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SF Travel Profile: The Chowhound

Clay McLachlan, 38
Sausalito; food and wine photographer

Obsessed with: Camembert, pimientos de Padrón, white truffles.

In the last five years: Been to Thailand, India, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Vietnam, Mexico.

It's National Park Week!

A certain British photographer friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous, recently told me that while America has certainly its faults (we won't go into his phonebook-length list of USA grudges), the National Park system was not one of them. Since I'm a card-carrying member of National Park Service's America the Beautiful Annual Pass program, said British photographer friend was preaching to the choir. During National Park Week, April 17-25—that's, like, now, peops—entry into all of the the US's 392 National Parks is free, gratis, on-the-house.

Giants' Wearable Blanket Night

It's official: The Snuggie craze has finally gotten out of control. Much like Dippin' Dots and songs such as Chumbawamba's "I Get Knocked Down," the wearable blanket trend will reach its prime at a Major League Baseball game. Thanks to a Giants promotion at AT&T Park on Apr. 23, lucky fans will receive logo-printed fleece pullovers (best—and most hilariously—represented here in a photo shoot with pitcher Tim Lincecum). Call it marketing genius or a byproduct of the recession, it seems like this trend—sleeves and all—is here to stay.

The Cynic's Guide to Fisherman's Wharf


Wherein a longtime Missionite and dedicated food snob spends two days trolling Fisherman’s Wharf. Goodbye irony—hello Frisco.

The Tenderloin: SF's Hottest Tourist Destination?

G-d bless this guy, Shaw. Randy Shaw. A San Francisco housing advocate with a very ambitious plan to, um, exploit the grittiness of the Tenderloin in an attempt to transform the neighborhood into—get ready for it—a tourist destination. You heard me right: a tourist destination. Shaw's strategy—reported on today in the New York Times—includes building a new $3 million museum of TL history (to be housed in the Cadillac on Eddy & Leavenworth, a Single Room Occupany hotel where Jerry Garcia once laid his weary head) and designing a walking tour of the district's many other historic SROs.

San Francisco Ranked Sixth-Best City for Bicycling

Despite our tricky topography, the editors over at Bicycling Magazine have bestowed upon our fair metropolis the distinction of sixth-best city in the nation for cycling, bested on the West Coast only by the likes of Seattle, Eugene and Portland. To whom, or what, do we owe the pleasure? Perhaps it started with Puck, the devilish bike messenger on the Real World; maybe it's the city's green heart, sensitive as it is to earth-minded commuting options. Or the health-smart population, eager to get in 20 minutes of exercise to make the eight hours in front of the computer a little more tolerable.

Fly High: Urban Zipline Opens at the Embarcadero

Oh, Canada. We applaud you, mighty neighbor to the north. What other country would install a zipline ride at the Embarcadero and charge nothing to fly 680 feet across Justin Herman Plaza? Constructed as a tourism promotion for British Columbia, the ride will send thrillseekers gliding over fountains, art sculptures and, of course, plenty of pigeons from Apr. 8-18. The festivities kick off today with free aboriginal dance performances, a 3D art installation and an interactive video wall of the Great White North. But, really, the allure is in the Ziptrek Ecotours zipline, which starts off on an 80-foot tower and (have we mentioned?) is free. And for that, Canada, we'll stand on guard—or on a platform—for thee.

A Bumpy Ride at China Camp

My bike has a flat tire. It has had a flat tire since the rainy night of my last pilates lesson in February, when I ran over a glass shard biking home from Hayes Valley. My brother has a perfectly functional bike collecting dust on his balcony simply because it got a flat tire too, years ago, and he was too lazy to patch it up. Now it has two flat tires.

Highlights from Bon Tempe Lake

My boyfriend Mark and I decided to make the most of this past sunny Saturday, sandwiched, as it was, between two cold, windy days. We headed over the GG Bridge for Bon Tempe Lake in Marin, part of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. We usually do the straightforward Shadyside-Sunnyside loop around the lake (about 4 miles), but just to stir things up a bit, we created a longer, much more incline-tastic circuit: Rocky Ridge Road (45-minute uphill trudge) —> Berry Trail —> Sky Oaks —> Sunnyside.

Poking Around the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

I love tidepooling at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve near Moss Beach, but it is no easy feat to get my beloved out there to explore these unusual aquatic habitats with me. Not because he isn't just as amazed as I am to observe live starfish, hermit crabs and sea urchins in the rocky reefs, but because, as a staunch champion for the cause of helpless creatures great and small, it pains him to watch me poke the otherworldly sunburst anemones with a stick. I, too, strive to be a defender of helpless creatures great and small, but the prodding—it's like an involuntary reaction. Spot anemone with tentacles wide open, vulnerable; proceed to jab with stick. Needless to say, don't follow my abhorrent example.

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