Eat Local: Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

The Tartine Manufactory is the sprawling concept husband-and-wife founder Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt have wanted to create since opening their wildly popular but cramped Tartin

The Tartine Manufactory is the sprawling concept husband-and-wife founder Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt have wanted to create since opening their wildly popular but cramped Tartine Bakery and Cafe 15 years ago, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Our visit to the Heath Building in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, included a delicious luncheon at the recently opened extension of the renowned Tartine Bakery & Café – Tartine manufactory.  “Pastry chef ELISABETH PRUEITT and her husband, renowned baker CHAD ROBERTSON, are the co-owners of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine in San Francisco.  They both trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Elisabeth and Chad traveled, trained, and cooked in France and upon their return, opened Bay Village Bakery in Point Reyes Station, California.  Using a wood fired brick oven, they baked bread and created rustic, elegant pastries using many of the techniques they had learned abroad.  Chad’s bread garnered the attention of Alain Ducasse, who wrote about the couple in his book, Harvesting Excellence.  After 6 years of baking in the countryside, they relocated to San Francisco to open Tartine Bakery in 2002.  Elisabeth was named Pastry Chef of the Year in San Francisco Magazine.  Tartine Bakery is continually rated in the Zagat Survey as Best Bakery and Best Breakfast in San Francisco. Elisabeth and Chad were nominated for James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chefs in 2006 and 2007, and won the award in 2008.  Their first book, Tartine, published by Chronicle Books, was chosen by Corby Kummer of the Atlantic Monthly in the New York Times list of selected top ten cookbooks of 2006. It was also nominated for a James Beard award for the photography of France Ruffenach.  Tartine Bread, Chad’s second book, published by Chronicle Books is in current release: Fall 2010.” – “About” Tartine Bakery on the Tartine Bakery Facebook home page

 

Loaves of Tartine Bakery bread cooling before going on sale at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

Loaves of Tartine Bakery bread cooling before going on sale at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Preparing dough for baking for the delicious bread at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

Preparing dough for baking for the delicious bread at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Finished bread loaves at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

Finished bread loaves at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

The dining room at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; we visited for a superb luncheon (our dishes follow…)

The dining room at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; we visited for a superb luncheon (our dishes follow…)

 

“After years of development, the sequel to San Francisco’s famed Tartine Bakery will finally open its doors this week.  At 555 Alabama Street, Tartine Manufactory is not far from the original Guerrero St. location, but the 5,000-square-foot space is miles away in manifestation.  With a 100-seat restaurant, ice cream shop, espresso bar and bakery, the Manufactory is the sprawling concept husband-and-wife founder Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt have wanted to create since opening their wildly popular but cramped bakery and cafe 15 years ago.  ‘We’ve been completely maxed out and overflowing at the bakery for 10 or 12 years now,’ Robertson said.  The Manufactory is located in the converted laundry factory that Sausalito-based Heath Ceramics transformed into a second factory and showroom in 2012.  Since then, Heath founders Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey have been searching for the right tenant to fill the large, light-filled space next door.” – San Francisco Business Times

 

Our starter was two open face sandwiches (“tartines”, fancy French open-faced sandwiches topped with spreadable ingredients) – smoked trout and avocado, Tartine Manufactory, San Fr

Our starter was two open face sandwiches (“tartines”, fancy French open-faced sandwiches topped with spreadable ingredients) – smoked trout and avocado, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Next was a crispy Maryland softshell crab sandwich with aioli nero, fennel, spring onion, upland cress on a grilled brioche bun, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

Next was a crispy Maryland softshell crab sandwich with aioli nero, fennel, spring onion, upland cress on a grilled brioche bun, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Lemon cucumber salad with tahini, blackberry, bronze fennel, pickled rhubarb (vegetarian), Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

Lemon cucumber salad with tahini, blackberry, bronze fennel, pickled rhubarb (vegetarian), Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

BBQ lamb sandwich with harissa, breakfast radish, cucumber & yogurt on a grilled brioche bun, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

BBQ lamb sandwich with harissa, breakfast radish, cucumber & yogurt on a grilled brioche bun, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

A desert of blueberries atop a delicious mousse, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

A desert of blueberries atop a delicious mousse, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

An excellent cappuccino at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA--

An excellent cappuccino at Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Almond brioche topped with mascarpone and fresh plum slices, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

Almond brioche topped with mascarpone and fresh plum slices, Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

 

Make and Shop Local: Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

Heath Ceramics is an American company that designs, manufactures, and retails goods for tabletop and home, best known for handcrafted ceramic tableware and architectural tile in distinct

Heath Ceramics is an American company that designs, manufactures, and retails goods for tabletop and home, best known for handcrafted ceramic tableware and architectural tile in distinctive glazes, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

One afternoon in San Francisco we played tourists with some friends in our home region, heading from the ship at Pier 35 on the Embarcadero (near Fisherman’s Wharf, the popular tourist mecca) to Union Square for some browsing and shopping.  We then got a lift to the Mission District, south of Market Street where our destination was a relatively new redevelopment site – the Heath Buliding that opened in 2012 comprising the flagship San Francisco store for Heath Ceramics and the company’s clay studio, in the same former factory building with the new Heath tile factory.  In the retail store (see photographs, below) there is a wide array of all Heath products: dinnerware, tableware, tile, and excellent designs for the tabletop and home.  Alongside, in August 2015, the very popular (and world famous) San Francisco bakery, Tartine Bakery & Cafe, opened a new major bakery and restaurant – Tartine Manufactory — in the corner of the Heath Building (where we had a delicious lunch; see our next blog post).

 

Traditional Heath designed and mafufactured table ware, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

Traditional Heath designed and manufactured table ware, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

In addition to the muted earth tones which were popular early on, table ware is also made with bright colored glazes, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

In addition to the muted earth tones that were popular early on, tableware is also made with bright colored glazes, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

“Heath Ceramics is an American company that designs, manufactures, and retails goods for tabletop and home, and is best known for handcrafted ceramic tableware and architectural tile in distinctive glazes.  Founded in Sausalito, California by Edith Heath (1911–2005) and her husband Brian Heath (1911–2001) in 1948, Heath Ceramics is now owned and run by Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic, who purchased the company in 2003.  Heath has two manufacturing facilities: its original dinnerware factory in Sausalito (built in 1959), and a tile factory (established in 2012) in the Heath Building in San Francisco.  Heath sells directly through its stores and its own website, having discontinued its wholesale business in early 2015… Heath has won numerous awards for design, and in 2015 received the National Design Award for Institutional Achievement, awarded by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in recognition of Heath’s commitment to business by design.” —Wikipedia

 

A display table setting showcasing a variety of tableware products, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

A display table setting showcasing a variety of tableware products, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

We recently received a gift from a friend of one of these beautiful baby blue single flower vases, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

We recently received a gift from a friend of one of these beautiful baby blue single flower vases, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

A rainbow of colors, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA--

A rainbow of colors, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

One of the newer vase designs, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

One of the newer vase designs, Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

A tile oven in the factory portion of the Heath Building where the company now manufactures all of its decorative tiles; note that the tableware products (including all of those in the p

A tile oven in the factory portion of the Heath Building where the company now manufactures all of its decorative tiles; note that the tableware products (including all of those in the photographs, above) continue to be manufactured in Sausalito, CA; Heath Ceramics, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

 

Eat Local: The Slanted Door (Vietnamese), San Francisco, CA, USA

The Ferry Building was constructed over 100 years ago and was completely refurbished and turned into retail space around the turn of the century, San Francisco, CA, USA

The Ferry Building was constructed over 100 years ago (1898) and was completely refurbished and turned into retail space around the recent turn of the century, San Francisco, CA, USA – it is the third home and current location for a top modern Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door, founded by Charles Phan

 

One evening we took a group of friends from the ship to one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco (and extremely popular with both locals and visitors) – The Slanted Door, a pioneer in modern Vietnamese cuisine.  We dined family style and ate course after course of wonderful preparations, along with some delicious wines.  The one-mile (1.6 km) walk back to the ship was very welcome and refreshing in the cool evening weather (about 55 degrees F / 13 degrees C), typical for San Francisco with the fog in the summer.  And it was Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who did say, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.”

“In 1995, Charles Phan and his family started their first restaurant, The Slanted Door, in the Mission district in San Francisco with an honest vision of serving vibrant home-style Vietnamese food in a modern setting.  The Slanted Door moved to a temporary location in 2002 and added one of the first craft cocktail programs in San Francisco.  The bar program received “Best Restaurant Bar Award” in 2012 from Tales of the Cocktail.  The Slanted Door has been at its current location, The Ferry Building, since year 2004 and continue to work with many farmers at Ferry Building farmers market for fresh, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients.  Charles received the James Beard Award for Best Chef California in 2004 and The Slanted Door awarded Outstanding Restaurant in 2014.  Charles wrote two cookbooks : ‘Vietnamese Home Cooking’ (2012) and ‘The Slanted Door’ (2014), both of which won IACP awards in First Cookbook and Photography respectively.” – www.slanteddoorgroup.com

 

Slanted Door spring rolls, gulf shrimp, pork, mint, shallot mayonnaise, peanut sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Slanted Door spring rolls, gulf shrimp, pork, mint, shallot mayonnaise, peanut sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Crispy imperial rolls, gulf shrimp, pork shoulder, vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Crispy imperial rolls, gulf shrimp, pork shoulder, vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, lettuce and mint, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Wood oven roasted half Dungeness crab, thai basil marinade, lime, radish, roasted jalapeno aïoli, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Wood oven roasted half Dungeness crab, Thai basil marinade, lime, radish, roasted jalapeno aïoli, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Barbecued Willis Ranch pork spareribs, scallion, cilantro, honey-hoisin sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Barbecued Willis Ranch pork spareribs, scallion, cilantro, honey-hoisin sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Our all-time favorite dish that we eat on every visit -- cellophane noodles, green onion, Dungeness crab, sesame, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Our all-time favorite dish that we eat on every visit — cellophane noodles, green onion, Dungeness crab, sesame, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Grass-fed estancia shaking beef, 8 oz. cubed filet mignon, red onion, lime sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Grass-fed Estancia shaking beef, 8 oz. cubed filet mignon, red onion, lime sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Catalan Farm spicy broccoli, lion's mane mushrooms, pressed tofu, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Catalan Farm spicy broccoli, lion’s mane mushrooms, pressed tofu, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Chicken claypot, caramel sauce, Thai chili, fresh ginger, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

Chicken claypot, caramel sauce, Thai chili, fresh ginger, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

All star farm yellow snow peas, maitake mushroom, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

All star farm yellow snow peas, maitake mushroom, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Our dessert, along with cotton candy, included beignets (fried fritters -- choux pastry in France -- brought to Louisiana, USA, by the Acadians) with chocolate sauce, The Slanted Door, S

Our dessert, along with cotton candy, included beignets (fried fritters — choux pastry in France — brought to Louisiana, USA, by the Acadians) with chocolate sauce, The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

The dining room of The Slanted Door has this terrific view of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge which has special lights at night, San Francisco, CA, USA

Our table in the dining room of The Slanted Door had this terrific view of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, that has special lights on the cables at night, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

San Francisco, California, USA

An iconic view of the city of San Francisco, CA, USA, behind the Golden Gate Bridge (whose construction began in 1930 and opened in 1937) with its International Orange paint

An iconic view of the city of San Francisco, CA, USA, behind the Golden Gate Bridge (whose construction began in 1930 and opened in 1937) with its International Orange paint (the U.S. military had wanted grey stripes on a yellow background for visibility!)

 

The graceful span of the Golden Gate Bridge arches above as ships sail into San Francisco Bay. Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County is silhouetted off the port side.  The wooded greenery of the Presidio, the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts, and the brick façade of Ghirardelli Square is seen starboard.  The distinctive TransAmerica Pyramid, the faceted Bank of America building and unmistakable Coit Tower are each part of a skyline known around the world.  The tallest building in the city, the Salesforce Tower, had its topping-out on 7 April 2017 and now towers over the Financial District.  Cable cars still clang their way up the city’s steep hills, just as they have for over a century.  The coffee shops and Italian trattorias of North Beach, the dim sum in Chinatown, and the bawdiness of Broadway are all integral parts of The City by the Bay.  Serious foodies find it difficult to choose from the rich selection of stellar restaurants in the Bay Area and nearby Wine Country.

 

The view from our apartment on the ship while docked -- the yacht basin between our pier (Pier 35) and the retail shops on Pier 39 with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, San Fran

The view from our apartment on the ship while docked — the yacht basin between our pier (Pier 35) and the retail shops on Pier 39 with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, San Francisco, CA, USA

 

The central residential districts of San Francisco, CA, USA, on the hills behind the Embarcadero, the major road that runs along the waterfront (taken from our ship, docked at Pier 35 on

The central residential districts of San Francisco, CA, USA, on the hills behind the Embarcadero, the major road that runs along the waterfront (taken from our ship, docked at Pier 35 on the Embarcadero)

 

The final beam rising to the top of the tallest building in San Francisco, CA, was celebrated on 7 April 2017 with the topping-out ceremony of the Salesforce Tower (center) in the Financ

The final beam rising to the top of the tallest building in San Francisco, CA, USA, was celebrated on 7 April 2017 with the topping-out ceremony of the Salesforce Tower (center) in the Financial District; the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge enters S.F. on the left and Coit Tower is on the right side of the photograph

 

Sunset on San Francisco, CA, USA, with the former U.S. Army_s Fort Mason in the foreground (including the piers) and the Financial District in the background (left) with the Russian Hi

Sunset on San Francisco, CA, USA, with the former U.S. Army’s Fort Mason in the foreground (including the piers) and the Financial District in the background (left) with the Russian Hill (center) and Nob Hill (right) residential districts

 

The former Alcatraz Federal prison occupied all of Alcatraz Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay (visitors can now take a boat from S.F. to tour the prison-island), San Francisc

The former Alcatraz Federal prison occupied all of Alcatraz Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay (visitors can now take a boat from S.F. to tour the prison/island), San Francisco, CA, USA – with the City of Berkeley in the background in the lowlands and hills facing the Bay

 

A close-up of the yacht basin between our pier (Pier 35) and the retail shops on Pier 39, San Francisco, CA, USA, with the Marin Headland hills visible in the background

A close-up of the yacht basin between our pier (Pier 35) and the retail shops on Pier 39, San Francisco, CA, USA, with the Marin Headland hills visible in the background

Legal Notices:  All photographs are copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

One of the top attractions in Taipei, Taiwan, is the Taipei 101 skyscraper and observatory that stands at 1,666 feet - 508 meters tall and is the fifth highest skyscraper in the world

One of the top attractions in Taipei, Taiwan, is the Taipei 101 skyscraper and observatory that stands at 1,666 feet / 508 meters tall and is the fifth highest skyscraper in the world

 

Standing at 1,666 feet / 508 meters tall, Taipei 101 is the fifth highest skyscraper in the world. The structure is rich in symbolism and features several engineering feats.  Its elevators swoop visitors to the 89th-floor observation deck in only 37 seconds and there is also an outdoor observatory located on the 91st floor.  The first five floors of this impressive skyscraper are taken up by one of Taipei’s premier malls with many elegant dining options.  Included in the top ranks of world-class shopping districts, the mall compares to New York’s Fifth Avenue, Paris’s Champs-Elysees, and Via Condotti in Rome.

 

The street level entrance to the Taipei 101 skyscraper and observatory as well as the high-end shopping mall that occupies the first five floors, Taipei, Taiwan

The street level entrance to the Taipei 101 skyscraper and observatory as well as the high-end shopping mall that occupies the first five floors, Taipei, Taiwan

 

Taipei 101_s shopping mall is one of Taiwan_s premier malls with many elegant dining options and is included in the top ranks of world-class shopping districts, Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei 101’s shopping mall is one of Taiwan’s premier malls with many elegant dining options and is included in the top ranks of world-class shopping districts, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The Guinness Book of World Records records that Taipei 101 has the fastest passenger elevators in the world, Taipei, Taiwan

The Guinness Book of World Records certifies that Taipei 101 has the fastest passenger elevators in the world, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The view of the city from the 89th floor observatory (the colors are slightly distorted by the colored glass windows) is pretty spectacular, even with the smog obscuring the distance, Ta

The view of the city from the 89th floor observatory (the colors are slightly distorted by the colored glass windows) is pretty spectacular, even with the smog obscuring the distance, Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The density of the city is very high, with a total population of 2.7 million people in a small geographic area; Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

The density of the city is very high, with a total population of 2.7 million people in a small geographic area; Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The building’s management company had an excellent sign in the viewing platform area around the monstrous building damper that explained how dampers work.  “Building dampers originated from Japan, a country with frequent earthquakes.  The earliest version of a damper was nothing more than a stone foundation to put the building on.  The damper worked by isolating the building from the earth, which creates relative shift that produces a counterforce, effectively reducing earthquake energy.  In addition to regular high-rises, dampers appear in towers, bridges and high-tech facilities, among other large buildings. Since material and feature variations result in different designs, dampers also differ from building to building in terms of materials and looks.  It may be a big tank, a large concrete block, or made of visco-elastic materials such as rubber cushion.

 

This monstrous building damper (on the 88th floor!) protects the building during an earthquake (stabilizing it and preventing excessive swaying), Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

This monstrous building damper (on the 88th floor!) protects the building during an earthquake (stabilizing it and preventing excessive swaying), Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

 

In front of Taipei 101 is one of the famous “LOVE” statues, Taipei, Taiwan

In front of Taipei 101 is one of the famous “LOVE” statues — an iconic pop art image by American artist Robert Indiana in 1970, Taipei, Taiwan

 

For our last night in Taiwan, which, after three months of sailing, also marked our last night on this sailing journey, we enjoyed an outstanding dinner with friends at YEN Chinese Restaurant – located o few blocks away from Taipei 101.  Headed by Hong Kongese Chef Wo Hoi Ming, YEN Chinese restaurant serves delicately crafted Chinese dishes.  With its long list of signature dishes including steamed Penghu lobster with egg white, and Cantonese style seared cod with crispy mushroom, YEN has gained a superb reputation for its innovative dishes, not to mention its superb service.  This was an excellent farewell dinner to our extended travels in New Zealand, New Caledonia, Melanesia, Palau, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

 

After being up on the observation level (89th floor) -- near the top of the building – going back outside and looking up at Taipei 101_s exterior you realize how big this skyscraper

After being up on the observation level (89th floor) — near the top of the building – going back outside and looking up at Taipei 101’s exterior you realize how big this skyscraper really is, Taipei, Taiwan

 

Walking Taipei (part II), Taiwan

The most well known temple in Taiwan, Lungshan Temple was built in 1738 in Taipei_s Manka district by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers

The most well known temple in Taiwan, Lungshan Temple was built in 1738 in Taipei’s Manka district by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers

 

“The most well known temple in Taiwan, Lungshan Temple was built in 1738 in the city’s Manka district by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers.  Located in the old village part of Taipei, this temple has stood the test of time and lasted through several natural disasters and wars.  During World War II, the temple was badly damaged [on 8 June 1945] by American bombers during the Raid on Taipei after an accusation the Japanese were hiding arms inside the temple.  Since the construction of the temple, Taipei residents have continuously renovated and improved the temple and the surrounding :grounds, with the temple coming to represent the pride of Taiwanese temples and worship houses, worshiping a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and deities like Mazu.  Lungshan Temple is one of largest and oldest temples in Taiwan.” – www.guidetotaipei.com

 

One of the annex buildings of Lungshan Temple; at the Temple worshipping includes a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, and deities like Mazu; Taipei, Taiwan

One of the annex buildings of Lungshan Temple; at the Temple worshiping includes a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, and deities like Mazu; Taipei, Taiwan

 

The Temple is dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy (Guan-Yin in Chinese, or Avalokitesvara in Sanskrit).  The statue of Guan-Yin survived the bombing from the American aircraft in 1945 when the whole main hall and part of the right annex were burned – it was left intact.  The Temple’s guide pamphlet notes: “This is the most famous manifestation of efficacy of Lungshan Temple”.

