Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

san francisco: part 2

September 16, 2008

Well, “San Francisco” is a slightly inaccurate title, being that I’ve been in the south bay / san jose area the last few days (Saratoga to be exact), staying at my cousin’s place. He has a wonderful family, with two incredibly cute daughters, aged 3 and 4. They are quite a handful, but that comes with the territory. I visited the Stanford University campus, which was mostly unimpressive, except for the wonderful Memorial Church, which was a very peaceful place to meditate. I was able to sample some wonderful Korean and Japanese cuisine (on separate occasions), including dishes like Raw Beef, Sashimi Salad, and Fried Shrimp Stuffed Shitake Mushrooms. All delicious. Also went with his family on the Roaring Camp Railroads from Felton to Santa Cruz, and back. This train ride was on one of those old fashioned locomotives, winding through grandiose redwood forests. We had an hour to explore the wonderful Santa Cruz Boardwalk, where I tried French Fried Artichoke Hearts for the first time. Overall, the trip certainly reaffirmed my admiration for the city. Papa Beards Cream Puffs was also great.

Roaring Camp Railroads

Xuening also came down this side of town to hang out for a few days. We explored the night life of Santana Row, which is like The Domain (yes, another clone), except this one was higher class, had free valet every day, Wi-Fi, bars, clubs, and cafés. At Cocola Café, I tried a delicious Chocolate Brioche. It was also right next to the Valley Fair Mall, which was mostly boring. We also explored Old Town Los Gatos, which was similar to a more chill Rodeo Drive, and Cupertino Vilage, an asian market center where we had soup dumplings. I was also invited to Xuening’s parents’ place, and treated to a wonderful Northeastern Chinese feast. My favorite dish was some ground meet sandwiched by fried eggplants. Yum.

Well, that is pretty much the end of my road trip. I will be flying out to China tomorrow for a one month trip, with a one night stopover in Seoul, Korea. China stops include Beijing, Xi’an, Guilin, Suzhou, and Shanghai. I’ll finally be able to see my parents (after not having seem them in 4 years), as they are vacationing there too. My internet access will probably be spotty, but hopefully I can continue to update this blog and my flickr account as well…


san francisco: part 1

September 11, 2008

Saturday: Berkeley
After many years, I was finally able to meet up with Xuening. We both agreed that neither of us have changed a bit. I was given the grand tour of the Berkeley campus, which was hilly, filled with trees, and overall not bad. I learned that this was the original University of California, hence the lack of the Berkeley name in many things from signs to jerseys. Dinner was at Cancún, and included both Fish and Prawn Quesadillas. I highly suggest the Prawn ones. Muy bueno. Later that night, we went to the Emeryville shopping center, which was very similar to The Domain over at Austin. I also learned the sad fact that there is no such thing as free parking in the bay area.

@ Golden Gate Bridge

Sunday: San Francisco
Because of the previously mentioned lesson, we decided that BART was the best way to go into the city. Overall, at least in my opinion, a very clean and pleasant public system to use. Brunch was at Blue Bottle Café, which was hidden away in the middle of nowhere, with no sign stating its existence, except for a small logo of a blue bottle. This place was packed, and I guess became popular through word of mouth. They made their coffee using beakers, siphons, and all sorts of alchemy related equipment. Pretty unique, but the highlight for me was the food. Poached eggs on incredibly thick toast was a match made in heaven. Fruit and syrup filling up cavernous waffle patterns fulfilled the sweet tooth. At the café, I saw the most amazing Obama t-shirt ever, and I must get it one day. We rented bikes from Blazing Saddles, which was $32 for the whole day. We were given amazing bikes made by Marin, which had ball crushing braking power, and instantaneous gear shifting bliss. These were ~$600 bikes, and the quality was obvious. Xuening and I attacked the hills of San Francisco and the fierce winds of the Golden Gate Bridge with aplomb, witnessed (with suspicion) Hawaiian ladies pry perfectly round pearls straight from the oyster at Pier 39, hated the fact that the Palace of Fine Arts was under construction, snacked at Taco Bell (where I tried the new Volcano Taco), realized that Lombard Street was impossible to photograph, watched break dancers perform at Fisherman’s Wharf, and ate Taiwanese style Popcorn Chicken while strolling the streets of Chinatown. After covering about 25 miles, I knew I was going to feel it in the morning.

@ V. Sattui Winery

Monday: Napa Valley
Brunch was at Crepes-a-Go-Go, which is at Berkeley. Savory: Salmon (I think), Sweet: Nutella & Fruits. I guess the word “savory” is used in the restaurant industry to describe salty, or the antithesis of sweet, since I saw this a few times already. It was time to head out to Napa Valley wine tasting tour so we could recreate the scenes of “Sideways,” just kidding. Clos Du Val was a small winery, with amazing and personal service. I learned all sorts of things about wine that I never knew, and got to try everything from cheap wine to $100 wines. I’m still a sucker for the fruitier wines, and I’ve also discovered that wine that has been left open for a day tastes much better. The next winery stop was the complete opposite, a much bigger and much more tourist oriented place called V. Sattui. We were able to take a tour at this one, to see the whole wine making process, and also to taste some more wine at the end. What were my favorites? Riesling (crisp), Madeira (brandy fortified!), and Muscat (rosé). We had some smoked salmon and Babybel cheese to complement. Later that night we went to Tilden Park to hit some golf balls at the range. My driver shots are still fading, and my 6-iron shots are still inconsistent. Late night dinner was at Top Dog, which has amazing hot dogs made with unique sausage ingredients, such as apple bits, veal, and eggs.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

Tuesday: Point Reyes
Brunch was at Bette’s Oceanview Diner, which was beyond amazing, and located at Berkeley as well. X and I shared the Apple Brandy Soufflé Pancake and the Lox Scramble (which included smoked salmon mixed with scrambled eggs). This being the day that Apple announced the new 4G iPod Nano and the new 2G iPod Touch, we decided to drop by the Apple Store to see if they had them on display. Not yet, and I’m seriously considering getting either the 16GB Nano or the 8GB Touch. Point Reyes was quite a drive away, and the scenery was mostly foggy, but the curvy roads and the long talks in the car made it all worthwhile. I’d say that being up there overlooking the ocean and the beaches was a feeling of unlimited power that you can’t get anywhere else. Dinner was at Brazil Café, which to me was average.

cambria to san francisco

September 7, 2008

Highway 1 @ Big Sur

Big Sur. Carmel. Santa Cruz.

That was breathtaking.

Distance: 237.6 miles
Average Speed: 47.6 mph
Moving Time: 4 hours 59 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 23 minutes
Average Mileage: 25.0 mpg