It was pretty ironic to be in San Fran during the first Cavs vs. Warriors finals match. And then less ironic and more heartbreaking when J.R. Smith decided to forget the score of the game in the last couple seconds lol...whoops. We watched it in the hotel lobby and the food they served there kind of made up for how shitty that felt. So the Cavs lost but everything else was a win.
I came to San Fran for the 2018 Brand Marketing Summit which was held on Wednesday and Thursday and then I stayed the rest of the weekend to do FOJ things. Bryant flew out to meet me and then we hung with my boss and her boyfriend. We tried to go to Trader Joes to pick up a bottle of wine and the line looked about the same as the line for the Dragster at Cedar Point so if you're going to buy booze, don't go there, lol.
We stayed in the Union Square area which is about a 20 minute Uber ride from the Golden Gate Bridge, a 10 minute walk to tons of shopping/dining and Chinatown. Since the travel was primarily through work, we stayed at The Parc 55 Hotel instead of an Airbnb (which is usually my favorite way to lodge while traveling.) Our Uber driver on the way back to the airport told us that San Fran is only 7x7 miles big which kinda blew my mind. It was definitely super easy to get everywhere we wanted to go.
We did visit the Golden Gate Bridge on our last day and it was really cool. We hiked down (literally felt like I was Frodo Baggins climbing mountains) as far as you could go to Baker Beach. I wasn't aware, but apparently that is where nudists like to hang out. There were like 3-4 groups of men that were j chillin butt naked...kinda weird, kinda funny. Whatever! Still such a fun experience for sure.
As far as people, it seemed like everyone was either super rich or super poor - lots of strange homeless people encounters but you'll find that in every city.
As far as weather, it was way colder than I expected. I wasn't aware that it's typically warmer in Cleveland during this time of the year than it is in San Fran! It was like high-sixties, low-seventies. Everyone was saying we were lucky to experience such good weather but I didn't wear shorts, and had a jacket on almost the whole time I was there and I thought it was pretty cold (especially at night.)
Key takeaway: there are a lot of "garlic fries" in San Fran and you must order them everywhere you go.
Puccini & Pinetti
This is the first spot my boss and I went after starving on an airplane for hours, it was literally across the street from our hotel. We LOVED the bruschetta appetizer that came with goat cheese and this warm bread drizzled with balsamic glaze. After that, I of course ordered the clams and linguine and my boss, Rin, got the pappardelle - both were really good. So good that we in fact reheated our leftovers with a blowdryer in the hotel room the next morning. That was fun.
Super Duper Burgers
This west coast burger chain is what's up. It sort of reminded me of Shake Shack! There were sesame seeds on the bun which sucks because I'm allergic but I was feeling dedicated so I literally scraped every single one off before eating. I seriously loved the garlic fries and all of the different sauces you could order on the side. ALL ABOUT DAT SAUCE, always.
The Old Siam Thai Restaurant
I walked past this spot on my first night and saw tons of people eating really good looking Thai food through the window. We decided to head here for lunch after discovering it and it didn't disappoint. I ordered the pad see ew and I loved it. The spring rolls were bomb too. There were jars of different sauces and powders on every table and the service was really good as well.
Begoni Bistro - Chinatown
As soon as I saw all the hanging lanterns I was in love - I mean, they kinda look like little dumplings, right? San Fran's Chinatown is full of tons of quirky shops and then tons of restaurants. We tried to go into one based off the pictures hanging outside, but they stopped serving dim sum for the day so I made my way over to the spot that's linked above. The soup dumplings were pretty good and then they also had legit congee - which is kind of like a rice porridge that has life saving (hangover curing) powers. I ate it for the first time in New York with @nom_life and I don't think it's something I would of ever considered eating if they didn't let me know how good it was! It tastes way better than it looks. The green dumplings in the photo below are the vegetable dumplings that were packed with mushrooms and lots of cilantro.
Scoma's - Fishermans Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf was a really cute part of town near the water and this restaurant was tucked away back on one of the piers. Their tag line is actually "from pier to plate" which it thought was cute. There's tons of local fisherman fare on the menu, but I'm allergic to fish so I wasn't able to try it! I could immediately tell upon entering the restaurant that it's the kind of place that serves good food - the waiters kind of dress like butlers too which gave off a fancy feelin'. The clam chowder was amazing, and so was the clam pasta. Can you tell that I like clams??
We went to a Giants game which was really cool because the home run porch is basically the water. Home run balls land in the bay and kayakers paddle over to claim their prize, lol. I was super hungover so we didn't make our way to a ton of food spots but there was some cool looking Asian food stands. I got a Giants Dog vs the regular ballpark dog because it was beef and pork instead of just beef and I think it tasted way better than the original one that Bryant ordered, but that's just me. It was longer and skinnier than the other one and obviously, less beefy. Also, there was someone walking through the stands selling churros which I thought was awesome because you usually just see cotton candy and peanuts. I was very jealous of everyone walking around with chicken fingers that looked like the definition of perfectly crispy, greasy chicken fingers.
Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar
We stopped in here for a few drinks and a quick bite to eat and I'm so glad we did. If you're from CLE, it's just like Porco Tiki Lounge, but bigger with a pool in the center. Every 20 or 30 minutes it rains into the pool and there's thunder storm sounds - SO COOL. It legit felt like we were getting drunk the the jungle. (PS - it's inside of a hotel so it's not something you'll see or recognize from the street!) We ate the vegetable pot stickers, chicken wings and spring rolls. All three items were so sooo good and the drinks were on point too.
- HERBY SAUSAGE GRAVY GRILLED CHEESE
- THE BEST CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE
- MANGO HABANERO WINGS (!)
- LASAGNA CARBONARA STACKERS
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