Kenz and Kels Take on the Bay: Part 4! Santa Cruz

Hey ya, hey ya!!! Happy Friday to youu!

Really quick: PLEASE check your spam. My comments are going to spam on other WP blogs lately. This has happened one other time and randomly fixed itself, but please make sure I’m not hanging around comment purgatory. Thank youuuu.

This is a sort little post, but believe it or not it is still not the last in our Kels & Kenz take on the Bay series!

Aaand here are….

Part One

Part Two &

Part Three

After a deep sleep with happy tummies full of sushi, we woke up on Monday July 30th, did an Insanity workout together, and then packed our leftovers from the weekend in a cooler to take to Santa Cruz with us for the day.

Santa Cruz is forever one of my favorite places to go and take friends to when they visit. It’s the quintessential beach town. It also appeared in one of my very first blog posts! It’s so fun to go back to vintage posts and see how much has changed.

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Anywho, we were starving when we arrived, but didn’t want to eat too much since we had packed our leftovers. We first went to FireFish grill, my favorite on the pier (along with Stagnaro Brothers!).

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I love their bread they serve- mm mmm! A complimentary carb is the way to my heart. Oooooo we should put that on a tshirt.

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We also decided to split their Bloody Mary- it’s my favorite bloody of ALL time. It was actually the first I ever tried when DJ and I escaped to the beach town last year 🙂

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They put salt around the rim that looks like sand and top it off with a little shrimp.

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And because we can’t seem to resist oysters when on the menu, we gave Firefish’s a go. SO slurpin’ good, but gone too soon.

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After our little tide-me-over, we walked the famous Boardwalk.

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Beach time!! We soaked up the sun while listening to Backstreet boys (let’s talk about that comeback!) and occasionally sneaking leftovers from our cooler.

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At around 5 in the evening, we decided to head on back to Cupertino. DJ didn’t have a game that day so was done with work around 6! We were finally able to all get together and the three of us headed to Campbell to get some good grub.

We went to Flights, the unique dining experience where everything on the menu is a flight, you are given “in flight service” buttons, and the waiters/waitresses dress as flight attendants. Too fun!

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We shared only two flights between the three of us since we still wanted to go to San Pedro Square for more food.

First, we tried their taco flight with Thai Tofu, Veggie Rancheros, and Mushroom Teriyaki.

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The other flight we shared was the french fry flight with truffle, sweet potato, and garlic. These fries were SOOO good. I highly recommend the fry flight if you go.

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We left Campbell and headed to San Pedro Square for dinner #2!

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Also some proof that DJ isn’t always working 😉

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I grabbed some food from Blush the last time we were in SPS , and I knew this is somewhere Kels would love. PLUS it had a bucket list item I knew she would knock off with me!

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We made it just in time for the start of Happy Hour so everything was much cheaper than usual. Love when that happens!

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We started with their $1 oysters-  I loved all the fixin’s they came with! I love horseradish, lemon, and cocktail sauce on my oysters I’ve discovered.

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And now for the BL item… the tofu martini! It isn’t actually a martini- just assembled in a martini-esque glass. It is tofu, green onion, and soy sauce. Honestly, it was disgusting. It was saturated in so much soy sauce that it was repulsively salty. Oh well, at least we tried it!

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Everyone around us was ordering sushi and it looked so dang good, so we had to order some of that too. We also tried the Rose Roll with spicy tuna, crab, avocado, and spicy mayo. It was tasty- a little heavy on the sauce again though.

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And last, we split the sushi tacos- seared tuna, salmon, and a California taco. They were pretty tasty! This was a great way to sample food on the menu since it was way cheaper than it usually is.

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Hope you have a great weekend all!

**REMINDER: Please oh pretty please check your spam <3**

Question for you: 

  • What’s your ideal “beach day”- Read? Boating? Games? Fly a Kite? Listen to Music? 

xo <3

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Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay: Part 3!

Hey ya!! Welcome to our third Installment of Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay! If you missed the other posts, you can find Part One and Part Two in these links. So far we have only covered 1 entire full day in those two posts, and it truly may take until the end of September to recap it all, haha.

Let’s just jump in shalllz we? After we hopped off the Ferry, Kels and I needed something to wake us up a bit from the lull of the boat. We decided there was no time like the present to grab Peet’s! We both got Half- caff almond milk cafe au laits. Unfortunately, the barista didn’t do a great job with the milk, so it was flat and subpar compared to usual. I was disappointed for Kels that it was her first Peet’s experience, but at least she was able to try it! And the caffeine did the trick!

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We still were a bit chilly walking outside and hungryyyyy! We had dinner reservations at 9:15 pm, so we decided to get a little appetizer (it was about 6 pm at this point). We headed to a BL (bucket list) location- Boudin Bakery! I had never tried their bread, but they are famous for the freshest and greatest sourdough.

On our way we stumbled across a Ben and Jerry’s carnival. I just love how there is always something going on in the city!

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Kels did the truffle toss and won! woot woot!

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We happily munched down our little free ice cream samples (YUM) then continued along Embarcadero to Boudin.

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Finally- made it!!! Check out these fun shapes made from the bread…

img_1964-1img_2040**waiting a half hour to get a seat** This place is poppin’!

And finally finally– time for the famous sourdough bread bowl with clam chowder! It was PHENOMENAL. It was the perfect snack to warm us up after weaving through the thick San Franciscan fog. (aka Karl, someone named our fog. Haha).

