This will be my longest post to date. It feels like 2012 completely sped by. 2013 is now upon us. Last year was full of ups and downs, but I truly believe that it was one of the best years of my life. I increased my coding skills, spent time with Gloria who I love very much, I was blessed with a full time job, many of my friends have moved forward in their careers and in life, I have gone to concerts, parks, museums, new food places, and gotten to travel. After Gloria’s graduation in December of 2012, I got to participate in my first company Christmas Party. We started the evening at Estância Churrascaria. I have never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, but it was so good and I was so full. I got to try nearly everything on the menu before my body said no more.
Estancia Churrascaria Yelp Review
Then it was on to Dave and Busters for some games and beers. I had a good time, and I won Gloria this nice little prize:
The week just kept getting better, as I was able to see the great comedian Louis C.K. thanks to her! We found out about him coming to Austin by pure chance, and somehow she was able to find tickets last minute. So clutch…
I laughed so hard my face was hurting the next day and I was tired at work, but it was completely worth it :-).
As my coworker was soon to depart to Japan to see his fiancée, we ended up going to a new place (new to me) for lunch. We tried Lotus Honan nearby our work place. It was a very enjoyable meal actually. However, I ended up defaulting to seasame chicken for the main meal. I need to expand.
Lotus Hunan Yelp Review
Before I knew it, the time for my San Francisco vacation had arrived. Thanks to Patricia for the ride to the airport, Moyo, Patrick, and Geraldine for the recommendations, Emma and Danielle for the travel advice for NY before we settled on San Fran instead, Matt for being able to get us from DFW (though we ended up going with Gloria’s parents) and anyone else that helped us with advice for this journey. The flight was not bad at all from DFW to SFO through United. We left Dallas at 6 A.M. and arrived in San Fran at 8 A.M. Pacific Time.
We stayed at The Opal Hotel. It was nearby every spot that we wanted to check out, but even so, the walking in the city is no joke. Our shuttle dropped us off at the Hotel. The staff was very friendly, the cost resonably priced, a good location, and for free they upgraded us to a king size bed room. I definitely recommend this place if any of you ever go to San Francisco.
I will post some as I describe the trip (in particular the food), but there are more in the link at the end to my new Flicker set. I’m still new when it comes to taking good pictures, but it’s one of the hobbies I’ve been talking about for a long time, so it’s time to really get started.
First there was Ghirardelli Square, where Gloria and I got to see and try the Peppermint Bark after it being heavily promoted in the stores. I really like chocolate and mint combinations, so it won me over easily.
After spending a lot of time here and at Fisherman’s Wharf, we took a long walk to Chinatown, and stopped at a random restaurant on a whim called China House Jumbo Seafood Restaurant. I could not immediately find it on Yelp, but we decided that it couldn’t hurt to give it a chance. It ended up being an overall satisfying experience. It was fairly empty at the time we went, and my only complaint was that it was very cold inside for some reason. Anyways, onto the food. Gloria and I got right down to business and just ordered the Deluxe Family Dinner C for 2 People. It was a $30 meal that consisted of fried prawns, pot stickers, sizzling rice soup, mixed fried rice, sesame chicken and Mongolian beef. Everything came out fairly quickly and in the order listed, and it probably helped that they weren’t busy.
Last was the mixed fried rice, seasame chicken, and mongolian beef. Surprisingly, about half way through this part I started to get very full. The seasame chicken was perfectly sweet to me, the mongolian beef was above average, and the rice was well prepared. The shrimp within the rice did not have much taste though, but overall I do recommend this place. The food was tasty, service was good, price was reasonable, and the owner was very friendly and helpful to us lost tourists.
From here it was off to Chinatown, passing through the area with various clubs and shops. Even though neither was us was hungry, we took a quick stop at Nizario’s Pizza. It was TOTALLY worth it. Many pizza places like this have burnt and hard crust. It’s all personal preference, but the pizza crust was surprisingly soft here, the cheese just just melted right, and the pizza sauce had a certain sweetness to it. The price was $3.50 per slice, with full 12″ to 16″ pizzas of various styles between $10 and $20. The owner was actually a North African man who could tell that not only was I not from San Francisco, but that my family was Nigerian just from my look. We had a nice chat and I was sure to tip. I recommend this place if any of you are in the area.
