It’s been awhile since I’ve traveled anywhere, and even longer since I’ve traveled someplace new within the US. But this past week I got to visit one of the top places on my “US travel list”- San Francisco! It started out as a business trip, but at the last minute two of my friends got to join me. I’m so glad they were able to make the trip, since we hadn’t seen each other since Munich, and exploring a new city is always more fun with friends!
Before they both arrived though I did manage to see a bit of the surrounding area, namely the Palo Alto area and some of Stanford’s campus. I have to say it made me want to be a student again- driving through their gorgeous, palm tree-lined campus. It certainly didn’t hurt that the weather was fantastic and everything was a lush green due some much-needed rain that came and went before I arrived. The houses in the Palo Alto area are adorable, though ridiculously priced (we’re talking 2 million for around 1,500 sq. feet).
I also got to explore the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, which is where my Airbnb was. It’s a vibrant area, with lots of restaurants, cafés and bars, as well as a super convenient healthy grocery store called Mollie Stone’s (the stores are a cross between a Whole Foods and a “normal” grocery store) that was open late- perfect for grabbing dinner after work.
I had two standout food experiences during the business part of my trip. One was at a place called Kitchen Story where I had a fantastic Panang Curry with a delicious blend of veggies, including avocado. I also grabbed lunch with my boss at a local burger chain, Super Duper, which is similar to a Five Guys (but more organic/bigger menu) and it was scrumptious.
Fast forward to Friday evening, my friends and I checked into an Airbnb in the Sunset area and headed towards the Mission area to get dinner at a place that was recommended by a few friends, Southpaw BBQ. We got some good drinks and great barbecue, complete with a range of barbeque sauces to accompany them. Then we checked out a nearby rooftop bar for some scenic city views.
On Saturday we started the day off right with a fabulous brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food. They had the 2nd best beignets I’ve ever had (2nd to Café Du Monde) and then I got a huge egg dish stuffed with oysters, bacon and scallions. I can’t vouch for any of the side dishes it came with because I was too stuffed from the beignets!
After a lot of driving to find (barely) reasonably priced parking, we saw a bit of Fisherman’s Warf before hopping on a Ferry. Sadly, I only got a couple of pictures because it was crazy windy once you stepped foot outside on the deck. After a longer than anticipated ride, we got off in Sausalito. Unfortunately it was already getting dark and things closed very early, but we managed to see the main street and got rewarded with a nice sunset over the bay.
We capped the night off in China Town where we got an awesome dinner at House of Nanking, which also came recommended by a friend. It was exactly what we were looking for, and the wonton soup was the best I’ve ever had (and perfect for the cold I had come down with). By the end of our late dinner we were all stuffed and exhausted, so it was back to the apartment.
On our second and final day in the city, we headed straight to the Golden Gate Bridge after a quick breakfast. As you can see in the pictures, we lucked out again with fantastic weather! Then it was back to Castro where I made us wait in line at Ike’s Place. I don’t normally support waiting in line for a sandwich, but these might have been worth it. Tip for other travelers- call in your order instead, but make sure you do it about an hour before you’re hungry. I got the Paul Reuben and I was impressed.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying the nice weather at an outdoor café, before we went to watch the Oscars at a food truck party.
My first trip to San Francisco was definitely a great one, and I’m already looking forward to my next business trip out there in a couple of months. There is still so much to see and so much food to try. Till next time!