Thursday, December 22, 2011

San Francisco: 49 Hours is not enough - Part II

Beyond seeing glorious drag queens, gingerbread houses and enjoying the San Francisco Symphony, I met a few animals in San Francisco: the furry kind at Macy's SF SPCA adoption, chocovores (and chocoholics) on a Gourmet Food Walk and merry makers on a caroling cable car.  These are just a few of San Francisco Travel's 49 holiday things to do

Macy's helps the SF SPCA find dogs and cats homes for the holiday

Macy's SF SPCA Adoption window at its Market Street location
As of Dec. 15, 195 cats and dogs had been adopted since Thanksgiving.

Paisley is a puppy that is up for adoption.

As of Monday, Dec. 19, 224 dogs and cats have been adopted.  This is the 25th year the SF SPCA has offered holiday pet adoptions from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day.  Krista Maloney, a spokesperson for the SF SPCA, told me that it's the seventh or eighth year that Macy's has generously offered window and floor space to help pets find homes.

If you're visiting San Francisco and don't have a home to offer, Maloney says that they are still looking for volunteers to help out -- especially between Dec. 26 and New Year's Day.  "Volunteering involves collecting donations and greeting the public, and shifts are only about two hours each," says Maloney.  For more info, visit:

This kitty needs a home in the Bay Area.  (I encouraged my friend, Dick Jordan,
to adopt a canine or feline, but his cat rules a one cat household.

Gourmet Food Walks or walking for chocolate (and other treats)

We sampled three delicacies from Recchiuti Confections in the Ferry Building

Although I went on a Gourmet Chocolate Tour during my holiday visit,  the chocolate tour is available year round from Gourmet Walks.  Over the three hour tour, I learned about the painstaking labor involved in growing and harvesting the fruit of the cocoa tree and was offered more samples of chocolate than I could eat.  You also have opportunities to buy chocolate during the tour, and many of the vendors offer Gourmet Walks guests a 10% discount.  I bought some tasting samples to give my family a chance to have a chocolate experience over Christmas.  

Until I took the tour with Nicole, I never had any idea that tasting chocolate could be as complex as wine tasting. . . without the hangover.  (Since I was sampling chocolate confections that are at least 70% chocolate, I didn't experience any sugar hangover.  In contrast, a Hershey's bar or common chocolate bar usually contains 10% chocolate and 90% sugar.)  

The next time you unwrap a piece of gourmet chocolate, look at it, sniff it, snap it (unless it's a truffle) then taste it.  It helps if you inhale as you are tasting the chocolate.  I hope to edit and post video from my lesson soon.

During the holidays, Gourmet Walks has a Holiday Lights and Chocolate Tour that includes tea with macaroons.  Throughout the year, Gourmet Walks not only offers chocolate tours but foodie tours in Japan Town and downtown Napa.   My chocolate tour began at the Embarcadero and ended at Union Square. 

A foodie tour is a great way to see the city while you educate your palate, delight your tastebuds and tighten your waistband.  

At Leonidas, we sipped Belgium hot chocolate followed by a tasty sample.

Classic Cable Car Holiday Lights Tour

Although I only had a chance to do an abbreviated version of this, it's great fun to hear Christmas carols while seeing the holiday lights of San Francisco from a cable car.

The carolers I met were very friendly.  Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. I forgot to mention that our Gourmet Chocolate tour guide, Nicole, told us about Trader Joe's holiday treat - a palette of square chocolate bars that are from around the world. Cost is $9.99. The West L.A. store on Pico Blvd. was almost sold out when I bought my palette to take to my deprived kin in Dallas, who have no Trader Joe's.

    Here's a link to all their holiday candy: