Adventures in San Francisco: Sally’s Famous Fishwich and Alcatraz Island

by Megg

During my San Francisco trip, I got to do most of the things I’d hoped to do. One thing I didn’t get to see was the redwood forest, since I realized it was farther outside the city than I’d thought. One destination that wasn’t on my list, though, was Alcatraz. I guess I just thought it would be too touristy or something.

On the other hand, my friend really wanted to go, and when I found out my vacation was going to last a couple days longer than I’d thought, I decided to tag along. In the end, I was so glad I did!
Here’s a little tip: if you’re going to Alcatraz, use Alcatraz Cruises. They’re the official ferry, the one authorized by the Natl. Park Service.  I also recommend you buy your tickets in advance, as it sells out quickly. I bought mine right from the website, which I suggest as well.

Anyway, we needed some food before our excursion, but something quick so we wouldn’t miss the ferry!  The selection was made by my friend pointing at the nearest food stand and announcing we were going there.
Sally's Sign
“There” turned out to be Sally’s Famous Fishwich.  If we hadn’t been in such a hurry I might have protested, since I’m not big on sandwiches or fried food.  Every fish sandwich I’d had back in the (noticeably oceanless) Midwest was a greasy, bland filet with either mayo (ick!) or a paltry blob of soggy coleslaw that seemed to be mostly mayo anyway.  But time was not on my side, and I had to eat something. I figured since Sally’s is literally right on the bay, the fish in this “fishwich” might be better than average.
Well, it turned out to be more than just above average.  In fact, it was the best fish sandwich I’ve ever had, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The fish was fresh, flavorful, and perfectly crispy; not a tad bit greasy. It was piled high with a colorful slaw that was as fresh and tasty as the fish… and made with olive oil, not mayo!!  Even the bread was delightful… it is San Francisco, after all!

I ordered the “halfwich,” but it seemed to be just as big as the regular sized one my friend got.  And let me tell you, these sandwiches are HUGE.  I’m pretty sure there’s a whole filet of fish on there (I’m not kidding, I really think there is!)  Factor in the heaping order of really garlicky, really awesome garlic fries my friend decided to get, and we had a ton to eat in a short amount of time.  I am by no means a marathon eater (quite the opposite, really), so by the end I resorted to just picking the delicious fish off the sandwich and leaving the bread behind.  I thought I was going into shock from the amount of food I had just stuffed into my face, and then, of course, I had to get up and high-tail it to the ferry.  One thing’s for sure:  I did NOT go to Alcatraz hungry.
Alcatraz Island
Vines on Alcatraz

The island, it turned out, was fascinating, beautiful, and an experience I’m grateful I didn’t miss.  I love to photograph decaying architecture, especially when interspersed with nature, so for me the island was a photographic dream.  Although all the literature warned that the island was typically much colder than the mainland, on this day it was just beautiful outside.  And of course, I had to get a picture of me in a cell. I tried to look as cantankerous as possible. ^_^

I took tons of photos, some of which I’ve posted here (for more, check out my Flickr set of Alcatraz pics).
If you find yourself in San Francisco, I highly recommend taking a trip to the historic and beautiful Alcatraz Island.  And if you’re looking for a satisfying, generous meal on the cheap, definitely swing by Sally’s.  Just make sure you allow ample time for both… ^_^

  • Dave Schmitz

    As a person that actually ate part of that sandwich, I will agree that it was a particularly delicious.  I would also like to point out that I was not invited to Alcatraz that day, and that I am a bitter old man about it.  Grrr.  My cat is upset also.

    • Megg (PopArtichoke)

      Haha, hi Dave. Did some of that sandwich make it home? Maybe Josh saved his. And I’m pretty sure I /did/ invite you, but you had to work or something lame like that.

  • tofugirl

    Um, that fish sandwich looks awesome!  Yum.  I am not a mayo fan either.  Gorgeous photos!  I especially like the seagull 😀

    • Megg (PopArtichoke)

      Hehe.. yeah that seagull was a pesky little guy, but made a nice photo.

  • Mimi

    I love Alcatraz! There’s so much history. Glad you enjoyed San Francisco; it’s my home away from home.

    • Megg (PopArtichoke)

      I wish it was my home away from home.. a bit of a drive from Chicago, I’m afraid. :)

  • Bentobird

    What a fun post, vivid pics and deliciousness. Plus with my upcoming move to California, all great tips and places to enjoy. Have a beautiful holiday season, Megg!

    • Megg (PopArtichoke)

      Thanks Jenn! Hope you have a great holiday and a stress-free move!

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