This is gonna be a long one. I considered breaking up the trip by day (which would have made five posts for five days), but I don’t think we did enough each day for a meaningful post for each one. Probably because we would always head back to our hotel mid-afternoon for a nap, and it’s really hard to leave the hotel once you go back! But to be fair, it was because we always woke up early and got a lot done in the mornings. Basically, our circadian rhythms stayed on EST despite the fact that we should have switched to PST.
We arrived at Hotel Zephyr at 11:00AM but weren’t scheduled for check-in until 4:00PM, so we dropped off our bags and wandered around the nearby Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghiradelli Square. We were starving upon arrival, so the concierge recommended us to check out Boudin Bakery and Cafe. Kat, Julia, and I each ordered sourdough bread bowls with clam chowder. There were probably cheaper places to get it.
Ghiradelli Square had a bunch of cute shops, and some of the notable ones we hit up were Gigi + Rose and Lola of North Beach. Trendy bloggers will love Gigi + Rose; Gigi + Rose even has a build-your-own-terrarium station! Lola of North Beach is filled with cute books and toys; we were attracted by the Pusheen plushies in the window, and also found a Jiji plushie (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) further in the store.
For dinner we had Inn N Out. Kat and I got cheeseburgers and shared animal style fries. Julia got a double double. On our way back to the hotel, we stumbled upon Rocket Fizz. They had maple bacon soda, peanut butter soda, other sodas, candies, and funny signs.
Our goal for the day was to make it to the Golden Gate Bridge by 6:30AM, catch the light, brunch in Sausalito, and then figure out something to do for the afternoon. Maybe hit up a museum. Alas, we woke up at 6:30AM, left the hotel, were starving, and so looked for a place to grab a quick bite. But nothing was open.
We eventually found Black Point Cafe around 7:00AM. I got a cream cheese bagel and Bee In The Trees (caffe latte with maple and honey syrup), Kat got an avocado bagel and an iced americano, and Julia got simple eggs. The cafe played hype music (but like, chill hype–the kind of music I listen to but maybe not first thing in the morning but maybe I should) and the latte art was adorable.
With our stomachs stuffed, we decided to take our time walking to the Golden Gate Bridge instead of catching an Uber. And take our time we did. We got distracted by the colourful rows of houses and made a detour to the Palace of Fine Arts: San Francisco Recreation and Park (at which Kat pointed and said, “Wrong!” (everyone knows it’s Parks and Recreation)).
Our trek to the Golden Gate Bridge also took us to the beach, which we may or may not have walked the whole length of in our sneakers (except for Julia who kicked them off). When we first wandered off the concrete path and onto the sand, I waddled on the surface of the dry sand down to the damp sand where I could finally walk normally without having to worry about kicking sand into my socks. Also there were lots of dogs.
Then we finally made it to the Golden Gate Bridge! And proceeded to walk the length of it. It’s a long ass bridge. Dispersed across it were emergency phone booths, which was interesting but also sad. By the time we made it across the bridge, we were too worn out and hungry to walk to Sausalito, so we caught an Uber over.
FUNNY STORY. We Yelped places to eat in Sausalito and settled on Le Garage. Le Garage is in a strange location with lots of sheds and we took awhile navigating between the sheds to find the restaurant. When we finally found it, our Uber let us off and wished us good luck. Alas, we got to the front door and found that they were closed for lunch due to [computer] system updates. So we decided to call an Uber and drive back up to the area of Sausalito near the ferry where we saw a bunch of shops. We called the Uber and it was the Uber that had brought us here and wished us luck. We waited for him to circle back and tracked him on the app, but after watching him circle for ten minutes, he cancelled the trip. The problem was quickly resolved by calling another Uber.
We had Copita Tequileria y Comida for lunch and Pick Me Up Chocolate for dessert. I got baja style cod tacos, Kat got tres al pastor tacos, and Julia got fried pork belly tacos. My baja style cod tacos were a bit dry but fine, and so were the pork belly tacos. I didn’t try the tres al pastor tacos so I don’t have anything to say about those. From Piece of Me Chocolate, we got gelato bars. Julia and I got chocolate peanut butter banana gelato bars, and Kat got a chocolate gelato bar. The lady at Piece of Me Chocolate was so sweet! She had the perfect personality for a chocolate shop lady.
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and didn’t want to leave. We had our eyes on The Codmother Fish and Chips food truck near our hotel, so we settled on that for dinner, and closed it with some bubble tea from Sharetea via Postmates.
For breakfast, we caught an Uber to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. I got a matcha croissant, Kat got a California croissant (stuffed with smoked salmon), and Julia got a churro croissant. The shop was smaller than I imagined, the infamous “I Got Baked in San Francisco” lights were broken, and the line of people waiting for cruffins blocked the “Holmes Sweet Holmes” floor tiling, but I still had a delicious breakfast. I always forget how good croissants are until I eat them.
