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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Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay: Part 1!

***Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any uncontrollable stomach grumbles you may experience nor are we responsible for any cravings that may occur upon reading this post. If you are pregnant, or suspect you may be pregnant, there may be sushi triggers. Enter at your own risk, and we highly recommend bringing a sandwich***

This summer is truly one for the books! One of my greatest friends from college, Kelsey, was able to visit & prance around the city with me for a few days last week. You may recognize her from our wedding, but sadly we haven’t been together much since (she went to Uganda our last semester of college!).

I have never done sooo much in a short period of time (Nor am I sure I have ever ate so much, lol). Kels and I set out to knock off things from both of our bucket lists (This was, after all, her first time in CALIFORNIA, y’all!)

It’s so easy hanging with this chica because she is sooo go with the flow, and down with anything & when we’re together it’s just non-stop laughs mixed with great conversation. My heart is full <3 And sooooo are our stomachs. We also have the exact same taste in food, so we split everything the whole weekend which helped cut down on costs a bunch and allowed us to try a variety of nibbles! (and by nibbles I mean large meals that we are are calling snacks- deal?!).

We made the most of every second, and although she was only here for five days- it may take at LEAST four or five blog posts to recap it all. So let’s get toooo itttt!

We haven’t seen each other since the summer of 2016! She landed at around 12:20 at the Oakland Airport on Friday, July 27th. After exchanging the biggest hugs ever, we drove toward downtown SF to get a week of all time started. (wish Deej could have joined, but he had a homestand basically the whole time she was here, I took notes so I can take him back to these places though!).

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B Star, a Burmese inspired restaurant, was our first stop. People rave about this spot & swear it is a must try in SF. Their tea leaf salad has been on my foodie bucket list for a while. They also have a sister restaurant- Burma Superstar, that has a similar menu too.

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It was a tucked away little place, but the inside was so cute.

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We ordered the noodle salad, tea leaf salad, and samusa soup.

The noodle salad was light and refreshing- but nothing to write home about.

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The tea leaf salad brought a flavor that we’d never experienced. It was good, but sooo salty. Like almost too salty to enjoy for me. We ended up mixing the noodle and tea leaf and that combo was delicious; they balanced each other well.

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Now, the samusa soup was outstanding. This vegetarian soup has falafels, lentils, cabbage, potatoes, and jalapeños. This is, dare I say, the tastiest soup I have ever had. I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life. It was SO good. I am going to take DJ back just to try the soup!

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Time to see the famous Painted Ladies!! Would ya jus look at um’! Lookin’ dapper as ever, my friends.

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Everywhereeee you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, (there’s a heart)!!!! Ready to feel nostalgic?! You can peep these little ladies in the back of the intro here.

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LOVE HER!

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There is also a cute little park in Alamo Square if you have little ones.

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I decided since we were so close I would take Kels through Haight-Ashbury. The houses lining the walk down are a sight to witness! The level of meticulous attention & love poured into these front steps is evident. This one was reminiscent of the 16th Avenue Steps we visited about a month ago.

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Time to step back into the 60s!

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This is too funny…

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After Haight-Ashbury, we zoomed to Fishermans Wharf to be tourists doing touristy things.

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We ventured through Fisherman Grotto’s area, passed the sea lions, then into Pier 39’s hub! Kels is left-handed, so I was excited to show her the Lefty store.

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And what dooo you know? We were hungry again! Kels loves oysters, and I was trying to love oysters, so we looked up the best oysters in the area. The reviews for Sotto Mare were phenomenal, so we gave the joint a go.

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They are known for their world famous cioppino, but we still had a dinner planned, and wanted just some light, refreshing oysters. (But if you do venture here, make sure to try their cioppino! It’s now on my bucket list).

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We tried 3 East coast & 3 West coast oysters with the bloody mary mix shooters with an oyster in the bottom of the glass. So was it all up to the hype???????……

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YES!!!!!!!!

^ That was a bit dramatic , huh? Remember when we used to do that in chain mail back in the day? Okay totally digressing…

I started thinking I might be fond of oysters at Sam’s Chowder House, and these even surpassed that! The pairing with the cocktail sauce was a perfect touch too. So…. your girl officially LOVES oysters! Now I just need to get DJ on board.

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After slurpin’ down the half shell magic, we walked to Ghirardelli Square for our free samples of chocolate (yes, just go into the building and they are always handing out free samples), perused the niche boutiques, and drooled over the olive oil shop options.

