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I Remember that!

San Francisco

"Sea breeze blowing, boats coming in, I've been waiting, where have they been?"

Peggy Lee is a famous country singer who sang about the sea breezes of San Francisco Bay. She wondered how the wind’s might affect the “good catch (of a) good day" in her song, "Fisherman's Wharf." But Peggy wasn't the first to cast her song upon the San Francisco Bay waters. Since the 1800's, San Francisco Bay has been a port of call and the home of the Pacific whale fishery. Early sea shanty songs such as "Go to Sea No More" mention "Frisco Bay" as a stop for "a whaling ship" where a sailor laments, "me money alas, I spent it fast."

And San Francisco was just the place to do it! Once gold was discovered “in them there hills,” San Francisco picked up pace as fast as the miners picked up gold. In 1859, silver replaced gold as the strike-it-rich phenomenon sent miners into the hills once again. This time, the transformation for the city was widespread, as San Francisco became a center for the business of high rollers. Speculators and investors in Parisian-made suits flooded into San Francisco, and the town responded by building splendid hotels and restaurants to house them.  It wasn't long before San Francisco was known as a city of romance and dreams.

That San Franciscan romanticism of the late 1800's gave the city Telegraph and Nob Hills where there are extravagant mansions built by the wealthy "nobs" of  that period. Perched high above the water, these mansions blend the culture of the past with the ever-present draw of the water. 

M.H. de Young Memorial Museum is another reminder of the attempt by the cultured to soften San Francisco's wild beginnings. Built by San Francisco Chronicle publisher M.H. de Young, the Golden Gate Park museum is filled with artifacts from Africa, Asia Minor, and early America.  Many of John D. Rockefeller III's private collectibles were donated to the museum before his death.

San Francisco's Chinatown is one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia. Bedecked with bright colors, the authentic shops and restaurants make Chinatown a popular and unique tourist attraction.

Always the symbol of the beautiful and the dreamer, the Golden Gate Bridge still invites the visitor to come into its city. The bridge seems to inspire ingenuity – and even courage. Jeannette MacDonald will always be remembered as the girl who stood in the ruins and sang, "San Francisco open your golden gates." MacDonald's musical reference was to the 1906 earthquake that destroyed a great part of the city, including its central business district. But the city was rebuilt and the gates did open again.  It is said that if a traveler begins the song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" at one end of the Golden Gate Bridge and drives the speed limit, the song will end at the exact time he or she reaches the other side. But there’s more! It’s also been said that the traveler can smell the baking of sourdough bread by the time he or she reaches the middle of the bridge!

San Francisco’s Monte Cristo Sandwich

The Monte Cristo Sandwich was a San Francisco creation of the 1950's. When people visit San Francisco, they usually want to have one! Or you can make your own at home to get acquainted with the flavor of San Francisco. 

Assemble the following ingredients: 
6 thin slices of white bread 
4 tablespoon mayonnaise 
4 thin slices turkey breast sandwich meat 
4 thin slices ham sandwich meat 
2 thin slices American cheese 
3 eggs 
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Remove crust from bread. Lightly spread 2 slices of bread with mayo. Top with 2 slices turkey. Trim any overhang of meat. Take 1 more slice of bread and spread mayo on both sides. Place on top of the turkey. Add one slice cheese and 2 slices ham. Again, trim any overhang. Repeat this process. Spread last 2 bread slices with mayo, but only on one side. Press these slices on the outsides of the sandwich, mayo side to the inside of sandwich. Cut into 4 triangles.

Mix eggs and milk in small bowl. Heat oil in skillet. Dip each triangle into egg mixture. Then fry, turning to cook all sides evenly until golden brown. Follow the same procedure with all four segments. You may have to add more oil to coat skillet and prevent sticking. 

Serve with sour cream and strawberry jam that may be spread on sandwiches according to individual taste.

Sourdough Bread

In “mining” terminology, a sourdough was a highly experienced miner who had been on the job many years. Baking sourdough bread requires time and patience as well. If you want to give it a try, here’s a web site that will get you started: 

Recipe for making your own sourdough bread: http://joejaworski.com/bread1.htm

San Francisco Golden Gate Burger

1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic salt
sourdough buns 
fresh spinach salad leaves

Mix uncooked ground beef with Feta cheese, tomatoes, and garlic salt. Shape into 4 patties. Grill. Serve in sourdough buns. Use spinach leaves as you would the lettuce that is commonly used on burgers Garnish with catsup and onion.

Historical Trivia 

Nickname – Although abhorred by native San Franciscans, the term "Frisco" is still heard today in songs and poems that refer to the bay city.

Geography – On a peninsula, on San Francisco Bay. Has hills, including Twin Peaks, Mt. Davison, Nob Hill, and Mt. Sutro. The island of Alcatraz, (which the U.S. gained from the Spanish in 1851) was used as a U.S. military prison from 1859 until 1933, when it became a federal prison. It closed in 1963 and has been a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area since 1972. 

Education – Boasts several universities and colleges, including Berkeley and Stanford.

Born in 1859 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (British author of Sherlock Holmes books; Billy the Kid (American west outlaw) and Pierre Curie who, with his wife, Marie, worked in  nuclear physics and chemistry research. Together they were awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. 

The entire 19th Century is known as "The Romantic Music Period. Musicians alive in 1859 include: Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Adolphe Sax, Clara Schumann, and Pyotr'Ilyich Tchaikovsky to name but a few. 

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