Weekend in San Francisco
I did a quick weekend trip to San Francisco and I loved everything about it. This city has so much to offer - beautiful weather, great people, and amazing food culture...
If a city has public transportation I prefer that over a rental car and San Francisco is definitely one of them. I took a scenic route early Saturday morning from Union Square to Nob Hill and walked the bustling streets of Chinatown.
I recommend walking at least some areas of Nob Hill and Lombard street (more on it below) because there are so many cute houses, beautiful buildings, and cafes along the way. Each of them are unique on its own. I literally stopped and gazed at some adorable ones. I depended on Yelp for places to eat and it didn't disappoint me for the most part. After much debate on where to stay, I chose Clift, a cute boutique hotel in Union Square; it's an easy access to the BART (train back and forth from the airport) and walking distance to places I wanted to visit.
Day 1: Dinner at King of Thai Noodle House in Union Square. Don't go in for the service but food was fantastic. I shared Sliced Roasted Duck, Deep Fried Salmon and Tom Yum Gai Soup (it had more mushrooms than chicken but the broth is soo good, you won't care for the chicken). Day 2: While walking from Union Square towards Nob Hill, I stopped by Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery for brunch. I had Baklava Crepes - loved how it was not overly sweet and had the perfect amount of walnuts inside. I cleaned the plate including the vanilla ice-cream.
If you've been to China town in Chicago or New York, it's not much different or at least I didn't find anything different. I would have liked to try their dim sums but could not do it this time.
I have always been fascinated by the famous steep hills of Lombard street..it was such a joy to walk and see it in person. It's also a good leg workout. Make sure you grab some water and if you happen to walk through Little Italy and have a huge appetite like mine - stop by Mara's Italian Pastry (503 Columbus Ave San Francisco, CA 94133). They only take cash! I had Palmiers, lightly dusted with sugar which I really enjoyed.The pistachio biscotti were dry and I didn't care too much for it. I read that their other pastries and cannolis are really good though.
There are so many cute houses along the way....
After walking Lombard Street, I walked to the Fisherman's Warf and never wanted to leave..
You can see the Golden Gate and Alcatraz in the distant..and Ghirardelli Square is right around the corner with shops and restaurants. Being a tourist I felt like I had to pay my visit but nothing exciting to talk about. At the Ghirardelli chocolate factory, I saw chocolate making process and spent $$ on their famous Hot Fudge Sundae (it's good but a lot for one person).
Fisherman's Wharf is a total tourist spot; you will see souvenir shops, street artists, restaurants, and small shops all the way to Pier 39. You can take a ferry or bike to the Golden Gate Bridge from here.
Next stop was Boudin Bakery, renowned for its Sourdough bread as they have a location in Pier 39. This place was crowded; you can purchase bread here, dine in (I hear their clam chowder bread bowl is really good), or watch cute loaves on their window display. I didn't eat here but bought bread as a souvenir.
There are lot of places to eat around here especially seafood. Since I had planned on grabbing lunch with friends before heading to the Golden Gate Bridge, so I strolled around until they arrived.
My friends were so generous to drive to the Golden Gate Bridge..but before that we stopped at a Mandalay SF (Michelin recommended Burmese Restaurant). We were six of us and shared a lot of food which I forgot to keep track and take pictures of..everything was really good though. It was my first time trying Burmese food, I found it to be somewhat similar to Nepali/Indian/Thai food. My favorite of all was samusa soup which I plan on recreating at home.
My friends made sure that I got the best view of the bridge..and luckily it was a perfect weather too. Next stop was Sausalito (we met more friends here)...it's just a beautiful little city. It's also a tourist area lined with shops and restaurants. We stopped by the Barrel House Tavern for drinks and snacks. The staffs were very nice and they were able to do gluten-free stuff if you ask them. Ideally, after this I would have liked to get back to the hotel, change into this and head over to Mission Cheese and meet her. Instead I bought a fleece and went to Twin Peaks to catch the sunrise. This is probably the best place to see the whole Bay area. It gets very windy so don't forget to carry a jacket (or by one in Saulsalito) preferably with a hood.
We had dinner at Wonderland Restaurant (a Chinese place) in Lower Haight (parking is really bad here). Although this place had good reviews, I think I have had better Chinese food before and also scanning plates of my friends, (11 of us) none of us finished the food. I was surprised to see a lot of options for vegetarians (meatless chicken, tofu, and vegetables) and healthy-food section (steamed options with sauce on the side) on their menu.
....and finally on Sunday I got to meet Tara for brunch before heading back. We went to Aliment; same place she went for Taylor's birthday (I got to meet Taylor too). I had their Local Smoked Fish Benedict and it was delicious!! This was a perfect way to end my trip with a person I have known (virtually) for a while over good food, and a great conversation.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet her but I quickly stopped by Tout Sweet before heading back the airport. This modern pâtisserie is inside Macy's which was a little confusing to find..but the place is clean, very minimal with a pop of bright colors which keeps it fun.
It was a different than any bakeries I have visited before...although I did not get to sit and enjoy their pastries. I bought 6-piece Macaron clutch and a box of Sweet Meringue Kisses (Blue Bottle Coffee and Vietnamese Cinnamon). The Meringue Kisses were just not my thing, it felt chalky and had no taste but the macarons were really good.
My most favorite to least-Tahini Vanilla Bean, Sicillian Pistachio, Earl Grey Tea Scented Dark Chocolate, PBJ, Dark Chocolate, and Salted Caramel Buttercream. And after that I was headed to the airport...which brings an end to my short weekend in San Francisco. I am already looking forward for my next trip because being my first time here I really wanted to do the touristy things..next time I will be on a hunt for more local things and hopefully meet more blogger friends :) Must bring for SF in my opinion: comfortable shoes, jacket with a hood, and a big appetite! And a smart phone... Have you guys been to SF?