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!
My friends have been raving about this place and we were FINALLY able to go to Disneyland to try it after the craziness of our first quarter at school! I hadn’t heard about this place until our friends mentioned that the restaurant was opening up nearby. After hearing it from a couple people about how good it is, I figured that it must be a place we should try (and how convenient that it’s located at our favorite place!). Lets just say, we’ve been here twice in the past week. DELICIOUS. Our goal is to try a different sandwich every time we go here.
Earl of Sandwich is located next to the movie theater in Downtown Disney, next to the Disneyland Hotel and across from the ESPN Zone. Inside, you order at one cashier, then walk down the long counter, and pay at the other end. There are pictures of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, the guy who’s face is everywhere. They will give you one of those buzzers to let you know when your food is made. Most of the seating is outside in long benches. I think my only con about this place is that their outside sitting does not accommodate for rainy weather. It was raining today and we had to sit under the dripping water. I’m going to say that they wanted to save money and go for cheaper outside covers since it doesn’t rain that much in SoCal. At least they have heaters outside!
They have various types of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and desserts to choose from. The drinks range from soda to tea. For a list of the types of food they offer visit: Earl of Sandwich Menu. It’s hard looking at all the types of food they offer and to decide on what you want to eat, especially when there is no one else in line! Or at least I thought so. I’m the type of person who feels pressured when it’s my turn to order and I still don’t know what I want. I know I should just tell them I need more time, but I end up blurting some random thing and usually regret it later (sighhh). Note to self: don’t do that.
The first time we went, Mark had the Full Montagu and I had the Chipotle Turkey Avocado.
The Chipotle Chicken Avocado is basically what the title says, and also has a hint of cheese and bacon. I’m don’t like bacon (cue gasp for many of you) sooooo I ordered it without the bacon. This sandwich isn’t on the menu that’s posted on the Earl website, so I’m guessing that this might be just at the Disneyland location. As my first sandwich, I really enjoyed it. Like many people have said, the bread pretty much makes the sandwich. The bread… just the right amount of crispy and soft, not too strong of a taste, which compliments the sandwich. Earl of Sandwich advertises their sandwiches as the world’s best hot sandwiches and I say that these have been the best hot sandwiches I’ve tasted so far. Sometimes when restaurants toast their sandwiches, they either make it too hot, where everything is a gloopy, hot, saucy mess, but Earl is just the perfect amount of warmth. The chipotle sauce wasn’t too spicy, and added a good amount of spice and flavor to the rest of the sandwich. I was very happy with this first sandwich. (And I love avocados!!!)
Mark – Coming into Earl’s, I had high expectations. I thought that a sandwich was nothing more than a sandwich. That Earl’s was gonna be just a Subway sub. I was proven wrong. I didn’t know what to order so I ordered the Full Montague. It had the whole baggage. Fresh Roast beef, TURKEY, two different types of cheese, ripe for the eating, lettuce (so fresh and so cleanzy), Tomato, and of course their secret sauce. It was amazing!!! I liked how the sandwich was all squished together making the turkey and roast beef have its own particular flavor, and given how it was a hot sandwich…YUM!!! It was if there symphony in my mouth…starting with the intro then a dive into little delicate notes. These delicate notes were the lettuce, and tomato. For the finally, the sandwich hits you with its secret sauce letting you know your not gonna get this sandwich anywhere else in the world. A happy experience.
Our second trip to Earls was on a rainy Friday, when we found out that the covers outside don’t block out the rain. We are having a hard time eating and thinking about other sandwiches (which the exception of this one sandwich because the garlic sauce is BOMB).
I had the Earl’s Club, which has turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, swiss cheese, and sandwich sauce (which is similar to thousand island dressing).
Delicious! It’s simple, but satisfying! Like I said before, the sandwich is warm, but not too warm. The sandwich sauce (which reminds me of In n Out) tied the sandwich together. I also like how this sandwich is smushed… that’s probably not the best way to describe it… Mark said compressed. I’m not a big fan of sandwiches that have 10 pounds of meat and everything else stuffed in between the two breads, so this sandwich is perfect for me. If I had to choose between this sandwich and the Chipotle Chicken Avocado, I would have to say this sandwich. I loved the sauce and the veggies they used (but I love avocados! ARGH. Such a hard decision to make…) and I do love turkey in sandwiches.
Mark – Anyhoots, this sandwich was a glorious surprise of tuna. Everything was in sync. From the beginning bite into their signature bread, the taster tastes the crunchiness of the top layer and the softness of the inside layer helping the taster transition carefully into the tuna. Once you get to the tuna, it is mostly a harmonious experience seeing how all the flavors just go well together. The tuna has a smooth salty taste, letting the taster have it linger before one takes another bite. The sauce within the sandwich just puts you into a happy slumber, knowing that all your problems had gone away after the initial taste. It has the typical ingredients for a tuna melt…tuna, bread, sauce, and a little bit of magic.
Each sandwich costs $6.99. A lot of reviewers on Yelp were saying that why go to Subway, when Earl costs about the same, but is 294082439 times better? I agree. The only thing is Earl of Sandwich is a lot farther than Subway. I can think of at least 3 Subways off the top of my head. I will milk it for as long as I have my Disneyland pass!
Note: There is a 10% discount if you have a Disneyland pass and a 15% discount for a AAA card.
We will probably be back in the near future to try more sandwiches and we’ll add our reviews here of each new sandwich we happen to try! If you’re near any Earl of Sandwich, go check it out!