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So we were a leeeetle bit nervous when we were eating our sourdough bowl because Kels’ phone was dead, mine had 1% remaining, and our emergency charger broke. We were at least 4 miles from our hotel and were planning on Ubering or Lyfting back…. we both had blisters from walking in our heeled shoes all day and were freezing in our light clothes we worn to wine country. Once we finished up the grub, I called the Lyft with the 1% I had left and we got the pickup JUST in time before my phone died. Thaaaank you, Lord! That would have been a brutal 4 mile walk (it felt like it was in the low 40s by this point).

We arrived to our hotel for the evening! We decided to stay in the city since our reservations were super late and DJ had a late game anyways . Also, we found a reservation at the Sir Francis Drake at a wonderful deal! The hotel was named after the Elizabethan era sea captain and was founded in 1928. It has quite the stunning history- you can read here if interested (or if you may find yourself staying at this historic landmark someday).

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At any time, there is a greeter dressed in the archetypal costume standing out front the hotel.

The lobby was spectacular- a true historical feel, yet also feeling anything but antiquated.

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The room was so fun! It had bright reds, large 16th century inspired paintings, and was clean as can be for being such an “old” hotel. The ONLY issue we had during the stay was the slowness of the elevator. It was crazy slow – like a snail’s pace + molasses. But they did have signs all over asking for our patience while they remodeled/updated their elevators, so we couldn’t be too upset about it.

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We changed super fast after checking in. Check in took about 30 minutes, and by the time we were in the room it was about 8:45 pm. We had literally 15 minutes to change and get out the door to make our rezzy on time. We slapped on some touch up makeup, I used my “cruise” lip color that I haven’t used in a while, and we hit the road!

**middle school mirror pic** haha

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But in order to hit the road… we first had to run down 18 floors to make it to our Lyft ride on time (the elevator was not budging, so we resorted to whipping down the hotel’s staircase hoping he wouldn’t leave without us!).

We found our Lyft ride out of breath and practically sweating. The driver was so kind and understood about the elevator issue. We headed to another BL item for the evening. The ultimate ultimate BL item I have had on my list in bolds and italics (one day soon I will actually share the list here!). I knew Kels would appreciate it too! Drum roll please….. Foreign Cinema. 

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The entrance is easy to miss, it is very tucked away in the shadows in the Mission District, but the minute you step through the doors you are in another world!

This restaurant is not your standard restaurant. It is a restaurant that takes you to Paris, under twinkling lights in the great outdoors. There are heaters to keep you nice and cozy and a foreign film to accompany your meal. It’s like being at a fancy drive in, dressed up, and eating superb nomz.

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We started with their Patio Spritzes. Kels had their strawberry infused lillet blanc & I tried their pamplemousse one. They were delicious- refreshing and light- exactly what we were craving.

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For an appetizer we shared their oysters- the most stupendous oysters of the trip. Every oyster throughout the weekend we tried was wonderful, but these were hands down the absolute best. I keep telling DJ I want to go here again just so he can try these!

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We then split the tuna tartare for our meal. It was magnificent. Bursting flavors. You cannot go wrong here!

img_2047Kels and I are both guilty people-watchers, so we quietly evaluated and tried to figure out the groups and couples around us. Humans are fascinating. It was too fun, and I think we missed our callings as psychologists (or psychopaths).

Time to turn in for the evening after a super fun night!

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In the morning of July 29th, we got up around 8:00 am and then drove back to Cupertino. We had some avocado toast then hit the road to make the 11:30 service for Church!

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I was excited to take Kelsey to our home church, Vive! It’s one of my favorite parts about living here, and I am always stoked when company stays over through a Sunday so we can go together, and I can introduce them to my church fam.

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Afterwards we went to none-other than the most ubiquitously mentioned restaurant on this blog… can ya guess it?

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Tammy met up with us and the three of us ordered all the classics to share. Starting with my fave- the French Garden omelette (with egg whites!). It has goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, and basil! It’s just too good. And their country potatoes are the also the best around (Although Los Gato’s Cafe’s potatoes  do vy for first place).

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Next, we had their tremendous crab cake benedict (although I have found a better one I will be sharing in a few posts 😉 ).

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And perhaps one of my favorite brunch dishes ever… the salmon benedict.

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& A side of their blueberry pancake

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Time to go hiking!!! We drove to the Redwoods in the Big Basin. The drive is treacherous and I was white knuckling the whole way down, but we made it! (if these look familiar it’s because I was here just a couple months ago with Tammy 🙂 ).

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Kelsey had never seen Redwoods before, so this was a must for her trip here!

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It ended up being SWELTERINGLY HOT- in the nineties I believe, but we made it to the top!

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Jus’ hanging around

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We were parched when we returned. This water was liquid gold to us!

Our big simba baby water bottle . *Cue Circle of Life*

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On our way back we pulled off to the side of the road to an overlook and saw the most breathtaking view!

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We headed home, and quickly became aware of how hungry we were!

We decided to knock off a third BL item and go to Palo Alto’s downtown to try sushirrito! (yep- a sushi burrito!).

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These were truly rawesome. We tried Geisha’s Kiss and the Latin Ninja. Holy cannoli guacamole- I am craving another. I need to try their Sumo Crunch wrap soon which is their famous one.

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To end the evening we walked around Main Street Cupertino, made a pit stop into Target for some sweets, and then decided to do dinner number 2!

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And where better than the revolving sushi bar, Kura?! You may remember “Kula” from the beginning of the blog when DJ and I went allll the time, but they recently changed the name to Kura. You can read how it works in this post if you are interested!

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It’s not the highest quality sushi, but it is always a fun experience!!! I loved watching Kels’ expression as the conveyor belt of sushi glided past us. We had our fill then called it a night to get a great night sleep before a big beach day!

Question for you!

  • Favorite brunch dish/ brunch restaurant?

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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