If You’re Eating in San Francisco… (Part II)

It’s been more than one year since I compiled a list of my favorite places to eat in San Francisco, and although I still stand by every single place in that post, I thought it was time for me to share my latest recommendations. Below are some new additions that are in our current rotation.

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Cafés/Breakfast/Coffee:

  • Cafe St. Jorge – adorable cafe, out-of-this-world almond butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Healthy options, too :P
  • Stable Cafe – the coffee and food is great (for both breakfast and lunch), but the best part about this place is the gorgeous patio full of Lila B. succulent arrangements.
  • Fayes Video & Espresso Bar – when I don’t find the time to make my own coffee before work, I love stopping by this shop.
  • The Mill – the infamous toast is totally expensive worth it.

Lunch:

  • Yamo – Burmese/Chinese hole-in-the-wall with the best noodles in all of San Francisco. The counter is pretty small, so you can also order your food to-go if you can’t get seats. Don’t know how I’ve lived so long without this place!
  • Curry Up Now – absolutely delicious Indian burritos (make sure to get them “Punjabi style”).
  • La Palma Mexicatessen – this place will change the way you think about tortillas.
  • Mission Picnic – A+ sandwiches.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Believe it or not, we’re approaching mid-September already! I’m definitely not complaining though. Fall has always been my favorite season for many reasons. It evokes memories of back-to-school shopping, college football is in full swing (go blue!), and it’s the best time of year weather-wise in San Francisco (thank you, Indian Summer!). Fall is also a great time of year to plan vacations because prices general dip once the school year begins. Just make sure that any travel deals you find aren’t too good to be true (ahem, hurricane season).

Last year our fall was packed with trips to Big Sur, Portland, Phoenix, Ann Arbor, and Fort Worth, and it looks like our schedule is filling up quickly again. We have plans to visit Seattle, Chicago, Morocco, and Newport Beach in the near future, as well a big trip in December that I’m hesitant to even mention for fear of jinxing it. More on that later.

Clockwise from top left: Seattle, Marrakech, Chicago, Newport Harbor

Clockwise from top left: Seattle, Marrakech, Chicago, Newport Harbor

In the meantime, I’m starting to work on planning our Morocco trip in October and welcome any recommendations for Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains, and Essaouira. If you have any travel tips, please send them my way!

Honeymoon Reading Recommendations: Part III

My honeymoon reading recommendation posts (Part 1 and Part 2) are still my post popular to date, so I thought it was time to publish a new list of great books to read during your honeymoon (or any other vacation).

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Books! Books! Books!

As always, I consulted with a group of friends who have great taste in books and cross-referenced their recommendations with my own recent reading list. The following is the list that we came up with, in no particular order. Enjoy!

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Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re reading a blog about honeymoons, chances are pretty high that you’re of the age of attending many bachelor/bachelorette parties a year. Bach parties have somehow evolved from one big night out on the town to full-blown long-weekend vacations, and they can be a whole lot of fun so long as everyone in the group acts appropriately. Just coming back from a really great bachelorette party in Austin myself, I thought it would be fitting to write a blog post about the Do’s and Don’ts of bach parties.

Bach parties

Bachelorettes Gone Wild! Just kidding – these are pics of my dearest friends, and they are all very classy ladies.

– If you RSVP yes to a bach party, DO show up. The person planning the shindig will calculate costs based on the overall number of people attending, and when someone bails at the last minute it makes everything a lot more expensive for all of the other guests.

– If you see a bach party out and about, DON’T yell at them: “Don’t do it! Marriage is the worst!” It’s not funny or cute, and the joke gets old fast.

– Before you attend a bach party, DO expect to spend more money than you think you will. Last minute expenses (i.e. other guests bailing after they RSVP yes) are absolutely bound to happen, so it’s a good idea to set expectations accordingly in advance. If you’re worried about the high cost of a bach party, let the organizer know ahead of time, or it’s really okay to just sit it out. The bride/groom should not hold it against you for not being able to attend a wedding-related event for financial reasons. (If they do, then you probably don’t want to go to their bach party in the first place.)

DON’T be the sourpuss who’s too cool for the rest of the party. If the whole group is wearing bright pink sunglasses, suck it up, smile, and wear bright pink sunglasses. You’ll forget how ridiculous you look in no time.

DO ask the party organizer what you can bring or do to help. Planning a bach party can be overwhelming, and extra help is usually very much appreciated.

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Two Year Wedding Anniversary

Oh hey, it’s me. Sorry about not writing for awhile, but job stuff, hockey play-offs, and my foster dog have kept me pretty busy throughout these past few weeks. Since wedding season 2014 has officially begun, I’m definitely hoping to blog more frequently again, and what better reason is there to start it off than my own second wedding anniversary?