We meant to hang out around Union Square, but nothing was open until 10:00AM, so we decided to walk further to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which also wasn’t open until 10:00AM, but we figured it’d be 10:00AM by the time we walked over. My favourite exhibits were the Tomás Saraceno exhibit and outdoor sculptures exhibit. Kat’s favourite was the light exhibit and Julia’s favourite was the photography exhibit. One of the dudes selling tickets was Deaf and I was kind of excited since I had just spent a semester learning ASL, but he had everything on his iPad and just needed to point to the different admission ticket options. I did sign and ask him if SFMOMA had student discounts though. (They don’t.)
For lunch we had planned to eat at Lemonade, but the line was too long, so we decided to pop by the shop next door, which was Super Duper Burger. I wasn’t all that hungry, so all I ordered were garlic fries. Kat got a chicken sandwich and Julia got a super duper burger. To follow up, we walked back toward Union Square to Boba Guys. Again, I was surprised by how small the shop was. But what left an impression on me was that Boba Guys was really inefficient. No wonder the line was so long. I’m surprised that such a popular shop is so inefficient. But the boba was really good.
We got back to the hotel no later than 2:00PM and couldn’t find the motivation to leave. But around dinner time, we dragged ourselves a few blocks out to Pier 39 where we found Wipeout Bar & Grill to grab some dinner. Wipeout featured bread from Boudin! Perhaps “featured” isn’t the most accurate word, but Kat got a salad and some chili in a Boudin sourdough bread bowl. At Wipeout. After dinner, we roamed Pier 39 until it started softly sprinkling. We headed back to the hotel, and later in the evening, Steph came over to visit us.
We headed out early to make it to the Japanese Tea Garden before 10:00AM; the garden opens at 9:00AM and if you arrive before 10:00AM, you get free admission. We wanted to grab breakfast before jumping into the activities for the day, so we grabbed a bite at Crepevine around 8:45AM, just a 15 minute walk away from the garden. I got a Valencia savoury crepe (smoked chicken sausage, scrambled eggs, mozzarella cheese, avocado, and bell peppers, topped with sour cream), Kat got a New Orleans eggs benedict, and Julia got a bowl of oatmeal.
Surprisingly, we got through the Japanese Tea Garden by 10:00AM; it was a small garden. As it was located in Golden Gate Park, we decided to find something else in the area to check out before moving onto our next destination. After a bit of Googling, we settled on the de Young Museum. They had a cool “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll” exhibition, but it didn’t come with general admission, so we didn’t check it out! General admission for students was only $6 though.
Next, we hit up Green Apple Books, a bookstore that sells both new and used books. I’m personally more interested in secondhand books. I never buy new books. The used books were cheaper than the new books for sure, but not by any means “cheap.” After an hour of browsing, I left with a $10 paperback copy of The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and a $14 hardback copy of Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.
For lunch, we grabbed Classic açaí bowls at Blue Hawaii Açaí Café. Then we headed over to City Lights Bookstore; they didn’t have any used books so I didn’t buy any books. Also I had already bought two books earlier in the day.
After the garden, museum, and two bookstores, we didn’t have any plans except for dinner at HRD, a Korean Mexican restaurant/cafe. From Cafe Lights Bookstore, we were a 30 minute walk away from HRD. We didn’t want to head back to the hotel before dinner because we knew it’d be difficult to get ourselves back out, so we decided to slowly make our way to HRD and find places to stop at along the way. We recalled passing by Reveille Coffee Co, so we retraced our steps back. I got a matcha latte and Kat got an iced americano. We edited photos on our iPhones and read books (the ones I had just bought) until we couldn’t concentrate anymore and then continued our trek to HRD. Along the way we stumbled upon Plentea. I saw people drinking bubble tea out of beautiful glass bottles, so we had to pop in. Even though we had just left a coffee shop and I had downed a matcha latte, I ordered a thai tea bubble tea and Kat ordered a house blend black tea bubble tea. We got to keep the glass bottles! When we figured we had spent enough time there, we finally headed over to HRD where I got a bulgogi beef kimchi burrito and Kat got a spicy pork kimchi burrito.
Kat had a bunch of errands to run in the morning, so I tagged along and waited at Sightglass Coffee with my new book. Other than her morning errands, the only other thing we had planned for the day was to grab dinner in the evening with Stephanie and Jordan at The Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, so we had a lot of time to kill, most of which we spent window shopping. We started at Westfield then popped over to Metreon and then spent a good part of the day just circling between the two. We spent quite a bit of time at Urban Outfitters, which made me want to go thrift shopping, but Kat wasn’t interested. We Googled nearby bookstores, but could only find antique bookstores, which we weren’t interested in. Throughout the day we took little breaks to sit down and read; we had the foresight to pack books with us.
It was a lowkey day, a slow wind down, a smooth transition to the next phase of our west coast road trip–Seattle!