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Ricky was on to something!

No matter how many times I am here I can’t help but snag a shot of the Powell & Hyde cable car (you can also see it in the full house intro video if you watch closely 😉 ).

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We found this interesting little street with books hanging from the wires too in North Beach. I had never noticed this before, and was curious behind the “why”…

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I found that it is an art installation called Language of the Birds. The books actually light up at night. There are words on the sidewalk too. It’s pretty cool to see the pictures of it at night.. you can find them here!

In the evening, we did the hour trek back to San Jose area and had a hankerin’ for some Bay Area quality sushi. There are cravings, and then there are sushi cravings. And lucky for us, there is a new place that opened recently on Santana Row called Ozumo.

I prayed it would be up to par since we were both walking in blind & I wanted to make sure Kels got some dang yummy sush while she was here (considering it is also her favorite food group).

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It looked brand spankin’ new! It had the chic, contemporary, Japanese restaurant vibes that are pretty popular in downtown SF, but I haven’t found any restaurants like it here… until now, of course!

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We decided to sit right at the sushi bar so we could watch the sushi being made. When I say this was the best dining experience we have ever had, I mean it. The service was impeccable. The atmosphere was light, warm, and fun, but not stuffy (like many of the row restaurants can be), the staff was superbly friendly and attentive, and the sushi was the greatest sushi we have ever had.

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The sushi chef gave us complimentary octopus to start our meal (yes complimentary, that was absolutely spectacular)…. we were being treated like royalty. I was like, “are they mistaking us for someone important?!” haha. Kels said that lately she has been on a streak for getting things for free, so we chalked it up to her being our good luck charm 😉

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I was craving wakame, but they didn’t have plain wakame on the menu. We decided to be adventurous and try their personal take on a seaweed salad- the Kaiso Salad. This included the red & green tosaka seaweed, wood ear mushroom, green onion, sweet chili dressing. I am thankful they didn’t have plain wakame, because it would have been a shame to miss out on this dish! It was perfection. So tasty, so flavorful, and so light.

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Then for the best part of the meal (which is saying a LOT), we had their shacho roll with tuna, salmon, scallop, crab salad, takuwan wrapped in soy paper, and lobster sauce. Umami flavors for dayyyyyyyyys.

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BEST SUSHI ROLL OF ALL TIME.

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And we also split the tremendous tuna tataki with thinly sliced seared black pepper encrusted tuna, truffle oil, ponzu, grated ginger, and micro cilantro. Heaven. Heaven straight on a plate. We ate our food soo slowly because we didn’t want it to end. Every single nibble was savored.

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We tried the cheapest red on the menu, and it was a perfect accompaniment with the meal- although a bit too generous of a pour to finish it all up.

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Happy Happy Camper with something in her teeth. (Sign of a fab meal- amiright?)

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Final touches- the bill being presented in a Thank You card <3

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Ozumo, we laud your restaurant & your food! Thank you for an unforgettable dining experience. We will be back!!

We walked around the row for about a couple hours. We even witnessed some random motorcycle show out of the blue.

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We decided we weren’t quite ready to turn in for the night. There was one other place on my bucket list to knock off and believe it or not, we decided to do dinner number two at around 10 pm…. whoops! It’s not like we were starving, but we were like, “we could eat!” know what I meaaan?

Pizza Antica is always packed out the door, but since it was very late at this point, we were able to get a seat right away.

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We split their fantastic margherita pizza. (Their bread is great too!).  I’ll be bringing DJ back to try this ‘za. He really loves a flatbread margherita. Since we were satisfied after about a piece.5 each, we had leftovers that would be perfect for nibblin’ the rest of the week.

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And finally, after eating about seven full meals in one HALF day, we called it a night. Yes, that was all one day folks. I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed. I’m going proud, yes definitely proud. It’s an investment in the best of memories, ya know? 😉

Questions:

Oysters- Yay or nay?

Did you watch Full House growing up?

xo <3

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San Fran & San Jose in 23 hours? You betchya!

Hey guys! I am SO stoked to share this post with you all! My dear friend from college came to visit all the way from ninder nanders (nickname DJ and I use for Indiana). Man, oh man, I missed this girl. We haven’t seen each other since graduation last year. That’s just too much time I do say.  On Monday I worked all day, and after the relief of knowing I was in the clear, I cleaned out my closet and went through clothes to give to good will/ take to Plato’s. Love me some cash for clothes, ya feel? I found some shirts that I was deciding if I wanted to give away, but actually ended up liking them now and kept them after not trying them on for years.

