Waterbar Dinner

We walk up the big hill back to the hotel. Seriously, I work out regularly, but this hill is a killer. When we get to the hotel, we rest and then get ready for dinner. Susie wears a dress that we bought and thought we would share. I wore it once and said, oh yea, no. Way to old for this dress this short. She looks killer in it though. Well, she looks killer in everything.

DSCN3685

I wear my new shoes. THEY are killer.DSCN3686

We take an Uber to Waterbar, which is on the Embarcadero. I ate here with Zung the first time we visited Nicholas here. It is pretty good seafood with an amazing view of the Bay Bridge.

IMG_0815

IMG_0817 DSCN3710 DSCN3714

We order drinks. I like mine, but Susie doesn’t really like hers and really doesn’t drink much of it. Mine is the one with cucumber. Bet that surprises you!

IMG_0814

DSCN3694

Susie trying to hide that she is not drinking her drink.

IMG_0816

Susie looking gorgeous.

DSCN3692

Susie looking goofy.

DSCN3695

Food.

DSCN3696 DSCN3697 DSCN3698 DSCN3699 DSCN3700 DSCN3701

The food was quite yummy.

Susie, still trying to hide her half drank drink.

DSCN3707

After dinner we take some pictures outside, with the bridge behind us. I know you are really glad that I clarified that, since it isn’t completely obvious from the pictures.

DSCN3712 DSCN3713

We take an Uber back to the hotel. We get in our jammies and watch the Food channel, Susie’s favorite. Because, ya know, today hasn’t been about food enough.

There will be plenty of food tomorrow too.

Posted in Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Non-Mexico Trips, Restaurant, San Francisco/Napa | Leave a comment

Food Tour of the Mission

Chris arrives and gives us a brief orientation. There are some people who have been on his tours before. I consider that a good sign. I like this guy’s energy. He gives us bottles of water and off we go.

IMG_0736

We will get to experience the best the Mission has to offer, both in food and in art with their legendary murals.

IMG_0733Our first stop is Mr.King’s bakery. While this is the Latin district, Mr. King is Chinese. There are fresh coconut buns and mini baguettes of french bread for each of us. Are you kidding me? This is how we are starting? Filling up on delicious carbs? Susie and I decide to split one of each.

IMG_0734

We made sure to take both a picture of Susie and Mr. King, and the delectable goodies.

IMG_0738 IMG_0739 IMG_0741

There are incredible murals all over.

IMG_0742

Chris has identified Susie as the vegetarian of the group and assures her that he has made arrangements along the way for her dietary requirements to be met. Oh yes, he did, and then some!

IMG_0743 IMG_0744

Our next stop is a kind of sandwich place.

IMG_0752

IMG_0747

I think he called what we had a drunken sandwich. I called it delicious. It had this spicy sauce poured over it.

IMG_0749

Susie got two plates of a vegetarian option.

IMG_0751

We also got smoothies made with all kinds of veggies.

IMG_0750

Chris had a great story about the mural on the wall inside the shop. I can’t remember it in enough detail to recount it here, so you will just have to go on the tour yourself to find out what it is.

IMG_0748

Another gratuitous mural shot.

IMG_0754

Next stop is a butcher shop, that also sells prepared food.

IMG_0755 IMG_0756 IMG_0757

I love Chris’ expression in this pic.IMG_0758

We get the spiel from Chris and  the owner about the meat, and then we get food. Susie gets two quesadillas. And Sal, the owner, gets pictures taken with two ladies.

IMG_0759 IMG_0760 IMG_0761

Some apple (manzanilla) soda.IMG_0762

IMG_0763

We are starting to feel full, so Chris takes us on a tour of the murals.

IMG_0765

IMG_0766

IMG_0767

 

IMG_0795 IMG_0769

IMG_0770

This mural was defaced. It’s really hard to imagine what could lead someone to do something like that. Some these murals are 40 years old.

IMG_0771IMG_0772 IMG_0780

IMG_0776 IMG_0777

 

IMG_0791

IMG_0794

IMG_0793

IMG_0792

 

 

 

IMG_0791

 

IMG_0790

 

They were restoring this mural.

