Taco Road Trip 2011, Question from the Non-Taco-Focused Traveler
August 3, 2011 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a way to squeeze San Francisco Bay Area sight seeing/photography around husband's (slightly manic) Taco Truck Quest (seen in this Ask Me). Also hope to sneak in a few alternate food ideas.

So first you might want to check the map y6 has posted of his insane list of taco places to visit. Happily I'm OK with tacos (he's been on this taco quest/mania locally for years now), and he's promised to stop at a few Asian food places (well, at least one) if we're not stuffed.

My specific question - checking out the places that he has us eating, are there any good outdoor areas to photograph containing architecture or sculpture? Or just random weirdness? (For instance, I'd file this photo of a recreated Stonehenge with Easter Island head as weirdness - that's on my Flickr account btw.) So far all I have on my list is the sculptures on various parts of the Stanford campus (Rodin, angel of grief).

The tricky part is checking your recommendation via the map - because we will be traveling to whatever is nearest the taco truck/restaurant - a few blocks drive/walk, tops. I'll probably tell y6 he can wait in the car while I go take photos of things nearby - since I predict he'll be groaning "why did you let me eat all that?!" (This may have happened often in the past. I should bring the video camera to document it this time.)

If you want to toss in recommendations for any Asian food places or trucks that are near any of his taco spots that might be fun too. Or a place that really knows how to do wonderful, delicious things with tofu. I've had such tasty dishes, but y6 has not (or won't admit to it) and honestly he should be given proof that such tofu does exist.

I'll probably only get y6 to try one non-taco-oriented place though. But my priority is always photography over food.

Oh and you'll note that his map extends from southern CA to SanFran? Only suggest photography and food for the San Francisco Bay Area because I have a feeling we'll only be stopping for tacos to eat in the car until we've arrived in the bay area. Or at least that's the sense I'm getting from the Serious Taco Roadtrip Guy.
posted by batgrlHG to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I already sent y6 a message about this, but for future searcher's sakes: right by Charlie's Taco's in San Mateo (one of the locations on the taco map) is Ramen Dojo. I maintain Ramen Dojo is the best ramen in the Bay Area and will engage in delicious battle with anyone who claims otherwise.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 4:48 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Five Wounds Portuguese National Church is just on the other side of 101 from the taco place I recommended to y6. It's visually interesting outside and in. It's usually open and they don't mind indoor photography as long as they are not in the middle of Mass. Not quite as striking but across the street from the taco place is the Mexican Heritage Plaza. If you wander through the gates and through the garden, the back interior wall is covered with thousands of hand-engraved tiles made by San Jose residents, three of which are mine. There's a nice mural nearby too, same side of the street as the taco place, on the wall facing 101 at the end of the cluster of oddly misplaced Art Deco styled shops that haven't had a face lift in 50 some years.
posted by jamaro at 5:00 PM on August 3, 2011

Not sure if this meets your criteria, but the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco has a lot of great murals, especially on Balmy Alley off 24th St. Many are concentrated up and down 24th Street.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:02 PM on August 3, 2011

Those murals are a few blocks from the Haltun Mayan place on 21st in SF, in case that wasn't clear. This tiled serpent may qualify as sculpture?
posted by gingerbeer at 5:05 PM on August 3, 2011

Murals are totally on the list of good architectural elements! Also I added Ramen Dojo after y6 told me someone from MeFi emailed - and he even said "that place sounds really good, dammit!" Meaning it will definitely stand up in competition with the tacos! (This is going to be more fun than I thought! Hee hee!)
posted by batgrlHG at 5:06 PM on August 3, 2011

There are cool sculptures at Cayuga Park (labeled Cayuga Playground on google maps) a short drive from Taqueria Guadalajara on Mission St.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:18 PM on August 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're going to Cayuga Park you should get some barbacoa tacos at torta boos voni at 5170 Mission. Cayuga Park is a bit of a mess while they're doing an earthquake retrofit on BART but the sculptures are still there.
posted by foodgeek at 5:32 PM on August 3, 2011

The Oakland Museum of California has terrace gardens with sculptures and a few nice views over Lake Merritt. (I don't think you need to pay for the museum to walk in the gardens.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:52 PM on August 3, 2011

If your interest in tofu means you are a vegetarian, Ramen Dojo is not going to have anything for you to eat. (They have a big thing on their menu emphasizing that this is "not vegetarian food.")

If you end up taking I-280 down the Peninsula (and it's one of the most beautiful highways I've ever been on and often much less trafficky than 101) to get to any of your taco destinations or Stanford, stop at the Crystal Springs Rd. exit in Hillsborough to see the statue of Father Junipero Serra at the rest stop. It's definitely weird and a very quick stop.
posted by purpleclover at 6:13 PM on August 3, 2011

Not outdoors, but if you are in downtown San Mateo on a taco pilgrimage, the nearby Hillsdale Shopping Center has several permanent sculpture installations by Benny Bufano. It's approx. 5-10 minutes south of downtown San Mateo, depending on traffic. The sculptures are in the common areas of the mall.

5-10 minutes to the east of downtown San Mateo you'll find Seal Point Park, which has some outdoor metal sculptures that are kinetic/wind activated (wind affected?) Hmmm...that may be too grandiose a description as there aren't that many sculptures...but it is a nice park on the Bay front, and there are wind blown sculptures there.

Finally, San Mateo's Central Park has some nice public gardens, a few sculptures, and a nice Japanese tea garden, too.

I hope you enjoy your visit to the area.
posted by mosk at 7:22 PM on August 3, 2011

Neither of us are vegetarians, but I've had friends who were and have eaten at some really great restaurants who served excellent tofu dishes. Since y6 expressed doubt about tofu I figured the bay area would probably be a good place to look for some.

Also these are all great ideas. y6 is already grumbling about "too many good places to eat for one city alone" - or something like that.
posted by batgrlHG at 7:51 PM on August 3, 2011

Since y6 expressed doubt about tofu I figured the bay area would probably be a good place to look for some.

The San Jose Tofu Company makes the best tofu in the bay area. You'll need to find a kitchen somewhere to cook something delicious with it but the hassle is worth it.
posted by foodgeek at 8:17 PM on August 3, 2011

The Grubstake is pretty much the answer to this question. No tacos, but authentic diner food as well as authentic Portuguese food and pretty damn architecturally interesting. One-stop shopping for the two of you.
posted by trip and a half at 8:23 PM on August 3, 2011

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