After we moved to San Francisco in 2009, neither my wife nor I would have imagined that we’d find a home in this wonderfully unique city. It didn’t have the driveways and lawns of the South Bay neighborhoods of our youth, it didn’t have the warm beaches of our college and med school years in San Diego, and it wasn’t quite as walkable as our residency home in Washington, D.C. But, we became enamored with this packed seven by seven mile space—a city with a diversity of parks, vistas, activities, food, and people that matches its colorful politics and microclimates. Here are a handful of itineraries that are a short walk or bus/train/BART ride away and, in my honest opinion, provide a taste (often literally) of the historic and contemporary communities of San Francisco.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 41 – No 09 – September 2022
Kick off your weekend with a rapid-fire contrast in topics and personalities, both of whom with which I’ve been fortunate to have worked. First, one of my residency program’s favorite attendings, Rita Manfredi-Shutler, MD, FACEP, discusses the evolution of telemedicine in emergency medicine, and then EM-Critical Care-trained Jennifer Wilson, MD, FACEP, advises on the management of cardiac tamponade.
Speaking of contrasts, when you’re ready to explore San Francisco, start with the quintessential pair of contrasting neighbors: Chinatown and North Beach.
If you choose to explore the east side of Columbus Street, you’ll venture into the old Italian neighborhood of North Beach and its iconic sites. Pick up a sandwich from Molinari Delicatessen or The Italian Homemade Company, focaccia from Liguria Bakery, and a slice of tiramisu or sacripantina from Stella Bakery. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in Washington Square or hike up to Coit Tower. You can browse City Lights Bookstore on your way back. Dinner options include the venerable Original Joe’s or Café Jacqueline, known for its souffles (but it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays).
If you chose the west side of Columbus St., you’ll enter the oldest and largest Chinatown in the United States. While still home to a multi-generational Cantonese community, its businesses are largely targeted toward tourists or families looking for low-cost groceries. Many would argue that better quality Chinese food is found on Clement Street (Marvel superhero Shang-Chi rented an unwarranted garage space in that neighborhood, after all), but there are still gems to be found.
Check out my go-to place for take-out dim sum at Good Mong Kok Bakery (cash only), Chong Qing Xiao Mian, R&G Lounge (visited by President Obama), and Golden Gate Bakery (known for its dan tat—a Cantonese pastry with an egg custard). It is plenty enjoyable to take in the energy of the weekend crowds, and browse the produce markets, traditional medicine shops, and occasional live chicken shop. Don’t blink, however, or you may miss the newly renovated Chinese Hospital which was created to serve Chinatown’s segregated community and opened in 1925.