29 August 2012

Return From San Francisco

I spent this past week in San Francisco.  I'd never been to San Francisco before, let alone California, and it was a-mazing.  I loved the city and it is definitely a place I can see myself living in some day.  There is so much culture, life and energy.  People are very friendly and I had numerous conversations with total strangers that lasted anywhere from five to twenty minutes.  It was awesome.

Here is a quick summary of my trip, as captured by my iPhone!

10,000 feet above San Francisco!

Exotic Smoothie (banana, orange juice, pineapple sorbet) from Copenhagen Bakery and Cafe in Burlingame, California--a post-flight treat!

Departing the airport for Walnut Creek.

Beautiful cactus--one of many fauna varietals native to northern California.

House exterior in Walnut Creek, California.


Another Walnut Creek home.

Appetizer from Gracias Madre, a PHENOMENAL vegan Mexican restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District.

Gracias Madre's interior.  The wine pictures is 'Reinking Zinfandel, Mendocino.'  It was great!  I wanted to get a California wine and this did not disappoint.  The restaurant describes the wine as a "lush supple wine with dark plum and a spicy finish." 

My 'Enchilades con Mole.'  I could eat this every day: sauteed mushrooms atop housemade tortillas with cilantro and onions, topped with cashew cream and salsa and served with wonderfully flavorful sauteed collards and black beans.

My ridiculous chocolate shopping spree.  I purchased these goodies (all for me, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say) from this adorable little shop in the Noe Valley called "Chocolate Covered."  I had a great conversation with the store's owner, Jack Epstein, who is, not surprisingly, incredibly knowledgeable about all things chocolate.  Deciding on even this many bars was difficult.  I must have had twenty things in my possession at one point.  I kept putting bars back, selecting different bars, putting those bars back, taking back bars I had put away, and so on and so forth.  I was in the store for an hour.

A custom, almond milk latte, made by my host!

The hours of "Sushirrito," a burrito-sushi fusion place, located in San Francisco's Financial District.

Insanity: my vegan 'Buddha Belly' sushirrito.  The 'Buddha Belly' had shredded carrot, Japanese eggplant, spicy portobello fries, avocado and roasted garlic tofu sauce (it also came with green onions but I ordered mine without).  This "sushirrito" was both immensely satisfying and guilt-inducing, and I would, hands down, order it again...and eat it all...again.

Barrique's house Zinfandel.  Barrique is one of many wine bars in San Francisco with an amazing wine selection (I love that they make their own wines but only offer them by the glass!) and an incredibly friendly, knowledgeable staff.  I had a great conversation with one of the servers who instantly pegged me as a Michigander because of my midwest, "aaah," accent.

Like all of the food I ate in San Francisco, the food at Osha was ridiculously scrumptious.  The venue, too, was appealing because of its trendy, stylish interior.  There are six other Osha locations in the San Francisco area because S.F. knows a good thing when it sees it/

My insanely flavorful asparagus-garlic-tofu dish from Osha.  Just check out that plate!

Brix, located in Napa.

Squash and heirloom tomato soup with squash blossoms.  All the ingredients were grown in the restaurant's garden, which I was able to see from my seat on the patio!

Beautiful salad of butter lettuce, toasted pine nuts and currants, tossed lightly in a sherry vinaigrette.  Like the soup, the ingredients in my salad (the lettuce, that is) was grown in Brix's garden.  It was such an awesome feeling to totally connect with my food and, quite literally, see its origins.

This is NOT retouched.  This is an apple and it IS pink.  It is called a Pink Pearl and I could not think of a more fitting me.  It is pink and is a jewel of a fruit.

Pictured abobe is my Pepples vegan donut.  Pepples is a vegan donut company with tons of unique flavors from which to choose.  That said, I think there's something to be said for nailing a basic, classic cinnamon sugar donut, and Pepples does.  In fact, I liked my donut so much that I went back to the Pepples kiosk in the Ferry Building the very next day and got another--same kind: cinnamon sugar.  I'm sure the other flavors are equally amazing and when I return I will be sure and sample some of those.

My raw Alive! wrap, which I bought at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday morning to bring with me for lunch later in the day.  The wrap was packed with avocado, carrots, zucchini, buckwheat groats and seed-based hummus, wrapped in a romaine lettuce leaf.  Alive! used to have a storefront in San Francisco but now you can only buy their food at the farmers market or for a custom, catered event.

 I purchased this ring as a gift for myself at the artists market section of Saturday's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.  It's a beautiful physical memory of my trip.

Golden Gate Bridge.

Boo-boo in the side of my host family's yacht.

Peet's Coffee, located in San Francisco.  Great coffee.

Simply called, Vegan Wrap, this thing was INSANE!!!!!  And HUGE!  The wrap was too big for even ME to finish.  I got it from this totally unassuming deli, located inside of a convenience store in Sausalito.  I searched for vegan eateries in Sausalito and the Davey Jones Deli got the highest ratings so I thought I'd eat there.  I was expecting a cute little restaurant and not a counter within a gas station, basically.  Regardless, it was awesome.  The vegan wrap comes packed with garlic roasted red pepper hummus, quinoa tabbouleh, avocado, pea sprouts, arugala, spinach, raw almonds and probably 43529 other things I'm forgetting.  Somehow, even with all of those ingredients, no one seemed out of place or frivolous.  The flavors and textures blended perfectly. 

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