Christmas Eve is the one day of the year that I try to incorporate as many ‘only in San Francisco’ activities for our granddaughter as possible. I would like her to remember the holidays fondly and with a sense of place.
The day starts with a stop at Alioto-Lazio at Fisherman’s Wharf to pick up Dungeness Crabs for Christmas dinner. One of the last family owned businesses on the wharf – and all woman owned.
Then home to make popcorn balls for Santa.
A little last minute rearranging of the manger to make room for the new arrival.
Then it’s time to walk to Chinatown for dinner at the Far East Cafe. My dad took me there when I was a little girl and it seemed like the most exotic and grown-up place in the world. Curtained booths lined the side walls and you summoned the waiter by pressing a buzzer. We sit in a booth and order the same child-friendly dishes every year: egg fu yung (aka egg foo young), barbecue pork and wonton soup.
After dinner it is a short walk to California Street to catch the cable car to the top of the hill.
Stop off at the Fairmont Hotel to see the gingerbread house and yet another Christmas tree.
Finally, we walk home to see what Santa has left for us while we were gone. (This bit of trickery was managed earlier in the evening by one of us ‘discovering’ that we have forgotten our wallet. While the rest of the family waits in the lobby, Papa dashes upstairs, fills stockings, places presents under the tree and then dashes back. Phew!)
While the little one opens gifts, the adults enjoy a glass of champagne and a slice of Coffee Crunch Cake from Yasukochi’s Sweet Shop in Japantown.
I hope that your holiday season was filled with much sweetness, many glasses of bubbly and lots of love. Happy New Year!