Posts Tagged ‘ travel ’

The Neighborhood Snippet Series: North Beach

You are where you live. 

San Francisco is a city full of the most diverse and talented individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  It’s not uncommon to get into a conversation about an app someone developed last night.  San Francisco – with all its wonder and uniqueness – is also a city that defines and stereotypes its residents greatly by where they live.

These stereotypes have led to hilarious Facebook pages such as Marina Girl Says, Marina Guy Says, and Russian Girl Says.  Despite the funny stereotypes of some of the neighborhoods, each neighborhood has its own unique culture and offers something so San Franciscan.

And with that, I like to introduce to you… The Neighborhood Snippet Series starting with North Beach.

North Beach, located north east of the city, is the Little Italy of the city.  Situated between China Town and Fisherman’s Wharf, this little neighborhood is always bustling with tourists and locals alike.  A jaunt down Columbus St. will take you back to Europe.  There are plenty of places to eat but only a few that are suitable.


Despite the endless amount of options available in North Beach, there are only a few places I would go in the neighborhood.  Here are some of my favorites in the area.

1) Tony’s PizzaIMG_0827 – While you’re there, can you save me a seat?

2) Don Pisto’s – Most likely one of my top places in SF

3) Mama’s – Great brunch spot if you have time to wait for an hour

4) Brioche Bakery and Cafe – I have a special place for Brioche.  When I was visiting SF for the first time, it was my go to place for breakfast before I started my day.

Sotto Mare, Park Tavern, Comstock, and The Station are on my list to try still.


One of my favorite areas to roam around in the neighborhood starts at Filbert and Grant and ends around the time you cross Columbus St.  In particular, I’m a fan of Therapy near Green and Grant.


North Beach has a great, low-key scene near Green and Grant.  There are about 4 bars in that area that offers an easy pub crawl.  Venture a little south of Grant, past Columbus, and you’ll be hit with neon GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS sign.  North Beach offers a variety of fun for whatever tickles your fancy or other parts of your body.

Maggie McGarrys, Tope are a few favs and if you see me there, come say hi… but actually don’t because of this, I’m super fearful of strangers.


Ah!  The misleading-ness of North Beach.  Despite its name, there are no beaches in sight unless you want to swim with the sea lions at Pier 39.  So hence, I’ve nicknamed the neighborhood, NoBeach.  As in there are no beaches in North Beach.

Interested in getting other neighborhood snippets?  Subscribe to my blog on the right.

SIDE NOTE:  A super important question crept up as I was writing this post… why do we crawl pubs and hop bars?  Why not pub hop and bar crawl?  Who wants to adopt club roll with me?

What are you doing tonight?  Rolling to a club.

Give it a few years… club roll will catch on.


7×7 Food List

Someone recently shared with me 7×7 The Big Eat 2012 List.  Needless to say, all I could think was “Challenge Accepted!”

I will, over the next few months, be entertaining you with stories of my hunt to complete this list alongside my stories on visiting all 50 states (by the way, I’m finally off to Vegas… and this time of USA legal age so no stories of me being yelled at by casino workers!!!).  I’ve done a few already so I’ll use my trusty brain to recall the experience and share it with you.  Be excited for the food porn photos to come… also let me define what food porn is because I had a coworker once where the conversation went something like this (verbatim of conversation may have been affected by time and memory lapse):

Whit:  What are you doing?

Me:  Oh looking at food porn.

Whit:  What?  Eww  why are you looking at that at work?

Me:  What?  How is food porn inappropriate… wait back up, what do you think food porn is?

Whit:  *she hesitates to speak”

Me:  It’s not naked people posing with food or doing things to food… it’s just photos and photos and photos of food and food alone.  OMG who do you think I am?  What do you think I do at work?  What kind of fetish do you think I have?

Whit:  *speechless and then tries to defend herself… other colleagues’ heads start to life up at this point listening to our conversation*

Since then, it has concerned me what my friends think I do at work… I don’t know what an appropriate picture would be to express my concern but it would go something like this:

Image courtesy of… and I guess Jersey Shores.

7×7 The Big Eat 2012 List

Volunteers and Fellow Food Hunters are welcome to join!

