Saturday, April 7, 2012

bayyy areaaaaa

last sunday i came home from one of the best trips i've ever been on!  i went down to the bay area with some of the best people i know! i am now officially in love with the bay area and if there is ever a time i'm not living in seattle, then i'll probably be down there! it was an amazing trip filled with good friends, good food, and too many laughs!

we left on thursday evening, my friends vesna, lisa, fredolyn, jessa and ozan, and took a plane down to oakland.  once there, our first stop was the car rental place where we got a sickkkk minivan.  this mini van - a chrysler town and country - was nothing like the ancient dodge minivan i had growing up.  there was a dvd player and back windows that rolled down!  it was amazing and i am convinced that i need to get one...for my nonexistent future family.  once we were all loaded up and thoroughly impressed by our ride, we headed to in-and-out.  almost everyone i've talked to has raved about in-and-out and has also compared it to dicks.  personally i'm not really a fan of either, but i like in-and-out a little more than dicks...for the sole purpose that you can special order at in-and-out.  (side note - if you don't know already, i am the biggest NON fan of condiments.  i do not eat ketchup, mustard, mayo, or any other things that most people enjoy on their burgers/sandwiches/hot dogs.  i feel that if the meat and accompanying elements should be enjoyed for their simplicity and do not need other things to make it taste good.  i know a lot of people would disagree with me, but this is just the way i feel bahahah) after waiting in the LONGEST drive thru line i have ever been in, we finally got our food and feasted!!
my plain cheeseburger with grilled onions
jessa, lisa, vesna, and fredolyn
after our "dinner" we headed to berkeley to pick up our friend brukab (aka boo boo bear).  it was soo great getting to see him!  he is currently going to grad school at berkeley and it had been a while since we had all seen him.

the next morning we had brunch at bette's oceanview diner!  bette's has been featured on diners, drive-ins, and dives on the food network and i was SOOO excited to be going there!  everyone got different stuff and it was all so delicious!
bette's menu
philadelphia breakfast - scrapple, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, and a cranberry orange scone
california breakfast - toast, ham, poached eggs with a lemon herb sauce, grilled tomatoes and roasted potatoes
fredolyn's souffle pancake with strawberries
jessa's pancake souffle - chocolate swirl
everything was absolutely delicious!  i had never had scrapple before and it was pretty good.  and the scone was to die for!!!  definitly check this place out if you're ever in the area!  after our filling brunch we went to a look out on the berkeley hills.  it was absolutely beautiful!  you could see all of berkeley and part of oakland and in the distance a little bit of san fransisco!  just breathtaking!

after our drive to the viewpoint we were hungry again, so we headed to a little place that brukab has pointed out earlier - the brazillian cafe.  it was this super cute little shack that was brightly colored walls and some pretty delicious food!  i've never had brazillian food before and i was excited to try it!  lisa and i shared a tri tip rice bowl and a mango smoothie!
tri tip rice bowl
mango smoothie
vesna's tri tip sandwich

all of us in front of brazillian cafe
our snack totally hit the spot, so we decided to walk down telegraph street.  if you're from uw or the seattle area, telegraph street is like brekeley's version of the ave.  it's full of cute little shops and restaurants.  there's tons of berkeley apparel stores and a few bookstores too.  i'd almost argue it's a little better than the ave.  there are also a ton of vendors on the sidewalks selling homemade jewelry or tie dyed clothes.  it's pretty awesome!  after walking a little ways we found the best ice cream shop.  it's actually an ice cream sandwich shop called c.r.e.a.m. (cookies rule everything around me).  you get to pick a type of cookie and then a type of ice cream and then they make an ice cream sandwich...IT'S AMAZING!!! and only for $2!  WHAT A STEAL!!! again, if this whole job situation doesn't work out, i'm about to open a mini cupcake/ice cream sandwich shop!  cream had one of the best ice cream sandwiches i've ever had!  vesna and i shared a sandwich with chocolate chip cookies and a caramel swirl ice cream.  just perfect!!!!

 after our amazing ice cream sandwiches we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before the nights festivities.  for dinner we went to a little jamacian restaurant.  it was located in berkeley and during the day it's a cute little cafe, but at night it turns into an awesome jamacian restaurant called kingston cuisine 11.  we ordered the last of their jerk chicken, the oxtail stew, and a vegetable curry and shared everything. 
jerk chicken
vegetable curry
almost all our food goneee
boo boo and his birthday cake
everything was just delicious!  i've never had jamacian food before and for my first time  it was amazing!!! i don't now if any place will compare to just how mouthwatering everything at the table was.  i was surprised by how much i liked the oxtail stew.  i was a little hesitant in trying it first, but then i took a little bite and i was hooked!!! i had to try to not look like a pig by eating it all bahahah! after eating so much i was stuffed!  the restaurant owner, who was, styling in his fedora hat, even gave us a complementary piece of this amazing caramel nut cake with strawberries!! just delicious!

on saturday we woke up early-ish to hit this legendary fried chicken sandwich spot - bakesale betty.  we got there right when it opened and ordered a box full of sandwiches - 8 to be exact and some lemonades.  unfortunately i was too hungry to take a picture first, but it was mini loaf of bread with a perfectly fried piece of chicken and a nice slaw to go with it!  i'm not sure what the dressing was on the salad, but it was perfect and had a little bit of heat for THE PERFECT BITE every time!  we sat in the car and devoured our sandwiches before heading into san fransisco!

