WOW. Did that trip go by fast or what? Like with everything you look forward to in life, the good parts always seem to go by the fastest. This trip has come and gone and we are back home, loving on our baby and returning to normal. For those of you who have not been to San Francisco, I HIGHLY recommend it. The food, weather, atmosphere, people and attractions were all perfect. It is a great location for couples and even for kids. We kept talking about how fun it would be to bring Henry with us the next time. SF is so kid friendly with all the parks and museums and you can walk everywhere! We did not rent a car and had no problem with the trolley’s, cable cars and pedi cabs. They can take you anywhere you need to go and since the weather is not hot or humid, walking is actually enjoyable even during the day.
Our flight was delayed nearly 2 hours which was super irritating and there was nothing to do at the airport except drink. And drink we did. 2 glasses of champagne and 2 double vodka/OJ’s and I was about three sheets to the wind. It’s sad that that is how little I can drink and still get drunk.
We finally made it to SF, got our bags, a cab and eagerly checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Kensington Park Hotel right at Union Square Park. It is an old, historic hotel with lots of charm and a theater on the 2nd floor that still puts on plays! Our room on the 10th floor was so charming, with a mixture of antique and modern pieces. Once we unpacked and relaxed for a moment, we headed out to Union Square Park to people watch and have some lunch. We did a TON of walking throughout the trip (one day even putting in over 6 miles!)
My husband and I are total foodies. We love trying new things and out of the box type meals. San Francisco was perfect for this. Our first night we had dinner at Straw, a very small, laid back restaurant with carnival inspired food and decoration. The place only had 8 tables and sat no more than 35 people. I am so glad I made reservations because the wait was 45 minutes (even for a Thursday!) We walked over a mile and a half to get there and got to see some of the city which was beautiful of course. Our server was the epitome of friendly and fun. We sat in an old tilt-a-whirl car from a carnival, read menus made of out actual old books, and munched on gold fish while we waited for our dinner. This was the best part … the food. Straw is known for “The Ringmaster” which is ground chuck, cheese, a fried egg, avocado and bacon all on a homemade glazed donut. Yes, you read that correctly. It was probably one of the best things I have ever eaten. Jan had The Satchemo which was cheesy grits, andouille sausage, prawns/green beans with cajun butter dipping sauce.
After dinner we headed in the direction of our hotel and came upon this delicious ice cream “shop” called Smitten. I use the word shop lightly because it is actually built out of a storage container. The ice cream is all organic and made with liquid nitrogen. I obviously got the salted caramel (my favorite ice cream flavor) and topped it with TCHO cocoa crispies. Thebomb.com! By the time we got back to the hotel it was midnight our time and we had been up for 19 hours straight. We hit the bed hard and SLEPT IN. We haven’t done that since Henry was born. Over 13 months and damn was it nice. We had 5 days of sleeping past 6am. I don’t think I’ll ask for anything else all year.
Friday morning we felt refreshed and ready to walk it out. We went about 2 miles to Sweet Maple through the Tenderloin and Japan Town. Sweet Maple is home of the Millionaires Bacon, which we saw a few weeks ago on the Discovery Channel. We love anything with bacon. If it has bacon, we will eat it. This bacon is so popular that people wait in line over an hour to get seated. Luckily for my husband’s stomach, I plan out everything and made a whole itinerary for our trip. Including getting here right when they opened so we would have zero wait time. It was perfect. The bacon is sliced extra thick in house and coated with brown & maple sugar, black pepper and red pepper flakes. The best bacon I have ever had. (I will say that a lot about most of the food on this trip). We also got french toast and an omelet which were incredible too but the bacon is all that I can remember.
One thing that we loved was that after every meal we were able to walk at least 2 miles and never felt run down by our extravagant meals. After breakfast we walked even more to Hudson Grace, an amazing little store that carries Sugarboo Designs. The store was charming and modern and had the best smelling candles on the planet. Seriously, the planet. The scents are all designed and created by the owner Gary and are not your run of the mill sweet smells that can be nauseating. These are grown up, sophisticated candles that have you imagining you are somewhere exotic. My favorite was the Coast Candle which smells like the San Francisco coast by the Golden Gate Bridge. Check them all out here.
We said our goodbyes at Hudson Grace and headed toward Haight Ashbury. Total hippy central. It reminded me of Little Five Points in Atlanta. We walked up and down the streets and into some shops, bought a few things to remember our trip and had a beer at Cha Cha Cha. You can’t go to SF without visiting Haight Ashbury, and I am glad I got to experience this classic part of town. Afterwards we lunched in the heart of Little Italy at Pantarei. We dined on pasta, pizza and prosecco at this classic restaurant where all the waiters and hosts are from Italy. This wasn’t like walking into Olive Garden with Jim Bob as your waiter. This was authentic y’all!
We got our second wind after lunch and headed over to Coit Tower to see the incredible views of the city and then walked down the windy stairs and streets back into town.
Unfortunately the bay was really foggy so the pictures didn’t come out that great, but the views were still amazing. We ended the night with some southern cuisine at Hops & Hominy and the food rivaled some of the souths best. (Random fact, the owners are three guys from Ocala, Fl where my in laws live). Here we go again with the bacon … Bacon infused Bourbon with some Bacon Mac & Cheese … to die for. Seriously though, what is a meal without bacon? If you’re in the market for some San Francisco southern food, this tucked away restaurant is a must. You wouldn’t even know it’s there unless this sign was out on the sidewalk. I got the shrimp and grits and hubby got the buttermilk fried chicken. Finding off the grid food in new cities is a favorite of mine, because who wants to go out of town and eat at Applebees?