The minute I turned 29 last year, I was already planning my 30th birthday. All I wanted to do was get out of town for a few days and travel somewhere new. I wanted a place where wine would be a’flowing and the weather would be perfect in late October. California sprang to mind right away!
I’ve only been to California once (and that was to LA for work) and I am so intrigued by the west coast and how much there is to do! We decided to spend four nights total and I didn’t want to try to pack in too much (like we tend to do on vacation) so we could spend plenty of time relaxing. We decided on two nights in San Fran and two nights in Sonoma so were weren’t switching hotels every night either.
I’ll recap our time in San Fran in this post and will have a separate post on wine country because, well, wine-not? 😉
After a lovely birthday evening out at Painted Pin with friends on Tuesday night, we woke up bright and early on Wednesday for our flight out to San Fran. Thank goodness I can sleep on planes! We arrived late morning, checked into our hotel and did a costume change, and were off to find lunch in Fisherman’s Wharf.
First stop: The Codmother Fish and Chips for lunch. We devoured our fish and chips (I mean it was like 3pm east coast time and we hadn’t had a decent meal all day!) and enjoyed sitting outside and soaking up the California sun. After a very fried lunch, we decided to rent bikes and ride across the Golden Gate to burn off some calories (until the next meal, of course).
It was an incredibly clear day (especially by San Fran’s standards), and we stopped to take a crazy amount of pictures on our way across the bridge. We made it across and half-biked/half-walked-the-bike up to the Marin Headlands overlook of the bridge. Just breathtaking views! San Fran, you so pretty 🙂
We sailed down the hill on our bikes into Sausalito – cutest.town.ever. With all that biking, I NEEDED a drink and a break, so we stopped at a little Mexican place in Sausalito for margs and practically burned our mouths on the super spicy salsa. The bike rental guy mapped out a route that would have had us take the ferry back over to San Fran from Sausalito, easy peasy, right? Too easy according to Brian – why wouldn’t we just bike back so we could cross the bridge one last time? Maybe it was the margarita, but I was feeling good and agreed. Did I mention there are LOTS of hills?
The smooth-sailing bike ride down into Sausalito was not so smooth-sailing of a hike back up the hill. I spent more time walking the bike than I did riding the bike up to the bridge, but at least I was getting my exercise right?
After dropping off the bikes, we headed back to the hotel to tidy up for dinner with our friends Janki (a recent transplant to San Fran), Meghna and Jake. Janki took us to the most adorable Caribbean-inspired place and the food was awesome! Maybe it was the California air getting to my head (or jet lag setting in, but everything just tasted so fresh and flavorful.
The next day, we were up on the early side for a trip to Alcatraz. It was a typical San Francisco foggy morning, which made the cruise up to Alcatraz extra eerie. I didn’t know much about the history of Alcatraz so I loved that they gave us headphones to listen to the audio tour as we walked around the prison and through some of the jail cells.
After arriving back on dry land, we walked up (and I mean WAY up) to the base of the Coit Tower, where we took an elevator to the top to get another fantastic view of the city and the Golden Gate off in the distance. I am a sucker for a good view, what can I say?! After all that walking (and still being on east coast time), we were starving for lunch.
Brian was dying to get 538’s best burrito at La Taqueria in the Mission District, so I obliged. We waited in line for probably 30 grueling minutes before getting our food, but oh man, it was worth it. Maybe we were famished, but that was one damn good burrito, and they don’t even include rice! After lunch, we strolled through the Mission District and some of the other cute San Fran neighborhoods (stopping for a drink here and there) and took our time getting back to our hotel. (I see a pattern forming on this trip – eat/exercise off the calories, eat more/exercise off more calories – at least we didn’t feel bad about indulging at meal time, ha!)
For dinner, Brian found a place in the Russian Hill neighborhood where we were staying, and it was amazing! We showed up early for our reservation and decided to just eat at the bar and sip some wine to prepare our palates for wine tasting the next day. The limited menu was very creative and we shared a few things because we couldn’t decide on solo dishes. I also enjoyed my last glass of rose for the season 🙂
Stay tuned for a recap of our adventures in wine country coming soon!