J was out last weekend on business, so I decided to take advantage of the solo time and visit my sister in the city for the weekend. Every time I come up she does an AMAZING job of putting together the best itineraries… they tend to have themes – “luxurious,” “outdoors,” “touristy,” “walking friendly,” etc. but this weekend the focus was on “living like the locals.” It was amazing to enjoy hidden bars, hole in the wall restaurants and just enjoy city life like a resident. Here was our agenda:
Location: Inner Richmond/ Nob Hill
- Grabbed a Grilled Lemongrass Beef Banh Mi sandwich with a Vietnamese iced coffee at Little Vietnam – the best money can by for $6 (be sure to order with Peter’s Special – a special sauce and a fried egg!)
- Visited Kamei (a restaurant supply store) to stock up on super affordable dinnerware and this super adorable panda mug
- We also walked through some Japanese food markets in the area to get an up close and personal view of life in Japan town (Favorite part? an abundance of quail eggs. Least favorite? Seafood out in the open)
- After our snack and some shopping we headed home to get ready and paint the town… then we headed to Nob Hill in one of the biggest insider scoops – UberPool. My OCD self is a little weary of public transportation, but all weekend we UberPooled (basically ride sharing for $7 anywhere in the city!) and had nothing but a great experience each time – great people, didn’t elongate travel time, etc.
- We enjoyed happy hour at Top of the Mark for cocktails – goregous views and great double dirty martini
- We walked through Grace Cathedral and then headed to Nob Hill Cafe for dinner – they have great Italian food (we enjoyed their Antipasti plate and Penne Bettola.
- Our favorite stop of the night was The Big 4 – they had the most amazing bar (a classic/regal vibe with beautiful live music – it would be a great scotch/old fashioned place but I ordered a Hemingway daiquiri which was super tasty)
- We ended the night at the Tonga Room (each place this evening was a couple minutes walking distance from one another) – and enjoyed the hilariously cheesy decor. We indulged in a scorpion bowl while taking in our surroundings (a live band playing music on a boat floating on water in the middle of the restaurant, fake rain sprinkling down every few minutes, some pretty impressive dancers taking over the dance floor, etc.).
Location: Everywhere in SF (we covered 9 miles walking!)
- We threw on some workout clothes and walked to Cinderella Bakery – be sure to order the piroshkis and this strawberry/custard pastry thing they make that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. This is a place I regularly beg Taylor to bring me back to… SO good.
- We walked down the street to grab almond milk lattes at Cafe Coco and keep us warm on our walk.
- Breakfast was at a spot I’ve been wanting to go to – Nourish. We shared the avocado toast, acai bowl and refresher juice (all equally delicious – also the spot is a vegan restaurant which also helps you feel great after devouring a piroshki).
- Post breakfast, our trek began. We walked through Golden Gate Park, stopped in the SF Conservatory of Flowers ($8 fee), enjoyed a jazz band playing live music in a tunnel and stopped in a few adorable boutiques along the way.
- We took a lunch break at Taquerio el Castilito, where we had what I am convinced was the best Mexican food of my life. My favorite was the vegetarian super burrito with pickled veggies, but we enjoyed the quesadilla suiza with carne asada as well!
- We had high hopes for shopping, but got side tracked by amazing food and enjoying the sun – although The Perish Trust was one of our shopping highlights. Definitely worth popping into if you are in the area.
- We hydrated with a hibiscus and mint iced tea from The Mill, and if we weren’t already on our 5th food stop of the day, would definitely of enjoyed one of their famous toasts.
- The shopping on Valencia is great, but (not surprisingly) my experience at Dandelion Chocolate sidetracked my attempts at picking up a mother’s day gift. Instead we enjoyed a frozen hot chocolate and a double chocolate cookie. We sadly had just missed a tour, but were able to sit up at the bar and enjoy the chocolate making experience first hand. A definite must see if you are in SF.
- We ubered home to get ready and freshen up then headed back to Valencia for drinks at the amazing rooftop bar – El Techo de Lolinda. I enjoyed the gorgeous El Scorpion, made with prickley pear with mescal. Delious!
- The piece de resistance of the day was my (much awaited) visit to Trick Dog. This is one of T’s favorite spots, plus anything specializing in artisan cocktails has my name written all over it. Every 6 months their menu (and as we found out decor), changes to match their theme, which happened to be Chinese New Year. The drinks stood up to the hype, and we also enjoyed nibbling on their (massive) kale salad, Trick Dog and Manimal fries. Tip: sit at the bar.
Location: Inner Richmond, Presidio, Marina
- Brunch at Eats – don’t leave their without getting their breakfast sandwich, but their poppyseed lemon strawberry happy cake, refresher juice and blood orange mimosas were noteworthy as well.
- We strolled through the Farmer’s Market going on in town and picked up some adorable succulents, Thai basil and beautiful cherries.
- After a leisurely morning packing up, we jumped in my car and drove to the base of the Golden Gate bridge. We walked the coast and planned on grabbing coffee from the Warming Hut but decided to peruse their awesome finds instead.
- Taylor took me through the cutest neighborhoods (including the house from the Princess Diaries! Eii!!), and we made our way to the Marina.
- I am not a big coffee person (I try to avoid caffeine), so when Taylor took me to Bereka Coffee, I declined to get one for myself. Never again. It was SO good. The handmade Ethiopian drip coffee was made by the nicest women, and was down right delicious.
- We shared a Caprese sandwich at Lucca Deli and then perused the shops on Chestnut before grabbing a salad at Blue Barn.
- Because I hadn’t eaten enough this weekend, I grabbed some to-go black bean tacos with cabbage/carrot slaw and chimichurri sauce from Seed + Salt and enjoyed them for dinner that night. Definitly on the pricey side, but if you can swing it the flavor was insane.
Overall this was one of my favorite weekends yet… we were able to eat a lot, walk it off, shop a little and were in bed by 10pm every night (writing that sentence just solidified my stance as an adult… ouff). I am going to track down T’s favorite SF eats/activity list to post shortly… it’s one stop shopping for everything San Francisco… until then…