Every six months or so I find an excuse to travel back to San Francisco. Sometimes the excuse is work, sometimes it’s family or friends, sometimes it’s holidays, and sometimes it’s something that brings together any number of those elements.
In the most recent case it was the wedding of two friends of mine, which happened to be the day before Easter, which happened to be somewhat close to my birthday, which happened to be six months from my last visit.
My boyfriend and I flew out to San Francisco last Friday for a whirlwind week with family, friends, and—this being me and this being San Francisco—food.
We’ll start with food if for no other reason than that I ate so much of it that I almost agreed to my boyfriend’s idea of a 2-for-1 gastric bypass. Our culinary adventure began on Saturday morning with a trip to the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building, one of my favorite places in San Francisco.
From old favorites like the fantastic Blue Bottle Coffee, the adorable Miette patisserie, the yummy St. Benoit yogurt, the earthy Far West Fungi, and the excellent Primavera, to new shops like Il Cane Rosso and Mariposa, we had ourselves a breakfast feast.
The market set the tone for the rest of the week, during which we roamed the city grazing on the unfathomably delicious sushi at Zushi Puzzle, the ahi poke Wasabi Bowl at Pacific Catch, the heart-warming mac and cheese at Nectar, the mouthwatering quesadillas at Ocean Taqueria, the great gourmet take-out from Gregoire in Berkeley, the delicious small plates at Terzo, and the perennial crowd pleaser cheeseburgers at the oh-so-Californian In-N-Out Burger.
Growing increasingly aware of our narrowing arteries, we also focused on red wine. The devastating lack of good California wines in the UK made us all the more excited to take a trip up to Russian River for some of our beloved Pinot Noirs.
Starting at Merry Edwards, one of my favorite wine producers, we sipped our way to Iron Horse, then back down to Lynmar, by which time we had purchased twelve bottles of wine and needed to stop ourselves before we needed to find a wine storage unit.
Speaking of stopping, I’ll stop talking about food and say that I was happy that between meals we were able to spend time in San Francisco with a lot of friends, family, and former coworkers and classmates. The wedding we attended was of a former coworker of mine at Goldman who married a former coworker of my boyfriend’s at Google, so we both got to catch up with friends and colleagues we hadn’t seen in years.
In addition to the wedding, we enjoyed several nights of drinks with friends at Nectar and the Tipsy Pig in the Marina, CAV Wine Bar on Market Street, and La Bodeguita del Medio in Mountain View. Mayor Gavin Newsom even showed up to one happy hour. Well, he showed up to give a speech to a group that was meeting in the same wine bar, but I think it still counts.
Then came the marathon Easter brunch at my mother’s house in Silicon Valley. My brother flew up from San Diego, my cousins came in from various parts of the Bay Area, and we all enjoyed a six hour brunch complete with three cakes, innumerable cocoa Easter bunnies, a giant box of chocolates, and an Easter egg hunt (nope, we weren’t too old).
We also caught up with family in several unique locations, including the Giants vs. A’s baseball game on our first night back in San Francisco. My mom, brother, boyfriend and I wrapped ourselves in blankets and braved the freezing San Francisco weather to watch what was my first Giants game in years. We only made it to the 5th inning before we couldn’t feel our faces or our feet, but it was still nice to be back at the stadium.
On a much warmer day my mother took me to Filoli, a mansion house near where I grew up that I had somehow never managed to visit before. The extensive gardens were in full bloom and the stately home was so European that for a minute I couldn’t remember whether I was in California or back in Britain.
After a week of catching up with our favorite family, friends, and foods in San Francisco, my boyfriend and I parted ways for the weekend to see more friends, family, and food. He flew off to Washington, D.C. to see his parents and eat BBQ in Maryland while I traveled to New York City to spend the weekend with my cousin and enjoy the famous fries at Shake Shack.