 

A juxtaposition of roof lines at Lungshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

A juxtaposition of roof lines at Lungshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

 

Din Tai Fung is probably the most famous restaurant in Taiwan, where the amazing dim sum continue to draw in the masses; this is the original restaurant in the ever expanding group of re

Din Tai Fung is probably the most famous restaurant in Taiwan, where the amazing dim sum continue to draw in the masses; this is the original restaurant in the ever expanding group of restaurants across Taiwan, China, and now Japan, the U.S. and other locales; Taipei, Taiwan

 

Din Tai Fung is probably the most famous restaurant in Taiwan, where the amazing dim sum continue to draw in the masses.  While there are more than a half-dozen Din Tai Fun restaurants in Taipei, we wanted to go to the mother ship —  the original Din Tai Fung on Xinyi Road.  Reservations are not accepted; as typical, we had a 15- to 30-minute wait, but this dining experience and the sublime “Shanghai” soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) made it worth the wait.

 

Here is the small “army” of cooks making the sublime “Shanghai” soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) at Din Tai Fung, Taipei, Taiwan

Here is the small “army” of cooks making the sublime “Shanghai” soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) at Din Tai Fung, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic

The most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China, and was opened in 1980 as part of a national park and gathering area, Taipei

 

The National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a very famous symbol of Taipei and the Republic of China.  The large space in front of the memorial is the site for both national celebrations and protests.   The octagon-shaped white building rises 76 meters / 249 feet and is covered with blue tiles and red accents, echoing the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan).  The eight sides represent the Chinese cultural symbolism of the number eight which is traditionally associated with fortune and wealth.  The two sets of 89 steps represent Chiang’s age of death and lead up to main hall housing a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek that is watched over by two honor guards who change shifts every hour with a rifle twirling ceremony.

 

The characters behind Chiang Kai-Shek_s statue read "Ethics", "Democracy", and "Science", and the inscriptions on the side read "The purpose of life is to improve the general life of h

The characters behind Chiang Kai-Shek’s statue read “Ethics”, “Democracy”, and “Science”, and the inscriptions on the side read “The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity” and “The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe”, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

 

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park viewed from the statue of Chiang Kai-Shek in the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park viewed from the statue of Chiang Kai-Shek in the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The National Theater & Concert Hall, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

The National Theater & Concert Hall, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Park, Taipei, Taiwan

 

Originally founded within the walls of the Beijing Forbidden City in 1925, the present-day National Palace Museum moved to Taipei's Shilin District following the Republic of China govern

Originally founded within the walls of the Beijing Forbidden City in 1925, the present-day National Palace Museum moved to Taipei’s Shilin District following the Republic of China government relocation in 1949 with an official opening for the public in 1965, Taiwan

 

The National Palace Museum is famed for the world’s best collection of historic Chinese artifacts and is a must see for first-time (and returning) visitors to the city.  “Originally founded within the walls of the Beijing Forbidden City in 1925, the present-day National Palace Museum moved to Taipei’s Shilin District following the Republic of China government relocation in 1949 with an official opening for the public in 1965.  Over 600,000 of the most precious artifacts within the collection were moved to Taiwan to prevent their desecration during and after the Chinese Civil War.  The museum is currently celebrating its 90TH Anniversary.  A fully modern museum, the Palace Museum also participates in Taiwan’s National Digital Archives Program, using the latest in digital technology to digitally preserve its ancient artifacts as well as high technology to improve the museum experience for visitors. Spread over 4 floors and 2 exhibition halls, the museum’s exhibits continuously rotate, as only a small percentage of the museum’s collection can be displayed at a given time to prevent wear.“ – www.guidetotaipei.com

 

The National Palace Museum is famed for the world_s best collection of historic Chinese artifacts and is a must see for first-time (and returning) visitors to Taipei, Taiwan

