San Francisco – Sore feet, full bellies

Mid-october we took a quick trip to San Francisco to celebrate being done with externships. PC was able to get two round trip tickets to San Francisco for only $200 since  I got a special coupon for Alaska on a Mariners baseball ticket. It just so happens that October is the best time to go to San Francisco because the weather tends to cooperate that time of year and there are less tourists than in the summer. Its very hard to find a hotel room in our budget in San Francisco so we stayed at an AirBnB in Nob Hill, which was reasonable.img_7163

We departed from Seattle at 6AM so we arrived early to San Francisco and took the BART into downtown to meet up with some good friends of ours who just so happened to be in town for the day. Once we meet up with them we grabbed some bagel sandwiches (very hardy) and walked through Chinatown. The streets were lined with fresh produce, various trinkets for sale and lots of people.

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After walking through Chinatown we made our way over to Land’s End and hiked through the park down to the Sutro Baths. The park has amazing views of the ocean and the Golden Gate bridge and is definitely a must-do when you are in San Francisco!

Even though it looks cloudy out the sun was so powerful it was making our eyes water as we tried to keep them open for this picture!

Behind us you can see the Sutro baths. If you walk down closer to them there is a cave you can go into. That building on the cliffs is appropriately called “The Cliffhouse” and has a restaurant inside.

From the Sutro baths we followed the trail over to Baker Beach, getting closer and closer to the Golden Gate Bridge. Bakers beach is also a must. Try to go on a sunny, non-foggy day if you can because there are great views!

That night we went to a cute little place called Stones Throw for dinner and headed to the Tonga Room. The Tonga Room is a tropical themed bar hidden in the basement of the Fairmont hotel and it happened to be very bumpin’ the night. An old pool has been filled in to make a lake and there was a boat with a live band in the middle of the lake. We indulged in several group tropical drinks.

The next day we had a tour scheduled for Dylan’s Tour that would take up most of the day so we got up and grabbed some treats at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse beforehand. Mr. Holmes is famous for its cruffins and sure enough there was a line out the door waiting for the them. What people don’t talk about is how good all their other baked good are too! PC may have sent me in after we’d agreed to get two pastries and I may have come out with way to many… The cruffins were strawberry Nesquick flavored plus we also got some filled donuts, a decadent monkey bread treat and a piece of savor breakfast bread. We somehow found a way to eat all of them and they were so delicious.

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Then we had to truck it up and down hills with our box of treats to meet up with our tour group down at the fisherman’s wharf. We had heard really good things about Dylan’s tour. We opted for “Dylan’s Famous Tour” but there was also an option that included Alcatraz, it just wasn’t available that day. Their claim to fame is that they are led by locals. Our guide Rolando was fantastic. Great enthusiasm and very knowledge-able about the city and its history. He was also really helpful for asking about dining recommendations.

We started out by driving through the North Beach neighborhood and then went to the Mission were we got out and walked around to see some of the murals. I loved the bright colors.

Next it was a up to Twin Peaks for some 360 views of the city.

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Then we headed over to Haight-Ashbury and got out to grab a mission style burrito for lunch. Next it was drive through the Presidio and down to Crissy Field for some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see that Carl the fog is partially coming in but not too bad!

Then we all got back in the bus/big van and drove across the bridge through Sausalito to Muir woods.

We had an hour to walk around and explore. This is where they had the first United Nations meeting.

Our last stop on the way back to San Francisco was the Marin Headlands. It sure was windy and chilly up there on the bluffs but there was a great view of the bridge!

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They dropped us off back at the fisherman’s wharf and we walked around to see the sites. This is the most touristy area of San Francisco but it was good to see it. We ended up getting some fish and chips at one of the restaurants down on the water which were good! Then we swung through the famous giant Ghirardelli shop. I wish we had the stomach room for one of those massive sundaes that look so delicious but we didn’t and instead we just ate the little squares they hand out for free. Then it was early to bed because we were worn out for our day of adventures!

The next morning we woke up and went to pick up bikes that we had also rented from Dylan’s Tours for only an additional $15/bike for the entire trip as an add on to our tour. But first we had to hunt down the Bowld Acai food truck to get an acai bowl for breakfast because that just sounded really good.

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We then proceeded to pick up our bikes and bike a nearly 30 mile loop around the city. We started by going up to Coit tower. Unfortunately it was cloudy and the tower wasn’t open yet so we didn’t go to the top.

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We then biked down by the water over to Crissy Field.

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And then it was over the Golden Gate Bridge and back.

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From there we encountered some steep hills as we biked from the Golden Gate bridge through the Presidio and some neighborhoods until we reached Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park has a ton of random stuff in it like windmills and bison and various museums. To be honest we were a bit too hungry to stop and further explore anything in the park. Instead we biked over to the mission and had some amazing Burmese food at a restaurant called Burma Love. They were on our radar because they have a tea leaf salad made famous when Sunset magazine named it the best salad in the west. The salad was great but we liked the lunch wraps with some sort of tasty meat, slaw and coconut rice. It was sooooo good. I’d love to be eating another one right now.

Then it was over to Dandelion chocolates. We picked their chef’s taster which has 5-6 tasty bite-sized desserts on it but we were then told they didn’t have everything to go on it  😦 They made up for it though because they refunded us, gave us a free hot chocolate, piece of celebration cake and discounted their s’mores tart. So basically, super tasty treats and good customer service.

Next we headed down the block to Tartine, arguably the most famous bakery in San Francisco and managed to split a ham and gruyere croissant despite being so stuffed!

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I wish we had more stomach room because there were so many delicious looking baked goods. The line is often out the door. Then we cruised back over to the bike shop and dropped off our bikes and went back to our AirBnB to take a nap.

After a bit of a rest we took an Uber to the mission to grab some dinner at the Southern Pacific Brewery. We got an awesome flight of house beers to sample and played cards at the bar. It had good vibes and the food looked good so we decided to stay for dinner. We got burgers which were tasty and then managed to have room to get ice cream at the famous Bi-Rite which was only a few blocks away and called it a night.

The next morning we put on our backpacks and hiked over to the area around Alamo square. On the way we stopped at the San Francisco chain, Philz Coffee to see what they had to offer.

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They have coffees like mint mojito and other funky things. It wasn’t our favorite but it was nice to try. They we continued on our hike and went to The Mill for their famous toast and OMG it was so good.

Possibly the best thing we ate the whole trip which sounds ridiculous because it is just toast, but boy, it was good. We got three different toast to share: their whole wheat raised bread with butter and cinnamon sugar, a grainy bread with cream cheese and pesto and another slice with plum jam. There bread is thick cut and the toppings are perfect.

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After toast we went to see the famous “painted ladies” which were just around the corner. Alamo square, across from the painted ladies, was all tore up but we still got a decent pic.

Next we headed down to the ferry building which contains a good assortment of food stalls and shops. By this point we were pretty tired but we got lunch and then it was time to ride the BART back to the airport. Yet another packed, fun-filled trip for PC and Bae! We are so lucky to be able to travel and see the world 🙂

Overall grade: Bae: B+, PC: A-

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