1. Salt cod fried rice at Mission Chinese Food*
2. Roasted chicken and bread salad at Zuni Cafe
3. Dry-fried chicken wings at San Tung*
4. Carnitas taco at La Taqueria
5. Chasu ramen at Katana-Ya
6. Custard French toast at Nopa*
7. Morning bun at Tartine Bakery
8. Cellophane noodles with crab at The Slanted Door
9. Eggs in Jail at Outerlands
10. Kelvin-made ice cream at Smitten*
11. Pork sugo with pappardelle at Delfina
12. Porchetta sandwich at RoliRoti
13. Soup dumplings at Kingdom of Dumpling
14. Warm egg salad sandwich at Il Cane Rosso
15. Any seasonal flavor at Scream Sorbet
16. Katsu curry at Muracci’s Japanese Curry & Grill
17. Pizza margherita at Pizzeria Delfina
18. The $24 prix fixe at Cotogna
19. Benwaffles at Bar Jules (monthly)*
20. Salumi misti plate at Perbacco
21. Tonkotsu ramen at Izakaya Sozai
22. Vietnamese roasted pork sandwich at Saigon Sandwich
23. Duck and sausage jambalaya 
at Boxing Room (Thursdays)*
24. Loaf of bread straight out of the oven 
at Tartine Bakery
25. Pistachio meatballs at Zaré at Fly Trap
26. Spicy baby octopus stew at La Ciccia
27. Tuna tartare at Bix
28. Clam chowder at Anchor Oyster Bar
29. Amatriciana pizza at Ragazza*
30. Pupusas at Balompie Cafe
31. Prime rib at House of Prime Rib
32. Pork belly bun at Chairman Bao Bun’s truck
33. The Little Star at Little Star Pizza
34. Argentine beef empanadas 
at Venga Empanadas*
35. Salted caramel ice cream 
at Bi-Rite Creamery
36. Soft garlic pretzels 
at Absinthe’s bar
37. Whole wheat pasta with hen and liver at Flour + Water*
38. Burger and fries at Spruce’s bar
39. Egg custard tart at Golden 
Gate Bakery
40. Pierna enchilada torta 
at La Torta Gorda
41. Langos at Bar Tartine*
42. Maccaronara with ricotta salata at A16
43. Nojo sundae at Nojo*
44. Beer sausage 
at Rosamunde Sausage Grill
45. Duck larb at Lers Ros Thai
46. Secret Breakfast 
at Humphry Slocombe
47. Chips and salsa at Papalote
48. Seafood chowder at Bar Crudo*
49. Ginger snaps at Miette

50. Chicken soup with dumplings at Leopold’s*
51.  Pho ga at Turtle Tower
52. Carnitas at Nopalito
53. Tika masala burrito at Curry Up Now’s truck*
54.  Kouign Amann at Four Barrel*
55. A dozen Sweetwater 
oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co.
56. Chicken porridge at Bush Street’s Out the Door
57. Sandwich No. 1 
at Lucca Delicatessen
58. Pork shoulder fried rice 
at Sai Jai Thai
59. Hamburger at 4505 Meats
60. Huarache with cactus salad 
at El Huarache Loco
61. Spaghettini with tuna heart 
at Incanto*
62. Dim sum at Ton Kiang
63. Pozole at San Jalisco (Fridays)
64. Sand dabs at Tadich Grill
65. Cookies-and-cream cookie 
at Anthony’s Cookies
66. Paper masala dosa at Dosa
67. Meatloaf sandwich at Fatted Calf
68. Foccacia at Liguria Bakery
69. Omakase menu at Kiss*
70. Calamari with chorizo and black rice at Contigo*
71. Fried green beans at Coco500
72. Peanut brittle cookie 
at Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous*
73. Munsoned at Deli Board*
74. Faux shark’s fin soup at Benu*
75. Super carne asada burrito 
at El Farolito
76. Steak frites at L’Ardoise*
77. Fried chicken at Foreign Cinema
78. Bone marrow at Alembic*
79. Crawfish beignets at Brenda’s French Soul Food*
80. Potato latke with pickled beets
at Baker & Banker*
81. Pickled egg at Comstock Saloon
82. Breakfast eggs at Boulettes Larder*
83. Rice burger at Sandbox Bakery*
84. A cheese slice at Arinell Pizza
85. Sesame balls at Yank Sing
86. Fried chicken sandwich 
at Marlowe*
87. Coconut buns from King’s Bakery
88. Malaysian curry laksa soup at Betelnut*
89. Korean taco at Namu’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand
90. Albondigas soup at Mijita
91. Bacon-wrapped hot dog at a cart in the Mission
92. Chicken liver on toast at Frances*
93. Seven flavors of beef at Pagolac
94. Hawaiian Hangover cake 
at Bluestem Brasserie*
95. Deviled eggs at Park Tavern*
96. Ube ice cream at Mitchell’s Ice Cream
97. Green goddess salad at Prospect*
98. Chicken curry lunch special 
at Punjab Kabab House
99. Fried chicken and waffles 
at Little Skillet
100. Cracked Dungeness crab 
at Swan Oyster Depot

Curious to hear how the list fares out?  Want to learn more about San Francisco?  Just in a need for a good, sometimes bad, but never horrendous time waster?  Follow my blog!!!

