When Kirk began his new remote gig with a web startup based in San Francisco last month, the company flew him up to the city to meet the team and work out of the office for a few days.

It just so happened in the week prior I’d done six Carlsbad Magazine shoots and three San Diego Home Photography shoots. A heaping pile of editing work awaited me. I could do it in Oceanside. Or San Francisco.

Easy choice.

After settling into our Airbnb in Dogpatch (a neighborhood on the bay about a mile south of AT&T Park), we hopped a streetcar to SoMa for lunch.

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We were eager to use what remained of our travel day to see the city, so something simple and quick-ish was in order. Burgers or tacos would do the trick.

Garaje served both, which is usually a red flag, but with an average Yelp review of 4 ½ stars, it had to be doing something right.

It was mid-afternoon when we walked in. The place was quite dark and nearly empty. Outside it was sunny and beautiful; it felt like we’d just entered a cave. I almost walked right back out, but it was already 3:30 PM, we were super hungry, and at second glance, the decor caught my eye.

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I’m glad we stayed. The bartenders, graciously indulging my indecisiveness, offered us sample after sample of beer. While waiting for our food, I spent ten minutes in aesthetic glee photographing the old street signs, music posters and industrial cage lights.

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We split a burger and a couple tacos. Both hit the spot. And my beer! The Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison ale had the flavor of a dark beer but body of a light one. It was exactly what I wanted in that moment, making me think now if I go buy it at the bottle shop it will never taste as good as it did at Garaje.

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We hopped a bus and headed for North Beach with planned stops at Coit Tower and Vesuvio Cafe.

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Coffee stop at Réveille Coffee Co. Macchiato. Lovely.

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Vesuvio Cafe in the daytime; we returned later for a drink.

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Kirk had a craving for a chocolate milkshake. Mo’s Grill delivered.

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I’ve been to San Francisco once before. Still I’m enthralled with the way the steep hills warp the cityscape. Buildings can be seen for blocks, like vertically fanned decks of cards.

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After the morning’s plane ride, the burger, tacos and milkshake, I welcomed the leg workout from the ridiculously steep streets, some nearing a 30% grade.

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Fun game: On a hill, try to make it look like you’re walking on flat ground. Kirk’s this close to tumbling on his face:

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We reached Coit Tower after it closed, but the view from the base was still worth the hike walk.

Bay Bridge.

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Golden Gate in silhouette.

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A small brick staircase led us down a leafy pathway through the “backyards” of dozens of houses and buildings wedged into the steep hillside.

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We meandered through the neighborhood stopping to check out interesting houses and pausing in the middle of intersections for views down hills that would kill you on a skateboard.

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After walking for a few hours, it was time for a drink. A sign outside of Maggie McGarry’s declared specials on Irish coffees (one of my favorite drinks) and whiskey gingers (one of Kirk’s). Fate?

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Not so much. The drinks were as close to awful as we’ve ever had.

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Ah well.

We moved on to Vesuvio Cafe, a famed hangout of Jack Keroac and other writers and artists of the Beat Generation. It did not disappoint.

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The place was full of nooks and crannies for small groups to hang out. The patrons and decor battled equally for my attention. After sitting at the bar for a bit, we made our way to the second level for a different view.

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After one drink, the day hit us hard. Time to call it… We had work in the morning. ☼