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Getaways: Northern California (Part 1)

Alas, we are back from vacation. Yes, it was far too short. Yes, I can still taste those last precious drops of bracingly strong Blue Bottle Coffee. (If you follow me on twitter, you know the full extent of my obsession: I’ve been seeking an alternative anywhere, anywhere in DC, and today I almost resorted to joining the Blue Bottle monthly coffee club. Talk about excessive.) The coffee shops and restaurants in San Francisco leave absolutely nothing to be desired, and the farmers’ markets, ohh, the farmers’ markets…their reputation far precedes this post. The only thing missing was a kitchen to cook all that great produce. Much as it would have been nice to saute some asparagus (asparagus! in August!) or steam a couple of artichokes, it was almost as nice to know I had something exciting to come home to.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; surely, you’re here for the pictures. I have lots of those — an embarrassing number, some would say. But there was so much to photograph! So many steep hilly streets, so much drool-worthy food, so many beautiful grape vines and olive trees and sheep (who knew?), so much good coffee (am I belaboring the point?), it was hard to know where to start. I can tell you this, though: we did a lot of research before this trip (and by “we,” clearly I mean I) about what to do in NorCal (and by “what to do” clearly I mean what to eat) and the research paid off. Here’s just a smattering of some favorite moments.

Pizzeria Delfina. The night we arrived on the west coast, we were chilly (weather in SF was in the 50s), jetlagged, and just a bit hungry. We waited for an hour outside Delfina, as apparently thin crust pizza is all the rage! in SF right now. (For once, something came to DC before it hit SF…go figure.) While the pizza at Pizzeria Delfina didn’t top our local stuff, the vibe there — hipsters with pixie cuts and scarves leaning against mural-covered walls, drinking wine and, oh yea, eating pizza — was loads better than the screaming kids at 2Amys. I dig.

Humphrey Slocombe. Okay, I confess — not exactly a highlight, though I’m glad we braved the buzz and went. The texture of Humphrey Slocombe ice cream is not quite right, but the flavors…well, you gotta laugh at Elvis the FAT years (banana and bacon) and Jesus Juice (red wine, coke).

After trying a few of the weird ones, I went all traditional with Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee and McEvoy olive oil. D saw a tin roof sundae on the menu and ordered it, not knowing it came with three scoops, a dump of chocolate sauce, and a bag full of candied nuts. Whoops.

Another day, we were walking through Chinatown and stumbled across a shop with bins upon bins of ginger. Who knew there were so many different kinds of ginger?

My eyes still adjusting as we left the ginger store, I started thinking about our next meal. We’d been thinking about trying dim sum for lunch, but the lack of vegetarian options had deterred us. That’s when I caught a glimpse of a line forming outside a little restaurant.

For all the folks in line, the wait was only about 15 minutes. At the direction of the hostess, we ducked inside and made our way to a small table against the wall, where we found menus boasting about 15 different kinds of hot and cold ramen. Sushi, too. I had a bowl of very spicy green onion ramen that burned my face off, in the best possible way.

Cheesy as it may sound, one of my favorite things about our trip was the roaming around. For instance, one morning, on the way to see a childhood friend of D’s, we walked our way up the Embarcadero, along the northern tip of the city, all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. We caught some beautiful views along the way.

I’ve got loads more to share. SF was just a small part of our trip, a couple days there on either end sandwiching adventures in Big Sur and Wine Country. I’d share it all at once, but that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? Guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

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  • sarah bbabacbackback to LLALA. August 19, 2010,

    We are on our way back from a short trip there too. have picked up some great produce along our way (road trip!) Including amazing strawbs, jumbo artichokes, elephant garlic (apparently great to roast) and hope to find more at farmer stands on our way

  • sarah bbabacbackback to LLALA. August 19, 2010,

    Will definitely want to explore san fran more next time. And also wine country. 🙂
    Your pics look great!