San Francisco

San Francisco Travel Guide

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Well hello!  We just got back from a phenomenal trip to San Francisco.  Though we had originally intended to attend Pokémon Worlds, having all that free time in San Francisco really let us explore so many different neighborhoods and see so much in 5 days.  It was my first time there, and everything was so photo-worthy!  Even better, Matt’s been there a bunch of times and we were able to do things that were new to him too.  We love to explore, and we walked A LOT.  Here’s our trip!

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Watch Day 1 – Exploring San Francisco!

  • What We Did: Walked to see the Painted Ladies, checked out the view at Buena Vista Park, walked through Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park, stopping to admire the Japanese Tea Garden.
  • What We Ate: Sushi-Go-Round at Isobune in Japantown, Muracci’s curry
  • Step Count: 23,265 (9.27 miles)

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Watch Day 2: From the Bay Bridge to Golden Gate

  • What We Did: Walked to the Ferry Building, then the whole Embarcadero, and Fisherman’s Wharf, then Ghiradelli Square, over to Lombard Street and all the way to the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • What We Ate: a Nutella Belgian Waffle at Pier 39 with an apple cider from Biscoff next door, a sourdough turtle from BoudinIn-N-Out Burger for lunch, dinner with Matt’s friend at YakiniQ for Korean barbecue.
  • Step Count: 32,813 (13.24 miles)

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Watch Day 3: Japantown, Chinatown, & Coit Tower

  • What We Did: spent some more time exploring (& shopping in!) Japantown, walked through Chinatown  and to Coit Tower.
  • What We Ate: Tonkatsu in Japantown at Koji Osakaya, dinner with my cousin & his girlfriend at Hunan House in Chinatown.
  • Step Count: 23,317 (9.3 miles)

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Watch Day 4: Eating Our Way Through the Mission!

  • What We Did: ate our way through the Mission, soaked up some sun in Dolores Park and walked down Valencia Street, which was closed to traffic and a total party.
  • What We Ate: The Rebel Within at Craftsmen & Wolves, a sandwich & a tart at Tartine, two scoops of ice cream at Bi-Rite, and sushi at Amasia in Noe Valley.
  • Step Count: 18,606 (7.47 miles)

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Watch Day 5: Academy of Sciences & Lands End!

  • What We Did: A museum visit to California Academy of the Sciences just in time to watch the penguins get fed and chase butterflies in their rainforest exhibit, walked through Inner & Outer Richmond to Sea Cliff, then the breath-taking hike of Lands End and the Sutro Baths.
  • What We Ate: breakfast at Pinecrest Diner, lunch at Lou’s Cafe, and dinner with Matt’s friends at Iza Ramen where I finally got my takoyaki!
  • Step Count: 16,047 (6.4 miles)

Stay tuned to see much, much more of this trip!

 

Travel Bug (US edition)

Three years ago, I had this temp job that hired a lot of co-op students from a local university.  One such student sat behind me and we’d chat on occasion.  She was from Ireland, studying abroad in the US.  While my summer weekends were spent escaping to the beaches of Rhode Island, she travelled the United States.  I quickly realized she’d seen more of my home country than I had!

So, I’ve had this running list of US cities I wanted to visit.  It’s evolved a bit over time, but I decided to post this now, since the travel bug has hit me hard and I’m making real progress!

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An Open Letter to Pokémon

Re: Entry Restrictions at the 2016 World Championships

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I attended Pokémon Worlds last year in Boston as a spectator and had a wonderful time.  Since then, I’ve planned on going to San Francisco for Worlds this year.  Spoiler alert: I pulled the trigger.  I booked flights and a hotel.  I spent money to fly across the country for this event.

One week before said event, this announcement comes out.  I’m pretty upset.  This is probably a huge waste of time and money for a lot of people.  Thankfully, I really want to see San Francisco and will have no trouble occupying my time there.  Still, I’m deeply disappointed.  When it has always been open to the public, you don’t wait until the week prior to announce that it won’t be.  My boyfriend has never been to Worlds before, and now he won’t get to experience it.

I’ve been a pokémon fan for 20 years and that’s no going to change (and let’s be real: Surfing Raichu is adorable), but this is pretty despicable.

Anyone in the same boat as me?  I know people are mad, so let’s hear it!

