Heritage Travel, Historic Preservation, Random DJB Thoughts
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Eating Local

With a great deal of travel on my schedule for June – November, I’m trying to focus on what’s wonderful about leaving home.

So this will not be a post about the state of the airline industry in the U.S.

Instead, I am thinking about food. Local food to be exact.

Regular readers will know that I like to avoid chains and hotel restaurants when I travel, seeking instead the local landmark. I’m only two days into this week’s trip to the west coast and I’ve already hit my “go local” stride.

Lunch on Tuesday came from a wonderful cheese and sandwich shop named Cheese Plus which features tasty sandwiches with locally themed names such as the Willie Brown Duck (named for former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown), Crissy Field, and Castro’s Cubano.  I had the Happy Thanksgiving, which – along with the brisk city breeze and temperatures in the 60s – made me wish for the fall.

After a drive to Sonoma County to view a site where we’re working, and especially after a temperature rise of what seemed like 30 degrees, thoughts of fall were gone and we were looking for something cool. My colleague Anthony directed us to a California institution – Foster’s Freeze – in Sebastopol, and we satisfied our cravings for soft serve ice cream in a historic setting (for those of us who think of old fast food places as historic).

My luck continued for dinner. Based on Anthony’s recommendation (as he had done such a great job in finding Foster’s), a colleague and I tried a small neighborhood eatery, the Mission Beach Cafe, and had a wonderful meal featuring fresh local and organic ingredients.  A restaurant with great food PLUS an acoustic music track in the background that included Alison Krauss and the Soggy Bottom Boys is A+ in my book!

I do bring some local food traditions to my travels as well, and when I’m in San Francisco I always stop by Roxanne Cafe for breakfast when I’m around Nob Hill. This trip was no different. Wednesday morning found me ensconced in this small neighborhood cafe having my eggs and reading the newspaper on my tablet.  The walk down the hill to breakfast is easy. Life is good.  Heading back up the hill after enjoying a simple breakfast? Not so easy.

Wednesday lunch was a real treat as my colleagues and I were at Fort Baker, the old army post turned hotel and institute. Lunch at the Murray Circle Restaurant not only featured fine food, but it isn’t every day you get to gaze out the window and see the Golden Gate Bridge peeking in and out of the fog.

We have seen some remarkable preservation work – and challenges – this week. In the process, we’ve learned from some very smart people. Finding new local eateries along the way helps ground us in this place and this moment…and that’s a very good way to work when you’re all about saving the authentic and the original.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

More to come…



I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.

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