A San Francisco Christmas Eve

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santa the urbane grandmother

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.

alioto-lazio fish company sign the urbane grandmother

Then home to make popcorn balls for Santa.

popcorn balls the urbane grandmother

A little last minute rearranging of the manger to make room for the new arrival.

manger scene the urbane grandmother

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.

chinatown christmas eve the urbane grandmotherAfter 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.

gingerbread house fairmont hotel the urbane grandmother IMG_2540

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.

coffee crunch cake the urbane grandmother

I hope that your holiday season was filled with much sweetness, many glasses of bubbly and lots of love. Happy New Year!

the urbane grandmother and grandchild

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4 Responses to A San Francisco Christmas Eve

  1. Karletta Moniz says:

    Thanks, Rita, for following this Urbane Grandmother. Always a pleasure to hear from you! Happy New Year!

  2. Karletta Moniz says:

    I am afraid that they may consider them a choking hazard? How did we ever survive? Happy New Year, Shelley and a special thanks for following The Urbane Grandmother.

  3. Shelley says:

    What a sweet set of memories you’re making for London, and for you. (Speaking of sweet, I recognized the inimitable Coffee Crunch cake from the thumbnail. That one is a childhood memory for me too, bought from the LA Blum’s. Remember their little foil wrapped coffee candies. Those were another childhood favorite. Do 21st-Century parents let 6 year olds eat coffee candy? I’m glad my 20th-Century parents did.)

  4. Rita says:

    You mention two of my favs: Alito-Lazio fish market, and Far East Café in Chinatown. Happy New Year Karletta!

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