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May 5, 2012 at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA

Yes, it’s true, Aaron and I have been married for two whole years, and I must say that it has been pretty excellent. I think back to our Cinco de Mayo wedding and relaxing honeymoon in Bali and Vietnam all the time, wanting to relive all of the fun memories.

People (mostly my family’s friends) still ask me all the time, “So, how does it feel to be married?” Aaron and I lived together before our wedding and we’ve been in the same apartment, at the same jobs, and with the same dog for about four years now, so my first reaction used to be that everything is pretty much the same, married or not. However, there are three big things that I’ve noticed over the past two years of marriage:

1) If you ever go anywhere without your spouse, the first question that people will ask you is where your spouse is. You’re never allowed to go anywhere alone without some sort of explanation!

2) If you go to a social event and decide not to drink, people will notice. I haven’t been a big drinker for several years now, so good friends of mine don’t jump to “omg-she-must-be-pregnant!” conclusion whenever I order a water, but people who don’t know me as well definitely do. For example, at a gala last winter I hadn’t even had time to grab a drink before one of my parents’ friends told me, “Turn to the side. Okay good, you’re not pregnant yet.” Yeah. That happened. I’ve learned my lesson to grab a drink as soon as possible, even if I don’t intend to drink it. Pretty lame, right? Continue reading

How Long Can You Delay a Honeymoon?

I had brunch over the weekend with three friends: one who honeymooned in Tahiti a few days after her wedding, one who honeymooned in Costa Rica a year after her wedding, and one who got married in Ireland last summer but hasn’t gone on a “real honeymoon” yet. That last friend, however, is planning a two week trip to New Zealand in October. Even though the trip is a year and a half after her (destination) wedding, is it okay to still consider it a “honeymoon”? How long can you delay a honeymoon before it just turns into a regular vacation?

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The consensus around the table was that you can go on a honeymoon whenever you want – there’s no expiration date. It’s very common for couples to delay their honeymoons a bit after their weddings, whether it’s to save money, visit their dream destination during a more preferable season, or just because they have scheduling conflicts. Couples should do whatever works best for them, without feeling like their honeymoon needs to be rushed.

However, if you do decide to postpone your honeymoon, it’s important to realize that other people may treat it differently. As I wrote in one of my very first blog posts about when to go on a honeymoon, you should be forewarned that coworkers and employers may be less than enthusiastic about you taking an extended vacation if it’s not shortly after your wedding (especially if you already took a lot of time off for that). Friends and family probably won’t be as “Oh-My-Gosh-So-Excited-For-You!” either if your wedding seems like a distant memory. So as long as that’s cool with you (as it should be – it’s YOUR honeymoon after all), then plan your honeymoon whenever you feel like it.

That being said, you cannot plan multiple honeymoons (sorry, Alice). An extended multi-moon is acceptable (and totally awesome), but if you tell your friends/family/coworkers that you’re going on a second or third honeymoon, expect lots of eye rolls in return. At that point, please just call it a vacation.

As for my friends who are planning to go to New Zealand in October, I think that they should totally still consider that trip their honeymoon, and I honestly can’t wait to hear all about it. And, of course, they’ve already promised to write an awesome blog post when they get back.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Cliffs of Moher, June 2013

Even though I’m not even the slightest bit Irish, I’ve always been a fan of St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday makes me think of my two trips to Ireland (see my latest Ireland travel tips here), waiting in line for The Brown Jug in Ann Arbor at 7 am, the electric green river in Chicago, and a ridiculously fun bar crawl in The Rocks with my Sydney housemates during my semester abroad.

Admittedly my more recent St. Patrick’s Days have been far less exciting, but the holiday still just makes me happy. (And the 30 Rock St. Patrick’s Day episode makes me pretty happy, too.)

I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day full of Guinness, corned beef, and (at least the soundtrack of) The Boondock Saints on repeat. Be safe, don’t be obnoxious, and have fun!

If You’re Eating in San Francisco…

Inspired by SF style and beauty blogger Gal Meets Glam‘s recent post, I decided to come up with my own list of favorite places to eat and drink in the City by the Bay!

I’ve lived in San Francisco for nearly 8 years now (3 in Cow Hollow, and 4 1/2 in the Castro), and I’ve had my fair share of incredible meals all over town. While you can certainly go to many restaurants where a great meal will cost at least $50 a person, one of the best things about SF is that some of the most wonderful meals in the city can be had for less than $10.

Not a bad looking city, eh?

Not a bad looking city, eh?

So if your travels bring you to San Francisco, below is the list of my favorite places to check out. Bon appétit!

Cafés/Breakfast/Coffee:

  • Philz Coffee – my go-to iced coffee.
  • Town’s End
  • Tartine Bakery & Cafe
  • Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Foreign Cinema – 3 words: homemade pop tarts.
  • Craftsman and Wolves – mmm… the rebel within!