since we were pretty full from our fried chicken sandwich breakfast we did a bit of site seeing first.  we drove through golden gate park, stopped off at the beach, went to see the golden gate bridge, and eventually found our way to the waterfront.  fisherman's wharf has to be one of my favorite places in san fransisco.  it's totally a tourist spot, but it's always just so fun down there!  there's always something to see or some food to try!  after we walked down the waterfront a little bit, we started to get hungry.  all the food vendors on the side with their delicious looking seafood were pulling us in!  we all ended up getting a little snack to munch on. 
 clam chowder

fresh crab
lisa and i shared some awesome chowder and amazing fresh crab!  it totally hit the spot! here's my thing about chowder, it can either be really good or really bad....i've had some amazing chowders before and some not so great ones.  but when you get a really good's real good!  i'm a huge clam chowder fan and i will always have a soft spot for ivar's clam chowder.  that stuff is like liquid cocaine to me...sooo delicious and addicting!  mmmmm.  anyways this chowder was pretty up there!  the seafood was fresh and the broth was just the right thickness!  and the crab...oh the crab was so sweet and delicious!  it almost melted in your mouth!  no butter needed!

after our snack we walked around a little more, checking in on the seals and seeing them lounge around.   then we headed towards the mission district.  our tummies were grumbling a little by the time we arrived and it was a beautiful day so ice cream was needed!  we headed to the bi-rite creamery.  there was a line out the door and around the corner, so we knew it had to be good!

 the ice cream definitely lived up to the hype and was absolutely perfect for the sunny day!  i got almond fudge swirl and ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles).  soooo delicious!!  we all took our ice cream and went to this beautiful park across the street!!!  it couldn't have been a more perfect treat!
after finishing our ice cream, we met up with one of jessa and ozan's friends, kyle.  he gave us a mural tour around mission.  it was really cool, we got to see a ton of murals and we even went to this alleyway with tons of murals lining the sides.  it was beautiful!   here is one of my favorite murals that we saw.  a lot of them had to do with struggles and things going on in their own lives.  it was really cool getting to see this side of the city rather than just the touristy side of things.  all the walking had got us hungry too so we stopped off and got some tacos to hold us over till dinner. 

for dinner we met up with one of boo boo's friends down here, alex, who is actually a friend of mine too (he used to live right by me in seattle).  alex, and a couple of his friends met us at sushi bistro for dinner.  unfortunately, i was so hungry again that i didn't get to snap any pics of my sushi.  but i got the rock n' roll which had baked spicy scallops served on top of a california roll.  it was delicious!  i love sushi and this totally hit the spot!  everyone's food looked great too!  it was a really cool place and i totally recommend it to anyone who is in the area and has a liking for sushi.  there were a ton of unique rolls and everything i read literally made my mouth water!  after dinner we went to a few bars/clubs and i was lucky to meet up with two friends who mine who live in san fransisco, laura and derek!  it was great getting to see them and catch up!  

sunday was our last day in the bay area and we still had so many places to eat at on our to do list, i might take this opportunity to add that our "to do" list was more of a "must eat" list!  we started our day off with dim sum at the great eastern restaurant in china town!  I LOVE DIM SUM!!!  let me first state that...i love everything about dim sum!  it just reminds me of my grandparents and family gatherings and cousins and just the food is unlike anything else.  if you haven't tried dim sum yet, you really need to.  it's literally a life experience everyone needs to have!  anyways since the wait was a little longer than expected, we made a side trip to a little bakery.  i got some custards and sweet buns  (sadly no pics either), and they were delicious!  by the time we got to dim sum everyone was starving! 

everything we ordered was delicious!  i think my favorite thing though was the pork balls or the eggplant stuffed with shrimp.  mmmm just looking at this picture is making me want to go back and get some more dim sum or make my parents take me to some here!  bahahahahah (readers, i hope your mouth is literally watering as much as mine)!

after lunch we walked around chinatown a little more and then headed to our last lookout.  the bay area gave us some awesome weather while we were there, minus like 20 minutes on saturday when it "misted" (i'll save my umbrella rant for another day).  sunday was the sunniest most beautiful day we had had yet!  blue skies and pretty warm, it was sad it was our last day.  we made our way to the twin peaks, and it was just breathtaking!  the views were amazing!!!  
sooo beautiful!!
 we had a blast up there, enjoying the sun, taking pictures, and just being silly!  it was a great way to spend our day!  we had a few more hours until we had to drop off boo boo and head back to the airport so we decided to get ice cream....of course!! we tried going to triple peaks ice cream, but sadly found out it had burned in a fire.  fortunately there was another little place near selling their ice cream, so we headed to chile pies!  when we finally reached it, there was a pretty long line!  they sold all sorts of pies and ice cream.  everything looked delicious!  the decor inside was soo cute with tons of mason jars everywhere (i have a thing for mason jars).  i got a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream.  delicious and totally hit the spot!  YUMMM!!

 after our ice cream snack it was time to start heading back to berkeley.  loni had mentioned a sandwich shop that was really close to where we were - ike's place.  the line was out the door when we got there!  they have massive sandwiches and have been featured on amazing eats (side note: i was actually watching amazing eats on wednesday and ike's place was the feature...i started freaking out and telling all my roommates that's where i had eaten!  i was pretty excited!!)  i got the spiffy tiffy, but without avocados, mushrooms, lettuce and tomato.  i know sounds pretty bad, but it was delicious!!!  i just enjoy really concentrated flavors! bahahah! 
my little ike's sandwich
lisa eating her sandwich
after going to ike's it was time to drop boo boo off and head back home.  it was a fantastic weekend!!! i'll never forget the food we ate, the laughs we shared, and the amazing times i had with extraordinary people!  thanks for an unforgettable weekend guys!  

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