Nizario’s Yelp Review
Chinatown was nice, but turned sour when an older lady tried to sell us stuff with a very high minimum for card uses. I can’t complain though. They know tourists come through all of the time, so everyone must try to make their money. We ended up just getting some small memorabilia. We toured the area, and Union Square.
The next morning, we walked down the street to Peter D’s for a nice breakfast. This place had a very old school classic diner feel in a good way. I got some nice fluffy pancakes, real eggs, sausage, and a hash brown combination, while Gloria got a giant waffle. Breakfast food is one of my favorites, and this place got it right in my opinion. It always helps when the staff is friendly and can strike up conversation.
Peter D’s Yelp Review
We stepped into the Exploratorium, but decided not to go in. Instead, we chose to go across town to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with a stop at Farmer’s Market for an hour or two for lunch. There was SO much food to choose from here, but I thought it a perfect time to go to the place that was recommended by Patrick. Roli Roti caught my eye. Even though we got there long before it closed, I was disappointed that they ran out of the porchetta pork sandwich due to the winter craze for it. I ended up getting their half chicken instead, which was still delicious. It came out to $7. The line was quite large, and they gave us free samples while waiting. WHEN I go back to San Fran, I will get the porchetta pork.
Roli Roti Yelp Review
Inside, there was El Porteno Empanadas. I’m quite happy with the meat pie (different animal, same beast) skills that Gloria has, and I was too full to try it, but people were buying so it’s too bad I didn’t try one.
El Porteno Yelp Review
Eventually, we went back to the hotel. Before falling asleep, I got hungry again and my shins were ruined from the 2 days of walking we had done so far, so I decided to try Mels Diner which was connected to our hotel. I got a simple cheeseburger and fries. The burger was fairly tasty and the fries were okay I suppose, but I feel at $13, it was a bit overpriced for what I got.
Mels Yelp Review
After some much needed sleep, the day started with some light rain (end of the world day, December 21st), so we decided to do some shopping. We walked to H&M where I got this amazing peacoat on sale that I am now using way too much, and a few other stores.
After shopping, a quick meal, and some rest, we used the efficient public transportation to get to Golden Gate Park. We ended up going to the California Academy of Sciences, where we learned (more) about plate tectonics, earthquakes, and their history to San Francisco and the world. It was much cooler than my Geology classes in college, as there was an earthquake simulation room and a special planetarium show. We learned about many creatures as well, and spent some time at the aquarium below and the gift shop.
For food, we stopped at Village Pizzeria. The staff here was also very good and the pizza and lasagna came out in a reasonable time. It was a but more costly than Nizario’s, and I prefer Nizaro’s style of pizza better, but this was was still good and I recommend it.
Village Pizzeria Yelp Review
The last day of our trip had arrived, and before we packed up, we decided to try two of the million donut shops we had seen while walking. We settled on donuts from Bob’s Donuts, and a egg and cheese croissant from Donuts and Things. Bob’s wasn’t bad, but I thoroughly enjoyed the croissant from Donuts and Things.
Bob’s Donuts Yelp Review
Donuts & Things Yelp Review
After a walk through the Museum District, a few pictures outside of city hall, and a quick stop for a snack, a tour of Japantown, and a picture at the Full House house, it was time to wait until our flight back home.
Of course on the way back to the hotel, we got hungry, so we took one last stop at Kyoto Sushi. The food was freshly made and incredibly hot, and the waiter was a really nice guy. He seemed about our age, and was actually going to take a road trip with his friends stopping in Texas sometime. We even got treated to a free dessert. I liked this place. I forgot what Gloria ordered, but here are the pictues of the miso soup and the rest.
Kyoto Sushi Yelp Review
That was a rough summary of our trip. Goodbye San Francisco, until we meet again.
2012 was a very eventful year. I know people that have gained so much, and those that have also lost so much, be it friends or family members. 2013 is a new year with new joys and challenges. Just be strong and keep trying to enjoy the time you have on this Earth. Life will always be full of ups and downs, and the downs will keep you there only if you let them. Until next time everyone.
Jay Electronica – Eternal Sunshine (Title inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)