Kaya Toast & Angel Island!

**I wrote this last Thursday and forgot to publish it- so here it is now!**

Hey friends! I am writing this post from about a million miles in the air. I’m not going to try to estimate exactly how many miles…I have a weirdly comical inability to estimate distance/measurement of any kind. One time I ordered wedding portraits our first year of marriage for a Christmas gift for my in-laws and accidentally ordered a portrait the size of a fireplace. Not. Exaggerating. It was the same size as the fireplace. I cannot be trusted when it comes to numbers.

So, yeah, I’m in an airplane and on Cloud 9- quite literally! I have everything checked off my what seemed endless “to-do” list leading up to this weekend & just caught up on reading posts! A little behind the scenes: I opened up all the new posts to read while I had WIFI on the ground and then am writing my comments in a Word document. When I land & have WIFI again I’ll just copy and paste um’ to the comment section. My favorite way to pass the time on flights 🙂

I downloaded episodes of The OA to get started on, but am in the mood to write at the moment. Traveling makes me extremely productive. I love that there is nothing else vying for your attention- especially when you’re in the air and disconnected from the world- you literally cannot do anything else except what you have right in front of you! And on this flight where I’m squeezed in the middle of two strangers I literally hope I don’t sneeze because I will elbow the person next to me on accident. Also, I hope they aren’t reading this because that’d be awkward?! Oh well!

So after our wonderful Easter (the last one in SF- hard to believe!), the following Monday April 22nd I reset for the week. Since my semester was officially done I had to get to those “back burner” items … you know, the ones that can wait but need to be done at some point: I called our prospective apartment complex to get on a wait-list, worked on stuff for the shower, made lists of what we need to do before moving, cleaned out my car, tried to sign up for the Boston Marathon (I’m having such an issue figuring out the application process- if someone has done it please let me know! It’s so confusing & I can’t seem to actually find a formal registration place or someone I can get in touch with—their customer service line doesn’t lead anywhere and I only get automated e-mails back)… anyways you get the picture.

In the afternoon of the 22nd I went on a little walk (my favorite way to just clear my head as of late- maybe even more than running *gasps from the crowd in the back*). I just loved these beautiful truly vibrant blooms!

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These ones are practically neon!

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Let’s see.. On Tuesday April 23rd, I made DJ some pepper jack stuffed chicken with jasmine rice and corn. I made some vegetarian Indian for myself with jasmine rice and tandoori naan from TJs. DJ had some, but said he preferred his chicken (fine– more veggie curry for me 🙂 ). He also is used to my chicken curry I make for him, so I promised I’d make it sometime soon!

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Wednesday April 24th …. well, I have no pictures, so either I was busy with hum- drum things or I disappeared into a black hole. Who knows.

Thursday April 25th was eventful though!! I woke up around 8, ran outside (it was a glorious morning). Then around 10:30 am my friend Alexandra from my nursing cohort met at our apartment. We took my car into the City (ya know I love driving into the City like a real weirdo)… First stop was BreadBelly. They have a few menu items I discovered through the ol’ I-G that I was itchin’ to try.

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We walked in and to our surprise there was no line, even though it was close to lunch time when we arrived. The place was immaculate. I’m trying to get that YELP elite status, so I wrote a review and will just share it here to give ya the low down. Definitely am going back ASAP!

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I couldn’t finish all the Kaya Toast so I saved it to have again in the morning (and had a cooler with me like I do every time I do when I go into the city so nothing goes to waste)!

We took the Ferry over on the Blue & Gold Fleet located at Pier 41. It was easy-peasy lemon squeezy finding it all. Important note: they do have a specific departure schedule, so it’s important to plan out your day rather than try to catch a Ferry last minute. I was glad we did a bit of research before rather than just winging it.

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The ride over was a bit bumpy, but the views were sooo incredible along the way. We saw some huge homes perched onto an Island in the distance and tried to figure out how they would get their groceries there or what they would do if they ran out of toilet paper.

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When we arrived we could not stop talking about how absolutely gorgeous this island was!! I honestly had no idea what to expect with it; I only knew it was a place on the bucket list I made months ago that we decided would be a fun spot to cross out for the day. Mainly this island is known for its nod to history & awesome hiking.

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Being a couple of nurses, something we both found incredibly fascinating was the fact that it was used to quarantine those with contagious diseases like smallpox, plague, and cholera.

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We went inside the tourist area and read up on some more history. All so interesante!

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Then we took off for our hike! It’s so nice because the hiking begins as soon as you step foot off the Ferry. You don’t have to take a cab or taxi to any spots- you just choose your path and get going!

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The views, the views, the views! This might be one of the most beautiful places you could go in the Bay. We couldn’t stop talking about how breathtaking it was at every turn. Of course, the pictures cannot do justice.

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As we walked along we noticed a little path that lead to some homes. We took it down and realized they were the homes we saw from the Ferry!! They were actually not homes at all, but abandoned barracks. So I guess no one was too concerned how they were gonna get that roll of Cottonelle. There was a baking house too that had literal smoke coming from the chimney! We stepped inside to check it out and walked right into a guided tour- WHOOPS! They were nice about it though and let us snoop around, haha.

