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June 2016

Review, Travel

A Weekend in San Francisco

June 18, 2016

I visited my boyfriend in San Francisco recently, we ate a lot of food and saw some of the touristy sites. I had been to SF twice before but I was only there for the day and didn’t get to see very much so going for almost a week gave us plenty of time to hang out and see the city!

I arrived around midnight from Seattle so we went to bed immediately and then got up pretty early the next day. We already bought Alcatraz tour tickets for that day so we went out to brunch near G’s apartment which is in the best location ever, the marina district! You can see the golden gate bridge from outside his door and all the apartments have the typical SF ornate style.

I did a quick Yelp search and this place, Cafe Golo came up with good reviews and it was like a 2 minute walk so we gave it a go.

My handsome BF:

Greg cafe golo

This is a teeny tiny kind of hole-in-the-wall looking place, our waitress/possible owner was really sweet and brought out some pastries made in-house (it’s also a bakery):

cafe golo

G and I ordered the same things, the blueberry french toast on their cinnamon swirl bread with a scrambled egg and bacon (mine went to G of course). Verdict: Great bread, tasted like a cinnamon roll! BUT they used terrible fake maple syrup instead of real which is basically a sin for a cafe specializing in brunch. The eggs were nothing special either and the meal costs almost $15 each! Unexpectedly pricey for the look for the place and for somewhere that uses fake syrup.

breakfast sf

G lives about a 5 minute walk from the Golden Gate Bridge!

greg at the marina

marina

Next we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf where the Alcatraz cruise takes off. I pictured a bigger boat but the use pretty small ones that bounce a lot on the waves and almost sent me flying a few times! It was sunny but pretty chilly on the water because the wind is super strong near the bay.

Arriving to the rock…

Alcatraz

alcatraz arrival

It’s actually quite pretty:

alcatraz view 1

Not very pretty inside though:

alcatraz jail 1

The great escape:

Escape from alcatraz REAL

alcatraz window

alcatraz admin

So close to the beautiful city! I can see why one would want to give swimming to shore a try

view from the rock

A decaying house of one of the prison officials

alcatraz building

We escaped the rock!

view from alcatraz boat

The tour took longer than we thought so we were starving by the time we got off the boat. I had yelp’ed this fish and chip stand which has amazing reviews to we went to find it near the piers. I LOVE the name!

The codmother fish stand

These are the BEST fish and chips I have ever had! They are in the classic English style with malt vinegar included. The breading was so airy and light and the fish was perfectly moist.

the codmother fish and chips closeup

After that huge meal, we walked back to G’s apartment and passed out from sun over-exposure (me the Seattleite – not him).

The next day I dubbed “mission district day” so we headed over there and played a fun game of mini golf at Urban Putt which was so fun! After playing golf, we went to La Taqueria El Farolito which is supposed to be one of the best mexican restaurants and it’s super cheap! I got a veggie burrito with guac of course and G got some meaty burrito. It’s a very narrow little place and kind of dirty but they have good food and the lines are long. They do only take cash though!

el farolito SF

Burritos the size of newborns:

el farolito burrito SF

Mmm so tasty!

el farolito burrito closeup

Because we are gluttons with endless pits for stomachs, we also got ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery! I have been here before and they have high-quality stuff! I got cookie and cream and mint chocolate chip and G got a huge ice cream sandwich that he couldn’t finish. Don’t worry, I finished it for him.

bi-rite cookie ice cream SF

bi-rite ice cream SF

The next day was reserved for the enormous Golden Gate Park! We went to the Japanese tea gardens and the botanical gardens. The whole park is so beautiful and it’s so much bigger than I thought!

Botanical gardens:

botanical garden sf leaf

botanical garden sf flowers

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botanical garden sf 5

botanical garden purple flower

botanical garden bird

I love this wisteria, so pretty!

botanical garden 2

Weird plant in the Australian section:

botanical gardens australia zone

botanical orange flower

botanical gardens SF 3

botanical gardens sf 6

flowers SF

Japanese tea gardens:

GG park japanese tea garden

GG garden 3

GG park 4

GG tea garden

In front of one of the museums:

kyla at golden gate fountain park

GG park 2

Greg at GG park

japanese tea garden kyla

The succulent part of the botanical gardens is my favorite!

succulent!

