a "California" pizza.
Ok, Ive stopped laughing at it, and sometimes its pretty awesome.. but pizza with no cheese or meat and a spread of tomato paste (for vegetarians and non-dairy folk) is NOT pizza, dammit.
2 inch thick dough, gobs of fresh mozarella, tomato paste so fresh you can taste the bits of basil still flooating, gobs of meat or vegetables floating in a pie so heavy that you gain weight simply looking at.. now THATS pizza.
The place is laid back. There is a lot more room here.
But I miss the concentrated waves of energy that you get in New York.
Here, you gotta generate your own.
"Special, buttered, kaiser roll, large coffee, lite, 4 spoons sugar".
In New York, that means 2 eggs on a kaiser roll, toasted and buttered, cream in the coffee, sweet and how sweet.
And in 2 minutes at most, youre out the door.
Here, I have to explain myself. Which takes two minutes usually.
There are buses and trains aplenty.
They run pretty regularly and will get you here and there pretty efficiently.
It costs a lot of money to take mass transit regularly.
BART (the equivalent of the NY subway and NJ PATH) costs a fucking arm and a leg, unless you stay local, ie within a few stops.
Unless youre driving or want to spend mad money on a taxi, plan to sleep over if you cross the bay for some late night carousing, because the system shuts down soon after midnight and doesnt reopen until 6am.
You CAN get stuck here.
The transportation here, although well designed - is run sort of like a joke (you CAN get around, but not necessarily where you want when you want).. and thats when you realise the Bay Area is, after all is said and done.. a small town.
Get a car, hope for parking.
I sometimes look at my metrocard longingly...
Still, the place kinda grows on you.