Travel Photo Journal: Day #3 in San Francisco
San Francisco, California – Today we made our first stop at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.
At the California Academy of Sciences you can come nose-to-beak with penguins and parrots, watch sharks and sting rays cruise beneath your feet, and feel the spray of the California coast. Fly to Mars (and beyond the Milky Way!) from the safety of your planetarium seat, take a virtual safari in African Hall, or climb into the canopy of a living rainforest. Face your fears—and an albino alligator—inside the Swamp, and meet scientists as they return from research expeditions around the world. From the depths of a Philippine coral reef to the outer reaches of the Universe.
After spending the greater part of the afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences, we went to hang out with Papa Gianni, “Mamma” Ida, Fabio and Sonia Giotta at the Caffe Trieste.
“The Caffe Trieste was opened in 1956 by Giovanni Giotta (aka “Papa Gianni”), who in 1950 had emigrated to San Francisco, California, from the small fishing town of Rovigno, Italy (now part of Croatia). Missing the espresso houses of Trieste, Italy, Giotta opened his own cafe. Caffe Trieste is said to be the first espresso house on the West Coast.
The original Caffé Trieste in San Francisco’s North Beach quickly became popular among the neighborhood’s primarily Italian residents. “It was all Italian people,” Giotta said of the neighborhood, “But I got the American people to like cappuccino.” Papa Gianni Giotta is known as “The Espresso Pioneer”, both in Italy and America, earning the label by having brought Espresso and Cappuccino to the West Coast, thus starting the Espresso Movement seen today. The company’s Licensing Program promises to open, on a one-by-one, “non cookie-cutter” basis, more Trieste locations in the SF Bay Area, Northern California, Southern California, the Southwest and East Coast areas.
The Caffé Trieste also becomes a convenient meeting place for Beat movement writers like Lawrence Ferlinghetti (still a regular) , Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Brautigan, Bob Kaufman, Gregory Corso, Michael McClure, Kenneth RexrothNeeli Cherkovski, who lived in North Beach in the 1950s and 1960s. Jack Hirschman, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, has also been a regular patron. The Caffe has been featured in several movies, on television and radio and in many photography books. Francis Ford Coppola wrote much of the screenplay for The Godfather while sitting in the Caffé Trieste. Its is also the home of the internationally chronicled Caffe Trieste Saturday Concert, the longest running show in the City of San Francisco (since 1971). Giotta Family members Papa Gianni, Ida (matron) and children Gianfranco, Sonia and Fabio have set-up a musical vibe with their performances at the Caffes and about Northern California and beyond, starting with their first radio appearance in the SF Bay Area in 1953. That vibe has attracted many famous artists and entertainment personalities that have visited or frequented the North Beach location: Bill Cosby, Joey Reynolds, Michael Douglas, Chris Isaak, Armando Peraza, Paul Kantner, Boz Scaags, Robert Vaughn, and Vincent Price to name a few. In 2009, for example, Israeli poet Roy Arad visited the cafe and wrote about it in his diary . It remains a favorite destination for writers, artists, hipsters, neighborhood residents, and tourists from all over the world. The Giotta Family has performed for celebrities such as Luciano Pavarotti and Frankie Laine, and has produced several videos and record albums, operates a newly built Hollywood Class recording studio (TRIESTE RECORDING STUDIOS) and is producing (together with Dissave Pictures of Berkeley, CA) a 90 minute documentary about founder and legend Papa Gianni Giotta, slated for release in 2010.”
After Cafe Trieste, we walked across the street to Ideale Restaurant where we enjoyed some authentic Italian fare.
Chef Maurizio Bruschi hails from four generations of roman chefs and was “lovingly” taught by his grandma, la nonna Serafina.
Another great meal, another great day, and now its time for some shut eye.
Tomorrow we venture to Alcatraz Island and will also visit Boudines, the creator of the famous San Francisco sourdough bread.