my san francisco experience

I suppose I should first acknowledge my lack of commitment in posting on a consistent basis, but I promise you that I have a valid excuse! Ready for it?

San Francisco. 

See…I told you it was a valid excuse. Toward the end of August, I visited San Francisco primarily to attend my first conference beginning my graduate school program for Human Science; however, I also made sure to stay a few days longer to really see what San Francisco all has to offer. I was lucky to be accompanied by Mike. Thankfully, he has a good sense of direction and made navigating the city and public transportation fairly easy.

Let’s first talk about the food-my favorite thing about traveling! For foodies like myself, San Francisco offers tons of variety! I don’t believe Mike and I ate at one bad restaurant our entire visit (even on a limited budget). We had the opportunity to stay with a friend in the SoMa neighborhood close to South Park, which is adorable. Cafe Centro is a great little indoor/outdoor place to sit, chat, and drink coffee (of course while eating an almond glazed croissant). However, the first place we ate at was called The American (grilled cheese kitchen). http://theamericansf.com/southpark/ I indulged in the Mushroom Gruyere sandwich accompanied by a hot bowl of smoked tomato soup. It was the perfect comfort food to go along with the brisk autumn-like weather that day. I won’t even begin to describe the taste and contents of the sandwich for fear it would be difficult to stop my mouth from salivating. Just click on the link and check out their menu for yourself- it might inspire you to replicate or create your own version of a grilled cheese to eat.

Some other restaurants worthy to check out if you ever find yourself walking the steep streets of San Francisco include:

Mission Cheese (a great little cheese bar, very cool environment)  http://missioncheese.net/

Gracias Madre (located in the Mission, it’s an amazing vegan restaurant, flavorful Mexican style food- you won’t even know you are eating vegan)

B44 (Catalan bistro) Mike and I went here to celebrate our birthdays together. The place has a nice vibe in general and the paella and tapas are authentic tasting. It definitely was reminiscent of the food I enjoyed while studying abroad in Barcelona.  http://www.b44sf.com/

Tin (Vietnamese cuisine. Fresh, brightly flavored, and affordable food!) The spring rolls and vegetarian pho was spot-on!  http://tinvietnamese.com/

Freshroll (also Vietnamese cuisine. Very affordable and it is create-your-own.  The noodle bowl is a must try!)  http://www.eatatfreshroll.com/

Radio Habana (Cuban cuisine, located in the Mission, unique little place, pitchers of Sangria are a must!)

Ferry Building (This is definitely a must see! Quality shops, serving fresh food- definitely a good representation of the quality and cultural diversity of San Francisco. Blue Bottle Coffee serves a fantastic brew! There is also a farmer’ s market that surrounds the outside of the building on Fridays and Saturdays.)  http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/

Although the Fisherman’s Wharf is “touristy,” still walk by and watch the sea lions for 5 minutes- they are entertaining. Also, along the way make sure to grab some sour dough bread from Boudin Bakery. Eat as you climb the streets to see the famous Lombard Street, beautifully landscaped with flowers. You’ll burn the calories off from the bread in no time with that climb!

I realized I said “must” a lot in the above descriptions…it’s because you MUST go to San Francisco yourself to experience what I’m talking about.

During one of our last days, Mike and I rented a car for $20 and drove to Sonoma. It’s amazing the weather change in only a short distance. Thankfully it was only sunny and warm, not humid. Mike and I rented bicycles and spent our afternoon pedaling through the wine country. So beautiful… I took pictures along the way but it honestly does not do it justice. We visited the following wineries: Ravenswood, Bartholomew Park, Buena Vista, and Gundlach Bundschu Winery. I think one of my favorites was Bartholomew Park Winery. It’s an organic vineyard and on the smaller side, meaning you can only purchase the wine there. They offered a great Zinfandel.

It was difficult to leave San Francisco. Looking forward to visiting again in January.

A brief glimpse:

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