Kels & Kenz Take on the Bay- Part One!

***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!).

img_0993

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.

img_0986img_0987

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

img_0988

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

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

img_0989

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.

img_0991

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!

img_0992

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

img_0996

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.

img_0994

LOVE HER!

img_0997img_0998

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

img_0999

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.

img_1003img_1001img_1002

Time to step back into the 60s!

img_1004img_1006

This is too funny…

img_1005img_6706img_6707

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

img_1007

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.

img_1633img_1008

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.

img_1009img_1010

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).

img_0983

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???????……

……………………………

………………………..

……………………..

…………………..

………………..

………………

…………….

………

…..

………..

………………

…………………….

…………………………

……………………………………

……………………………

………………………..

……………………..

…………………..

………………..

………………

…………….

………

…..

………..

………………

…………………….

…………………………

……………………………………

……………………………

………………………..

……………………..

…………………..

………………..

………………

…………….

………

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.

img_0984

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.

img_1456img_1454img_1012

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 😉 ).

img_1013

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”…

img_1014

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).

img_1017

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!

img_1018img_1019

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.

img_1020img_1021

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 😉

img_1022

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.

img_1025

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.

img_1023

BEST SUSHI ROLL OF ALL TIME.

img_1024

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.

img_1027img_1028

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.

img_1026img_1029

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

img_1031img_1632

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

img_1030img_1032

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.

https://mackmarie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/img_9292.mov

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.

img_1033img_1035img_1034

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.

img_1039img_1038

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

submark

Forth Worth, TX!

Happy Tuesday!!!! Boy, do I have a treat for you! I slowly have been recapping our travels on our cross country trip in between present day California updates. It’s like one of those super confusing movies where they flip back and forth between past and present, and sometimes you can’t figure out which one it is, ya feel? Anyways, after our amazing Hot Rolls experience in Ozark, MO, we headed south to the good ole’ state of Texas! My parents moved there a couple years ago. When I was planning our wedding last summer (2015), before my trip to India, I spent the entire month in Fort Worth. I just fell in love with the area. Everyone is incredibly friendly, and if anyone knows you are from out of town, you will get a big smile and a “Welcome to Texas!” guaranteed. The energy in the city is contagious. We wanted to stop and say hello to our parents before continuing on and we managed to squeeze a decent amount of activity in our twenty-four hour period!

IMG_8573

After a long day of driving, we arrived in the evening and definitely needed some R and R (can you tell?) No better place to relax than Mama’s back patio. She has it decorated so gosh-darn cute.

IMG_8571

When my family gets together (even if it’s a small get- together) it’s about guaranteed that there is going to be some kind of cocktail/appetizer hour followed by  dinner… AKA two dinners. For our apps we had baked brie with granny smith apple slices and sushi. It was a delicious, and I wish I had taken a picture! As usual, I gobbled it all up before the thought crossed my mind! Dinner consisted of delicious chicken (at least I heard it was delicious 😉 ), russet potatoes, and a vegetable platter from Texas Bleu. Look ya’ll, if you ever go to Fort Worth/Keller area, you MUST go to Texas Bleu. It is one of the best steakhouses of yo life!

We went to sleep pretty early on because we were whooped! The next day my mom and I started the day early by going to the local gym together. Lately she has really prioritized exercise and gets up most days before 5 am to go to the gym. (Go mom!) After exercising, we went to the local Farmer’s Market and tried watermelon juice from one of the cute little stands. It was insanely refreshing after that workout! We then went back to the house, picked up DJ and relaxed at the local watering hole (or Keller’s Recreational Pool). I haven’t gone into a lazy river in years. It was so nice to float around and around and chat about just anything and everything.We were so on-the-go that I hardly have any pictures of the first half of the day’s festivities!

IMG_8564.JPG

We got ready and hit the city!!! First we went to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I have never been anywhere like this. This “downtown oasis” consists of uniquely architected structures that each have a specific characteristic. There was a wedding and a quinceanera going on while we were there. My mom thought it was especially fascinating, and she chased around the quinceanera group to get pictures. You would have thought she was one of the kid’s parents. No shame. She did end up getting her picture that she wanted so badly!