Sarah arrived at about 1230 at Tuesday at the San Jose airport right down the road! We headed to SF to explore the city. I felt so bad because this was Sarah’s first time here, and we could not see the doggone Golden Gate. I have never seen such dense fog before! It was crazy, but still somberly beautiful.

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She’s so flipping cute I can’t even take it. COME BACK, SAR!

After popping over to the non-existent Golden Gate, we went to the loyal, fog-resistant Ghirardelli square. Chocolate will never let you down.

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We grabbed the free samples of the pumpkin spice milk chocolate (uhm, yum) and then explored. The inside of the Ghirardelli shop is so neat- it has a very 50s/60s-esque vibe, and you can actually watch the chocolate churning which fulfills my childhood Charlie-and-The-Chocolate factory dreams.

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They are known for their massive, and delicious, sundaes, but it was a wee bit chilly out for us to grab one. If you want to see pictures of the sundaes in all their glory, you can check out our experience here!

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BUT what can warm ya up better than a nice glass of wine? There is a cute little winery, Wattle Creek Winery, in Ghirardelli square that I’ve actually wanted to try for some time now. I was excited when Sarah suggest we stop for some- told yaaaaa- we twins.

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It’s super unique and has eclectic vibes. It has a mish-mash of decor and colors that could easily come off as tacky, but somehow the way it all pulls together it is nothing but modern class.

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This is a picture below of their wattle leaf, learn something new everyday!

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After hanging out in the square, we headed down to the pier.

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Naturally, I had to show Sar Fisherman’s Wharf and the famous sea lions.

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They were being super lazy for us. Prolly grieving the fact that the Golden Gate up and vanished like the rest of us.

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We caught glimpses of Alcatraz and then headed down the pier to the shops. If you know me, you know I have a weird love for sock shops.

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We finished the walk down to the Ferry building and then turned around to walk back while soaking in the views along the Embarcadero.

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We were pretty ravenous after all the walking and decided to try Crab House on the pier. I have never been here before, but the bibs drew us in (you’ll see what I mean ;)).

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The crab house can be described in one word: FUN. It is decked out in themed crabs everywhere you turn, the staff is incredibly friendly, the views of the bay were fantastic, and the food. OH. THE. FOOOOOD!

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We decided to split a few different items from the menu to get a varied taste of everything. This calamari was the bomb, it was the definition of flavorful and perfectly crispy. 🤤

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We also tried their crab chowder. We chowed down like we were from out of town. It was insanely delish.😋

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And, of course, we couldn’t pass up their iron roasted mussels and shrimps. Holy maloly. The word tasty has a new definition for me after these little suckers.

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THE BIBS! Now do you understand why we had to come here?

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We actually survived the whole meal without getting anything on them (I can’t believe it either), and ended up taking some bibs for the road. What didn’t we take with us? Oh, the food, because we demolished every last lick.

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Walking back to the car we were unable to escape the mouth-watering scent of baking bread wafting from the Boudin bakery. As we passed the window we noticed an alligator made of pieces of bread.

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When we came home we chatted on the balcony sippin’ on wine and eating some ice cream.

In the morning we went to (if you are a long time follower you can probably guess)- Bill’s!!!!!! The actual best breakfast place in the whole world.

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We split one of their mimosas (it’s pretty essential for a brunch at Bill’s).

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Sarah had their cinnamon roll french toast. Oh. my. word. It was insanely good. Like there are actually no words to describe the deliciousness that is their cinnamon roll french toast.

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I usually get their Greek omelette, but this time I had their Salmon Benedict with a bagel, capers, onions, smoked salmon, and poached eggs. It hit the spot. I think I muffled out a “mmmm mm” with every bite. It’s easily the best salmon benedict I have ever had.

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And, of course, I had to show Sar around the Row after!

At about 1215 I dropped her off at the airport. It was a hard goodbye, but I was tremendously thankful for the short time we had together. It meant so much that she made the time to come see me & the Bay!

This morning (Thursday morning) I stopped by Peet’s to grab a cafe au lait before my residency class. It was super nice to see everyone from my cohort, and also nice to have a class day vs. in hospital day.

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Hope you all have a beautiful weekend! I will be working all weekend long, but living vicariously through you!

xo <3

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