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The Ferry ride back was much more smooth, but took longer since we stopped to drop people off at Sausalito and Tiburon.

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Peek of Alcatraz on the way back!

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We had SUCH a blast exploring Angel Island. It’s easily one of my favorite things I have ever done in the city. It’s a cheap activity too- all you have to do is pay for the Ferry. It’d be fun to pack a lunch and take the earlier Ferry out to make a day out of it! But the time we spent there for our festivities was just perfect–We got our history and our hike!

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So you know I don’t do a trip to the city without a food stop 😉 We were going to go to Cotogna, one of Alexandra’s favorites and a place I’ve been dyin’ to try (they have a famous giant ravioli). When we walked in they said the wait was at least 1.5 hours to sit at the bar or would be over three for a table. Thank you, next. We walked along Little Italy and Alexandra got a front row to my indecisiveness in full force, lol. There are SO many good restaurants in Little Italy. We finally settled on Tony’s Pizza… a place some consider the best pizza joint in the City.

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We told our hubs that we’d bring them home dinner, so we ordered three pies that we knew they’d enjoy too! The first was a marg, the second a New Yorker, and the third the Diavola. First up, the Margherita.. this is not just any marg… it  is a world-renowned, award-winning margarita pizza. I gotta say, we were both incredibly underwhelmed. It was extremely doughy and kinda luke-warm (we were sitting out in the freezing cold – the temp dropped quickly, so that may have been part of it!). I asked the waiter if that was normal for it to be like that… he explained the “soupy” doughy nature is a sign of a very authentic marg. Interesting. I absolutely prefer Pizza Antica’s  marg over this ANY day. But different strokes for different folks!

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The second famous one I saw all over the place was their New Yorker. This is one I knew DJ would love cause he loves a meat lovers pizza. I tried one bite with the meat so I could give an objective review before taking the rest of the meat off.. it was great! The crust was nice and crispy on this one. Still don’t prefer meat on my ‘za, but this was DJ’s favorite when I took it home for him.

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Last up was the Diavola. Both Alexandra and I agreed this was the best one of the three!! I tried a bite, and it was tremendous. Their hot sauce is already added to the Diavola, which I think is the main reason it’s such a winner in our books. I’m surprised it didn’t win any actual awards though. After our three slices a piece we tapped out and took the rest to go for our guys.

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And that wraps up one of my favorite days ever in the city. It was soo much fun hanging with Alexandra- we get each other on a kindred level. We’ve been through a lot of similar challenges in life & that first year of nursing bonded us in such a way where she feels like a sister to me. I’m gonna miss this one something fierce. Trying to convince her to move to Austin too 😉

I know this one was wordy,  but I just don’t wanna forget these special details. Thanks for reading!!

Question for you:

  • Do you prefer your pizza crust crispy or doughy?

xo <3

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Abstract Table & Easter in SF!

Hey hey!! I have one more day to catch up on posts before taking off for Ohio! I’ll be MIA till probably mid next week, but can’t wait to catch up on all your happenings then 🙂

After our hike, DJ and I blasted the heat in the car (it was freezin’ out there!) and then headed home to get ready. I was invited to Abstract Table in Oakland to try out their “Atolls” menu complimentarily. I was ecstatic and honored to try it out & really excited DJ could go with me. We made a little date night out of it!

I have never actually drove through downtown Oakland before. I was taking in all the buildings & noting restaurant names as we drove along. “Ohhh, I wanna try that place out sometime!” I probably said five times as we drove along the main drag.

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Abstract Table is located in The Gastropig and has seatings on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 pm/8 pm.

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We opted for the earlier time slot since we live about an hour from Oakland (and so I could get some natural lighting for pics if we’re being real 😉 ).

I love the purpose and inspiration of their menu. Their mission is to bring awareness to the fragility of the coral reefs by bringing innovative, vibrant, and piquantly beautiful flavors and plated dishes to the Bay! You can read about it in detail in the description below.

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The ambiance was super relaxed. It felt rustically casual, yet was clean and bright. They pride themselves on being fine dining, without the pretense and definitely nailed it! Also the menus are cheaper than most fine dining around. It is $50 for the five course or $70 for the seven course.

First, the waiter came out and offered us wines for the evening. Since it was mostly going to be seafood, we opted to try their white wines. I loved it- so crisp, great with the dishes. They served in little mini mason jars- so cute!!

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The first course was an oyster, scallop, squid, leek, citrus and starfruit.

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This is probably one of the most exquisite things I have ever eaten. It was a refreshing beginning to the meal!

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Second Course: Shrimp & scallop dumplings with seaweed caviar, avocado powder, and dashi. They were good, but the best was yet to come!

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Third course: Sea bean, guava, pineapple, black sesame wafer, and chili-yuzu vinaigrette. This was very sweet, but delicious.

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Fourth course: Ashen octopus, chicharron, passion fruit, coconut pearls, and octopus jus. This was yummy! It was incredibly unique with the flavor, but I loved the boldness of the dish.