For You Googlers

I’ve noticed that my blog started picking up quite a number of referrals from Google searches which makes me super happy.  However, taking a closer look at the search words, I feel that when the googler clicks on my link, hoping to find the answer to their search, I leave them with nothing but disappointment because my blog did not provide them with the answer they needed.

So in hopes of being less of a disappointment to you googlers, here are my answers to your frequently searched words.

1) Where is the Full House house?

Somewhere between 1987 to 1995.  Full House is a fictional show.  The house does not exist.  It is not possible for a family of 3 adults and 3 kids where only one of the adult has a real full-time job while the others are a bad comedian and occasional radio host to realistically rent a massive house in San Francisco.

Erm bitter much?  I just wanted to know the address of the house that was used as the exterior.

Sorry.  I have to write my rent check this week and it’s hard not too cry every time I write it. The Full House house neighborhood is located in Alamo Square and the set of houses are the Painted Ladies.

Painted Ladies

If you’re looking for the actual Full House house exterior, you can find that at 1709 Broderick St.

The Painted Ladies are often confused with 1709 Broderick

2) Is Nob Hill safe in an earthquake?

I don’t know.  There was an earthquake a few weeks ago.  I’m alive, nothing fell on me, I didn’t have to grab my earthquake pack so I can only assume it is.  I try not to think about it much or I won’t sleep.

3) Tim Horton’s San Francisco.

Go north of the city, a little past Napa… a little more up, have you passed Oregon?  You’re getting there.  Is it getting colder?  You are on the right track.  A few more miles up, say hi to Seattle… say bye to Seattle.  Look around.  Do you see mountains?  Do you see the ocean?  Is the money coloured?  Congrats, you’re in Vancouver.  A Timmy’s should be around the corner somewhere.

The answer is no, we don’t have Tim Horton’s in San Francisco.

4) How to Make Friends in Your 30s.

I’ll let you know in about 7-10 more years.

5) Typical Charleston Things

Sweet tea, plantation, Magnolia, Southern boys with southern accents, Folly Beach, Coast, Seafood… I’m not really much of a Charleston expert but my fellow blogger, The Unlikely Expat is from Charleston.  I’m sure he would be happy to answer any questions.

6) Losing facebook friends motivational.

Um… I’m not sure.  We can be facebook friends.  I’ll write a motivational quote on your wall everyday.  Deal?

7) Living in Carmel by the Sea.

OMG TAKE ME WITH YOU.  Adopt me, hire me, marry me?  I don’t care.  Let me move there with you.

8) I need to come up with a name for a hotel on a tea plantation.

The Great Tea House

Tea R Us

Little TEAse

Grand Ol Tea

Sweet Tea Hotel

Teacup Inn

9) Muir woods and wine country tour

I really enjoyed this one from Extranomical.  You can read more about the tour here.

Well that was my good deed for the day.  Back to my Hunger Games countdown.  Keep on googling, yahooing, binging, or whatever tickles your fancy.

A California Bucket List

Inspired by Katie on her 2012 Bucket List – Things to do before I am 30, I’ve put together my own bucket list of everything that I want to do in California while I’m living in this gorgeous state.

  1. Go to Disneyland.
  2. Spend a weekend in Napa and enjoy the good wine and good food.
  3. Learn to sail.
  4. Visit the Walt Disney museum in San Francisco.
  5. Join a wine club.
  6. Take a cooking class.
  7. Road trip it down from San Francisco to San Diego.
  8. Visit Laguna Beach and Newport Harbor… I need to create a clever hashtag that describes being a teenager/coming of age in the ’00s.
  9. Try surfing in SoCal.
  10. See San Francisco very own band Train perform in the Bay Area.
  11. Weasel my way into being a movie/television extra somewhere Hollywood, CA.
  12. Scuba Dive in the Pacific!
  13. Grape stomping in San Francisco.  I thought I was trying to be funny when I put this on my list but then a quick Google search showed that the Bay Area host several grape stomping festivals.

What would you have on your California bucket list?


    15.  Visit Marcel the monkey from Friends at the San Diego zoo!

    16.  Camp in Yosemite Park

    17.  Visit Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

    18.  Giant Sequoia National Monument

    19.  Go to Death Valley

    20.  Visit Lake Tahoe in the Summer

    21.  Follow the mission trail on El Camino Real

    22.  Watch the swallows come back to San Juan Capistrano

    23. See Kongo when you get to San Diego!

How to [Not] Make Friends – San Franciscan Style

I recently started taking an Introduction to Digital Photography class at the San Francisco Art Institute.  The course is part of their continuing education program and attracts a mixture of individuals with varying degrees of experience in photography.  My purpose of taking the class was two-folds:

  1. Learn how to use the manual settings on my camera
  2. Go beyond the walls of my office and make some new (and hopefully local) friends

But of course things don’t always come that easy.

