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.


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.


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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!



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


Susie looking gorgeous.


Susie looking goofy.



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The food was quite yummy.

Susie, still trying to hide her half drank drink.


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.

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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.

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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.


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.


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

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There are incredible murals all over.


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!

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Our next stop is a kind of sandwich place.



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


Susie got two plates of a vegetarian option.


We also got smoothies made with all kinds of veggies.


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.


Another gratuitous mural shot.


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

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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.

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Some apple (manzanilla) soda.IMG_0762


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





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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.

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They were restoring this mural.








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.


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.



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!



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



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





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





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.



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!


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.


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.


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!

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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.


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?


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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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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?


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


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


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


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