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Fifth course: Wild boar belly with mango nectar poached carrot, jackfruit kimchi, and plantain puree. I was nervous to eat this whole dish since I don’t regularly eat meat- but I definitely had a few bites to try it out. It was tremendous!!! This was our favorite of the night. I don’t like the taste of meat, but this was so savory, without any dryness at all.

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Sixth Course: Braised goat, pigeon peas, baby greens, kabocha curry, and smoked chili. DJ loved this one! I didn’t care for the goat, but I loveeed the curry and pigeon pea mix.

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Seventh Course: Hawaiian cinnamon buckwheat cake with white chocolate-lime mousse, finger lime, chili sesame sand. Wow oh wow oh wow this dessert was magical!!! We were blown away.

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We are so thankful have tried out this phenomenally constructed and executed menu! Thank you, Abstract Table and Chef Andrew David Greene, for having us!

On the morning of April 21st (Easter), I started the day with some avocado toast with hummus and everything but the bagel seasoning from TJ’s.

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Easter outfit! Deej and I had to drive separately to church because he had to work a bit after.

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We attended a lovely Easter church service and then DJ headed to work for a few hours. When he came home around 1 pm, we zipped up to SF.

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I made us reservations at The Saratoga– A spot I’ve had my eye on for ages!!

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It had a gorgeous industrial interior!

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We started with some mimosa like drinks- both deliciously light, fruity, and not too overwhelmingly sweet.

We mainly wanted to try their Jenga Tots! These were truly tots with cream cheese, smoked salmon, cucumber, capers, and red onion. They were phe-nom-en-al!!! I am obsessed!!! This is a brunch dish at its finest. The actual tots had a wonderfully done crispy exterior with a savory, heavenly potato-ey pillow on the inside. I will dream of this.

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We also tried their mimosa donut. This was a donut with a blood orange glaze and pop rocks. I didn’t notice any pop rock poppin’, but it was still absolutely delicious. I would love to enjoy one of these with coffee in the morning. In most pictures I’ve seen it usually has a more bright red/pink color, so I’m wondering if they did something to change the color for Easter? hmmm. Either way – fantastic donut!

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After our scrumptious brunch, we headed to Ghirardelli square. Deej was having a little itch for one of their famous sundaes. The weather was as wonderful as it comes in the city– Bright, sunny, 70s, and even with the wind, not too cold- but also not too hot.

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It sure was windy though! hehe.

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But where there is wind– might as well take advantage of it for that wind-blown selfie, riiight? 😉

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We made it!

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The line was insanely long. Probably didn’t help that it was a holiday and a weekend. We decided we’d come back on another day.

Instead, we decided to go to the Palace of Fine Arts since I have never been before & it was within walking distance. DJ has been once and said it was definitely worth visiting!

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It was one aesthetically magnificent building. We also saw this little guy swimming around.

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It was much bigger than I expected! I have passed it in the distance many times while driving, but actually seeing it in person was a majestic experience.

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At this point my dogs were barkin’!!! After allll my trips to SF you’d think I’d know which shoes to wear to take on the hills & miles of walking. Well, I completely over-estimated the comfort of the gray booties (my “most comfortable” pair of non-athletic shoes). Fashion or pain? Hard decision, ya know. But next time, I am totally sticking to the Adidas. Learned my lesson!

Since DJ had to work Monday (and we wanted to make sure to make it back on time to see Game of Thrones) we decided to take dinner to go and then just heat it up when we were hungry later. Of course, we had to hit somewhere on the bucket list! Barzotto here we come!

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This is a cute little fast casual Italian restaurant located in the Mission. I have been stalking this specific dish, the snail shells with marinara, ricotta, lemon zest and pepper, for a few months now. We put in our GrubHub order, and it was ready just in time for when we pulled up.

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Even though we took it to go, I told DJ we had to try at least one bite in the car so we could give it a fair evaluation of it fresh from the kitchen. It was soo yummy & actually even better than I expected considering I’m not a huge marinara pasta fan. The lemon zest combined with the soft, creamy ricotta was the most pleasant combination. We finished the rest up that night with other leftovers from the fridge.

When we got home I realized I had a bit of time before Game of Thrones. I did a mini fill-in grocery trip of essentials.

So, little tidbit- DJ doesn’t love going into the city as much as I do (actually… he doesn’t really prefer it), so the fact that he took the whole afternoon after working on one of his only days off (and the day before) to go with me meant a ton <3 As I was driving home I passed by CREAM and decided to surprise DJ with some as a little thank you! (And because I felt bad the line was soo long at Ghirardelli).

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Chocolate on Oreo on Chocolate! Not exactly a Ghirardelli Sundae, but a close second 🙂

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And that wraps up our Easter!

Question for you:

  • Ok, so T-Swift dropped her new song last week. Would love to hear your thoughts. I thought it was ‘aight. Very happy, upbeat- definitely a “bop”. The “Spelling is fun” part took me aback a bit (it sounded like a movie soundtrack for a kids movie IMO). The actual music video was mesmerizing! I loveeeed that she collaborated with Brendon Urie. Their voices together was pure magic.

xo <3

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