This was the first time we spent a birthday together and I really wanted to do something really special for Mark. He kept mentioning to me that he hasn’t had a special birthday in the past and I knew I had to fix that. I had an idea of what I wanted to do for his birthday about two months in advance, so I was excited to finally be able to put the plan into action. His birthday was a span of two days with a lot of fun, food, and laughs.
Day 1 was his real birthday. We love Disneyland and I knew he would love to be able to spend a day at Disneyland with me (even though we go plenty of times, each time is always different to us). Being able to experience the Disney magic as well as strangers telling you happy birthday would be a memory in its own. I kept searching for the best restaurant to take him to, since I didn’t want to eat snack food like we usually do, but my poor wallet would have been so sad if we went to some of the places I wanted to go to. Little did I know that there was a turn around during the night. The day was a little bumpy in the middle, but it turned out to be a great day for the both of us.
In the first minutes into Mark’s birthday, we were playing a two person game of Monopoly. It’s been a while since I played the game and I learned about some rules that I never knew existed in Monopoly (like auctioning property when someone doesn’t want it. When did that happen???)
Eventually our game of Monopoly changed into whatever rules we wanted to do and we ended the game midway (since it was about 2am and we were tired). I was waking up early the next day (okay it wasn’t that early… 9:00 is early to me!) to make Mark breakfast. I wanted to start the day right with some breakfast since we hardly ever wake up early enough to eat breakfast.
This was my first time making pancakes, and they ended up different sizes and with different thickness. I’m not the best chef, but it’s the thought that counts, right? I topped it off with some strawberries to give the plate some color and vitamins. Now I have a ton of pancake mix that won’t be used until the next eternity. If anyone knows any recipes that uses pancake mix, let me know! Maybe I’ll have a breakfast for dinner night one day… Off topic!
Off to Disneyland
We got to Disneyland a little earlier than we usually go, to do as many things as we wanted to before getting tired. We stopped by guest relations to get Mark’s super awesome birthday pin. I loved being able to see a little smile on his face every time someone said happy birthday to him.
It was HOT, probably close to 100 degrees. He really wanted to go on the Grizzly Rapids to get drenched, but we passed by it once because the line was too long and when we came back to it, the ride was closed. I survived getting soaked again. I always end up getting the most wet on that ride and the people who want to go on that ride hardly ever get wet. Even though it was hot, walking around in wet socks is uncomfortable. We went on a few of our favorites: Toy Story Mania (he beat me for the second time!) and Soaring Over California, along with a couple other rides and ice cream before going to Disneyland.
It was the first day of the Halloween theme which was exciting. I love when Disneyland is decorated. It adds so much more festivity to the park. The Haunted Mansion was still closed when we went which was kind of sad, but we will probably end up going on the ride in a few weeks (Nightmare Before Christmas theme! My favorite!). Indiana Jones is also closed until December for renovations, which made Mark sad because that is one of his favorite rides. Let the birthday boy go on his favorite rides!
We made a stop at “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” because Mark had never been before and he wanted to see what it was about after seeing it on Modern Family. The show started off with a group of singers that sang patriotic songs and they sounded really good. It was a good tribute to America and worked well with the theme of the exhibit. We also got to applaud those who served in the military when the group sang the songs that represented a certain brigade. Mr. Lincoln is a very lifelike robot (which I thought was kind of creepy especially when it stood up. I wasn’t expecting that, but I was waiting for it to start walking). The video shown gave a good background about President Lincoln’s life and was followed by a speech by the “President.” This is a good place to visit if you’ve never seen it. It’s the same show that Walt Disney produced way back and it’s a good break from walking around and the heat. There are nice exhibits around the theater where you can see the history of Disneyland as well as Disneyland artwork.
After “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” it was getting darker and we were getting hungrier. Mark brought up that he wanted to get Korean BBQ after we rode a few more rides and I said yes to that (love KBBQ and both of us didn’t know where to eat). Previously, I’ve mentioned that I wanted to eat at the Blue Bayou, since… well it’s the Blue Bayou and every Disneyland fan has to eat there at least once. I’ve always thought that it’s so cool that Pirates of the Caribbean goes right past the restaurant. We were walking around New Orleans Square and I pointed out the restaurant again before going to the bathroom. After I got out, the little trickster told me that he made a reservation at the Blue Bayou. WHAT?! I thought he was lying. He couldn’t have made a reservation. You have to make a reservation days in advance. He kept telling me that he made it and that the wait was about 20 to 40 minutes, but I still didn’t believe him. Wasn’t I supposed to surprise him since it was his birthday? But it ended up being him surprising me! Like I said, the little trickster! We waited for about 40 minutes and we were getting more and more excited about being able to eat there. We were going to be able to eat at one of Disneyland’s most coveted places to eat!
Read the extended version of our experience of the Blue Bayou here.
Dinner was amazing and was such an experience for both of us. The bill was something we’ve never seen too, but it was all worth it! We were both really happy and full. After dinner we went on Pirates of the Caribbean, just to be able to say that we ate at that restaurant. When I was a kid, I thought that the people at the restaurant were fake. We tried to go on Ghost Galaxy, but the park became a lot busier after it got dark so the wait was 85 minutes. We decided to go home since we had a fun and successful day at the parks, going on plenty of rides and of course, eating at the Blue Bayou. We were both happy being able to spend the day with each other at one of our favorite places. We want nothing more than to make the other person happy. Day 1 = success!
Happy Birthday to my baby <3