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  • Travel Challenges
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    San Francisco, California USA (August 2015)

    The famous Golden Gate Bridge

    I’m still figuring out how much or little details I should provide, so please bare with me! As always, feel free to reach out to me or drop a comment. I always love California. I can not imagine myself living in San Francisco (sooooo expensive to live in), but definitely loved visiting. This was my second time and certainly not my last!

    P.S. THANK YOU SQUARM for helping me track/remember all the places I went!

    Here’s the short list, before going into details:

    AccommodationsSheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
    Must Eats: In N Out, Delicious Dim Sum, Mee Mee Bakery, Hollywood Cafe
    Good Eats: Fog Harbor Fish House, Darren’s Cafe, Bi-Rite Creamery
    Okay Eats: Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace, Cool Tea Bar, 3 Potato 4, Tartine Bakery, Taqueria Cancun

    Accommodations

    Getting from SFO Airport to Fisherman’s Wharf (where my hotel was located): Uber seemed to be the easiest, cheapest option for us. If anyone has any AMEX reward points and can’t redeem it for $$ off their bill (or its a corporate AMEX), Uber has a great redemption value. On par with all the $10 to 1,000 point ratio.

    Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
    2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    Location is SWEET. I loved living in Fisherman’s Wharf. Walking distance to the pier obviously and has a lot of stores/restaurants around. Great for night strolls! It was a bit pricey though in August for my usual budget. However, I used my SPG points from my old #consultantlife to stay there. Pretty clean; but don’t expect luxury.

    Eats

    LONG DISTANCE LOVE
    LONG DISTANCE LOVE. Neopolitan shake (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla), Vanilla shake, Two cheese burgers + Extra well done fries (to be crispy)

    1. In N Out (Fast Food, Burgers)
    333 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    LUNCH. My favorite fast food restaurant. So sad it’s only found in West Coast so every time I visit a city where there is an In N Out near me, it’s a must go. Check out their not-so-secret menu that’s not normally listed in their very brief menu board: http://www.in-n-out.com/menu/not-so-secret-menu.aspx

    Assorted dim sum
    Assorted dim sum

    2. Delicious Dim Sum (Dim Sum, Takeout)
    752 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    LUNCH. They do it by weight here. Only one small table in the back so don’t expect to be able to eat there. Luckily, someone just left when we were paying. We actually were planning to go walk to a nearby park to eat. Several options of typical dim sum stuff. I would say what was awesome was the har-gow (shrimp dumplings). The sieu-mai (that yellow stuff with meat) and fong-jow (chicken feet) were pretty good too. Skip the turnip cake. That was average.

    Yum yum during the PCH drive.
    Yum yum during the PCH drive.

    3. Mee Mee Bakery (Bakery)
    1328 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    DESSERT/GIFTS. Known for their fortune cookies and “cow ears”, grabbed a few bags of the cow ears as gifts for my family. Apparently these are the only good known “cow ears” available. Also grabbed a bag of broken fortune cookies for the roadtrip down PCH! (Awesome snack!)

    4. Hollywood Cafe (Breakfast/Brunch Foods)
    530 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    BREAKFAST/BRUNCH. Long lines and long waits but TOTALLY WORTH IT. I’m sad I didn’t get to take a pic of my food but you can find tons on Yelp. I got the Marilyn Monroe (French toast and fresh fruit). So much fruit. Filling. Amazzzzinggggg!!! French toast and fruit is soooo good. What do they put on it? Crack? So fresh. I’ll definitely hit this up again when I’m in the area.

    About to dig into this shellfish platter.
    About to dig into this shellfish platter.

    5. Fog Harbor Fish House (Seafood)
    39 Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco, CA 94133
    DINNER. We wanted to do a good seafood place. Luckily this was close to our hotel and rated 4 stars on Yelp so we chose this one. Plus, made a reservation on OpenTable 10 minutes before the res time, so that worked out really well! No wait! We (my bf and I) got the Shellfish Platter for 2 – $58 and clam chowder ($6). Skip the clam chowder. It’s not the best. The shellfish was pretty good! Service was phenomenal. Not too overly pricey for a great view of the pier!

    6. Darren’s Cafe (Breakfast/Brunch, Vietnamese)
    2731 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    BREAKFAST. Honestly don’t remember what kind of omelette I got but I did try the Pho here as well. Pho is average. Omelette was decent. We came back due to the okay-pricing and the minimal wait for seating (after trying Hollywood Cafe, wait was too long for our itinerary so we ended up here).

    Salted-caramel soft serve ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery
    Kid size of salted-caramel soft serve ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery

    7. Bi-Rite Creamery (Dessert, Ice Cream)
    3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
    DESSERT. My friends have all told me to try this place out. We had to drive to Mission, but it’s a short walk from Tartine Bakery and Mission Dolores Park, so we hit it up! I don’t like hard ice cream, but people rave about it. There are two lines. One for the actual hard ice cream and next door, is a little window for the soft serve. I had their salted-caramel soft serve and it was pretty good, but not amazing for me. Their soft serve schedule is different every day so check out their website. Pictured: the salted-caramel soft serve (kid size).