IMG_8579IMG_8582IMG_8581IMG_8583IMG_8584.jpg

IMG_8067
Aren’t they the cutest?!
IMG_8060
Looks like we had the parental paparazzi on us!
IMG_8069
Pete likes to make fun of how we put our hands on our hips, the stinker
IMG_8072

For dinner we went to one of the BEST steakhouses ever (like I said-come to Texas for a great steakhouse!). While we waited, we hung out in their boutique. They had the cutest Texan turquoise purse I have ever seen, until I saw the price tag. That made it a little less cute!

IMG_8063

Here is what our selections looked like for dinner. *** All pictures from Reata’s website:

Appetizers:

  • Presenting the most incredible Bacon wrapped crab stuffed jalapeños. I don’t even eat meat, so I took off the bacon (some of you are cringing hearing me say that), and they were still TO.DIE.FOR. Truly one of the greatest things I have ever tried at a restaurant. The side of jalapeño cheddar grits will transform your meaning of “grits”, I promise!

0014_Reata-Crab-Stuffed-Jalapeno

  • Fried Calamari with Cowboy Cocktail Sauce– Yes, it was as good as it sounds!

0017_Reata-Calamari

Mains

  • The main course part of meals is incredibly stressful for me. It all looks so goooood! I can never decide on a main entree and usually end up ordering something, then changing it by the time everyone else has ordered. To help with this indecisiveness, my mom and I usually choose two meals we both think sound good and split them half-and-half. This time we split the Mahi-Mahi with Lobster Florentine (pictured below- no explanation needed) and the Jalapeno Cilantro Crusted Red Fish (hello, taste bud explosion!).

0021_Jalapeño-Cilantro-Crusted-Texas-Red-Fish.

  • The men each ordered the Pan Seared Crusted Tenderloin with Port Wine sauce. They said it was good, and I am willing to bet they ain’t lying!

0003_Reata-Tenderloin-pepper-crusted

Sides

  • I require of you, if you go here, you MUST try the Bourbon Creamed Corn. it was one of my favorite parts of the whole meal! (Dip some of their corn bread in the creamed corn if you like all good things food).
  • Butter Roasted Mushrooms– Yes, I am currently drooling all over my laptop, how kind of you to notice.

Dessert

  • We couldn’t decide on one dessert, so naturally we ordered three. That’s normal, right?
  • First we tried the West Texas Pecan Pie. Can Pecan pie ever be bad? NO.
  • We then tried the banana pudding– it was “eh”. I’m not picky about desserts, if it has enough sugar than it really can’t be bad. This was just missing that banana punch, hate to say it.
  • However, we finished up with the Dutch Oven Apple Crisp with Cajeta. Not sure what Cajeta is, but I really like it!

0022_Reata-apple-Crisp-dessert.jpg

  • Next time we go, we all agreed we have to try their Chocolate Bread Pudding Tamale. I mean, just look at the things! We didn’t order them because the banana pudding sounded so light and tasty, but this is what the waiter recommended. There is your lesson for the day, boys and girls, always take the waiter’s recommendations!

0012_bread-pudding-tamale-Reata

After dinner we walked around downtown Fort Worth for a while. I was surprised at how nice everything was. It did not feel like a downtown, but rather like a large scale suburban shopping center. For our evening entertainment, we went to Four Day Weekend Comedy Show. I love a good IMPROV show, and this one surpassed all expectations. The way this show works is the audience writes sentences or phrases on a piece of paper and place it on a board near the stage before the show starts. During the show they randomly pick off words/phrases and use them in their skits. It’s too much to handle. We were roaring.

IMG_8059
Well, we gave it our best effort

IMG_8054

We wrapped up the night by sight-seeing the rest of sparkling Downtown, sitting at a patio and enjoying the warm breeze while sipping on some light beverages, and debating wayy too long about what type of bush was planted next to our table. We then headed off to the Grand Canyon in the morning! More to come on that adventure!

