Coming back from vacation always is a bit of a letdown. While it did feel good to cuddle up in my down comforter after 2 weeks of motel room polyester bedding, I’m missing the adventure and how unexpected and new everything felt. San Francisco was fantastic, filled with great food & beer, lots of walking and poking about in shops I’ve read about online. I loved exploring Telegraph Hill where the gardens and staircases felt like a secret world filled with wild parrots squawking loudly overhead. The herbal smell of eucalyptus that seemed to start on Telegraph Hill permeated our entire Northern California trip. I happily chowed down the Burmese Tea Leaf salad at Burma Superstar. I slurped up my Coffee Toffee ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery (which I enjoyed more than the salted caramel). I had a spoonful of the most decadent buttery grits ever at Brenda’s French Soul Food Cafe and a fantastic mile-high crumb coffee cake from Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. We dug into our take away of Little Skillet chicken & waffles and drank Arnold Palmers in a cute neighbourhood park that reminded me of the tiny green spaces in Europe. I loved my Pliny the Elder IPA with its happy hour price tag at the Lucky 13 and even though I was stuffed from a carne asada burrito from Pancho Villa, we all managed to grab a pint on the sunny patio at Zeitgeist. My mushroom & cheese crepe from the breezy window seat at Ti Couz was perfect and so was the velvet painting vibe at the hipster bar around the corner we went to afterwards. The deliciously sour lemonade I had at Out the Door was perfection. However, all good things must end and for me things ended all too early as my decadent eating and drinking was cut short with my first & oh-so-nasty bout of stomach flu which I do not wish on anyone.
So I rested and it was ideal since we moved from the hubbub and whirl of San Francisco to the literally Easy Days of our Russian River cabin. Ahhh, cabin life was the perfect respite and I could heal in peace (despite the fact that my husband and friends were grilling up salmon and steaks and vegetables while I subsisted on icy green grapes and crackers). When we weren’t reading books in the hammock or star gazing in the hot tub, we drove around the beautiful tree-lined roads that twisted in and out of vineyards and discovered amazing bakeries. As we moved onwards to Yosemite, we stopped off at Bouchon Bakery (I had a lemon macaron & an iced Americano) and Rancho Gordo to stock up on provisions. We stayed in a cozy yurt and played board games and the next day we hiked and got soaked by a waterfall. Then we high-tailed on the slow roads it to Santa Cruz where I fell in love with it’s beachy charm, it’s youthfulness and it’s absence of pretentiousness. Not to mention the very fun wooden oceanside rollercoaster that Cornelius and I first rode on during our honeymoon 5 years ago. Delicious iced Americanos at the Perg patio, a very yummy fish taco dinner in a tiki setting, and a Belgium style wit beer at the tiny Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing didn’t hurt the good times either.
Yup, it was 12 days of wonderful and now I’m back home and my eating isn’t much to write about. I’ve made grilled cheese (which I wrote about for Poppytalk) and a very austere lentil and brown rice stew. It must be my upbringing that has me unconsciously doing penance for all those holiday good times. Soon I’ll get back into the kitchen again and start coming up with new recipes and ideas. There’s already some talk of strawberry picking this weekend so I’m sure that will inspire something creative.
But if you are looking for ideas and recipes and more, I did do a wackload of writing for other online publications before I left. So be sure to check out the following links if you are interested:
- A Pie Adventure over at the Food Network Canada blog.
- Looking for a perfect summer sipper? Try a vermouth gimlet over at Poppytalk.
- Give your arm a rest and mix up this oven-baked spring risotto.
- Too hot to cook? Make a dip or two! Check out some cool ideas over at ReadyMade.
- Recipe failure, it happens to the best of us. How do you deal?
- Tuna Sandwiches without the reek as I give an old lunchbox favorite a new twist.
Welcome back! Your trip sounds seriously awesome! (Aside from the stomach flu…glad to hear you’re feeling better!) I’m so glad you got to go to Burma and BiRite. Such awesome places!
That does it! Next summer I’m ditching the Husband and the kids and I’m going on vacation with a bunch of foodies instead! Sounds like you found heaven — or at least parts of it. Welcome back.
looks like it was a great time (most of it, i guess!). we just bought our flight into portland, out of LA and will be driving all the way down the coast (staying around Napa a couple of days). any recommendations other than what you’ve already posted?
J, your vacay sounds d.r.e.a.m.y. (minus the flu). I am seething with envy.
