SF Vesuvio

I apologize for being away so long, but we were on holiday and I decided from the onset that I would not bring my laptop along for the journey. But we’re back from our whirlwind tour of California after nearly two-and-a-half weeks away so here you go!

The main point of the trip was to introduce Mountaineering Man to my family in Los Angeles (the “Meet the Kleinedlers” post is coming up soon!). But before we journeyed to LA we first flew into San Francisco, a city where both MM and I lived at one point in our lives – though we never crossed paths.

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I went to college in San Francisco and spent another few years there after  graduation and MM spent several weeks there one summer visiting his Irish college friends who were there on a J1 visa. So it was only appropriate for us to first land in the City by the Bay. Instead of staying at a hotel, we opted to rent an apartment via Airbnb, and the decision is one of the best we’ve ever made. Instead of spending $300 or more per night on a hotel room (gotta love those hidden fees/taxes!) we had a 14th floor penthouse apartment, complete with a private rooftop deck and hot tub, all to ourselves for nearly half that price.

Our good fortune didn’t end there. Though it was raining when we arrived Wednesday evening, by Thursday mid-day the skies had cleared and the weather remained absolutely perfect for the rest of our four-day stay. It also happened to be Fleet Week in the city, which meant the world-class Blue Angels flying team were practicing their formations for the big weekend celebration and sailors from all over the world were in town (somehow MM didn’t find the latter as appealing as I did!). Thanks to the rooftop deck, we had front-row seats (in the hot tub!) for the Blue Angels’ dress rehearsal – MM said he’d never seen anything like it before. [Editor’s note: if you look closely at the end of the video you can see MM’s legs; he’s wearing a robe as he was just out of the hot tub, lol!]

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We spent our days trekking around the city on foot and via its fantastic public transportation system. One stop was at MM’s old house in the Mission district, where he once lived with 10 of his closest college mates. After snapping a few shots we walked around the corner to La Taqueria, the Mexican joint he and buddy Joe used to get their monster burritos after long nights of drinking. We also went by my old flat in Hayes Valley and had a lovely breakfast at La Boulange, a cafe bakery that unfortunately didn’t exist when I lived there. It was great seeing our old neighborhoods.

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In the evenings we caught up with my best friends Stacy and Cat, who at one point in their lives were both roommates of mine and are now friends themselves. We spent a long, boozy night at Pizzeria Delfina, sampling some of SF’s best pizzas and then went across the street for some delectable frozen treats (salted caramel ice cream, anyone?) at the Bi-Rite Creamery. The next night they and their hubbies met us at the Slow Club, one of my favourite restaurants in the city.

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The food in San Francisco just can’t be beat, and we ate our way through a good few districts. We stopped at the Ferry Building Marketplace to have brunch with my friend Joe, Jill and their adorable son Jack and had a fantastic breakfast taco of eggs and chorizo at the MarketBar Cafe. At Anchor & Hope, a restaurant specialising in seafood, I had one of the best appetizers I’ve ever eaten: the warmed sea urchin with crab in a lemon buerre blanc that is honestly out of this world. MM had the fried rock shrimp, which he adored. Another highlight of the trip was the banh mi sandwich we got at a tiny little Vietnamese restaurant at Golden Flower restaurant in Chinatown for a mere $3.25. If anyone knows where I can get a banh mi in Dublin, PLEASE let me know!

Though it was a short visit we had a blast and covered all the places we wanted to see. I even got my hair cut by Jackie, who I went to for YEARS before moving to Los Angeles and who is still the best hair stylist anywhere as far as I’m concerned. Of course the coolest part of the trip was introducing Cormac to my best friends, and I’m happy to report they all got on well. It was good practice for Meet the Kleinedlers – post coming shortly!