May 16, 2013

California Coastal Cruise Day 3- San Francisco

Because of our late arrival the previous day, we were given a few more hours in San Francisco to compensate for that. I had missed my booked Alcatraz night tour the day before due to the delay. Luckily, we were able to use those tickets for a day tour instead, which worked out great since it was a beautiful day (cold temperatures aside).

Alcatraz is, of course, the famous abandoned prison and also the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of U.S. It's a short ferry ride away from Pier 33, which is just down the road from Fisherman's Wharf.

The island also offers a stunning view of city and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The island is home to many rare flowers and plants, marine wildlife, and thousands of roosting and nesting sea birds.

This is the walled recreational area for prisoners.

Rows and rows of prison cells.

Alcatraz is definitely worth a visit if you're in the San Francisco area. But be prepared to walk a lot!

After touring Alcatraz, we took the famous cable car to Union Square, the downtown shopping district. Walking around San Francisco is definitely not recommended because the slopes are crazy! The gradient changes drastically from one block to the next. Seriously, I felt like I was on a roller coaster on the cable car.

I stopped by Macy's to check out Top Chef Just Dessert season 1 winner Yigit Pura's dessert shop- Tout Sweet.

It was hard to pick from all the delicious-looking cakes available, but I finally settled on La Vida Pura- flourless coconut cake layered with house candied pineapple and passion fruit custard. I loved the tropical flavours, especially the coconut flakes! As for the macarons, we tried Rebecca (burnt caramel with maldon sea salt), Lady Buttler (Tahitian vanilla bean and white chocolate ganache), and Turkish rose (lychee & white chocolate rose). While these weren't bad by any means, I've had much better ones in Toronto. 

My mom was craving something healthy so we also ordered an asparagus and potato salad- zuckerman farms asparagus and delta grown ruby potatoes, toasted hazelnuts, and soft boiled eggs tossed in a meyer lemon vinaigrette.This was simple and delicious!

After exploring the city, we got back to the ship and enjoyed the steam room and sauna, which weren't very popular with the other passengers (understandable, as most of them are seniors).  Then it was time for formal dinner. It's always fun to dress up and go around the ship to take pictures. Of course, they always have professional photographers taking these "studio portraits" with fake backgrounds. These photos are expensive, but we did end up buying a few because we took so many!

After the boat left San Francisco, the water conditions turned pretty terrible and I became quite seasick. It was a pity because I quickly lost my appetite, even though all the food seemed so good! I did manage to finish most of my appetizer- crab meat and monterey jack cheese quiche, served with a charred red pepper salsa.

My mom had the applewood smoked duck breast with a zesty blackberry relish and baby green salad. I didn't really expect it to be a cold dish, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

I also had chilled sweet corn and potato soup, but I could barely finish half of it.

My mom had her favourite French onion soup, but the execution wasn't that great.

By the time my main came, I was feeling really sick. I couldn't even try a bite of my roasted whole Cornish game hen. It did look pretty awesome! My server quickly took away my dish and replaced it with a plate of crackers and sliced apples instead. I really appreciated his thoughtfulness.

My mom opted for grilled medallions of beef tenderloin with Madeira-Truffle demi-glace. We ordered steak several times during the cruise and this was by far the best one! Sadly, I could only stomach a small bite.



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