Sonoma was the vacation during our time in California, but the fun wasn’t over as we drove away from Bodega Bay. The entire purpose of flying out West was for Tom’s work, a huge cybersecurity conference in San Francisco.
I’ll take my travel any way I can get it, even if it means working the entire time I’m away. And indeed, the majority of our week in San Francisco was spent hectically working, but with an excellent change of scenery.
The sunsets, as seen from our hotel window, were unreal and the view was just as charming during the day when I sat chained to my desk pumping out a deadline.
For the first couple of days, the majority of our outings were for food. On our first night we were schmoozed at a work event of Tom’s and then, exhausted, retreated back to a restaurant at our hotel, Kin Khao, which actually turned out to be rather excellent. We originally planned to just grab takeout, but wound up being wooed by this woman-owned Thai restaurant focusing on local ingredients.
We’d snacked at the event, so we kept dinner on the lighter side, sharing a few appetizers: a perfectly pungent pickle plate (how about that for alliteration?), laab tod (spicy pork meatballs) and yum kai dao (fried duck egg with chili jam dressing).
I highly recommend all three of these dishes. The restaurant can trend toward the pricier side, and in our experience the servers may try to up sell you quite a bit, pushing their prix fix menu (which I’m sure is super delicious). But if your appetite isn’t huge, you can fill up for a pretty reasonable price.
I looked forward to breakfast every morning, when I’d venture out on my own to try a new place each day. I ended up having juice and a breakfast burrito every day but one, which felt perfectly Californian.
A favorite stop was colorful Un Cafecito in the Tenderloin. The service was excellent and I had a great time working there for an hour or so one morning.
Once I got somewhat caught up on work, I was able to tear myself away from the desk in the afternoons for a little exploring.
On a brilliantly sunny day, I walked over to the Yerba Buena Gardens to stretch my legs.
And on a drizzling, gloomy day I went on a long walk to the Embarcadero to get my tourist on.
I was mad at myself for not making the trip on a nicer day, but the foggy weather actually had a certain amount of San Francisco charm about it.
After meandering along the water for a while, I decided to visit the famous Fog Harbor Fish House for a late lunch.
I checked off two San Francisco dining musts with this meal – clam chowder and sourdough bread. After a rather couple of days, this solo meal was a treat.
I made friends with the bartenders, who made a mean cucumber-basil gimlet, and people watched for a long while after finishing my food.
Tom and I spent part of our honeymoon in San Francisco (perhaps I’ll do a throwback post of these days) and saw the majority of the main sights during that trip – Pier 39, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, the Sutro Baths – so I never really felt like I had to do anything specific during this trip. It was nice to just go with the flow and not have a packed itinerary.
I wandered around the pier after lunch, stopping to take photos for several vacationing families and snapping some of my own.
We stayed in Union Square on our honeymoon, but never actually made it to the square to look around, so after another breakfast run the next day I walked over to take a look.
I loved finding the San Francisco hearts all over the city, such a cool concept.
We concluded our trip with a meal we’d been looking forward to all week. During our honeymoon, before walking up to Lombard Street, we randomly stopped in for a quick breakfast at Golden Coffee. It’s an innocuous little diner, run by a quiet husband and wife, but it turned out to be one of our favorite meals of the trip.
We knew we had to return for a bit of nostalgia and comforting, classic breakfast food.
The main draw of this place is how cheap it is. If I lived in San Francisco, I’d eat here at least weekly.
Although we left several things on our to-do list for the week unchecked (walking the Golden Gate Bridge, dinner at Scomas, hiking Twin Peaks), it was a fantastic week in a fantastic city. Tagging along for Tom’s work also mean it was incredibly affordable. His flights and our hotel were covered, and I booked my flight with points. Being busy kept us from spending much money during the day as well.
Our week in San Francisco was a reminder that travel doesn’t always have to be about tours and sight-seeing, and that any time spent in a different place can create great memories if you keep an open mind.