Twin Peaks? Been there, done that. Bernal Heights is a big deal.
A lot (a LOT) has happened in the last month, since my post about an Event-Full Weekend has been sitting out alone, in the cold of the internet world. I turned in a Master’s thesis. Part of the ceiling in the apartment where I was staying collapsed. I hit my knee so hard on a grate that popped up from nowhere in the street that I Googled, “How to know when you’ve fractured your patella.”
There’s also been a lot of packing, and moving, and re-packing. I’ve learned in the last month that just 48 hours of a getaway with good friends perks me up the week before and the week after, and gives me good mojo to keep up with the sometimes crushing pace of life in NYC.
On that note, a few weeks ago, I went westward. I went back to San Francisco.
Given that I was staying with my best friend Siena, who is like no other (except, perhaps, myself) when it comes to maximizing limited time in a given place, we had quite a full agenda. That agenda involved “walking and snacking continuously.”
Friday morning started out with breakfast at The Mill, just down the street from her place. Of course, it was nice enough to sit on the benches outside despite being October. (Why did I ever leave this place?…)
From there, we embarked on an ambitious walking plan that took us through Alamo Square, Hayes Valley (with a pit stop in Steven Alan to get a whiff of their candles), and down to my favorite neighborhood: The Mission.
Cruising down Valencia St., we smelled something INCREDIBLE. Seriously. I thought it was something baking, but then I looked up, and saw we were in front of Samovar Tea Bar. There are a few locations around the city, but I had never been. It was time.
As you can see, the space is gorgeous. The chai is crazy good. They offered to do a blend of half almond milk, half whole milk for us, scooped with a ladle out of these huge pots that were simmering on the stove. Hello.
Fully hydrated and slightly caffeinated, we continued wandering along Valencia Street, with a quick pop into the always delightful and impressive Dandelion Chocolate.
And were lucky enough to grab the very last one of these famous, cheesy, moist, perfectly runny pastries that stood up to the hype at Craftsman + Wolves.
This photo made it on the Saveur Instagram account. I think it’s all because of Siena’s nails. Anyhoo.
We kept meandering through Dolores Park, and ended the excursion in Bernal Heights with a drink at Holy Water. (No, it’s not a church, it’s a bar.)
The next day, I headed off to fill my brain with all things good food innovation related at the Bon Appétech Conference. It was held inside the old Exploratorium space at the Palace of Fine Arts, and I definitely had some field trip flashbacks in there.
It was the first year of this particular gathering, so there are a lot of kinks to be worked out, but there were some quite cool, thought-provoking panels, like this one, about the viability of alternative proteins, and another one about innovation within the coffee sector, that I found particularly interesting.
My restaurant research prior to returning to SF prompted me to make a reservation at Liloliho Yacht Club, and it did not disappoint. It was a good Goldilocks situation: the decor was minimal yet comfortable, the music good yet not too loud, and everyone was friendly but not too friendly. The Baked Alaska was the meringue on top of a busy yet soul-nourishing weekend back in the Bay.