The National Palace Museum is famed for the world’s best collection of historic Chinese artifacts and is a must see for first-time (and returning) visitors to Taipei, Taiwan

 

Walking Taipei (part I), Taiwan

The exterior of the Taipei Xiahai City God Temple, one of the “Top 100 Religious Sites of Taiwan”, Taipei, Taiwan

The exterior of the Taipei Xiahai City God Temple, one of the “Top 100 Religious Sites of Taiwan”, Taipei, Taiwan

 

Capital and largest city of Taiwan (Republic of China), Taipei lies just 110 miles / 180 kilometers across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China.  First-time as well as returning visitors find a dynamic, cosmopolitan metropolis, notable for its welcoming residents, livability, excellent cuisine and vibrant night markets.  Less than an hour from the pier in the port city of Keelung, Taipei counts the treasures at the National Palace Museum and the imposing Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall among its “must-sees.”  Visitors can “take it all in” from the 360-degree observation deck at Taipei 101, one of Asia’s tallest buildings, and the tallest in Talwan – with the world’s fastest elevator.  Beyond the city, verdant tea plantations, Chiufen Village and the striking scenery along the rugged northeast coast lie within reach.

 

The Matchmaker Diety helps single people find their suitable partners and is one of the most famous marriage deities in Taiwan, Taipei Xiahai City God Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

The Matchmaker Diety helps single people find their suitable partners and is one of the most famous marriage deities in Taiwan, Taipei Xiahai City God Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The “Top 100 Religious Sites of Taiwan” encompass a hundred iconic religious sites and activities that were chosen via public vote and announced by the Ministry of the Interior on Nov. 22, 2013.  These sites embody the history of Early Taiwanese settlers and illustrate both the diversity and the island’s religious landscape.  “Taipei Xiahia City God Temple and Welcoming of the City God on the 13th day of the fifth lunar month” is Northern Taiwan’s foremost religious procession, while the Temple itself is the most popular shrine for worship of the Matchmaking God.

 

This was our favorite Buddha – one who blesses visitors to have wisdom, peaceful minds and good fortune, Taipei Xiahai City God Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

This was our favorite Buddha – one who blesses visitors to have wisdom, peaceful minds and good fortune, Taipei Xiahai City God Temple, Taipei, Taiwan

 

A map of our ship's route from Japan to China to Taiwan (and then on to Saipan and Hawaii)

At the request of one of our readers, we are including a map of our ship’s route from Japan to China to Taiwan (and then on to Saipan and Hawaii), centered on Taipei’s port city of Keelung, Taiwan

 

One of the entrances to a food shopping district full of small shops with a wide variety of local delicacies, Taipei, Taiwan

One of the entrances to a food shopping district full of small shops with a wide variety of local delicacies, Taipei, Taiwan

 

This shop specialized in dried seafood, with scallops in front and lots of sharks fin (loose and in transparent plastic packages on the wall), Taipei, Taiwan

This shop specialized in dried seafood, with scallops in front and lots of sharks fin (loose and in transparent plastic packages on the wall), Taipei, Taiwan

 

Deluxe packages of the Chinese delicacy sharks fin (used for soups), Taipei, Taiwan

Deluxe packages of the Chinese delicacy sharks fin (used for soups), Taipei, Taiwan

 

Loose sharks fin, Taipei, Taiwan

Loose sharks fin, Taipei, Taiwan

 

This kitchen and housewares shop had beautiful, locally made tea sets; this set of metal tea cups were double walled, providing an insulating (“Thermos”-like) cup, Taipei, Taiwan

This kitchen and housewares shop had beautiful, locally made tea sets; this set of metal tea cups were double walled, providing an insulating (“Thermos”-like) cup, Taipei, Taiwan

 

The bakery next door had excellent home made pastries – mini curry pastries on the left, and delicious shredded radish pastries that we tried, on the right; Taipei, Taiwan

The bakery next door had excellent home made pastries – mini curry pastries on the left, and delicious shredded radish pastries that we tried, on the right; Taipei, Taiwan