"Oh, I love San Francisco," is what people usually say whenever you mention the city. "I had the greatest meal at (insert place)."
I too, just love it, and here are some of the places I visited that are definitely worth checking out.
I am not going to get into foodie territory here. I love dumplings and vegan-style bakery spots. Pretty specific, I know, but I am the one who pins all of the healthy alternative baking recipes on Pinterest.
FOOD AND DRINK
My friend thought the desserts were too dirt-like, but I loved them. Pumpkin muffins and some kind of seeded cookie were just what I wanted. I loved that their ingredients were things like: Almond flour, flax, maple syrup, coconut oil, and sunflower seeds. I definitely overate on the "healthy" pickings, (which defeats the purpose), but I know there must be others like me out there.
My friend is terrified of the woman serving the dumplings. There’s kind of a “Soup Nazi” feel to the experience, but these are the best dumplings I have ever had. I chose the shrimp and the shrimp and chive and poured the hot oil they offer all over the little pockets of heaven. I call the street they are on, Clement, Dumpling Row. I went from spot to spot ordering the same thing. It's a little stressful trying to figure it all out, but don't be intimidated!
A really unexpected cool experience. The small shop is filled with teas that seem to have magical properties. The purveyor lets you try whatever you want and explains the history, lore and health benefits. I bought something with hibiscus and smells life fruit punch.
Bon Appétite magazine voted it the best new bakery in 2016. Of course, that means a lot of people standing in line on their phones waiting to get in. I have to say that their croissant was pretty amazing. Maybe even the best I have had, but I am not a croissant connoisseur.
PARKS AND HIKES AND MUSEUMS
My friend and I went about 20 minutes outside the city and hiked around the Tennessee Valley to the Pacific Coast Trail. Rolling hills meet the Pacific with dramatic vistas. The most amazing thing, though, is that a place like this is so close to a city. I think that's where a lot of the "I love San Francisco," responses come from. It was a bit steeper than we had anticipated and we both agreed that we felt our age for the first time. So, mixed bag.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE PARK
Okay, I definitely got lost, but the places I did find when I emerged from random dirt paths in the park were spectacular. I fell in love with the Conservatory of Flowers with the rich Jurassic Park air and flowery aromas intermingling. I realized that I want to live in a jungle, although I know that isn't realistic.
Right now they have a mesmerizing butterfly installation where you enter a room surrounded by gauze and filled with butterflies. You can walk right up and see their bejeweled bodies fluttering around. Really worth taking a trip if in the area. I think I may become a lepidopterist.
Right now there's an exhibit called, "Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire," never-before seen archeological discoveries and artwork from the largest cities of the ancient Americas. The incredibly preserved parts of everyday life and rituals on display offer us a brief window into a complex and, um, quite intense society. I can't help but wish they hadn't sacrificed so many people. Nonetheless, it reminds us how little we know and how much has come before now. For me, seeing the ancient jewelry inspires design, but, honestly, I would wear what they wore then - for the most part - today.
Why don't we have these in every city? Seriously! We would all be significantly happier. I don't know why the garden is laid out as it is, but I know that every piece of bamboo and moment of water is highly significant. I had some tea and miso soup and tried really hard not to look at my phone (I am so Zen).
This store says they offer, "a new kind of home built for the modern bohemian." The products are handmade by artisans from around the world. The store itself is beautiful and your house might look better just by stepping foot in the place. Beautiful concept and not something you often see.
The sign is the best: "Sustainable, Fair, Zero-Waste." Why wouldn't you go in? The clothes are lovely in the flowey, cool print way, but the concept is really special. "Our process starts with scrap waste sourced from mass clothing manufacturers. Using every last thread, we create handmade clothing and accessories signed by their Cambodian makers," they explain.
I bought a flattering black dress with a print at the top and a handmade large-knit shawl that I can't wait to wear back east.
From lotions to potions, I wanted everything in here. Everything just makes you feel so soft. The Meow Meow body cream works well for those who over-wash their hands or who live in cold climates. They carry an emollient, Fat and the Moon Beam eye highlighter that is great for light travel packing. Consciously created candles, sample packs and soaps also makes it a perfect place to grab a San Francisco gift for someone.
Oh yeah, and I also have a trunk show here, which is the reason for this trip. But I couldn't keep all of this to myself.
Anyone want to go butterfly watching?