IMG_0788

IMG_0787

 

IMG_0783

 

IMG_0782

 

After walking and looking at the murals it is time to get back to eating. Chris takes us to a place that had Pupusas. Of course, he has a great story about this place. It has to do with the owner and all his wives working there.

IMG_0796

Susie likes Pupusas, but I am not a fan, so I only eat a few bites.

Next he takes us to a place where we sit down and order drinks. Susie has a beer. I don’t drink beer, so I probably just had a coke.

IMG_0799

 

We are sharing a table with a couple from New Jersey. They are tourists and are all about the food. She has a itinerary several pages long of where they are going to experience all kinds of food. That is my kind of trip!

IMG_0802

 

The food comes and it is a huge portion! Mine has meat and stuff.

IMG_0804

 

Susie’s has beans and stuff. I kind of lust after her avocados.

IMG_0805

 

 

 

I can’t eat it all. I am full. Just then Chris walks in with dessert.

IMG_0808

 

 

 

Too much food! He next takes us to a little grocery store and talks about some of the products there. We have one more thing to eat as we choose a frozen treat on our way out. I don’t like the one I choose so I don’t eat much of it. Susie likes hers and eats it all.

IMG_0809

 

Chris takes us back to the Pupusa place and has a drawing for prizes. I win a tool that is used to make Mexican hot chocolate. It has intricate carvings on it and is pretty cool. I have yet to make hot chocolate with it though. Lastly, we fill bags up with candy that is popular in the area.

Susie and I call an Uber. We have the driver drop us off at Union Square and we shop some more. We go first to H&M because there was a lady on the tour with a really cute dress and she said this is where she got it. They have it, but it doesn’t look cute on me. We don’t buy anything there. Macy’s next for shoes. We don’t even try anything on. While there are a couple pairs of good shoes, there are not enough sales people. We stop in several stores, but I guess we are just not feeling it today because we don’t buy anything.

We have had such a great day. The food tour was awesome. And now we have dinner!

IMG_0812

Posted in Excursions, Food/Menu Items, Non-Mexico Trips, San Francisco/Napa, Shopping, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fabulous Food Tour in the Mission

We wake up, not terribly early, and get ready for our day of eating. We figure out what time we have to leave. I check Google maps and double the time in case there is heavy traffic. I text Nicholas and ask if he is going to join us for breakfast. I don’t hear back from him and we go to the restaurant, ten minutes behind our schedule. We ask to be seated and are told there is an eight minute wait to be seated. Really? Eight minutes? Not five, not ten. Eight. Who knew the hotel restaurant would be so busy on a Sunday morning? I am not prepared for any wait and am calculating in my mind if we have enough time. The buffet, which would be the fastest, is a ridiculous $38 per person. We were not planning on a large breakfast because the food tour will have PLENTY of food. There is coffee, but not tea, set up outside the restaurant. Susie gets herself some coffee. The restaurant has some to-go items, so we just ask for a couple croissants to go. They give them to me without charging me. We went back to the room and I made some tea. Susie eats her croissant, as well as some kind of protein bar. It is less than appetizing looking and I taste it. Uhhhh, yea, not thanks. While the croissant is good, it is also small and the $5 they normally charge would have been way too much. I am happy we were not charged.

We call for an Uber and go to Chinese Food and Donuts, the meet up place. We go inside to wait.

IMG_0730

It is empty. Then Susie notices all these people outside. We go outside and ask if they are there for the food tour and they are.

IMG_0732

It was an added tour and it is FULL! The tour is with Chris Milano’s Foodie Adventures, and Chris himself is our tour guide.

This is my second food tour in San Francisco. Tung and I did one when we were here in October 2013. We really enjoyed it. For a variety of reasons I went with a different tour company this time.

Chris arrives right at 10:30. Let’s get this tour started!

Posted in Excursions, Non-Mexico Trips, San Francisco/Napa | Leave a comment

Shopping in Union Square

We are ready to go shopping at Union Square. I’ve done it a couple of times and am not bored yet. The locals seem to look down their nose at people who enjoy shopping at Union Square. I can live with that. I’m not quite sure what you are supposed to do, when you are a tourist, that isn’t touristy. I have gone over to the dark side and am a blatant tourist.

