Exploring San Francisco

Oh man, it’s been quiet around here.  Sorry — after the Thanksgiving holiday, a nasty cold worked it’s way through my family and settled in my chest for a week.  But we’re all back to normal now, so I can tell you all about my trip!

Last month, I went all the way across the country to visit San Francisco.  My boyfriend’s best friend lives there and invited us out for some good food, pretty views, and most importantly if you ask my boyfriend, all kinds of coffee.  We jumped at the chance to be guided around town by someone in the know, so off we went!

Starving after our flight in, we grabbed lunch at Atlas Cafe.  I ordered the grilled cheese, which has cheddar and Gouda, and came on perfectly grilled multi-grain bread.  It was delicious!  Then we headed over to Sightglass Coffee, where I ordered the vanilla cold brew.  Mmmmmm.

That night, we had dinner at Pizzeria Delfina.  The table split an order of arancini and an order of burrata for appetizers.  My boyfriend and I split the margherita pizza (with a few slices left over).  Everything was yummy, but the arancini was the best part.

After doing pretty much nothing the day before except sit on a plane and eat too much, we decided to spend our first morning in San Francisco doing some light “hiking”.  We made stops at Lands End (lots of stairs!) and the Twin Peaks.  Then, obviously, we were famished and needed to refuel; I chose a Ruben from R Image Market.  It was perfect.

The next day, it was time for a mini-road trip to Carmel.  Before we left, we stopped at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen and Philz Coffee.  I really liked the vibe at Wise Sons and the fact that they let me substitute fries for home fries with my breakfast, but Philz was the real star of my morning.  I’m not a big coffee drinker and complicated coffee menus intimidate me, so when the mint mojito iced coffee was recommended to me, I just went with it.  I believe the recommendation was something along the lines of, “It’s the most ‘basic’ thing ever, but it will change your life”.  And, guys, it was so good.

Then we piled into the car and off we went, stopping along the way to take in the views.

We stayed in Pacific Grove for a night, which was adorable and already getting festive for Christmas.  Then our Carmel tour began.  We started at Carmel Belle for breakfast, where I had a grilled Nutella (like a grilled cheese, you know) with fruit.  The table also split a baguette with brie.

It was a rainy morning, but we lucked out with a perfectly dry window of time to explore the beach.  I have never seen so many happy, frolicking, beach-loving dogs.  When it started to sprinkle again, we ran back to the car and took a drive along the coast before beginning the 17-Mile Drive.  My heart is still aching for some of those gorgeous beach-front houses.  Then back to San Francisco we went.

After a short nap break, we hit up Montesacro Pinseria.  We split a cheese plate with Parmigiano Reggiano, Camembert di Bufala, and Quadricapra.  Then we split the margherita pinsa and the centocelle pinsa.  The Parmigiano and the margherita were my favorites of the meal.  Afterward, we headed over to Mikkeller Bar.  Their beer selection was full of things I’d never heard of, so we tried a few delicious things with the help of our waitress and an order of fries.

We were lucky to get reservations at Foreign Cinema for brunch the next morning.  Our foodie-wannabe group was pumped.  The table shared an order of the lavender baked goat cheese with blackberry jam — I didn’t think goat cheese was my thing, but this was delicious.  We also got a shared order of the brown sugar bacon, which wasn’t really anything special.  Across our group, I think we got a pretty good idea of the menu.  There were a couple duck confit orders, a Dungeness crab frittata, a fancy egg scramble, and a truffled champagne omelet.  I ordered the Croque Madame, which was so yummy I’m still thinking about it.  The bechamel was so good!

After brunch, we walked over to the Tartine Manufactory.  The line was wrapped around the corner of the building, but it moved quickly.  My boyfriend and I couldn’t make up our minds, so we ordered the Pistachio Almond Lemon tea cake, the Bostock, and the Apple Crumble to try over the following days.  The Pistachio Almond Lemon tea cake was my favorite.  We also got to try bites of the Poppyseed Coffee Cake, which tastes like a big coffee bean.

That afternoon, we visited the Ferry Building and Union Square.  We took a break at Boba Guys, where I ordered the iced Thai Tea with tapioca pearls and tried the iced Jasmine Milk Tea — both were so yummy.  We headed over to Hayes Valley to pop in and out of the cute shops before heading home to rest.

That night, our friend took us to his favorite burrito place, Papalote Mexican Grill.  The burrito was two meals for me and I fell in love with their smooth salsa.  We stopped at Humphry Slocombe for ice cream before heading up to Bernal Heights to see the city all lit up for the night.

My boyfriend and I were on our own the next day, which was our last in San Francisco, so we scurried around town hitting all the spots that were still on our list.  Obviously, we started with another trip to Philz and another mint mojito iced coffee for me.  From there, we stopped at Dolores Park before heading to North Beach.  We made sure to hit Alamo Square because I wouldn’t shut up about seeing The Painted Ladies.  Then we walked all around town, just to see more of it, before calling it a day.

From the zig-zagging, hilly streets of the city to the crazy beautiful beach views, San Francisco is so different from home.  It was fun to be a tourist in a totally new place.  Let me know if I missed anything that should be on my list next time I visit!

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