A Weekend in San Francisco
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the best way to experience a city is to explore it as a local would.
While this wasn’t my first trip to San Francisco, it sure was one of the most memorable. Like in any other bustling cities around the world, there’s always an abundance of things to see and do – far more than an average person can fit into a short span of two and a half days. Thankfully, one of my friends knew where to go without burning considerably large holes in our wallets (I knew SF was expensive but geez).
There’s no shortage of brunch options in the Bay Area. After a night of flight delays and catching up, we started off our very late morning with a meal at Kitchen Story.
I can see why this place is a foodie magnet. From perfectly poached eggs to their generously portioned Ribeye Omurice, Kitchen Story does not disappoint. The only real downside is the wait, but we had no problem with outdoor seating. After a week of heavy rain and monstrous winds, Mother Nature decided to grant us three days of sunshine. And we took full advantage of that.
Not long after a filling meal at Kitchen Story, I had a second, equally tasty brunch at Bistro Liaison while visiting friends at UC Berkeley. Yeah, my waistline didn’t agree with this trip, but I’d like to think that all the walking canceled that out.
Thank goodness I brought comfortable shoes with me. I spent a couple of hours touring the lovely campus and neighboring town with a good friend whom I haven’t seen for over a year. And later that day, I got a friendly reminder that I'm out of shape when we climbed up the Tiled Steps on 16th Avenue and more to reach a vantage point overlooking the area.
We wrapped up our night out with dinner at Nopa, and boy did we splurge. You certainly get what you pay for – excellent service and high-quality ingredients. We started off with an arugula and sausage flatbread that made me less angry at horseradish. For the entrée, I went with a hearty Moroccan tagine that had so much going on that my taste buds were confused for a moment. And although we were beyond full at that point, we made room for a warm and moist (still hate that word, but it's the only way to describe it) ginger cake with fruits, hazelnuts, and crème fraiche.
We skipped the crowded tourist attractions and opted for the less busy, but equally charming Mission District. Before setting off to explore the street lined with quaint little shops, we grabbed a bite to eat at Craftsman and Wolves. Of course, I went for their popular The Rebel Within, a savory muffin with a soft-boiled egg baked inside. To be honest, I was more enthusiastic about their infused salt. Still, you can't go wrong with a runny egg!
We had a fun time going into a variety of shops, but no visit to Mission District is complete without stopping by the ever-changing Clarion Alley, filled with expressive street art created by local artists. This gem isn’t the cleanest place, but it’s free and makes for some great photo ops.
Before heading out to Haight Street, another district filled with quirky shops, we took a stroll through Dolores Park. I can see it being a fantastic place for a picnic, especially on days like this. And from the top, you get a lovely view of the city.
Speaking of parks and lovely views, I highly recommend stopping by Crissy Field! We braved the cold and spent the rest of the afternoon playing fetch with my friend’s corgi and taking in the spectacular sight. The Golden Gate Bridge to your left, Alcatraz to your right, and a grassy field filled with dogs – what more can you ask for? Watch out of the gopher holes, though!
For our last dinner in SF, which was easily the best meal during the trip, we went to Burma Superstar. I was too excited for the mind-blowingly good Burmese food that I forgot to take photos. But let me tell you this: it was well worth the hour long wait in the cold. My favorite items were the Tea Leaf Salad, Burmese Style Curry, Nan Gyi Dok, and Coconut Rice (basically everything we ordered). On top of excellent food, friendly service, and fair prices, this place was not heavy on the MSG – a major plus for someone who gets MSG-induced migraines almost every time she eats at an Asian restaurant.
Good food and good company are all I need to be one happy camper and my weekend in San Francisco was filled with nothing but that. Thank you, SF and friends, for making this an unforgettable trip. I’ll be back soon with a bigger bank account and an even greater eagerness to explore!