We ask the bellman how to get to Union Square. He remembers my name from when I arrived this morning. I wonder if they give them a memory test when they apply for the job? He doesn’t want to send us through the tunnel (not sure why). He gives us directions and we walk down one street and then down a steep hill. Really steep. I am thinking how, at the end of the day, we will have to walk UP that really steep hill.

We stop at Walgreen’s because Susie needs contact lens stuff and Nicholas wants some Airborne because he feels like he might be getting sick.

Next stop is DSW. It is the best DSW ever. Four floors of shoes. I try on these amazing Vince Camuto heels. I decide to think about it since we are just getting started. I do take a picture of them though, in case I want to look at them while I think about it.

IMG_0695

We go to the shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue. The sales people kind of ignore us. Big mistake. They may not know it, but they are in the presence of a serious shoe shopper. We go to Zara and Susie tries on some colorful, furry coats.IMG_0711 IMG_0712

Nicholas wants me to take a picture of him and Susie together. The first pictures I took had too many shadows on their faces. Still, not bad pics of my kids, yes?

IMG_0697

IMG_0698 IMG_0699 IMG_0701

IMG_0703

This is the one that made the cut.Damn! They look good.IMG_0704

Me and my boy. You can see my hair is not loving San Francisco.

IMG_0707

Me and my girl.IMG_0708

We go to Walgreens again so Nicholas can get some Occillo to fight the bug that is trying to get him. It seems like there is a Walgreens on every corner in this city. We go to Joe’s Jeans. They are having an awesome sale for the holiday weekend. By the time our trip is done, we have done some serious damage here. We don’t buy anything this first visit. We have reservations for afternoon tea at the Rotunda at Neiman’s we have to get to. But we WILL be back.

Nicholas says good-bye. He has to go to work. We are hoping to have breakfast with him again tomorrow.

We go to the Rotunda and are seated. They give you a delicious popover with strawberry butter instead of bread. Susie likes it.

IMG_0713

I like it too, but only have a couple bites because I know what it coming, and how much of it is coming and how stuffed I will be after it arrives and I eat it.

We have tea, of course.

IMG_0715

I have the option that includes some champagne. Bet you’re not surprised.

IMG_0717

Then they bring the glorious tower of treats. Susie loves her some cucumber sandwiches.

IMG_0720

After we eat as much as we can, and more than we thought possible, or than we should have, we go and do more shopping. We look at clothes at Neiman’s, briefly. They are so freakin’ expensive. I’m not sure how much money I would have to have to drop that much money on clothes. We stop at the shoe department and I try on some freakin’ expensive shoes. That I can do, drop a lot of money on some gorgeous shoes. But I don’t this trip. I know that hoes never feel good on the day that I have traveled.

We go back to Joe’s and this time we buy some jeans. I get an awesome deal on the ones I buy because the fly is sewn a little funky and everything is 30% off to begin with. They give me 45% off. There are good deals everywhere. We go to Steve Madden I find cute boots. It’s 30% off if I take this picture and post it to Instagram. Done.

IMG_0722

The male salespeople at Steve Madden are super friendly, the women, not so much. After Steve Mdden we go to BCBG, Victoria Secret, Express and DSW again. I buy the shoes I took a picture of earlier. Susie gets boots and running shoes.

We have plans to go to a restaurant, Sotto Mare in North Beach, but we are too tired. We drag our tired selves up the big hill, stopping to buy a bottle of wine for me.

IMG_0723

When we get to the Ritz Carlton there are still all those people at the entrance. They say hello, welcome, welcome back. Okay, enough guys.

We have shopped until we dropped. We have been up since 4 am. Susie thinks briefly about going to the fitness center to work out, but says she feels like walking up that big hill was a workout.

Susie helps me open the wine. I look to see if they have a corkscrew and find a wine key. I almost take off a finger trying to use it. Afterwards Susie finds one of those winged corkscrews. I wish I had found that first.

DSCN3678

I have a glass of wine while I peruse the room service menu. My feet hurt and I am tired.

