Hi everyone. I just returned from a long weekend in the Bay Area. A close friend of mine had a wedding in Berkeley so I went a little early and stayed a couple extra days to enjoy my time there as I hadn't been in six years! The wedding was in the botanical gardens of UC Berkeley which had such stunning light and it was soothing to be surrounded by all the various plants.
Produce in California is undoubtedly tastier than other places in the U.S. All that sunshine and longer growing seasons might have something to do with it. A friend and I had lunch at Chez Panisse last Friday which, even after six years, is still an incredibly wonderful place to dine. Alice Waters opened the restaurant in 1971 and is a huge advocate of the organic food movement. The ingredients of the dishes are fresh, vibrant, season and sustainable. If you are ever in the Bay Area, make sure to make reservations here because you will not be disappointed.
A former roommate of mine moved to San Francisco late last year and was kind enough to let me stay at her place in Hayes Valley. It was my first time staying in the city of San Francisco since I was a little girl. Every other time I'd visited SF I was staying either in the East Bay or south of the city with friends.
I loved walking around and trying different places in the neighborhood. I didn't have as much time as I would have like (which is why I'll be going back again in a few months) but I did make it to The Mill as it was so beautiful captured by my friend Alana here. The night before I came back to NYC I had dinner with a chef friend of mine who recommended we try Loló. We sat at the Chef's Table and tried various dishes including the panko avocado, fish and shrimp tacos. Unfortunately I did't take pictures as I was so engrossed in conversation but the ambience was lively but not loud, decor was not overdone and service was excellent. I also loved that it was in the Mission District. A neighborhood I vow to spend more time in on my next visit.
The Bay Area offers so much great Asian cuisine. I tried Vietnamese rice porridge for the first time in Oakland's Chinatown and boy was I impressed! The day after the wedding required specific food items to nourish my body and after the asking the owner what she recommended, I tried the porridge. I was expecting it to be more like Japanese rice porridge but the rice was in smaller pieces, there was a rich broth and best of all it was filled with lemongrass, ginger and garnished with cilantro. I have honestly never had a dish that took me from feeling awful to refreshed so quickly. Now my goal is to find an equally as wonderful bowl of porridge here in NYC. My first day in Berkeley I ended up eating some pad kee mao or drunken noodles at spacious restaurant along University known for its street food. The Thai iced tea was on the better ones I've had outside of Bangkok as well. My first dinner in Hayes Valley I ended up craving lighter food and came across (via research) a quaint Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi. I sat at the sushi counter and had a delectable and reasonable nigiri omakase. The Hokkaido uni and the fresh amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) were probably the highlights.
Before this gets too long, I'll leave you with pictures of my trip. I lucked out with weather (little fog) and was probably underdressed half the time but I realized six years away was much too long.