Archives for April 2016

April 26, 2016

I left my heart in San Francisco

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit what little family that I have left, in San Carlos. My uncle, cousin, step-aunt and step-cousins were all very happy to see me, and I, them. Since moving back to the west coast (I lived on the east coast for about 2.5 years) my uncle and I have tried to get together once a year, whether that means they come to Washington or I go down to California. Either way, it makes me genuinely happy. Even more so when I visit as I get my California fix, see my family and travel all at the same time. This time was my turn and I spent a beautiful four days in sunny Northern California.

Plane Ride! Plane Ride!

My day started early and I was out the door before 7am. My flight wasn’t until almost 12pm but you know. Security checkpoints plus getting to Seattle in the first place, it all takes time. But when I finally got on the plane and was buckled in and felt that exhilarating rush that always comes to me when taking off, it was all worth it. And I snapped the obligatory “I’m in the air!” photos. (By the way, if you time it right, Bloody Mary by The Silversun Pickups is literally the most perfect song to take off to. You’re welcome.) The flight was standard. Completely packed, but thankfully short. the guy next to me was very nice and we had a little bit since he was separated from his family. But an amusing thing did happen on my flight down. Freaking Danny Bonaduce was on my plane. Right behind me in fact. I giggled when I figured this out.

When I finally did land, my amazingly wonderful cousin Mira picked me up at SFO and we drove to her dad’s house where we had a few hours to talk and relax before everyone came home for dinner. It was really nice catching up with her. There’s a 10 year age difference between us but it never truly feels that large. We’re both pretty easy-going people (not that we don’t have our own issues/disorders to deal with) and it always feels like we just saw each other whenever we do get together, no matter how much time has passed between visits. She works as a hostess at a pretty fancy steak house called TOWN, which is where my uncle took us to dinner that night. Mira even asked them to fix something a little special in honor of my visit.

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I’ve never had a custom menu before! It was so sweet and yes, I kept the menu as a memento. The dinner, by the way? Freaking amazing. So if you are ever in San Carlos, go to TOWN. You won’t regret it. My steak was perfect. Absolutely perfect. And I’m pretty picky. It was a great dinner in general. Plenty of family time, lots of jokes, and since it’s my family there were plenty of inappropriate jokes too, which in my book, are always the best. My cousin’s boyfriend was there too and I’d met him before. We all get along. Well. Minus the fact that we are all baseball fans and my cousin, her boyfriend and my uncle are all Giants fans and I’m a Dodgers fan. Our teams are huge rivals. Oops. But I went to bed that night feeling happier and more relaxed than I had in a long time and with a tummy full of wonderful food.

The next day was a beautiful sunny day and my uncle and I spent the majority of it together. We walked from his house to downtown San Carlos to run some errands and talk. We had lunch at a beautiful Greek cafe and I fell instantly in love with their Lemon Chicken and Rice soup. I need to find a recipe and replicate it. It’s very light. savory with just a hint of lemon and perfect for spring. We both had gyros and enjoyed the sun. After a couple of hours we hiked back up to his house (it’s only about an hour from the town but it’s all uphill) and got ready to meet up with a couple of his friends for drinks. I was not expecting to go anywhere fancy, but oh man. We sure did.

Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay I could get used to this ...

We took a 25 minute drive to a little town called Half Moon Bay and ended up at the Ritz Carlton there to watch the sunset around the huge outdoor fire pits, drink a little wine and shoot the breeze. It was chilly but oh man, the view was worth it. And the hotel … oh that hotel. If I had $800 to blow on a hotel for a night, this is the hotel that I would choose. It’s so damn luxurious and beautiful and you can’t help but feel like a damn queen there. I sat by that fire pit and downed glass after glass of the fantastic Riesling that my uncle had me try. Perfection. After the sunset, we headed down to a local Italian restaurant and devoured a couple plates of the best bruschetta that I have ever had (and damn, I have had a lot of bruschetta in my life) and bowls of delicious homemade pasta complete with a couple bottles of Pinot that my uncle had brought.

The next day, my uncle had a special treat for me. He and I were to spend the day in San Francisco! I had never been to the city before, or if I had, I was so young at the time that I couldn’t recall it. We woke early in the morning and were in the city by 10am (it’s only about a 30 minutes drive from his house). Our first stop? You guessed it. The Golden Gate Bridge, which just happens to be on my bucket list. I am obsessed with bridges. I think they are absolutely beautiful and stunning pieces of art and my uncle apparently shares this belief too. We were both surprised to learn that. Anyway, we took a trip and drove the length of the bridge twice.

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After the Golden Gate, we headed downtown, found a place to park and started walking. I wanted to do all the touristy things and my uncle was only too happy to help. We rode the cable car. We travelled on the BART. We walked miles and miles. We went to Fisherman’s Wharf. We saw the sea lions sunning themselves. We talked and talked and visited Pier 23 where I literally had the most amazing and horrible sandwich of my life. Horrible because, oh my god, the calories and the fat. I had a Monte Cristo. But this was no normal Monte Cristo. This was done on French freaking Toast. Oh man. It was soooo good though.

SEA LIONS Alcatraz

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We watched fresh sourdough bread being baked and shaped into animals. We bought a massive buttload of chocolate at Ghirardelli Square. We got blisters on our feet. I splurged on a tacky as fuck (sorry but no other way to say it) shirt for my roommate, postcards for friends and a magnet for myself. We saw love locks. Stared at Alcatraz. And I got sunburned in the worst way. Literally the worst sunburn of my life. Three weeks later and I’m still peeling! And remember how I told you that my uncle is a Giants fan? Well, he insisted on buying me a Dodgers hat that I saw because I have always wanted one. Even though I said I was going to get it, he became a traitor to his own team. Awww. What a sweetheart of an uncle! We ended the night by eating a homemade gyro dinner by my step-cousin, watching SpaceBalls and then quality time with my cousin Mira and my uncle looking through old family photos. There were some tears, but it was a very happy and special moment and I am thankful for everything and all of the time that I spent with them.

Mt. Shasta from the air Hello Seattle

Unfortunately, I had to leave the next day. I was sad for leaving them, sad for leaving California and upset that I had to go back to work, which has continued to be a ridiculously stressful environment and sadly, I’m hating it there more and more every day. But that’s a story for another day. Even though I hated leaving, I have to say that it was wonderful flying back and getting a couple more airplane pictures. Mt. Shasta and Seattle both look amazing from the air. This is why I love window seats!

How has your spring been treating you? Any vacations that you have taken or plan to take? Leave a comment and tell me all about your plans!