GG Park botanical garden

Two goobers:

greg and kyla SF botanical gardens

So many succulents!

succulent gardens!

succulent gardens kyla

succulent gardens kyla 2

G caught me mid-complaint about something lol!

succulent garden Kyla 3

This is my favorite picture:

succulent garden closeup

succulent garden cactus

Whew this is such a long post, hopefully you are hanging in there!

The next day, we went to Chinatown and the financial district area for some tasty eats.

First I dragged G to a highly-rated bakery called Good Mong Kok, here is their menu:

good mongkok bakery SF

Everything is SO cheap so we got a bunch of stuff to try. G got a barbecue pork steamed bun:

good mongkok bun SF

I got some scallion/shrimp dumplings which are so delicious:

good mongkok bakery steamed chive dumplingsgood mongkok steamed dumpling

G got us egg custard tarts which are really good and he loved them so much he said it was the best thing we ate the whole trip! The crust is super flaky and buttery and the custard is just right.

good mongkok custard tart SF

Not a great picture, it’s hard to balance a camera and a tart! 😉

good mongkok custard tart closeup

A pineapple bun – decent but nothing too special,there is no filling so it’s kind of plain, I wish it was filled with custard.

good mongkok pineapple bun

Scallion bun/bread – yummy and super huge, couldn’t finish this one!

good mongkok scallion bun

good mongkok scallion bun!

After our massive chinese bakery breakfast, it’s only natural to wash it all down with a bubble tea! We went to G’s favorite place, i-Tea, which has a bunch of locations in the bay area. They have an awesome large menu and the tea is really good! I wish they would come to Seattle.

I got a jasmine green tea with boba and G got a wintermelon milk tea:

itea bubble tea

Then we walked around the Ferry Building Market for a bit, always a good time.

ferry building market SF

At this point, coffee was needed, so we got blue bottle NOLA iced coffees, the only coffee I like! It has roasted chicory root in it.

kyla at ferry building

Unbelievably, we got hungry again and since it was my last night, we decided to go for Italian food so we stopped at The Italian Homemade Company which I have been to before and they make the best pasta! We went to the original restaurant in the teeny Italian district of SF.

italian homemade company

I got pesto ravioli and savored every bite.

italian homemade co pesto USE

G got spaghetti with meatballs which also looked divine.

italian homemade company greg

To end the night, we stopped at Naia Gelateria for a cone, I got hazelnut chocolate and biscotti something or other. Good thing we walked so much otherwise I would have gained 10 lbs from this trip! We averaged about 20,000 steps a day!

gelateria naia 2

The next day I had a late afternoon flight so we were able to go out to breakfast. I looked up some places close to his apartment and chose a rather touristy spot, Hollywood Cafe, which is in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. G got blueberry pancakes and I got french toast and fruit.

hollywood cafe SF

The amount of fruit is impressive! It was pretty good french toast.

Hollywood cafe SF fruit

We walked around at the marina park and got mojito iced coffees at Philz coffee. It is a little too sweet for me so G had to finish mine for me.

philz coffee line

greg at the marina 2

philz coffee mint mojito 2

I ate some farmers market strawberries too:

sf farmers market berries

It’s such a pretty area, I would love to live near this like G does! I ran 11 miles here on one of the days for my half training and it was super hot but it had great views!

marina SF

I love these apartments! They cost a fortune to live in though.

SF 3

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Beautiful SF…

San fran!

We also had time for one last frozen yogurt, we went to this place like 3 times during my visit because it’s SO good. It’s called Loving Cup and they make their own probiotic froyo and then mix in toppings for you. It’s only a few blocks from G’s apartment on Polk street! I actually like this better than the famous Bi-Rite Creamery.

loving cup menu

I got the “Dirty Hipster” a couple times, it’s vanilla froyo with oreos and nutella mixed in…Heavenly!

