San Francisco

San Francisco
San Francisco

Laugh With Me

Laugh With Me
Laugh With Me
Powered by Blogger.

Caught in the Rain in Belgrade's Skadarlija District

A catchy tune's stuck in my head. It goes a little something like,

If you like pina coladas cappuccinos,
and getting caught in the raaaain...

Appropriate for San Francisco's decidedly un-chipper mood this week as well as for our rainy adventures on our last full day in Belgrade. The Balkans in September promises ideal traveling weather: warm enough to swim in the Adriatic, but not suffocatingly hot like it is in the summer. But no one warned us that it'd be monsoon season!!! Fine, not monsoons... just "light rain." --said no Californian ever.

That morning, our sights were set on Skadarlija–Belgrade's bohemian quarter. On our way, we passed Terazije and Republic Square, the center of town.
Utterly fascinated by all of the street art / graffiti that graces every wall, some silly and others political and even others just because. Cassandra and I were particularly charmed by the Cyrillic street-signs. She's been practicing her Cyrillic for a whole year now, so this was the perfect testing opportunity. Here, we are standing under "Jovanova Street."

Belgrade Scenes: Exploring History, A Quirky Cafe, & the Best Bar Ever

Back to Belgrade!

Man, I love this city and telling people all about its magic. Luckily for me, its residents do as well. Dejan, our Airbnb host, enthusiastically shared a few suggestions that he thought would elevate our Belgrade experience. From museums to visit on a rainy day, to the optimal sunset-viewing point, to shortcuts and secret pathways to take, and more–his recommendations helped us locate Belgrade's hidden corners and enjoy some very special moments.

Dejan had told us to be at the Church of Saint Sava ten minutes before noon. "You'll know when it's happening," he'd said cryptically when we asked, for what? So at 11:00am that Sunday, we scrambled out of the apartment (running much too late, as per usual) and down Knez Mihailova, Belgrade's main street, towards the Vracar neighborhood:
...and exactly ten minutes before noon, we arrived out of breath and struggling hard, to our first sight of Saint Sava.

The Most "San Francisco" of Weekends

The recipe for the perfect San Francisco weekend is a universally acknowledged truth amongst those who live here – and given that the only other point SFers can agree on is that rent = poop emoji but a million times shittier... you know it's gotta be quite the beloved recipe.

Okay, bad call writing about such unsavory emojis right before introducing you to lots of amazing food. Sorry. Rent always gets me in a tizzy. I'll give you the secret weekend recipe to smooth things over, how 'bout that.
First, brunch. The non-negotiable. After stalking OpenTable the minute Lauren sent me her confirmed flight itinerary... lo and behold, I snagged a table for four at Foreign Cinema, the Regina George of San Francisco restaurants. Red carpet entrance, and all.

Hanna and her fella joined Lauren and me, and we started off with cocktails.

A Summer Interlude for Lauren, and "Sow Your Wild Oats" for the rest of us.

Quintessentially San Francisco | Farmers Market and Unbelievable Ferry Views

San Francisco was on its very best behavior when Lauren was in town a couple of weekends ago, practically preening with her radiant sunshine and light breezes, the likes of which we hadn't seen prior (dead keen on suffocating heat, SF was) nor since (all about that rainy, moody vibe now).

Obviously, we had to take advantage!

We set off on a long morning walk from my apartment, strolling along the Embarcadero. Our conversations mirrored the thought patterns of a puppy in a park populated by squirrels and toddlers and Frisbees: cutting each other off mid-sentence, giddily exclaiming over juicy gossip, and making sure all topics were covered. So goes a reunion weekend after a year apart!   
By the time we reached our destination, the iconic Ferry Building, we were ravenous. On any day, the Ferry Building is bursting with the tastiest, freshest, most artisanal of foods, from the best Vietnamese restaurant in the city to famous oysters to the most reputable, dependable of breads and the loveliest of pastries. But on a Saturday (or Tuesday/Thursday), the goodness multiples thanks to the endless number of vendors that make up the best of farmers' markets! Oh, it's heaven.

