Ryan and I have this great plan to visit different neighborhoods here in San Francisco, explore their shops and restaurants, people and nuances. I’m amazed that until last night I had only left the Castro for a trip to my new favorite wine bar, Barrique, a jaunt for lunch in the Mission and a few trips out of the city. I live and work in the Castro. I grocery shop there, go to the area hardware shops and generally don’t leave it’s familiarity.

While I have technically been to the Mission and the Financial district, those trips were hardly exploratory. That’s where this venture comes in.

Ryan and I headed to Chinatown last night to wander, shop, eat and generally absorb the environment. We had dinner at Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant, a place with over 200 Yelp reviews and a solid four star average. This is despite the so-so customer service, cash only payment policy and frighteningly dirty interior. In fact, the only thing lucky about the place is that we were lucky we got out of there without food poisoning!

Not to hate on our first restaurant in Chinatown, on our first adventure outside of the Castro but what it lacked in meat products it made up for in health code violations. I’m certain of it. The food was actually pretty decent and we did make it out unscathed. However, I doubt there will be a next time.

What we did love about Chinatown were all the shops and their hilarious products and pricing schemes. Where else can you pet a living cat and a miniature fake cat made from real cat hide? How awkward.

One of the coolest things I saw were the snuff bottle paintings. I really wish I had taken a photo of these things. About the size of an old medicine bottle, with a hole no bigger than 1/4 of an ince, are decorated from the inside with the most elaborate paintings you have ever seen. It was unreal the detail and care put into these decorative snuff bottles. Next time I will be sure to get a photo, maybe even buy one. You know, for all my snuff…

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