Bay Area Birthday Mini-Vacation: San Francisco, San Rafael, Marshall, Healdsburg, Guerneville, Half Moon Bay, and Santa Cruz
My first stop in San Francisco was SFMOMA. I've always wanted to visit (badly), but whenever I have visited San Francisco in the past, I was with people (friends or family) who weren't interested in going or one time it was under construction and closed. It's not free so you'd probably need to be someone who appreciates art to enjoy your visit. At $37 for admission, including a ticket to the temporary Diego Rivera exhibition, plus $19 with discounted parking, I don't think it is a place I would go on a regular basis whenever I visit SF. Probably every now and then, it would be nice to revisit. It is well worth a visit if you haven't been (like me) and a fan of contemporary art. I usually start at the top floor and work my way to the bottom floor at multilevel museums. I spent 3 hours there and could have easily spent the whole day there.
"Diego Rivera's America" is a special exhibition is a special ticketed event at SFMOMA until January 2, 2023. From SFMOMA website: "The most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in over two decades, Diego Rivera’s America brings together more than 150 of Rivera’s paintings, frescoes, and drawings—as well as three galleries devoted to large-scale film projections of highly influential murals he created in Mexico and the United States."
Samir's hand-kneaded bread at Beit Rima's less popular location in Cole Valley. It seems like this is the current food writer darling of San Francisco and to me, the most interesting because I've never tasted the food from Palestine. I made dining at Beit Rima a priority out of my LONG list of restaurants to try.
I booked this AirBnB in the city due to its decent reviews and free parking spot at the property. I hate the parking situation in San Francisco, so I booked it. It was clean, but it was a bit noisy as the walls and ceiling were thin. I don't think I would book again because of the noise factor and the lack of personal touches and hospitality I have found at other AirBnBs.
Cinnamon apple macaron, lemon tart, and a mixed berry kouign amann. I bought some French bread for my snack later on the go. Owner/chef Belinda Leong worked at Pierre Herme in Paris so these probably are some of the best macarons in the United States. Not being too sweet, her pastries are a delight. Some of the macaron I've tried in France are way too sweet for me. Oh, and say hello to my Cactus Plant Flea Market buddy who I paid $12 for along with my Chicken McNugget adult happy meal at McDonald's which came cold with soggy fries. I wanted this characterly badly because he was just too cute! I asked the McDonald's employee for this one and they delivered (after telling me they can't choose because the toy is covered in plastic).
I made a reservation to visit Little Saint for brunch, which is the more casual sister restaurant and coffee bar of Single Thread Farms, which is considered the "best restaurant in California" for fine dining. It's a plant-based or vegan restaurant with a music space. I'm not vegan, but I'm curious of what people can do to vegetables to make them more interesting.
My cousin lived this in this neighborhood and I wanted to try food here. I don't recall if we ever did. Their maiitake and fish dumpling is what they are known for which you can order dry or in soup. It was chilly so I opted for soup. Very soothing and comforting, and perfect for a cold San Francisco evening.
I met the owner of Arsicault Bakery, frequently ranked #1 or #2, best bakeries in San Francisco. He recommended his chocolate croissant. At first bite, it was flakey, but nothing like the croissants I've tasted in France or Austria, or even LA. It doesn't make sense why Bon Appétit would rank this bakery "best new bakery in America." It was a huge disappointment based on their croissant. His kouign amman is a bit more flatter than B. Patisserie, probably more equivalent to what they look like in Brittany, France. I asked him about the kouign amman in Paris and he said he doesn't know how they are made there (flat or puffy?) because he hasn't been back in 9 years. In LA, they are usually different variation of puffy at the few places that have them.
Half Moon Bay
This was a short and sweet "dream solo trip" to the Bay Area. It was a trip to travel how I want and when I want. I got to see places that I've wanted to see for so long, but couldn't because other people just weren't interested. On my long time travel bucket list was eating oysters at the Marshall Store and seeing the contemporary art at SFMOMA and I'm so happy I was able to finally make it happen. It was a quick long weekend jaunt, but I saw so many things and created lasting memories. It's funny how on my recent trip to Kentucky and West Virginia I ate so badly and I didn't gain any weight. On this trip I gained 5 pounds! Was it worth it? It sure was! Now, back to reality and trying to eat healthy every day. Until my next adventure...
Hello, I'm Anne.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I love exploring Los Angeles like a tourist. I have as much fun in my hometown as I do traveling in another country. I live to eat (good food) and travel!