Insider tips: Rob Rosen, author of QUEERWOLF
Local author Rob Rosen is a travel fanatic, and it comes through in his cheeky gay novels including the Sin City romp Divas Las Vegas, the Hawaiian hijinks of Hot Lava, and his latest, Queerwolf, an unlikely blend of road trip, erotica, and horror story. Between flights of imagination, Rosen—a native New Yorker who’s also lived in Atlanta— makes his home with his husband (a travel agent!) in the Noe Valley neighborhood, or as Rosen dubs it “Stroller Central.” We asked him where he points visitors in San Francisco…
What’s your favorite cultural institution to spend time at in the city?
The Castro, which is a gay cultural institution. There my hubby and I can see just about every breed of fabulous queer: leather daddies, lesbians, twinks, muscle queens, drag queens, bears, straight guys clutching their girlfriend’s hands, every race, every size, every age, coming from all over the world to catch a glimpse of how awesome it is to be gay in San Francisco. Fine, it’s a gay ghetto, but it’s our gay ghetto.
Corona Heights, just above The Castro and below Twin Peaks. It’s a nice hike up and virtually no tourists know how to get there or even that it’s there to begin with, and yet the view is nearly 360 and spectacular.
Valencia Street, which is a couple of miles of nothing but shops and restaurants and bars, all with a decidedly funky and young vibe. It’s also affordable, compared to the rest of the city, and teaming with people, mostly cool and hip and local.
Name one thing a visitor shouldn’t miss eating in San Francisco?
You’ve got to eat at Off the Grid, which is where all the food trucks gather in several areas throughout the city. You can get a taste of every nationality all at once, sit outside, and brave the fog we’re deservedly famous for.
Cocktail spot of choice?
Nothing beats Velvet Cantina in The Mission. Awesome margaritas in a quirky setting, with the friendliest waiters (all men and all nice-looking) in the city. The bar fills up with locals and the music is fun and fast and just loud enough that you won’t go deaf. And the chips and salsa are stellar.
Farallon is our favorite fine dining restaurant. It’s downtown and easy to get to, the menu is ever-changing, the wait staff is exceptional, and the decor/atmosphere is both elegant and upbeat. We’ve never had anything but a great time and are always treated well. And save room for dessert because it’s exceptional!
Well, the irony in this: San Francisco really is the most beautiful city in America, as any guidebook will tell you. So go ahead and do everything in the friggin’ guidebook!