Monday, October 26, 2009

Gourmet Market

The interior of the Ferry Terminal Building (1898) houses a daily gourmet market of local cheese, organic produce and fish as well as specialty restaurants and wine bars.

The Czar Nicoulai Caviar Bar for instance serves up Sonoma champagne by the glass and sustainably-farmed California osetra caviar.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Farmer's Market

Every Saturday morning the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market surrounds the Ferry Building (1898). It is a veritable feast of fresh produce, often organic, from local farms.

The Fall bouquets were exquisite.

We hear the sound of potatoes frying -- imagine the aroma.

They are singing a Pogues song: Dirty Old Town.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Lynx and I attended a lovely birthday party last weekend.

Birthday girl

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The light pours into our living room on sunny mornings this time of year.

We brought the plants in off the balcony a few weeks ago. Glad we did now that the temperature is flirting with zero. The bay tree has over-wintered for about twenty years now.

To finish our Sunday afternoon tour: a peak in a corner of a cupboard.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book Sale

The Lynx and I rode our bikes over to the University College Book Sale at King's College Circle at the University of Toronto.

One splendid room for fiction, one for non-fiction. It's on until Tuesday the 20th. Recommended. Hours of sale and address.

We bought four books, including a first edition of Timothy Holme's At the Lake of Sudden Death, Macmillan, 1987 (for two dollars). Holme is out of print and all but unknown, but I'm a passionate advocate of his mystery novels, set in Italy, and drenched in the atmosphere of being in Italy. If you miss Italy and want to revisit in your imagination, get your hands on anything by Timothy Holme. My Holme collection

North Beach

Across from City Lights Books are some of North Beach's famous strip and comedy clubs. Note The Hungry I Club.

North Beach is San Francisco's Little Italy, so eateries abound.

We ate a divine lunch at L'Osteria del Forno. You can't go wrong with a casserole made from Swiss Chard baked with gruyère cheese and béchamel sauce.
Kinnearing of the locals may not go unobserved.

Italian deli's have some of the best windows.

The centre of the North Beach neighbourhood is Washington Square Park and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

City Lights

We were thrilled to be stepping across the threshold of City Lights Books.

Call me sentimental but it felt, somehow, like holy ground.
My older brother gave me Allen Ginsberg's Howl and other poems when I was a teenager and my hitherto suburban world started to open up. Later I read William Burroughs, Richard Brautigan and Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems (in the City Lights Pocket Poets series) and the same thing happened each time.

It was fun to check out the staff pics. I've got to put my name in at the library for The Other Side of Paradise a Memoir by Staceyann Chin. Latest City Lights staff recommendations.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Vesuvio Bar in North Beach was a hangout for Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and other Beats.

We found it a very comfortable place to have a drink. In fact, we visited several times.

It's a lovely, funky neighbourhood bar with a 2nd floor  balcony. The walls are covered in trivia, posters, broadsheets and photos from the 60's.

Upstairs the windows open onto Columbus Avenue and Jack Kerouac Alley: note literary tourists.

Inside it's very casual and atmospheric.

It's wonderful to sit up there, overlooking the street.

My portrait of William Kimber (aka Uncle Lynx) and his portrait of me.

There's a great picture of Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky on the Ladies Room door with a quote from Kerouac's Scripture of the Golden Eternity, 1960.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Bill's view from the steps of the Coit Tower in San Francisco.
Note Alcatraz Island on the left.

Here's his view from the top of the Coit Tower: downtown San Francisco with the Bay Bridge.

We loved the WPA murals on the ground floor
of the tower -- hey, that's me in the glasses.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sea Lions

On Pier 39 on San Francisco bay a magical thing happens every summer

An extended family of sea lions takes over the place

Intensely social, for the most part

I'm told the City Fathers would like to give the Pier back to the boats and are looking for ways to discourage the sea lions from returning. I can understand the financial need, but it sure is amazing and unforgettable to see a colony of wild mammals like this at close range.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Just finished reading Rogues' Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitain Museum. If you're in the mood for a fast, gossipy read about the New Yorkers that built and financed the Met, you may find this art-oriented social history, hard to put down.

Friday, October 2, 2009

25 cents

Vintage arcade games from the Musée Mécanique on Fisherman's Wharf, SF.

Entrance is free. Bring your quarters. Recommended!

Who could be alone in finding Jack scary?

Relief when we need it most. No electricity!