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Post-froyo cheerfulness:

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We walked by this donut shop and I saw the biggest donut I have EVER seen! The cinnamon roll next to it is the size of an adult hand so the donut is about the size of my head! And no, we didn’t eat that too 🙂

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We also stopped for a quick drink on Union Street, G got a beer and I got a rather weak black currant kombucha. They don’t really have much kombucha around in SF that I saw, I should open a kombucha bar there!

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That concludes this super long post! I hope you enjoyed reading. Have a good weekend!

Life

Life Lately…

June 16, 2016

I went home to Olympia because I had my half-marathon so I got to see my sweet senior pup Gryphon. He’s about 14 years old now and he is getting cataracts now 🙁 He does get more handsome with age though. This is the only non-blurry picture I took, he’s so hard to photograph!

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My mom tried to get a picture of the two of us but all them turned out blurry except for this one and I had to hold Gryphon down so thats why he looks all awkward!

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This is my mom’s angora rabbit, Gandalf, he’s really cute and huge, like the same size as Gryphon! He always seems kinda of cranky to me though.

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One more of me and Gryphon, this was the morning after my half marathon. Gryphon’s wearing his fancy bow tie 🙂

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Right after my half marathon. It was really hard and I pulled a muscle or something in my hip so the last couple miles were really tough but I made it under my goal time so I was happy.

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Me and my parents 🙂 My dad ran with me up one of the big hills for support.

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HUGE stack of post-run pancakes at the Spar restaurant. They were soooo good and probably made up for all the calories I just burned lol!

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The best restaurant I went to recently is called Araya’s, it’s a vegan thai restaurant and they have several locations in Seattle. My dad and I tried it out and we both loved it! The inside is really cute too.

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One side of the menu:

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I ordered the thai tea with coconut milk which is delicious.

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For an appetizer, we got the mango cashew tofu salad and it was so tasty!

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For my main dish, I ordered the avocado curry which had both seitan and tofu in a green curry and it is probably the best curry I have ever had. I only managed to eat like a quarter of it because the cashew salad was very filling.

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Even though I was super full, when I saw mango sticky rice on the menu, I just had to have it and it was totally worth the belly ache.

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My BF came to visit me for memorial day weekend and we went to Din Tai Fung which is always yummy. I got fish dumplings and two veggie buns.

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Handsome man:

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Number one dumpling lover:

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It was such a beautiful, hot weekend so we decided to go kayaking on Lake Union! I can’t believe I’ve never done this before, it’s so easy, cheap and fun.

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You do have to watch where you paddle though, lots of boats and water planes in Lake Union!

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Greg doesn’t look happy haha but he was having fun splashing me…

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Recipes

Paleo Pumpkin Scones

June 12, 2016

I found the BEST healthy-ish scone recipe ever on Laura Fuentes‘ awesome blog. This is a perfect recipe for my inner yoga-pant-clad-pumpkin-spice-latte-loving white girl who emerges every fall. Best of all these are grain-free and dairy-free!

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Serves 6

Paleo Pumpkin Scones
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Ingredients

    For the scones:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2½ teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, chilled in freezer
  • For the pumpkin spice glaze:
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons almond butter
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • 1½ teaspoons coconut oil (soft but not melted)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin spice or cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl (or in your stand mixer) combine eggs, pumpkin puree, honey, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  3. Add in coconut flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix until combined. Remove chilled coconut oil and chop into small pieces, add them into the mix and combine.
  4. To shape the scones, simply measure out ¼ cup and create a round ball like shape. Press it down so that it's about 1" tall, or you can use a biscuit cutter.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden. Remove and allow biscuits to cool on baking sheet prior to transferring onto a cooling rack.
  6. For the glaze:
  7. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until coconut oil is incorporated into the mix. Once scones have cooled off, drizzle them with glaze.
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http://www.thedailyoats.com/paleo-pumpkin-scones/