Working in tech full time, I’ve seen my fair share of San Francisco over the years. Golden Gate bridge, cable cars, hills, and a really great Asian food scene. Check, I did it! However, upon further examination I realized that I hadn’t actually experienced San Francisco. And so a good excuse like wanting to visit the Museum of Ice Cream like the millennial I am was reason enough to spark a true San Francisco inspired trip. And if that wasn’t enough, I wanted to hit up all the trendy instagrammable spots 😏. So Sydney and I packed our bags, and booked a quick weekend trip to the city by the bay. Peep our agenda below! 👇👇👇
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 23RD, 2018
8:00 AM— Touch down San Francisco! Sydney and I took the first flight out from Austin which had us land around 8am. It was great because 8am there is like 10am for us here in Austin, so I felt ready for a full day of exploring in San Francisco. Plus with Virgin Atlantic offering a great non stop between AUS -> SFO it was a no brainer!
10:00 AM– Since I’m the type of person who likes to maximize, I wanted to get one of my foodie stops checked off the list. We made our way to Tartine Manufactory which is a chic warehouse bakery turned restaurant. I would go with a tartine since, it’s well in their name. We went with a salmon and cream cheese one, and I paired it with a morning bun coated with sugar 🤷 I’m easy to please. Thankfully it was on our way into town too, so it just made the most sense to stop here before checking into our hotel.
11:30 AM– Early check in at the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake hotel was a blessing. It’s a chic hotel in the Kimpton family line that is housed just a block from Union Square and all the glorious shopping and restaurants nearby. I love staying in Kimptons because every one, no matter the city, has a wine happy hour usually around 5-6 with complimentary glasses. It’s my perfect treat after a day exploring and before going back out for the night. Our room was quiet, spacious (for SF), and had sweeping views of the city showing off its many hills.
12:30 PM– After unpacking and a quick refresh we were back on the streets ready to hit up one of my favorite San Francisco outposts. Boba Guys! Started by two guys who met while working at Timbuk2. They had the idea to open their own high quality bubble milk tea, and so they joined forces to open Boba Guys. It’s addicting, and thankfully there was a location right around the corner from our hotel– which double bonus for the Sir Francis Drake hotel 🙌 I also am a hopeful Austinite because one of the owners actually grew up in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas, so I’m hoping that since they’ve expanded to NYC, that Austin maybe has a chance. Either way, go visit them, my go to orders are either the classic jasmine tea, 50% sweetness, add boba pearls. Or the Strawberry Cali-pico made with a strawberry tea and dolloped with some fresh yogurt to mix in. It’s heavenly!
2:30 PM– I had to take a quick meeting in between Boba and our next stop, but it was worth the wait because we finally made it to the Museum of Ice Cream. Y’all, the line was full of babies to grandparents and every age in between. And was as every bit as gimmicky as you would expect it to be, but that was half the fun. Every room was overly done with graphic prints on the walls, floors, and plenty of ice cream at every stop. I will say, the 8 min I spent in the sprinkle pool were worth it for the sprinkles that would be making appearances later in the trip after fully submerging my body in the pool. FWIW, they’re plastic sprinkles, and they literally are littered all over San Francisco. I spotted them at the SFMOMA, and in the corners of bathroom stalls at random bars. Suffice to say, jump on those tickets if you ever get a chance. It’s super silly and a great experience for any generation.
4:00 PM– With all that sugar we were on a rush. We opted to walk around the city and made our way over to the iconic Alamo Square where the famous Painted Ladies houses from Full House sit, and we just lounged in the sun, sat in the park and watched the day fade away.
4:45 PM— Which lasted approximately 45minutes because around the corner was Powder Shaved Snow, an asian shaved ice storefront that served me cereal milk shaved ice topped with condensed milk and fruity pebbles. If you couldn’t tell, I get hungry a lot during my trips. I find any excuse to chase down a hot spot, and find room in my belly for desserts always. And in a city like SF, good food for the gram is never ending!
5:30 PM– Having never been to the SFMOMA, and Sydney having never been to a big city art museum we opted to walk around. It ended up being a fun detour that provided us with views from Andy Warhole, Matisse, and Frieda Kahlo. I don’t particularly think that I’m very physically creative with my hands, aside from photography which to me is only partially counted. I am always so envious of what peoples minds and hands allow them to create and so a trip to the SFMOMA was not only beautiful but inspirational.
7:00 PM– Since I have made many trips for my career to SF, I’m fortunate to have a great group of friends who live there. So no trip is complete without a dinner, and since they know I’m a foodie, we made reservations at One Michelin Star, Kin Khao, a Thai eatery. And if you know me, or you’re getting to know me, know that I love Thai food, it’s probably my absolute favorite. Not only was the company of this meal special to me, but the food was outstanding, spicy, and shared plates which added to our group vibe. Definitely worth the stop if you’re in the city!
9:00 PM– After a good dinner and a brief detour to my friends place, we found ourselves one overlooking the city from his condo in Twin Peaks. It was breathtaking and FWIW, you can hike Coit Tower in Twin Peaks and see a similar view, so I’d say definitely add that to your agenda if you’re one for city scape photos and views.