Lauren and I beelined it to Dandelion Chocolate, where she decided on a classic hot cocoa that adorably came with a slot in its sleeve for a biscuit. I chose the frozen hot chocolate topped up with whipped cream: truly obscene. Slurped it down in two seconds flat.
Now craving some salt, the two of us shoved and shimmied through the crowds inside of the Ferry Building, at long last reaching the light at the end of the tunnel:

Cowgirl Creamery for a bowl of its piping hot turkey macaroni and cheese, which we shared on a bench facing the Bay (Bae) Bridge.
At that point, we ran into several problems.

One, I needed Lauren to try the porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti, which is as scrumptious as the lines for it are long (they're really, really, really long). However, we were too stuffed to attempt to down the humongous portion, or even half-portion. Plus, we were at a loss of what to do for the rest of the afternoon, given that I'm a terrible itinerary-maker when it comes to anything other than where we're eating.

We pondered our dilemmas, batting around a couple of ideas, until we realized that the solution was literally right in front of us. A ferry! We could jump on a ferry, presumably to Sausalito, and even grab a Roli Roti sandwich for when we inevitably get hungry over there. But of course! 

And so we quickly purchased ferry tickets and our precious sandwich, idled away some time by sampling and buying a couple of juicy pears and crisp apples, and then boarded the grand thing.
And then we realized that our 1:25pm ferry coincided perfectly with the Fleet Week Blue Angels air show that had started promptly at 1:00pm. Lauren and I had stumbled across the practice session in the Marina the day before, but it was a little hard to see all the goings on with barbed wire and loads of people blocking the view.

From the ferry, our view was completely unobstructed. In fact, with the entire skyline in sight, as well as both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges and Alcatraz, it was all the more picturesque. The precise formations and daredevil dives and dizzying swirls and twirls seemed all the wilder. When they spelled out "Welcome to Fleet Week" in the sky, it was as if it were for our eyes only.
The Blue Angels are a bit hard to spot in these photos (they're the white, hazy formations that look too wispy to be clouds), but let me assure you... it was a phenomenal show. Fleet Week is an unofficial holiday in San Francisco–everyone's up on rooftops in the Marina tempting the Blue Angels to fly just a tad too close, but I think I've found the coolest view of all. 
Once we disembarked in Sausalito, we found a grassy little park in the shade where we plopped down, enjoyed some live music thanks to a group of college kids with a guitar, and dug into the Roli Roti, delicious as ever. 
Neither of us had set foot in Sausalito before, and now I'm wondering why.

It's full of charm, exactly what you'd imagine a small seaside town to be like: ice cream shops with lines out the door, bicycles for rent, gorgeous cottages up on the hills. It'd be the perfect weekend getaway for anyone in the city seeking some quiet refuge. Absolutely lovely.

We walked to one end of the waterfront, pointing out the unbelievable views of San Francisco across the bay, and then doubled-back allllllll the way to the other end, where we each fetched an iced coffee from Philz in preparation for the ferry home: 
Can you believe this scene right here? 
I obviously still can't. 
Giving our sore feet a rest, we Ubered home, made a pitstop at the neighborhood ice cream place, and then refused to leave the couch for the rest of the evening except to go downstairs to fetch the pizza delivery.

When I think of the perfect, most quintessential San Francisco day, this day is at the tippy top of the list! Its main competitor is the day that directly followed... which I'll share next time.

When are you coming to visit me in San Francisco? I'd like to spoil you with the best food the city has to offer too! Have you visited, or is it on your list?? What do you think of when you think of San Francisco? Okay, too many questions. Sorry. I love this city.

On Refreshing | New Blog Design

Looks like someone got a facelift, weeeeeeeeee!

A blog redesign has been a long, loooong time coming. For one thing, I desperately needed this site to be responsive across all devices but also, as I've evolved personally over the years, I felt like I needed a bit of refresh blog-wise to reflect where I'm at now IRL.