    Crissy Field - Cookie Bits Sundae at Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace
    Crissy Field – Cookie Bits Sundae at Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace

    8. Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace (Dessert)
    900 North Point St #52, San Francisco, CA 94109
    DESSERT. Tourist trap, I should’ve known! The desserts are overly sweet and too rich/heavy. One dessert can be easily shared by 3 people so don’t make the mistake we did by ordering one per person! We had the Crissy Field – Cookie Bits Sundae and Treasure Island – Warm Brownie Sundae. Do come to explore/walk around/and get a free sample of chocolate. Do not come for dessert. Pictured: the Cookie Bits sundae. My smile turns upside down in about 2 minutes digging into this sundae.

    9. Cool Tea Bar (Drinks, Bubble Tea)
    Location I went is now closed.
    DESSERT. Was only decent anyway. Got standard bubble tea. Expensive and average.

    Sweet potato waffle fries at 3Potato4
    Sweet potato waffle fries at 3 Potato 4

    10. 3 Potato 4 (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Snacks)
    2800 Leavenworth St, San Francisco, CA 94133
    DINNER (ish). It was okay… but definitely not worth the wait and expense. The dipping sauce was okay. Skip. Cool idea for vegan/gluten-free option. Pictured: Sweet potato waffle fries.

    Chocolate Hazelnut Tart at Tartine Bakery
    Chocolate hazelnut tart at Tartine Bakery
    Chocolate croissant at Tartine Bakery
    Chocolate croissant at Tartine Bakery

    11.Tartine Bakery (Bakery, Dessert)
    600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
    DESSERT. I’m sorry. I really wanted to like this place. Great yelp reviews, friends rave about it. Didn’t do it for me. Long line, but I think we only waited for 25 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon around 3PM. Expensive! We tried the chocolate hazlenut tart ($6.50), Cocoa Nib Rocher ($1.50), and Chocolate Croissant ($4.20). Nothing was better than “yeah, it’s not bad”. Pictured: Chocolate Croissant and Chocolate Hazlenut Tart.

    Assorted meaty tacos at Taqueria Cancun
    Assorted meaty tacos at Taqueria Cancun

    12. Taqueria Cancun (Mexican, Tacos)
    2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
    DINNER. Appreciate that it’s open late night. I’m pretty sure that we got carne asada and chorizo (pictured). Eh, it was only okay for me. Flavors were not coming through as I was expecting. The tacos I’ve had in Tuscan, Arizona were waaaay better.

    Things to Do

    We wanted to do Alcatraz. Didn’t book tickets early enough. We tried to wake up early and do the same-ticket line. There are same-day tickets that are sold daily on a first come, first served basis when the ticket office opens at 7:30 a.m. but I hear people start lining up at 4AM. On a Sunday, we got there around 5:30AM and it was already too late. We’ll just have to come back to SF! 😉 Here’s more info on last-minute tickets if you want to try: http://www.inside-guide-to-san-francisco-tourism.com/alcatraz-tour-tickets.html

    Day 1 – (all walkable in distance within each other from Fisherman’s Wharf where our hotel was)

    • Fisherman’s Wharf / Pier 39 (Walk around, shops, street performers)
    • USS Pampanito (We walked around outside but didn’t actually go in the sub for a tour since we previously had toured a sub in Hawaii)
    • Musiquee Arcade (old school arcade games!)
    • Lombard Street (we walked up and down it)
    • Ghiradelli Square

    Day 2 – (all possible to walk in distance rom Fisherman’s Wharf where our hotel was… but A LOT OF WALKING)

    • Exploratorium Museum (i loved it! so interactive. for kids and adults! student ID discount FTW!)
    • Chinatown
    • Union Square
    • Ghiradelli Square (again… I think this time, we went to get dessert. Not worth it, as noted up there)

    Day 3 – (Rented a car from Hertz… I would suggest just renting a car for one day in SF and doing all the car-activities in one day to minimize expenses)

    • Golden Gate Bridge (we drove on it to get to Sausolito, Muir Woods)
    • Vista Point 1 /2 (to take pics of the bridge)
    • Muir Woods (nature is cool! be prepared to walk a lot)
    • Panoramic Highway (loved the view!)
    • Sausolito (stopped for a quick lunch here at Bayside Cafe. Not reviewed above, but decent and quick lunch spot.)
    • Full House, House (classic childhood chills!)
    • Lombard Street (previously walked, but wanted to drive down it! Fairly difficult and heavy traffic getting to Lombard Street. Be careful of the hills and definitely leave space in between the car in front of you! The two cars in front of us got into an accident because the car in the back didn’t leave enough space for the car in the front to accelerate forward (when you accelerate up a hill, it goes backwards a little bit first)
    • Dolores Park (In Mission. Lots of hipsters/young adults hanging. Like a very concentrated Central Park.)
    • Twin peaks (we went at night when it was too cloudy… apparently it has great views of the city when it’s not cloudy!)

    Here’s some more pics!

    Feel free to ask questions, or let me know where else I should go next time I’m in SF!

    xoxo

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