Port of SFO…Tadich…Book Passage. I enjoyed my afternoon immensely, and it empowered me for several days.
What an incredible time I had at the Book Passage 25th Travel Writers and Photographers Conference in Corte Madera, California. A four-day event with National Geographic photographers, writers, and authors. It was a grand opportunity to learn and mix with the gifted faculty, and devotees of all levels. I was so pleased I chose the photography workshops.
ARRIVAL DAY: I spent the prior night (sleeping in a chair) in the Atlanta airport due to the Delta Airline computer failure, and my arrival into SFO was difficult: lack of sleep, and hunger for starters. I was resolved to stay awake and not fall apart when I checked into my hotel room. All I had to hear from the front desk clerk was her recommendation: “Take the Larkspur Ferry that leaves in a few minutes and you will arrive in downtown San Francisco just in time for lunch.”
I could now add this ferry to my list along with the Hong Kong Star Ferry, the New York City Marine Ferry, and the Trans Côte d’Azur (Nice, France) Ferry. The Larkspur Ferry not only transported me to the San Francisco Bay area, it was my site-seeing boat to San Quentin, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. My own private photo shoot.
To keep my adrenaline going, I struct up a conversation with a passenger next to me and asked: “Where would you suggest I eat in the city?” She said, “Tadich, it’s an old established, local favorite, and dated back to the Gold Rush days.” Just minutes from the Ferry Building, and I had to hurry because it was a no- reservation policy.
The moment I stepped inside and saw the waiters wearing white jackets, I thought it was a men’s club, but I soon felt at ease when I spotted other women patrons. It was early and there were plenty of seats. The waiters were aloof but professional.
Everything on the menu looked enticing and it really overwhelmed me. The seafood was sure to be the freshest. I ordered their famous Cioppino. A tomato-wine stew with clams, mussels, shrimp, and whitefish. Carb free – until it came with garlic bread. It was enough to have fed two people easily.
Just look at all that scrumptious seafood: Shrimp, clams, scallops and whitefish, all locally sourced. The California white wine was a good fit. Sadly, I could not finish all of it and a doggy bag was out of the question. Guess who came in while I was eating? The lady on the Ferry with her date. I thanked her for steering me in the right direction. What a luxury to be in the oldest restaurant in California.
On my way back to the Port, I wondered through the marketplace and saw an intriguing sign with a blue bottle. The name was Blue Bottle Coffee, and my hot coffee was roasted perfectly, and took the chill off from the harbor breeze. I’ll have to hunt them down the next time I am in Brooklyn… I’m sure it will be just as smooth and tasty even if I have to wait while they work their magic.
I enjoyed my afternoon immensely, and it empowered me for several days. The water taxi was exciting, and invigorating, despite a rough and windy ride. Somehow the ride back was full speed ahead and everyone had to sit inside, almost like we were in a speed boat competition. Just being on the water was a great jumpstart to my sojourn, let alone my fabulous lunch.
As you can tell we are busy with the camera and Catherine had an attendee take the photo and I was happy for the souvenir. The highlight of the conference was working one-on-one with Catherine Karnow, National Geographic photographer. The only chairs she found were in the kids section, most fitting, as it suited my childlike enthusiasm. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning workshops each day and wished we had more time. She was absolutely captivating during her workshop. Catherine is passionate, vibrant, and breathes life into each photo. She really made the entire conference worthwhile for me, and I left exhilarated. One day, I hope to be in her Vietnam photo workshop, but for now, I’ll settle on reading her fabulous photo book – Vietnam 25 Years – Documenting a Changing Country.