On my first day of class, I sat next to this man probably in his mid-30s.  As part of our ice-breaker activity, we had to interview the person next to us and then present them to our class.  The man next to me was my partner and I believe his name was… hmmm let’s call him Cliff.

I found out a few things from our interview.  Cliff is not an amateur photographer.  He is taking the course to learn how to use photoshop and print his own photos.  He has a scary, intense looking DSLR.  Wanting to steer our conversation away from the obvious topic of photography and our class, I asked him

So… what do you do?

I’m a deportation officer.

I’m sorry… a what?

A deportation officer.

Sirens!  Red flags!  Defense wall shoots up immediately.

Oh wow!  Your job must be insane eh?

Frak.  Did I just say eh?  Your Canadian is showing.  WTF is wrong with you?  Why are you panicking?  You have a visa, he can’t deport you.

Hahaha.  Ya, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen on the job.  People hiding in closets, lying, running the minute they see us.

Note to Future Me:  Don’t hide in a closet three years from now when your visa expires and Cliff comes to hunt you down.  

It was Cliff’s turn to interview me.

So where are you from?  What do you do?

I just moved here from Toronto but like I’m legit.  I have a visa and everything.  I guess you would be a good person to be friends with.  You can help me cheat the system if I ever lose my visa.  Hahaha.

My brain is sending strong signals to tell my mouth to zip it.  I babble on desperately for another minute.  Cliff looks at me strangely.

Um… yea… hope you’re enjoying San Francisco so far.

We’ve had four classes and Cliff hasn’t spoken to me since the first night.  I think I came on a wee bit too strong.

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Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, you SUR are beautiful!

Here are some photos from my weekend in Carmel, CA.  I also wrote a blog post on the debaucheries of the weekend.  You can check that out here.

Kelp on Monastery Beach, Carmel, CA

Pulling over near our cottage

Exploring the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, CA

Point Lobos, Carmel, CA

Point Lobos, CA

Waves vs. Kiley & Marci.  Kiley and Marci won by a smidge.

Point Lobos, Carmel, CA

Brunching in Monterey, CA

Big Sur, CA

What a Belle! Carmel, CA

On Wednesday before the long President’s Day weekend, my two coworkers – Kiley and Amy who recently moved from Toronto, Marci, and I decided to do a road trip down to Carmel, CA.

We left the city on Friday around 4pm.  The drive to Carmel took about 3 hours and I suggest not driving up to the area when it is dark.  The roads to our cottage on Palo Colorado were windy and the dark with no streetlights made it semi-sketchy (ie. we could have easily drove into the ocean).

The first morning there we went into the beautiful town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Brunch at Carmel Belle.  Simple, homemade food.

We started off with brunch at Carmel Belle, an adorable cafe where the focus of the food was on the taste of the fresh veggies it used rather using lots of sauce.

Afterward, we wanted to go hiking but the cute town of Carmel lured us into wandering around and we ended up spending too many hours browsing through the shops.  We did, however, stop by a tourist information center and learned that Monastery Beach near Carmel is one of the few beaches that still allows bonfires and open alcohol.  A throwback to the old school style of beaching.

Kiley, Amy and I were really into the idea of doing a bonfire on the beach.  It seemed so quintessential California that we just could not not do it!

We got to the beach around 9:20pm, hoping that maybe we could bandwagon off of someone else’s bonfire since we were four girls and 3 out of 4 of us had threw back a few already.  Fire + alcohol = Smokey the Bear saying “Only you can prevent wildfires”.

There were no bonfires… actually wait, there wasn’t even another living soul there.  Luckily, we brought wood from our cottage, propane, and a lighter to start a fire.  Mankind has been starting fire even before we learn to fish so how hard can it be?  (Disclaimer!  I’m not an anthropologist, I have not a effin clue if fire came before fish).  Ignoring the fact that we were the only ones on the beach which is the start of horror films, the fire plus the abundance of stars in the sky made for a beautiful night.

Fire was made thanks to Kiley and Amy.

Kiley and Amy successfully started up a fire!  We let the fire go until it burnt out.

Sunday morning we went hiking in Point Lobos which was one of the highlights of the trip.  The park was a combination of walks along the coast and hikes in the trees.  The girls and I chose to walk along the coast.  Minus some sketchy moments where I was legitimately afraid of falling into the ocean and being another lost soul to the sea, it was one of the best walks I’ve ever been on.  Nothing like standing at the edge of land and next to the ocean to make you think all your grand life problems are meh small.

Walking along Point Lobos, Carmel, CA

California is surely one of the prettiest states.  For more photos of my weekend, click here.