You’ve made me whimper a little with longing for my old home in the Bay Area. You went to so many of my favorite spots! Pergolesi, Dottie’s, Lucky 13…Sounds like an amazing and perfect trip. Personally, I can’t wait to be back there permanently.
So glad to have you back! I can only imagine what a great time you had based on your Flickr photos. I enjoyed living vicariously through your trip via your blog post. Everything – except the stomach flu – seems so awesome! The scenery is breathtaking! San Fran is definitely on my list of places to see in the next 10 years!
Thanks Joanne, it was a great trip!
LizAndrsn, ha! I don’t think you have to ditch the husband and the kids…but it might help 😉
Heather, please look in my archives for Portland tips (I’ve been there many times). I’d also suggest going to Hearst Castle which is amazing. In Long Beach, go to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles which is way better than Little Skillet. And driving the side roads around Sonoma are lovely….Napa & area was a bit too pretentious (but there’s a Dean + Deluca close to Yountville which is worth stopping in). AdHoc would have been a good place for dinner if we had reservations.
Thanks Maven, I hoped to inspire envy! haha.
Laura, it’s definitely a great place with so much to do. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
The scenery was amazing, Bijoux! So much natural beauty in & around San Francisco. I loved it and I’m not kidding that eucalyptus fills the air with it’s heady gorgeous scent.
I know just what you mean: coming back from vacation is always bittersweet. Sometimes more bitter, sometimes more sweet, ha! 🙂 Your trip looks absolutely wonderful – love the cabin where you stayed!
Sounds like a wonderful trip! I would love to learn how to make a fish taco. I keep hearing about those trucks – and have yet to have one, ever! What’s in them?
Lovely report! Sounds like you still packed away alot of good stuff and even had time to re coup. I’m looking forward to checking some of these out myself, and that hammock by the cabin sounds just about perfect right now!
Great photos! Sounds like you had a great holiday thanks for sharing all your finds and tips… I love the idea of Pliny the Elder IPA! Welcome back.
Wow! This is a great post! I’m actually from San Francisco and I haven’t even tried all of these lovely spots. I think I fall into a pattern when I’m there of the same old stuff. However, I’m taking notes on this. Thanks!
Wow, you guys did a lot! Don’t you love Northern California? We snuck down to SF last week for a couple of nights and I always wonder why we don’t live there. It’s such a terrific city. So sorry to hear you got stomach flu on your trip!
So glad to read you made it to Dottie’s…and about a zillion other delicious sounding places that I need to put on a list for my next trip to SF. The cabin looks amazing! It’s too bad about the stomach flu. It really is one of the worst semi-common afflictions to suffer from. Blah. I’m glad you’re better.
It looks like you had a fabulous time (all except for the stomach flu). Glad you’re safely back home and ready to tackle strawberries.
so great!! we are taking a trip to SF in august and i am already sooo excited!!
seeing/reading this just adds to it! i am so looking forward to all the great eats and sights!
i’ve taken down a list of some of the places you have mentioned! 😉
Shannalee, the cabin was beautiful!
Fish tacos are awesome things, Jan! I’ve got a recipe here (http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/2006/05/summer-living-at-its-best/) that’s really good.
Tami, I wish I was swinging in a hammock right this moment.
Thanks hag, good to be back (I think!!)
redmenace, I know all about trying all those same places when I go back home or visit a place I’m familiar with. It’s good to branch out!
I loved N California, Dana! It was so beautiful and I can’t wait to return.
Brie, thanks for the Dottie’s rec. So good.
Thanks Lynn! Mmmm, berries 🙂 A nice thing to return to.
Kellyai, hope you enjoy some of the same spots we did.
Yay! Glad to hear one of my favorite food writers / fellow design ladies had an awesome time in my city! You did pretty much hit everything – although the morning bun at Tartine is a must for me. 🙂
The hipster bar with the velvet paintings is called Casanova. I’m in there from time to time, dj’ing tunes. Despite the chill, SF is *such* an inspiring place to make art – and food! Glad you enjoyed it!
Julie, such a bummer that I missed out on Tartine! That makes it twice now. Thanks for the name of that bar too. Had a great time!
It’s always so fun to read someone else’s trip to my city as tourist! You hit all the great food places in my neighborhood (except for Tartine – which you must go to on your third visit down here) though I recommend getting some pizza at Pizzeria Delfina, or better yet, eat at Delfina (if you can get in).
And personally, though my partner LOVES the salted caramel ice cream at Bi Rite Creamery, I’m partial to the Honey Lavender. He thinks it taste like soap. To each their own.
Glad to hear your stomach flu didn’t ruin your trip!