Lunch:

  • Swan Oyster Depot – an absolute must for seafood-lovers.
  • Ike’s Place
  • Slanted Door (+ Out the Door
) – I’m completely obsessed with their spring rolls and peanut sauce.
  • Marina Submarine
  • Yank Sing – the most wonderful Shanghai dumplings in SF.
  • Red’s Java House – best place for burgers and chili fries before SF Giants games!
  • Twitter – yes, as in Twitter’s headquarters. Don’t miss a chance to have a meal there if you know an employee.

Burritos: (because, yes, SF burritos deserve their very own category)

  • El Farolito
  • Papalote
  • Gordo Taqueria
  • Taqueria Cancun
  • Espiga De Oro

Dinner:

  • State Bird Provisions – hands down, my absolute favorite restaurant in San Francisco.
  • Stones Throw – my new favorite burger in SF.
  • Hillstone
  • L’Ardoise – the best date night restaurant.
  • Shanghai Dumpling King – soooo many dumplings, soooo little $.
  • 
Spruce
  • nopa
  • Zazie

Drinks:

  • Blackbird
  • Trick Dog – really amazing cocktails.
  • Hi Tops – gay sports bar with awesome music and totally amazing food (brunch + dinner).
  • Southern Pacific Brewing Company 
  • Locanda – delicious cocktails (good Italian food, too).
  • Toronado

Wanderlusting: The 10 Countries I Most Want to Visit in the Near Future

My last blog post about travel envy was kind of a bummer, so I decided that I needed to write something a bit more positive before the week was over. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I’m not going to Istanbul with Aaron, I started thinking about the 10 countries I’d most want to visit. My only criteria for the list was that 1) I had to include countries that I’ve never been to before, and 2) they had to be places I’d want to visit in the near future (i.e. in the next 10 years or so – not when I’m much older and less adventurous/active), which was pretty easy because I haven’t been everywhere… yet.

Below is the list that I came up with, with the countries listed in alphabetical order:

Cambodia

Up until very recently, Cambodia was totally at the top of my must-see list. Throughout our honeymoon in Bali & Vietnam, we met several other couples who just raved about the food, beaches, friendliness, and cheapness of Cambodia, not to mention the complete awe of experiencing Angkor Wat. However, another travel blogger that I highly admire recently wrote about why she thinks that Cambodia has recently changed, and not for the better. Kate really knows her stuff, so I believe her when she says that she didn’t love her latest experience there. I’m hoping though that things will turn back around for Cambodia, so I can get enthusiastic again about visiting it.

Cambodia

Cambodia – thanks for the pics, Alice!

Chile

Aaron and I had so much fun backpacking around South America in 2009, but we felt a bit amiss that we didn’t make it to Chile. Ideally, our trip there will include experiencing cosmopolitan Santiago, snowboarding in Portillo, surfing in Pichilemu, and a few days exploring Easter Island.

Ecuador

Aside from wanting to see the Galapagos Islands, I’d never thought too much about visiting Ecuador; that is until my friend Jen came back from a trip there last year and had the best time ever. She promised that she’d one day write a blog post about her trip (right, Jen?), so I’ll leave it to her to tell you why she fell in love with the country.

Ecuador

Ecuador – thanks for the pics, Jen!

Iceland

The Blue Lagoon, live music, Northern Lights, Einstock beer – what’s not to like? If there were direct flights from Reykjavík to Dublin, we would have combined Iceland with our Ireland trip last summer.

Mauritius

My family friend visited Mauritius during her Semester at Sea, and as soon as I saw the photos of the perfect turquoise water and bleached white sand, I knew that I’d have to go there some day. It was definitely in the running as one of our own honeymoon destinations, but we’d like to combine it with a few weeks in South Africa as well, and we didn’t think we’d be able to do all of that right after the wedding. I guess it will just have to be the destination for a special anniversary trip, right?

Mauritius

Mauritius – thanks for the pics, Hana!

Morocco

As soon as I can find the time to spend a week in Marrakech, I’m going to make it happen. My friend Daniel was lucky enough to spend this past NYE at this insanely beautiful estate, and said that he just thought the whole area was really beautiful and interesting. Also, my mom and sisters got to ride camels near Tangier a few years ago which looked really fun.

Morocco

Morocco – thanks for the pics, Rachel and Nicole!

Burma/Myanmar

One of my friends from college has lived in a handful of foreign countries since grad school, and although she’s currently living in Kabul, she is supposed to head back to Yangon soon. Only recently a tourist destination, she says that traveling around Burma is like going back in time. Aaron and I want to see what that’s like before everything becomes too modernized.

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