Top Chef: Where It All Started

Guys, can you believe this episode was the last QuickFire of season 13?!  This has flown by!  Five chefs– Isaac, Amar, Carl, Marjorie, and Jeremy– meet Padma and Traci Des Jardins for an interesting final QuickFire: toast!  An artisanal toast QuickFire is about as San Francisco as you can get, but it’s a delicate balancing act– it can easily go too simple or too complicated.

Here’s what they make:

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Jeremy is the clear winner for Padma and Traci.  Oh, did I mention it’s a sudden death QuickFire?  In this case, the bottom two dishes are facing off and the loser goes home.  This, sadly, puts Carl v. Amar cooking for their chance to cook for a space in the finale.  Tom comes out to judge along with Padma and Traci.

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Padma prefers Carl’s crudo, while Tom prefers Amar’s dish.  Traci acts as tie-breaker preferring Carl’s and saving his place in the competition.  Amar goes home… over toast.

Hubert Keller comes to help announce the elimination challenge.  As a send off to Fleur de Lys, which hosted Top Chef’s first ever QuickFire, they chefs will create a tribute dish to serve to a room full of Hubert’s nearest and dearest.  After a meal from Hubert himself and browsing some past menus, the chefs find themselves inspired.

They make:

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Isaac’s ballontine wasn’t perfect, nor was Marjorie’s lamb.  Carl’s over-ambitious foie was made in three hours when it should take three days.  Jeremy is the clear winner– wow did he have a great day!

Carl had a really bad day.  Marjorie and Isaac move on the the finale, while Carl has to pack his knives.  I was so sad to see him go as he’s been my favorite throughout!  Last Chance Kitchen is always a possibility, though!

Who do you think will rejoin the competition for the finale?  Who do you think will be the next Top Chef?!

Project Runway: Finale part 1

I’ve already explained that I’m not one for finales, but I’ve watched this episode twice now and I can honestly say I can’t wait to see these designers’ runway shows and the judges’ reactions!

As I’d predicted desperately hoped, Tim Gunn uses his save to bring Edmond to the finale.  THANK GOODNESS.  These four– Edmond, Ashley, Kelly, and Candice– were really the standout designers of the show.  They deserve it.  Heidi mentions that they hope Ashley considers making a plus size collection, which was her plan, and Tim says they will support her with plus size models.  A first!  How cool!  The get 7 weeks and $9000 to cook up their 10 look collection.  For finale part 1, we have Tim visiting each of the designers at home.

First, Tim goes to see Ashley in San Diego.  She apparently lives at her sister’s house, where she has a pastel and lace-filled collection brewing.  She’s dyed all of the fabric herself and designed floral headpieces to be worn with each.  Tim then heads to her parents’ house with her, where he is charged with making tortillas.  Adorbs.

Tim then hits the beach in San Francisco to meet Candice, her mom, and her two kids– Perseus and Logan.  They go back to her studio where the cage for her final piece is sitting outside waiting.  Candice’s collection is an amalgamation of Asian inspirations and full of black and red leather.  Tim worries it could go full-tilt drag queen.

Next, it’s off to see Kelly in Springfield, MA… which, if you didn’t realize, isn’t actually Boston!  Seriously, she may as well be Kelly from Albany in that location.  I guess all of Massachusetts does feel very connector to our capital city.  Anyway, Tim previews Kelly’s studio 54 meet streetwear collection which is full of detail and so, so cool.  She has cool headphones to pair with some of her looks and has made fanny packs from scratch to go with each.  In love!  After dinner with Kelly’s dad, aunt, and cousin, Tim is off to Kelly’s deli where they’ve names a sandwich after him!  Tim gets the “Big Gunn Milanese” wrapped to go and he’s off!

To Atlanta, that is, to pop into Edmond Newton’s studio.  He has a lot of work to do still, but Tim steers him in the direction of the effortless looks and away from the architectural pieces.

Back in New York, the designers get to see each other and, for the first time, their collections.  Edmond’s stays in garment bags.  He says he’s busy with finishing 3 looks, but he’s not fooling anyone.  They know this game by now.

Of course, there’s a challenge!  Each designer must show 3 pieces, one of which is to be created right then and there.  They get to work on the additional work, and here’ what they show to the judges:

Top row: Candice, Kelly; Bottom row: Edmond, Ashley

Top row: Candice, Kelly; Bottom row: Edmond, Ashley

And after critique, they all have a lot of work to do.  I can’t wait to see part 2 of the finale tonight!  Who do you think will win?  Me?  I’m team fanny pack– go #designerKelly!