But because I'm just about the most indecisive, biggest overthinker out there... a redesign just kept on getting pushed off. Until one day last week I kind of went ahead and made it happen, and then spent the weekend tweaking every little aspect. Of course, there is still lots to fix–this is both a head's up that there's still wonky bits here and there and also to ask that if you notice anything out of the ordinary, please let this sistah know!
In other weekend news, this one was ridiculously delicious!

After a productive Saturday and a night out dancing (after I was lured to the pregame with the promise of two very precious, playful kitties), I treated myself to the most wonderfully indulgent Sunday ever. And the universe helped me out, too.

The pouring rain sloshed against our skylights and my window, most welcome after months of a drought. I polished off a greasy breakfast sandwich, made myself a steaming cappuccino, and then burrowed into bed. I watched the series finale of White Collar, which I'd been saving for a special day. And when that was over, I wriggled even deeper under the covers and cracked open a new book that kept me occupied until I willed myself to get up to go make some mac and cheese for dinner, eaten out of the pot while catching up on last week's TV episodes. A real-life refresh, if you will.

Bliss. Utter. Bliss.

How was your weekend, friends? What do you think of the redesign?

No One Woke Me Up When September Ended

Bad joke from a girl forever basking in her middle school glory days, I'm so sorry.

But in all seriousness, here I was fresh off of a vacation, tottering around with a tan and loads of beach pictures in my Camera Roll to obsessively swipe through, and then all of a sudden: the mornings stayed dark later and the evenings dimmed earlier, and the temptation to order a pumpkin spice latte became too strong to resist, and the weather called for snuggly sweaters most days (well, for half a day usually–which meant sweating through the other half), and football and fall television took over the TV, and Google Calendar flipped over to October and then it was basically,

*eyes bulging crazily*
I've always adored fall, but don't we all?

Early fall, that's the very best–when a proud sun is tempered by a refreshing bite in the air. It's a season that comes alive with its promise of all that's ahead: flickering candles and the holidays, thicker blankets and traditions and ABC Family Christmas movies–hehe, the anticipation!

I'm also a sucker for the inevitable introspection that comes along like clockwork this time of year, likely conditioned by the start of the school year (or the more dramatic, sob-inducing TV shows). There's lots of self-reflection, like having a lunch date with a friend you hadn't had a juicy catch-up session with in awhile.  

Speaking of!
Reunions! They appear far more frequently in the autumn that any other time in the year I feel, thanks to literal reunions and football games and the holidays and raucous birthday parties (okay, I guess these happen in other seasons too) and that previously mentioned inclination to be particularly self-reflective.  In this past month alone, I've spent some good old-fashioned QT with a close friend from high school, respected former co-workers, and my very favorite–my best bud from college who took a mini-breather from law school and flew across the country to see me for the weekend and indulge in ALL the edible San Francisco things.
I played hooky on Friday and totally ignoring the fact that she arrived so late the night prior, dragged her out of bed at 7am to Plow, the best breakfast in town. And over steaming mugs of coffee and pillowy pumpkin pancakes (to which I squealed, it tastes like FALL!), we re-hashed every major life event that's occurred since we last saw each other last October.

We ordered the same exact thing, like we always did.

She life-coached me, like she's always done.

I sat in awe of her and her accomplishments, as I've always been so proud to do.

Okay, /endsappy. (I told you this time of year gets me in a weird mood.)
When she ever so curiously inquired what activities I had up my sleeve for our short weekend together, I told her very honestly:

we're going to eat until we can't.

and then we're going to walk until we can eat again.


And so, we walked home, took a short nap after I read us our dinner menu as a bedtime story and snuggled up close to her, and then we proceeded to the Marina for almond milk lattes and to see the air show practice (where we ran into another close friend from college–I'm telling you! Reunions!) and pumpkin maple cupcakes because

You'd think I'm getting a dollar every time I type the word 'fall' or 'autumn' or 'pumpkin,' huh.

What I'm trying to get at is... I LOVE FALL for every cliched reason out there and also because it brought me back my best friend, however so briefly.

Next time I'm going to tell you about the rest of the things we ate because I don't think I'll rest easy until I do.