IMG_8589IMG_8053

Wishing you the opportunity to try a bacon wrapped crab stuffed jalapeño,

xo <3

Mack

Santa Cru Cru Cruzzzz

This weekend we are spending time with our little sisters while the parents are out of town, and we are having an absolute BLAST. They are 12 and 10, both going on 25. They are are beyond fun to hang out with and continually keep us laughing. The first morning we went to their house (Friday) was the day after my root canal. DJ went to their house nice and early and I woke up leisurely to make sure I got enough rest to recover. Surprisingly when I woke up I felt amazing. I felt no pain and did not even have any Tylenol in my system. On my way to their house (which is only about 30 minutes from us), I decided to stop and run “The Dish”. This is a famous satellite Dish landmark that has a trail that snakes up the mountains and provides gorgeous views of the surrounding area. You actually can see Stanford’s red rooftops from the top. I also passed a whole flock (flock?) of turkey on my run. I did get lost though, despite my awesome innate compass (sarcasm). I was planning on doing an easy 4 or 5 miler, but ended up doing 7. Oh well!

Once I finally got to the house after my detour, we decided to all go to Lush. Now, I have never been to Lush, but if you have, you may realize how dangerous this is that I now know what Lush is. The girls love this place and knew more about the products and the store than probably anyone else (maybe even the workers!). Also- our little sisters are the sweetest girls on planet Earth. When we got into the store they told us we weren’t allowed to stay with them. We just thought they were exercising their independence. Instead, they came back about five minutes later with a giftcard for me. What 10/12-year-olds think to do that?! It was the kindest thing. We stocked up on delicious smelling bath bombs, hair treatments, and bubble bars.

IMG_7285

^^Once again, why am I standing like this?! #runningtanorsocks

After LUSH, we walked around Stanford mall and peaked in the bakeries that invited us with the smell of bread wafting in the  walkways. We then came home, had a quick snack, and went to hang out in the gym while one of the girls had basketball practice. When practice ended we rushed over to a creative Japanese restaurant the girls suggested named Juban. It closed at 9 and we made it by 8:05 for just enough time to enjoy the full meal. You choose from a menu of tons of meat, sides, veggies, salads, etc. and then cook them on a grill right in the middle of your table. I have never done this before, but I would certainly go back. Their sauces (particularly the barbecue tasting soy sauce) was amazing! I ordered tofu and veggies. The girls and DJ got filet mignon and yummy rice.

IMG_7346

IMG_7288

We then proceeded to do what any normal 20-something-year-olds do on a Friday night: go to the store to get some Ben and Jerry’s. There was actually a line in front of the freezer section at the store for the B&Js. #addicts (including ourselves). The favorite flavors in this family include brownie batter and half baked froyo. Then it was off to sleep for a full day at Santa Cruz to come.

We all took the morning to sleep in and decided that nothing sounded better than a beach day. Santa Cruz is a full blown surfer town. It is just like you would imagine. The first time we went to Santa Cruz was the day before we moved into our apartment. On our way DJ kept saying, “Santa Cru Cru Cru Cruzzzz” with a little tongue twirl at the end. So now we don’t really refer to it as anything else. We spent the night walking the pier, ate at a fantastic mexican-seafood joint overlooking the water, and watched the surfers ride the waves at sunset. There is also a poppin’ Arcade next to the boardwalk. The Boardwalk is basically a lively carnival that goes on year round with games, rides, and even a free movie night on Wednesdays on the beach. We only live about an hour away and it will be a great place to relax on the weekends if we need to get away for a day-trip. That is something I love about where we live. Monterey, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Tahoe, and many other destination places are basically day or weekend trips if you have the time. And….The FOOOOOD. Oh, the food. It’s too much to handle. We are trying to figure out what to do for our anniversary coming up in a few weeks and it’s maybe one of the most challenging decisions of our marriage. Just too many darn good options!

IMG_7332IMG_7326

IMG_7321

Now, we probably should have not tried to go on a Saturday afternoon in the summer. The traffic and parking was nuts. We finally ended up finding a spot and spent a good chunk of time playing games, riding rides, and taking in the view of miles of glistening water. DJ and I split up with the girls since they had different interests. I went with the younger one and we ran into some Disney Princesses walking the boardwalk. Perfect time for a selfie! We also tried to stand in line for a funnel cake since they had never had one, but the line was at least an hour long. We promised them we would find them another funnel cake soon!

For dinner, we ate at a place on the Boardwalk called Gilda’s. It had the very hometown, diner feel that just has quality food-the bread and butter, fish and chips, no-mess-around-good-tartar sauce and coleslaw type of place that just beckons when you are near the sea. We did have a slight scare when I was sitting at the table and felt something crawling on my back. I look over my shoulder and a bee is just casually basking in the sun on my left scapula (nursing talk). I didn’t scream- hard to believe, I know. I was able to blow it off of me and when it fell to the ground DJ kindly killed it. We kept our cool, generally speaking. It was ironic too because we had just been talking about how many times we had each been stung in the car on the way up.