10:30 PM– A friend recommended I check out this secret bar, and so we made our way to Standing Room Only, which is located in the back of another bar called Odd Job. SRO is literally standing room only, and there is one bartender, it’s cash only, and you basically tell him what you’re feeling and he makes a drink based off of what you tell him. I ended up with a tequila drink, because hi, it me 🙋🙋🙋 After a few more drinks, some good conversations, and some late night garbage food, we returned to the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake to end our whirlwind day 1.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 24TH, 2018
10:00 AM— So we slept in, hey this was vacation after all. And my bed and blackout curtains at the Sir Francis Drake were clutch. By the time we rolled out of bed, and got ready, we made our way to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (off of Sutter) for the cruffin, which is, you guessed it, a mix between a croissant and a muffin. Mine was stuffed with white chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, it was a little indulgent for 10 in the morning, but we were here to eat, so that’s what we did. I also like to pitstop here to take a pic with their famous “I got baked in San Francisco” since it’s a bakery, and weed is *now* recreationally legal in the state. Which by the way, if you’re in the area whether visiting or you live nearby, check out these products by Dosist, big fan of their branding and design, and the product was tasty and had a good effect!
11:30 AM– Making our way to Saturday brunch, we were heading to the beautiful, I mean beautiful, neighborhood of Presidio. Sitting right on the water, this old army base town is lush and tropical and the perfect backdrop to our Saturday. We made our way to Causwells at the recommendation of another friend. I went with a pork belly tater tot hash, and it did not disappoint. Like so good, and perfect sidewalk vibes. This is definitely a yuppy neighborhood now, and there were lots of trendy good looking people walking around. So naturally, I want to move to that street now. 💁
2:00 PM– We walked around Presidio a bit and made our way to Crissy Field to peep some Golden Gate Bridge views, and you know what? We ended up on bikes, Sydney and I were going to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. I had always wanted to do it, and hadn’t had the chance, so it was now or never. Y’all, it was long, brisk, long, and in totality I think biked over 13 miles. Maybe that’s not a lot to you, it was a lot to me 😅😅😅. We rented from Golden Gate Bridge Bike Rentals, and were outfitted with two bikes and helmets. It was a lot of fun and physically challenging, but so worth it when you see the views and feel the bay breeze in your face.
5:00 PM– The bike ride was phenomenal, but naturally we worked up a sweat. On our walk to rent the bikes I saw a Mac and Cheese restaurant called MAC’D and knew I had to stop. It was vacation after all, and despite swearing off dairy. I took one for the team so I could have my own customized bowl of mac. Also, while writing this I learned the D stands for “Daddy” so, there you go. You’re welcome. It was good Mac n cheese, not earth shattering, but a good post bike carb load nonetheless.
6:00 PM– Returned to the Sir Francis Drake just in time for a glass of wine, to swap out our clothes, and to freshen up before another epic dinner in the city.
7:00 PM– Made another Boba Guys visit because, it was on the way.
7:30 PM– It happened to be Chinese New Year while we were in town, and we were walking to an Asian restaurant called Chubby Noodle, and happened to walk through Chinatown to get there. Couldn’t have been more on point for the day considering. Fireworks were popping off, people were overflowing in the streets and we ended up at one of my favorite restaurants with two primo seats at the bar.
8:00 PM– Chubby Noodle is one of my favorite places. Yes the food is good, I love their branding, but my favorite thing is the playlist. (I have a similar affection for Ramen San in Chicago for the same reason). When music that I love comes on in your restaurant I will instantly become more happy and want to hang out there longer. And so at Chubby Noodle, you’re gonna get R. Kelly, Iggy Azalea, and JAY Z. You can peep their playlist here, and then go eat there next time you’re in the city. Try the curry lemongrass vermicelli, bbq pork fried rice , or the Korean pork tacos.
10:00 PM– With a long bike ride behind us and our bellies sufficiently stuffed. We made our way home and tucked ourselves into bed. This city definitely has a nightlife, but my thrill is more in the discovery of food. And I had had enough for the day, and with only a few hours left to spare on Sunday, we slept it off.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 25TH, 2018
8:30 AM— This time we were up with the sun, and headed straight for breakfast. We stumbled upon an Aussie cafe that seems to have a cult following (and I can clearly see why). They’re called Bluestone Lane, and originally opened up in NYC but have spread to SF. I went with an avocado toast and a lemon ginger tea, which has become my go to ever since Amsterdam. The food and drinks were just what we needed and we happened to go to a location near the Ferry building. Which in case you didn’t know, is filled with more food!
10:30 AM– After wandering around the ferry building and snapping some photos of the bay bridge which sits right off the backside of the ferry building. We ended up popping into a few of the food stands because we were craving something sweet. You’ll have a few options to choose from, but some of the highlights were: Biscuit Bender for biscuits– duh, Humphry Slocombe for some of the best ice cream in San Francisco, and Mariposa Baking Company for gluten free and organic treats!
12:00 PM– Craving one final whiff of the ocean, we made our way back to Presidio. We ended up in this park that was lined with palm trees and ended in a picturesque view of the Bay. It had nice walkable trails and so we did that and just sat and enjoyed the scenery.
2:00 PM– One final trip to Boba Guys because really I live off that stuff and can only hope and pray one opens up in Austin in the near future 🤞And then we were off to catch our nonstop flight back to Austin.
San Francisco was not what I expected it to be. I forget what it’s like to be in a city that big sometimes because Austin is relatively small. So it’s always nice to travel, and submerse yourself in that city and just let it wash over you. See you soon, SF!
PS: Want my super loaded list of a bunch of restaurants, bars, things to do and places to see for San Francisco.