Destinations,  San Francicsco,  USA

San Francisco 2010-Ton Kiang, Exploratorium and Katana-ya

September 5, 2010
Day 3

This morning we met David’s sister, her husband, and their two boys (ages 1 and 4) for dim sum at Ton Kiang in the Richmond District. It was a long bus ride down Geary, but at least it was a straight shot and it took us about 30 minutes to get there. We arrived at 10:30am and were sat upstairs in an almost empty room. The upstairs room has larger tables than downstairs. The place filled very quickly and by the time we left there was a long line waiting outside (and yet no one in line for the dim sum place next door).

Can you see why I was so distracted?
The various dim sum dishes we had were all very good. We ate wonderful shrimp and mushroom dumplings, sticky rice and meat wrapped in leave packages, roasted duck, Chinese broccoli and too many other various dumplings to count. I was so taken with my adorable nephews that I completely forgot to take photos of the food! The check for 4 adults and 2 children was about $80 before tax and tip.

Afterward, David and I took the bus to the Exploratorium where we met back up with the family and spent a couple of hours there wandering around with the kids. This is a really fun and at the same time, educational, place for children of all ages. There are tons of hands on science exhibits on which the kids can experiment. They particularly enjoyed the big bubble maker, the indoor climbing playground area and the various spinning and whirring gadgets. Admission $15 per adult, and $10 per child age 4-12.

Fun at the Exploratorium!

From the Exploratorium we walked over to the nearby beach where were got a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a warm but hazy day and the beach was crowded with people sunning themselves, flying kites, and kids and dogs everywhere. We didn’t have time to stay, but it would be a fun to walk all the way down to the bridge along the water there someday.

We said goodbye to the family, and walked around the little lake next to the Exploratorium and then decided to take a bus to North Beach to wander a bit. One thing I wanted to do for sure while we were in San Francisco was take a cable car ride. We tried to catch a cable car back to the hotel and waited for over 20 minutes, but not one would stop because they were all full.

At that point, we took the bus back to where the cable car starts up near the wharf. When we arrived, the line was very long and we were told there was a wait of at least 45 minutes. We waited another 20 minutes chatting with a couple from Australia who were traveling the US for 8 weeks, and only one cable car departed during that time. Judging by the size of the line, and the frequency of departure, we probably would have to wait another hour if we wanted to get on one. We cut our losses and got back on the bus to Union Square and I never did ride a cable car on this trip.

For dinner, we had a hard time figuring out where we wanted to eat. After much debate and consideration of our finances, we decided to go casual and (hopefully) less expensive and and walked over to check out Katana-ya a ramen place I’d read about which was just around the corner from hotel. This is a teeny-tiny place, seating maybe 30, but there was only a small wait so we went back to hotel planning to return later. This was a mistake. By the time we returned, there were a lot more people waiting and a dozen names on the wait list. We added ours and settled in for what turned out to be over an hour’s wait.

The food was very good. Here, it’s all about the ramen, but they have a large sushi menu as well. We ordered ramen with Pork belly, some sushi and were fortunate to be able to sit at the sushi bar to watch the guy behind it work. Dinner, including beer, was about $50 before tax and tip. Katana-ya, 430 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 771-1280

Day 4
We left hotel by 9:30am to retrace our steps down to the BAR and BartBus back to Oakland Airport and home. It was a wonderful and relaxing way to celebrate our anniversary and I can’t wait until the next time we return to San Francisco.

San Francisco Morning


  • Jen Murphy

    Love your website and have learned a lot from you for our own travels… we seem to have similar interests! As a 25+ year SF resident and a cable car commuter, I can tell you that the trick is to catch the ride somewhere in the middle of the route at a non-touristy corner, when the car has emptied out a bit or the operator is willing to stop for “just” 1 or 2 people. Or of course you can also catch it early in the day, or in the evening when it’s less crowded. Evening rides are particularly nice!

  • Rob

    That dinner sounded pretty good and reasonably priced. May be going to SF soon if I end up at BlogWorld… Still looking at tickets!

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