Fun fact: my roommates banned me from ever paying a visit to the new cat cafe in town. I've been itching to go since the day it opened, but have also been kept on a VERY tight leash. Each time Hanna (my one co-conspirator) or I tentatively broach the subject, we're immediately shot down.
Me: "Does anyone want to..."
Any Given Roommate: "I swear if you say 'go to the cat cafe,' I will lock you in your room with a pot of green tea and my parents' dog."
So when my partner-in-crime Cassandra was in town this week and the rest of the roommates disappeared to who-knows-where, Hanna and I saw an opportunity and ran with it. We called up Kittea Cat Cafe in Hayes Valley and after hearing that they had an availability in twenty minutes, threw on clothes and ran out the door.
Twenty Minutes Later
...after gleefully observing the kitties from the tea cafe side of the place and pointing to each furry little guy excitedly, at long last it was time to take our shoes off and situate ourselves in heaven.
We went straight for Holly, the playful little girl who could hold her own (she hissed the cutest, most non-threatening hiss when a cat three times her size tried to play).
Hanna made a beeline for Piglet, a sweet baby girl who was quite the curious athlete, rappelling up Hanna's shoulder every chance she could, or even better, poking her nose into entirely new territory:
Piglet says she's willing to write a "What's In My Bag" column for us! Doesn't that sound meowvaleous?
This beaut is Autumn, the funniest kittycat there.
When we first met her, she was misleadingly taking a nap... but very soon after, she stirred awake once the scent of paninis and scones wafted over to her. Autumn's the foodie of the group - braving hell and high water in an effort to sneak up within a millimeter of anything edible by hoomanz. She waited impatiently under tables stacked with food, then decided why not try her charm on top of the tables before sternly getting a talking-to from her handlers. Two minutes later, she was back at it again.
I have to say, I appreciated the perseverance! Autumn's my type of gal.
SO THEN, I fell in love. Head over paws in love.
Cassandra spotted this gorgeous princess from afar, picked her up, and plopped her right into my lap.
And then she never left.
Her name's Dark Chocolate, Cocoa for short... and you. guys. At seven weeks old, she was the tiniest, sweetest thing you ever did see. She curled up nice and small into my lap, purring away as I petted her for a full hour, and adorably meowing in protest whenever anyone else dared touch her. Every so often, she would stand up–and right when I thought she'd decided it was time to say goodbye, she simply readjusted herself to be more comfortable and laid back down.
My heart... was in pieces. This is the reason why I'm banned from cat cafes–my roommates know me well enough to know that an experience like this was way likelier to happen than not.
As Cocoa refused to move an inch (she's demanding when it comes to naps! you see why we get along!), other cats stopped by to say hello before returning on their merry way to play.
Our ONE gripe was that we weren't able to meet Stanford, an eight-year-old black cat who we fell in love with over Instagram. Kittea calls him their very own celebrity, and we've been dying to see him for weeks... but alas, the gentleman decided to be a diva and hid in a box in the back during our visit, and so... no dice.
This is Goose, a super shy kitten who Cassandra spent her entire visit coaxing out of hiding from under a piece of furniture. After half an hour, Goose finally complied, but fell asleep upright in Cassandra's arms...
Is that not the cutest thing you've ever seen??
Each of us with a kitten in our arms, we settled down into a corner with our endless pots of tea and debated the pro's and con's of bringing one (or three) home.
Me: we're doing it.
Voice of Reason(s): okay, but really?
Me: WE'RE DOING IT. Cocoa's comin' home with us!!
I mean, how could you say no?!
Well... one deterrent: Mr. Oliver. Dapper as he may look, he was quite the rambunctious guy who first took a playful swipe at Hanna's leg and then decided that Cassandra's pigtails were his prey. He batted at the braids and then gnawed at her scalp, and then we were like:
perhaps we should reconsider.
At the end of the day, I came as close to bringing home a pet as I ever have (no but seriously, HOW did I say goodbye to those beautiful eyes) but alas, mind won over heart. I wanted Cocoa to have a family who has the time and energy to play with her all day every day, and for her to be spoiled with all the luxuries in the world.
It was the most heartbreaking thing ever when Hanna pried Cocoa off of my lap... she laid her down gently on a furry throw, but as we watched from outside, she looked so lost and confused out of the warmth of my lap.
In happier news, as I was obsessively checking their Instagram last night, I saw that the most precious family adopted not only Cocoa but Holly too! While it did hurt my soul just a little, I know that those kittens will grow up in a most loving home.
In need of a drink and some grub (the cat cafe had been our first stop of the day, and it was already 2pm at this point!), we wandered the streets of Hayes Valley listlessly until we came upon an intriguing restaurant called Straw. There was no wait, and the food looked delicious so we claimed a table - and later found out that it's a super popular spot with a ridiculous wait typically!
Counting our lucky stars, we ordered Strawberry Basil mimosas and a Bloody Mary.
... and flipped through their quirky menu, bellies rumbling.
Shared the Rocky Mountain Madame - egg-in-a-hole brioche toast with prosciutto, swiss, and the most insane bechamel drizzled all over, plus a delicious serving of home fries.
Also an order of the Fried Chicken n' Waffles Monte Cristo (apparently it's been on TV!) - crispy chicken sandwiched between Belgian waffles dusted with powdered sugar and jam - as crazy scrumptious as it sounds. Plus amazing sweet potato tater tots dipped in barbeque sauce!
We weren't hungry enough for The Ringmaster, Straw's famous donut burger, but there's always next time!
Finally, I can't talk "carnival fare" without telling you about another new San Francisco find that we stumbled upon on a walk last weekend.
The Myriad Market Hall, between the Castro and the Mission. Chock full of lovely food vendors and live music.
We whiled away an afternoon at the bar of the San Francisco Brewing Co., and the owners were the friendliest people ever - they beckoned the guy who ran the "robot-made" baguettes next door to toss us a baguette to try and then escorted us over the cookie place to make sure that we tasted a damn good cookie ("it's a $4 cookie, it has to be good...") - so much fun!
Highly recommend if you're at a loss of what to do on a weekend!