Rain and the Marina neighborhood

Growing up in Florida, I am no stranger to rain.  However, I experienced a rain phenomenon I wasn’t prepared for this week during our first rainy day in San Francisco:  Walking the busy sidewalks of a city during rush hour when everyone has their own umbrella out.  It’s scary!  I honestly thought I might lose an eye.

We are nearing the start of rainy season here, and so this weekend’s activities were based indoors.

After a great week, where I started teaching my first regular BODYPUMP class to a studio full of energetic people Thursday night, and also did a couple of phone interviews for potential jobs, I was eager for a nice dinner out on Friday.

Dave and I ventured nearby to Bluestem Brasserie.  It looked like it had stopped raining before we set out, so we didn’t bring an umbrella and were nearly soaked by the time we arrived.  Even though my hair was a fright, Bluestem was a solid dining experience, with the most notable item being an excellent cheese-pairing plate as an appetizer.

Unfortunately, there were no trips to state parks or wineries on tap for our Saturday or Sunday.  But, we did get to take advantage of the great shopping at Union Square.  We both made some purchases at DSW (where I picked up some cowboy boots and am now one step closer to becoming a Premier Member woohoo!) and Uniqlo.  Uniqlo is Japanese store that just entered the U.S. market, with two locations in NYC and one here in San Francisco.  When it first opened a couple of weeks ago there was always a line to get in, so we were glad to walk right into the store when we arrived, although it was quite busy.  Uniqlo is considered innovative and affordable clothing that is mostly solid colors, and its famous for its down jackets.  I ended up with a pair of jeggings, and Dave ended up with a sweater, jeans and a blazer.  As we were checking out, Dave noticed that the cashiers employed some fine Japanese customs and handed guests their credit cards and receipts as a presentation with both hands during every single transaction.  Nice touch.

We did sneak in a bit of exploring on Saturday night, when we took our first trip across town to the Marina neighborhood.  As I have mentioned before, San Francisco is broken up into small neighborhoods, which each have a distinct vibe.  We live in the South of Market district, or SoMa neighborhood, known as an up-and-coming area full of museums, warehouse spaces used as offices for tech companies, restaurants and nice hotels.  However, the Marina is totally different.  The Marina is a much younger crowd, mostly “post-grads” in their 20s and 30s, who are known to be in shape and attractive (honestly, that’s what people say).  There are trendy shops and restaurants on the street level and residential areas above.  We had heard that the best bars were around this area on Union Street, and we certainly saw that scene in action.

Our trip to Marina was inspired by our quest to dine at a highly recommend sushi restaurant called Umami.  We were there to try the famous Umami sliders (shown below), which are melt-in-your-mouth kobe mini burgers.  We also had sushi, sake, salad and an incredible ice cream and cookie dough roll for dessert.  The place was packed with the youngest selection of patrons I have seen thus far in my time in San Francisco.  Everyone was well dressed.  And I mean everyone.

I must say that the music selection inside the restaurant turned us off a bit.  You expect to hear techno or house music in a sushi restaurant, and so the late 80s and early 90s music (which I normally do enjoy) just didn’t seem to fit.  Other than that, Umami was a good scene, and different from most of the restaurants we have tried.

We walked along the busy street after dinner and saw groups of drunk frat guys all in nearly identical dark jeans and flannel shirt outfits.  I have to admit it was a little refreshing.  Someone kicked a cone over on the sidewalk and then laughed about it … many of them were carrying Red Bull … and all of them were ready for a good time.

To escape the rain while waiting for a cab, we stumbled into an upscale bar called Brickyard and just so happened to chat with a local couple who gave us great advice on being new in town.  This couple was born and raised in California, and although had moved away for a few years, were back in the same neighborhood that they planned to stay forever.  They told us their love for Marina and that you would never see a fight there unlike other City districts.  They also said it was THE place to be for young professionals.  In addition, they suggested we sign up for intramural sports, buy deals to attend classes on Groupon, go to the Farmer’s Market and go to bars during the middle of the weekend day to meet people.  Hmmm … seems like decent advice.

The Marina neighborhood is certainly one where we fit in, but maybe not the most culturally diverse area around.  But, I’d certainly pay the cab fare to eat the ice cream cookie dough roll at Umami again.

Umami sliders
The original melt-in-your-mouth kobe Umami sliders.
Dave at Umami
Enjoying a little sake served in a box in his new blazer.


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