Banksy

San Francisco, California

My boyfriend and I recently returned from a quick trip to San Francisco to celebrate our two year anniversary. It was my first time in the city as an adult and I absolutely adored it. There was so much to do in so little time, so I’d love to back and see more. Here’s what we did with our time in SF.

Day 1 (Thursday night)

  • Checked in to the hotel: Hilton Union Square. I loved staying here! It was central and walking distance to most of what we wanted to see. We received a complementary upgrade to a room with a balcony and awesome view of the city.
  • We were hungry after a four hour flight and walked over to Super Duper Burger for some cheese burgers, garlic parmesan fries and beer. The name says it all… the food was super duper and I’d highly recommend! It was so good, I didn’t even have time to snap a picture. I believe this is a chain restaurant, but it was totally new to us.

Day 2 (Friday)

  • We walked over to farm : table for coffee and breakfast. This was such a cute spot with a daily menu, great coffee and a friendly pug dog! We ordered the daily toast – brioche toast with mascarpone and fresh fruit – the egg croissant sandwich, lavender latte and cappuccino. The toast and latte were FANTASTIC! I wish I could eat here again and again! If you’re ever in the tenderloin neighborhood of SF, you should stop by!
  • After we were caffeinated and full, we started our walk toward Golden Gate Bridge. Enough said, right? I  mean, we’re in San Francisco and the weather was perfect. We walked about six miles to the Golden Gate National Park recreational area and loved every minute of it. On the way, I saw a stand selling donuts and coffee, Dynamo Donuts. I ordered the maple bacon and toasted coconut donuts. It was the perfect snack to keep our energy up for the long walk.
  • After our walk, we were starving! We ordered an Uber to get us closer to our hotel and ordered a late lunch at a Thai restaurant, Lers Ros. We got the Tom Kha Gai Soup, Pad Kee Mow and Pad Kra Prow Moo Krob (crispy pork belly with basil) – and it was all delicious!
  • We had some down time and then headed to Chinatown for some more grub. Unfortunately, we missed the window for Dim Sum, so stopped at Great Eastern Restaurant which proudly boasts that Barrack Obama came by for takeout once (not the first time I’ve visited a food place after the Obamas). I ordered steak and scallops – it was just OK. Walking down the streets of Chinatown, I was mesmerized by someone in a shop window making Dragon Beard Candy. I had to stop in and try some. While the texture is just how I’d imagine eating a cotton ball is like,  I really enjoyed the taste of this unique Chinese candy! Then we were back at the hotel in time to watch the post-baseball-game fireworks from our balcony.


Day 3 (Saturday)

  • We started the day with brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food, which is a fancy way to say Cajun food (as we call it here in Texas). We got there around 9 a.m. and there was already a long wait. However, I’d definitely go here again. The beignet sampler and fried shrimp eggs benedict were delicious and highly recommended!
  • OK, every time I told someone I was planning a trip to SF, they insisted I go to the Ferry Building Market. We strolled around after brunch, but it was way too crowded to enjoy myself. Plus, I have a very special place in my heart for Pike Place Market in Seattle, so it didn’t really compare. We got a cold brew and a couple bags of coffee beans to take home from the Sightglass Coffee stand at the market. Damn good coffee, too! While sipping coffee, we walked down to Pier 39 to watch the sea lions for a bit.
  • While walking back to the hotel, we noticed a line outside Boba Guys. As a long time fan of boba tea, I had to check it out. I got the dirty horchata and my boyfriend got an unsweet green tea. They have a unique menu of drinks, and it’s worth checking out!
    bobaguys

Then, we had round two of Super Duper Burger (we love burgers) and the trip was over in a flash. What’s on your list of great things you’ve done or want to do in SF? Share in the comments!

Banksy umbrella girl street art

Road from The Big D to The Big Easy

Earlier this spring a couple friends and I took a road trip to New Orleans and discovered happiness is a Hurricane on Bourbon Street. Not only was it our first time to visit NOLA, but Louisiana in general, and a road trip was the way to go.

We made an impromptu amendment to our trip and decided to hit the road a day early and stay in Shreveport, Louisiana for a night. We stopped for dinner on the way at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler, Texas where I ordered the Super Deluxe. Please make sure to stop here if you’re ever near Tyler. The jalapeño cheese sourdough bun was so good; I didn’t even have time to snap a picture.

A couple hours later we were in Shreveport and checking into Sam’s Town where we had a blast trying our luck at the slots. I found one called Inca Sun where all three of us came out big winners! After a bagel and latte at a cute little coffee shop the next morning, we were destined for New Orleans.

We took the more scenic route down Route 71 through small towns and fresh air. The timing was just right for lunch when we stopped at the deliciously adorable Lea’s Lunchroom for comfort food and a variety of meringue pie.

Some traffic and almost 200 miles later, we were finally in New Orleans and walking into our cozy apartment in the Bywater neighborhood we found on Airbnb. The neighborhood was quiet, friendly and home to some great art and restaurants. It’s also a reasonable walk or taxi ride to and from the French Quarter. I’d recommend any New Orleans visitor to take a break from the busy tourist hubs and have brunch at Elizabeth’s then walk down to Dr. Bob’s Art Gallery.

View from Crescent Park, a short walk from our apartment

View of Mississippi River from Crescent Park, a short walk from our “borrowed” apartment.

Charbroiled oysters While I was just happy to be in New Orleans taking in the beautiful, colorful homes and scenery, we knew we had places to be! Our four days were filled with lots of walking around the French Quarter, live Jazz, hurricanes and hand grenades on Bourbon Street, TWO trips to Café du Monde, awing at graffiti art and the best seafood I’ve had.

During my usual crowd source for recommendations I was told, “Go to Drago’s and get the charbroiled oysters. Seriously don’t go anywhere else until you’ve had these.” While it wasn’t the first place I went, I now know the magic of charbroiled oysters – wow!

The options of restaurants and bars are overwhelming at first, but realize you can’t go wrong in New Orleans. I really enjoyed the frozen Irish coffee at Erin Rose and the Pimm’s Cup at Carousel Bar. We also fueled our tired bodies with fresh Cajun food at the French Market and Italian food with a creole twist at Adolfo’s on Frenchman Street.

I am a huge fan of Banksy, a street artist in the UK, and geek-ed out over seeing one of his artworks in real life. He went to New Orleans in 2008 on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and after some research, I found the umbrella girl is one of the only (or maybe THE only) piece of his in New Orleans still in good shape.

The road trip to New Orleans is not one I’ll forget. This city is like no other place in the world with so much to discover for all types of people. I wouldn’t have done my trip any other way, but will definitely come back and try it again.