DSCN3680

We order room service and Susie tries on several of the cute things she bought today. Well, actually, that I bought her. Very cute, yes?

DSCN3679

Room service arrives. I got a burger and fries.Sometimes you just gotta have one and nothing else will do.

DSCN3684

Susan got this. It looks like a vegetarian Bahn Mi.

DSCN3682

We got chocolate cake for dessert, but it didn’t impress.

DSCN3683

We eat the food and then call room service to come get the dishes. We watch some crazy chef show, Susie’s favorite genré. I think it was Cutthroat Chef, or something.

I drink some more wine.  We go to sleep, to rest up for the food tour tomorrow.

Posted in Food/Menu Items, San Francisco/Napa, Shoes, Shopping, Spa | 2 Comments

Brunch and Wanderings

We have arrived in San Francisco! I call for an Uber, we find it, and it’s an uneventful ride to the hotel, the Ritz Carlton. From the moment we arrive at the Ritz Carlton we are treated exceptionally nicely. The bellboys greet us as they open the car door and they take our luggage. There are a bunch of people standing around the entrance welcoming us. I suspect someone important was arriving that day because these people were at the front entrance all day, but not other days. We go to the front desk and Ashely checks us in. They only have a room with a king bed, which is fine. King beds are huge and I don’t mind sharing a bed with my daughter. I usually tend to be a little more protective of my space with other women I share rooms with, but this will all be good. I just hope my snoring doesn’t bother her, that close.

At the front desk Ashely asks us why we are here and what we plan to do. She starts out very polite and formal. We say we are going to go shopping, have tea at Neiman’s Rotunda and go on a walking food tour. She is really interested in the food tour. She proceeds to tell us about a cheese place in town and if we like cheese we should check it out. They do classes and tastings. She tells us she did a wine and cheese tasting there once with a friend. They didn’t think there would be that much wine, so they had cocktails beforehand. There ended up being a lot of wine and “we got really hammered.” It was pretty funny how she started out so reserved and by the end of our check-in she was telling us that.

We go to our room and shortly after, our bags arrive. It is a nice big room, with a nice big bathroom, which surprises me. The rooms at the Grand Hyatt are so tiny and the bathroom is tiny and I just thought that’s what hotels were like in downtown San Francisco.

There is lots of free water, which is good, but they charge $15 for internet, which is bad. Who still charges for internet? I manage to go without internet for the weekend, and just use my phone for internet.

I texted Nicholas before we left the airport, hoping that by the time we got to our hotel and checked in he would have arrived so we could all go to brunch there at the hotel. Perhaps if I had texted him before we left Denver he would have been there on time. I call him and he is still getting ready and hasn’t even left his house in Ocean View or Ocean Beach, or something with the name Ocean in it.

Susie and I are too hungry and that Mimosa is way too long overdue for us to wait for him, so we go to the restaurant, Parallel 37. I order a Mimosa and Susie orders a Bloody Mary. Susie orders Eggs Benedict, which are to die for good. I order crepes and berries, which are good, but not as good as Susie’s EB. The potatoes they serve with it are really good too.

I text Nicholas and he says he is on his way so I ask him if I should order him an Eggs Benedict. He replies, “yes, please.”

He takes an Uber from his house to the hotel. It takes him so long to get there that they have to make him a new EB because the first one sat there under the heat lamps too long. I wanted to say, “I’ll eat it!” But that surely would have embarrassed my children.

After we have all eaten, and I have had a Mimosa or two, Susie wants to find the fitness center. It is downstairs, but apparently there are two elevators that go downstairs and we take the wrong one and wander around the conference rooms for a bit before we realize there is no fitness center there. We ask in the lobby and they point us to the elevators that are right there and we finally find the fitness center. It is a nice fitness center, if you want to do that kind of thing when you’re on vacation. I don’t happen to be one of those people.

They have spa water all over the hotel, not just at the spa. Every day it has something different in it, cucumbers, berries, citrus. You will not go thirsty here.

Enough wandering around this hotel, point me in the direction of the shopping!

Posted in Drinks, Excellence Riviera Cancun, Food/Menu Items, Non-Mexico Trips, San Francisco/Napa | Leave a comment