We’re finally on winter break!! Over the weekend, I went to Mark’s home home for a few days to meet his family and travel around NorCal. I was so excited to go since it was my and Mark’s first time to travel together and I was really itching for a change of scenery. I love travelling and being stuck in the same place for a long time makes me want to go somewhere, anywhere. I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life and I go to school here, so it was definitely a change of pace for a few days.
Also, I FINALLY got to wear winter clothes: jackets, pea coats, scarves… Before I left, the weather in SoCal was still warm. I mean, I felt like I was overheating in the car on the way to the airport in my sweater. In and around San Francisco was about 50 degrees during the day and 40 degrees at night. It was about a 10-15 degree difference from where I live. I must say though, I do love my warmer weather.
We arrived at the San Francisco International Airport Saturday afternoon. Mark lives about 40 minutes outside of San Francisco. We took the BART to his house which took about 2 hours. The BART is convenient to get into the city, especially if you’re not staying/living in the city. It’s also another option to have if you don’t want to drive (it’s scary! Lots of hills, one way streets, lots of cars and people) or use the taxis or buses.
We went to SF on Sunday and got there around 2:00 pm and left around 10:00. It was a long day of walking, but we had a ton of fun doing what we love: shopping, eating, and being together. Well, the shopping part was mainly me. When we first got there, we were super hungry so we set out to find a place to eat. It took us a while to search where we wanted to eat (thankful for smart phones!), so we wandered for a bit and ended up outside Westfield Mall, but we decided to go there later since we were hungry as could be.
We decided to go to this Vegan restaurant in Chinatown so we started to walk there to find out as we were getting closer that it was closing in 30 minutes. But it was okay! The next restaurant we decided to go to was on the way to the restaurant we were originally going to go to.
A view along the way:
The restaurant is called R & G Lounge. We didn’t know, until I checked into Foursquare, that Anthony Bourdain went to this restaurant on his show, which is super awesome! We randomly found this place that had been shown on TV. That meant this place had to be good. And it was. SO DELICIOUS.
This is how grey and darkish it looked outside
Their specialty is a fried crab, but unfortunately (for Mark), we didn’t get it because I don’t like crab and it was too expensive for our budget. We ordered beef chow mein and bean curd, chicken, and salted fish in a clay pot. The chow mein… SOOOOOO GOOD. This was probably one of the best chow mein I’ve ever had. I love the soy saucy taste, to this was perfect for me. I’m not a big fan of “dry” chow mein, meaning there’s no sauce and all the flavor is in the noodles. This one had sauce, but not too much sauce.
The clay pot dish was also a good plate to have on that cold day. Warning: the dark parts of the fish are really salty which give the dish it’s flavor, so it’s advised that you eat it with either rice, tofu, or all of it together.
The next thing I wanted was, of course, boba. (I love boba!) And since we were in Chinatown there were probably a lot of stores around. We were in luck, because there was one a block away.
Lets just say that this boba place was awesome. So this is Quickly in Chinatown. We both ordered a milk tea with boba (or tapioca as they call it there. I feel like it’s a NorCal thing) and according to the menu: one milk tea is $2.76 and boba is 50 cents extra. When the cashier rang us up, it costed $1.62 for one drink. WHAT?!?!?! We were both so confused. Was it some special thing? Did we order the wrong drink? Nope. It was right! This was the cheapest boba I’ve ever seen. Amazing. Best thing ever. I was very content with my purchase :)
With our boba in hand, we walked through Chinatown to get back to the shopping area. It was probably not a good idea to get a cold drink.
Made it back to main area! First stop: Union Square
Christmas in the City :)
Shopping time at Uniqlo, a Japanese brand
Time to take a break at the Westfield Mall.
After resting and doing some more shopping, Mark decided that he wanted to go to Pier 39 for dinner, because “YOLO.” (OMG, I can’t believe he said that and I’m directly quoting him). It was a long walk there, turning right and left into this street and that street. It was also really cold and it started to rain, BUT it was worth it. We had a nice, romantic (but kind of painful – I’ll get to that in a little bit) dinner.
The view along the way:
Then we finally made it!
There are a lot of shops and restaurants. There is also a small aquarium. A definite stop for all visitors!
We ate at Swiss Louis, an Italian restaurant. The inside was all Christmasy which made the restaurant very welcoming and comfy. Apparently this is the kind of restaurant that you need a reservation for, but we were lucky since it was a Sunday night. No one was there.
Note: the garlic bread costs $4, but it was really good. We also decided to be ‘fancy’ and order alcoholic drinks. Bad idea. I don’t even like alcohol and even though I ordered a mango colada… Lets just say it’s not for me. Mark didn’t have a better experience either. No more fancy!
I ordered the Fettucini Nepoletana (diced tomatoes, garlic, and onions) and Mark ordered the Chicken Parmigiana. I really liked how the tomato sauce tasted. I tried Mark’s chicken and it was prepared the way I like meat: thinly. It was tasty and they served a lot.
After dinner, we walked back to the BART station along the coast, which was really nice (and a long walk) but I loved it. This whole day was really fun and adventurous. I definitely felt the after effects of all that walking the next morning. Even though it doesn’t seem like we did a lot, we still were able to go to a lot of places and soak in the Christmas city atmosphere that San Francisco offered. I can’t wait to be able to go back and explore more. Mark already knows where he wants to show me next and I have a few places in mind that I’ve been wanting to go to also. Hopefully another SF/NorCal trip will be in the near future!