One of my favorite things to do is go to Ghirardelli Square for ice cream.
I'm sure most of the locals just blanched at that sentence. The food snobs are horrified that I'd be common enough to let such "plebeian" ice cream pass my lips, and the regular snobs can't see hobnobbing with the tourists.
Before I moved down the street, I would have agreed with you. Smelly sea lions, tee shirt shops, and overstuffed tourists whose matching fleeces advertise their ignorance of San Francisco weather? Blech. I've never had much heart for the Wharf, and though I'm a chocoholic, Ghirardelli's middle-of-the-road milk chocolates don't do it for me.
But then we found an apartment that's so close to the Square that the smell of freshly made ice cream cones practically wakes me up in the morning. Add to that my boyfriend's obsession with ice cream, and we were bound to become regulars.
Instead of being dragged kicking and screaming, though, I've found that I adore having an ice cream at Ghirardelli Square. Nevermind that it's Dreyer's (the truck pulls up every morning, regular as rain). Everyone is happy on vacation, and so the place is just brimming with smiles and laughter and good vibrations. People are thrilled to death at the thought of stuffing a gigondo ice cream sundae in their bellies, and no one minds the wait.
As it happens, they also serve some of the best chocolate chip ice cream around. The secret is the size of the chip; if it's too big, the chip stays cold and it's difficult to taste the chocolate. But these chips are teeny-tiny flecks that melt in your mouth, imbuing the ice cream around it (mint, vanilla, or espresso) with chocolatey goodness.
If you live in the city, you owe it to yourself to head to the Square one evening soon. It'll put a smile on your face, guaranteed. Who says Fisherman's Wharf is just for tourists?