After dinner we began the winding ride on route 17 back home. Once again it was during the time with most likely the heaviest traffic. We have a great deal to learn! When we got home we realized that we did not take the house key with us. I thought DJ had the house key, and DJ thought going through the garage house door would be sufficient. Well the garage door was locked. WHOOPS. I was a salty, salty peanut. So here we are at 10:30 at night with a couple of girls with full bladders sitting in the car with no idea how to get in the house. Luckily the girls knew a neighbor, who was still awake, thankfully, who let us in. It’s all good! Worst case scenario we could have gone to our place, but none of us had anything since even DJ and I had packed our clothes, toothbrushes, and other everyday essentials to the girls’ house. The girls were TROOPERS through the whole thing. Like I said, 10 and 12 going on 25.

IMG_7367
love this pic of them <3

 

IMG_7354

This morning I squeezed in a quick five miler before the heat hit. We then went to the same church from last week. It was a joy seeing familiar faces, and most everyone remembered our names. Everyone was beyond welcoming. The founder of the Church (from Australia) came and spoke. We had great conversation on the way home about the service. Tonight we are heading to Sean Mendes in concert! The girls are beyond excited (as are we). More to come with that!

Wishing you lots of beautiful adventures,

xo <3

Mack

Recap of the First Lap

 

So as I mentioned in my last post, this week has been fun! But it also has exhausting. It is worth every second. I think back and am amazed at how much we managed to squeeze in a short period of time. Here is a little recap of adventures of this past week:

  • When we arrived, we spent the first couple days unpacking and finding a home for all our belongings. Then we started the endless trips back and forth to Target, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Bed Bath and Beyond to get the place lookin’ cute. Poor boy. Also we spent about an entire day assembling a TV console that did NOT want to be assembled. But, we did it.

IMG_7028

imageimage

  • As I mentioned, I love to cook. However in the first week of moving in I didn’t really have the time (or energy!) to figure out a meal plan for the week. So our gracious apartment complex gave us “welcome to the ‘hood” coupons for all kinds of restaurants. We had a million to subway along with subway gift cards, so we had subway for lunch (and sometimes dinner) every.single.day for about the first 6 days. We made friends with the workers in there and went back one night just because to say “hey” to them.
    image
  • In the evenings for the first few nights we had dinners consisting of couponed’ sushi, thai, and more Subway. There is something just fun and rewarding about working hard all day and then getting takeout to eat among a sea of receipts, broken down cardboard boxes, and empty walls. One night we ate at a hole-in-the-wall vegetarian Indian place. It was the most authentic Indian food I have encountered in the US. I was like a little kid in a candy store telling DJ about all the authentic cuisine. It was also the best naan I have ever had (besides actually being in India). Side note: I went to India May 2015 for Nursing with my school. It was one of the greatest, most challenging, rewarding experiences of my entire life.

IMG_7239.JPG

IMG_7035

  • My favorite part of the area is the hiking. It is certainly interesting to see warning signs for mountain lions and rattle snakes at the entrance of each park. So far I have managed not to become some lions’ dinner, so I say that’s a win.
  • The most difficult process we have encountered was the DMV. Oh my lanta, getting a license in California is not easy. Be prepared to wait in endless lines. I told DJ it felt like we were right at home, at Cedar Point.
  • On our trip out here I realized a tooth that I had chipped (when I was five), and re-filled in May, was turning slightly yellow. I went to a dentist in the area and he said I needed an emergent root canal. Here we are, a week in, and I’m drooling all over the place. I have the second half of it today (it was a two part procedure).
  • We found a church! I cannot explain what a blessing this is for us. We have heard horror stories about getting plugged into churches on the West Coast. I am blown away by the kindness and genuine nature of the individuals we encountered. We went to our first community group last night and I left feeling elated after finding such a wonderful group of people, that are so passionate about their relationship with Christ, so quickly.

IMG_7247.JPG

 

Wishing you good days and lots of sunshine,

xo <3

Mack