My trip to San Fran this time around was not mean't to be a food adventure (I'll save that for Portland next month), but one that was to get me out of LA and into some family time...the delicious food finds was just an inevitable consequence. My flexible schedule allowed for free reign. Hiking, movies, lounging, bookstores, baseball games...anything! I was on vacation and I was going to milk it!
SO SAN FRANCISCO, TELL ME WHAT'S FIRST!
How about a little lunch and a little perusing in the Marin County Mart to start? Sounds great, on it!
After lunch, I walked the mart and found this quaint bookstore to be a deceivingly fierce beast–it was glorious on the inside! Books upon books, upon recommendations, upon new arrivals, upon obscure, upon trendy...it was a wonderland!
I grew up a reader, but as I've gotten older I found it's taken a serious back seat to everything else. After work, I usually (7.5/10 times) fall into a pretty stale mind numbing, boob tube watching routine or head to a workout class and then fall into a stale mind numbing, boob tube watching routine. I've come to understand there is a significant psychological reason as to "Why?" Childhood...yada yada...escape into yada yada...mindless....comfort....engaging without having to actually engage yada yada...don't get me wrong, I love the craft of film making as well, but the above yada yada's play a factor into the repetitive nature in which I boob tube. In the end, it takes energy for me to refocus into doing something else WHICH I KNOW, is necessary for my growth and to be honest, I do enjoy many many things. I've just gotta push it more!
We are fluid and ever changing so I do believe that the ebbs and flows will eventually about-face. If I know anything about life, it's constantly changing whether we like it or not, so hopefully you are at a place where you can welcome change instead of running in fear of it. And yes, I can fall victim to the hatred of change when I believe it isn't necessary in certain circumstances. Even then, there's a reason for why it happened or, alternatively, there was something within the situation that needed changing.
After my gallivanting around the mart and buying the above book, we made our way to downtown Sausalito for dinner at Bar Bocce. A lovely spot where you can enjoy dinner inside, outside or even further outside on a bench, on the sand, overlooking the marina.
It was a wonderful end to my first day back in SF. Where no stress or less stress could touch me.
The following day we rose bright and early to grab a heavenly chai latte at Good Earth Natural Foods before a hike. Now, Good Earth Natural Foods is one of those supermarkets you could lost in. They had everything I desired all laid out in perfect rows. Brands I knew, local brands I didn't and wanted too. I was overwhelmed and didn't want to leave....but, the day needed to start and I had to be pried away so we could start it. Of course, not before I bought a bag of kale chips from a brand I'm pretty sure I've never had before, Lydia's.
The weather for the hike was typical San Fran style which mean't I was able to hike without passing out from heat exhaustion. LA's summer has been dry, scorching and unbearable for hikes anytime that's not at dusk or at dawn. So sadly, this means my hikes have been near non-existent.
On this particular hike I was able to take in the trail, the sea, the foliage, the barely there humans (compared to LA trails) and the company. Everything was right where it needed to be.
This hike paved the way to a relaxing day and an easy evening. Movie and dinner in the city because Sunday was too be a packed affair.
Back in college, I apparently lived near La Mediterranee and never knew it existed!...True, I was also living off a Trader Joe's and scraps from the restaurant I worked at budget, but it would have been nice to know this option was there for the times I could splurge. The prices are spot on and the food hit every comfort button available. I was able to get everything I wanted on one plate; baba ganoush, hummus, falafels, dolmas and tabbouleh–I was sat-is-fied and ready for bed
because Baseball Sunday was right around the corner
First things first, there was a brunch that needed to be had at TRES (mushroom tacos with a side or rice, beans and avocado) and then there was my first Giants game to attend!
Our seats were so close to the field, I could say, "Put me in coach!" and they would hear me, but if I did that then I wouldn't have had as much fun as I did hanging with new friends, my bro and sister-in-law. I also wouldn't have been able to indulge in the obligatory garlic fries!
They were garlicky, they were fryie and they completed my first Giants game experience. That, and the need to hoot and holler whenever the people around me did. Act the part, right?
After the game, I recouped for a brief moment before heading to dinner at Park Tavern–a beautiful, upscale, classically styled restaurant for dinner with family and family friends. I enjoyed one of the most delicious vegetable-based, non-processed dishes I've ever had. It was packed full of farmer's market veggies; grilled and sauteed to perfection. Mixed in with black eyed peas, fresh fennel and a savory pea puree.
Please excuse the awful lighting and lack of focus.
For the next three days, I was attending a Google Analytics course in the city which mean't lunch was provided, but dinner was not. I ventured the first night to Shizen to finally try SF's vegan sushi spot. Upon entering, a vegan sushi bar greets you which I absolutely loved! The establishment itself was decorated with minimalism in mind and accents of a rustic, natural feel camouflaged the space.
I was in charge of ordering since my dinner date was new to vegan sushi. I took the lead and ordered three dishes; Open Invitation, Body & Soul and two pieces of Eryngii nigiri.
Let me start by saying, I love the intricacy of the dishes. The thought that went behind each concept, as well as, the precision it took to execute was beyond appreciated. My only error in ordering was mistaking eryngii for enoki when ordering the nigiri. In my mind I thought it was the soft, tiny, thin mushrooms, but instead it was the very chewy "squid-like" trumpet mushroom. For nigiri, it was too tough and lacked necessary flavor.
On the other hand, the other two dishes were filled with flavor, palatable textures and compatible ingredients. I wish I could have tried more, but I was feeling perfectly satiated with what we ordered. I also knew deep down that this was not going to be my last trip to Shizen. A future plan is already in the works.
The next evening for dinner I got a hot tip from a friend (charliesbrownies) on No No Burger–the self proclaimed "Game Changer". When I arrived I had no idea it was a food truck tucked away in a food park! A very welcomed surprise indeed.
This spot made it clear that LA needs to step up its food truck game! This park had benches, skee-ball, trivia nights, drinks...it was pretty sweet.
With all the food options aside, I bee lined to No No Burger and ordered the Melted Mushroom.
I'll state it right here, again.
One of the best burgers I've ever had
It had everything and it was definitely a game changer. Perfect homemade patty, lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, melted cheese and I also added the "smokey bacon". I inhaled the burger and wanted another. The next day I planned to make a special detour before heading to the airport, but sadly they were temporarily down and I couldn't get my round 2. I felt my heart break a little, but again, I knew this wouldn't be my last time having it.
I don't always get to take the time to head to SF and see my bro, but when I do it's always such a nice experience. Last year I was able to put together a spontaneous trip on my dad's birthday weekend. It was a special vacation in its own right and now I've been lucky enough to make more memories in the place I once called home for a short period of time.
SF is wonderful in so many ways and I can't wait to head back up again...which I know won't be that long off.