Crowded Ghirardelli Square
After a few false starts (I got off a little late waiting for my relief, we had to get fuel, we got lunch at a freeway interchange with the mysteriously disappearing on-ramp back to the freeway), we were on our way. The girls have always been great travellers which comes in handy when you're having to deal with Saturday traffic heading into the city. I managed to keep myself calm and just enjoy the trip, even when it felt like a parking lot at times.
After a bit of searching, we got a parking spot near Fort Mason which requires a short walk up and over the hill to the Embarcadero and Ghiradelli Square. Cost Plus World Market sponsors the festival and this is the 13th year. It was quite crowded so I left Pat with the girls and scoped out where to buy the tasting tickets. $20 for 15 tastes. Let the tasting begin!!
We started out with a few standards, chocolate toffee and chocolate caramel down on Beach Street. Then we made our way up onto the square where I was able to find small milkshakes for the girls. They loved them. Aztec chocolate and chocolate chocolate chip gelato for me and Pat. Our biggest complaint would have to be that the samples are too small (especially when you're sharing with 2 kids) but I'm sure no matter how big they are, they wouldn't be big enough :) I could easily have gotten another 15 taster ticket but I'm feeling fat and this way I left feeling good about myself. Plus we had room for dinner.
After filling our card we headed down to the beach at Aquatic Park. The girls quickly took off their shoes and played in the sand. There were quite a few families out enjoying the absolutely perfect weather so it wasn't long before Caitlyn had made a new friend. After letting them burn off the chocolate we wiped them down as best we could and headed to the Embarcadero in search of dinner. The first place we passed had "kid friendly" written on the window so of course we went in. We were early enough that it wasn't crowded either. It was Capurro's and they have great food.
Pat and I each ordered our own pizza, thin crust and delicious. The girls had noodles with butter sauce which they enjoyed after drawing on the paper picture mats with the crayons the restaurant provides. Even after no naps, chocolate, and playing in the sand, they were on their best behavior. I knew we were taking a chance on going to a restaurant but I was so impressed with them both. As they get older, it's getting easier and easier to take them places.
Back over the hill to Fort Mason (Caitlyn still running)
The walk back to the truck included going up and over the hill into Fort Mason. Caitlyn ran the whole way. Once we reached the Fort there are huge grassy areas that the girls ran and ran and ran on. It was wonderful family time that we don't appreciate enough sometimes. The freedom to just play, no worries on your mind. Yes, we still had a 2 1/2 hour drive home but that didn't matter. Nothing mattered except watching our girls frolick over the green hills, making friends, and soaking up the beautiful sunshine.
Airplane with Caitlyn
Eventually we made our way back to the truck and headed home. The girls were asleep before we hit the Bay Bridge. There wasn't much traffic and it was a quiet, enjoyable drive home. I'm back at work today and I keep thinking of the spontaneous, whirwind, trip to San Francisco to eat some chocolate that became so much more. And I smile.