Tag Archives: san francisco
Spring weather has been kind of all over the place in SF so far, but there have seen some gorgeous sunny days for sure. Yufei and I picked 2 of these days to visit the San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers, both located in Golden Gate Park.
The botanical garden is free for SF residents, which is awesome. Check out these pretty flower we saw when we were there.
There’s a little lake in the middle, and we spent some time enjoying the sun on a bench and watching the ducks.
It was also magnolia season when we visited.
I can imagine myself coming here with a blanket and a good book and just spend all afternoon lying on the grass reading. I will definitely be back in the future!
And here is the beautiful Conservatory of Flowers! The building itself is really gorgeous, and there is lots of lawns space outside for lazing around.
It costs money to go inside, but again there is a discount for residents which is great. There are a lot of really cool plants inside, including many species of pitcher plants.
The flowerbeds outside make for a beautiful backdrop for photos!
A few weeks ago, Yufei and I had a wonderful dinner at Pasion, a Latin American restaurant on Irving Street. I have ridden the train past Pasion countless times on my way to work, and I’ve always been intrigued, so it was nice to finally go eat there. Inside the restaurant, the atmosphere was cozy yet modern. A little after we were seated, we were presented with free jello shots. It turns out that they have different specials each day of the week, and Thursdays happen to be free jello shot night!
We started off with some drinks. I ordered a house sangria and Yufei got the Pasion colada mojito, but we ended up switching drinks because I loved Yufei’s cocktail. It had passion fruit puree in it and I’m a huge fan of passion fruit. It was just delicious. I liked it so much that I ended up having two of these throughout the meal. Just writing about it now makes me want to go back and have one right now!
We got an appetizer to share, a salad with dungeness crab, avocado, and potato. It was pretty good; I had my crab fix, haha.
Both of our entrees were fantastic. I took our server’s suggestion and ordered the grilled ahi tuna, with coconut risotto, sautéed spinach, pineapple chimichurri, and aji amarillo beurre blanc. It was so good. The fish was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The risotto was creamy and the pineapple give the dish a nice fresh kick. All the flavors and textures went really well together and it was such an indulgent and satisfying dish.
Yufei ordered the grilled estancia rib eye steak, with plantain chorizo hash, fried egg, cabrales demi glaze, and chimichurri. Can you tell he likes his protein? Haha. It had some of the steak and it was delicious. Yufei cleared his plate so I assumed that he liked it as much as I liked my entree.
Overall the meal was amazing. Loved the food and drinks, great service, and free jello shots. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again soon but the prices are a little expensive. But I definitely think that it’s worth the splurge once in a while!
Yufei and I celebrated Valentine’s Day on the Monday after this year, and it was fantastic! I made us brunch with pancakes, eggs, toast, and chocolate covered strawberries in the morning:
Yufei got me flowers. Aww…
And at night we went out to Dixie for dinner. We had a voucher for a 5-course dinner with wine pairings for two, which was a great deal. The restaurant is located in the Presidio, surrounded by trees. It was dark when we got there, but I can imagine that it’s a pretty setting. The interiors of the restaurant was warmly lit. It was also really spacious, which I liked, and we got seated in a booth.
The kinds of food they serve I guess can be classified as new American with a southern twist. We started off with some canapés, which included hush puppies, deviled eggs, cured ham, and pickled okra.
The first course was a sunchoke panna cotta with smoked oysters, crispy fried brussel sprouts leaves & dandelions. Since Yufei does not eat shellfish, they made his without oysters. We were a little disappointed that they did not substitute something for the oysters, but oh well.
It was an interesting dish, unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I liked the crispy brussel sprout leaves, which kind of reminded my of kale chips. It was an interesting blend of textures and flavors. In the back of the photo you can also see their bread service of the night, a wild rive lavash flatbread served with black eyed peas. It was really good!
The next course was acorn grits with a soft poached egg, duck skin crackling and sea urchin butter. This time they replaced the sea urchin butter with regular butter for Yufei.
I should have taken the photo a few second earlier before the butter shavings all melted. They looked really pretty. It was a pretty good dish, not too memorable though.
Here are the first of the two wine pairings, a sparkling wine and a sherry. The last wine we got was a Malbec (not shown).
The next course was my favorite, the chicken fried quail with king trumpet mushrooms, spiced pecans, and bourbon butter. It was crispy and delicious and left me wanting more. But it was a 5-course meal after all so I guess the serving size was perfect.
And the final savory course for the night, grass fed beef with a red wine, mushroom & coffee sauce.
This was Yufei’s favorite course (not surprising since he’s a big fan of beef). I don’t really eat a lot of red meat but the portion was small and I enjoyed it. It was tender and pretty flavorful.
After the savory courses, we were presented with a small citrus granita palate cleaner before dessert. I kind of wanted a full serving of this, haha. So sweet and refreshing!
The dessert course, a banana foster soufflé with malted milk chocolate ice cream.
It was a nice light dessert to finish the meal. The little espresso cup the soufflé came in was too cute!
The meal overall was very good. The food was great and the service was very attentive. We tipped generously and even with the voucher, it was a pretty expensive meal. Everything was great, but I’m not sure if I would pay full price to come again.
After we got back home, we exchanged our presents for each other. Yufei got me chocolate truffles and these super cute foldable figures of us from foldable.me! Aren’t they adorable and funny? (Foldable Yufei is even wearing the same purple shirt as in the previous picture!)
Thanks to Yufei for spending this awesome day with me celebrating our 5th Valentine’s Day togehter :)
Just some stuff I did this month that I thought I’d share.
Chinese New Year lunch at my parents’ house. This is the first time I celebrated CNY with my parents in 5 years! Year of the Snake, which is my sign, which apparently means that I will have bad luck this year. Yeah, I never understood that either.
After lunch that same day, we took a walk in the Hayward Japanese Gardens nearby. It was a gorgeous day and the ground were really pretty too.
Finally rode in a streetcar after living in SF for 8 month! Yufei’s parents were visiting us and I got to do a lot of really touristy things in the city with them that I never got to do, this being one of them.
Beautiful sunset by the ocean.
Vista Point. A really nice place to view the Golden Gate Bridge from the north side.
Alcatraz! Another touristy visit.
Alcatraz offers some absolutely amazing views of SF. I like how you can see the streets go up the hill :)
We had some really nice warm sunshine last week, as you can see from the photos. But this week has been rather cold and yucky. I hope we get the sun back soon!
Last month, Yufei and I went skating at the Union Square Holiday Ice Rink right before they took it down for the year. Afterwards, we decided to have dinner around the area. It was Dine About Town that week, which is SF’s version of Restaurant Week in NYC. We looked up participating restaurants in the area and settled on Anzu. We didn’t have a reservation, so it was about a 45 minute wait. Luckily, Anzu is located inside Hotel Nikko, so we sat in the beautiful lobby and talked while we waited for our table.
Anzu is described as serving California cuisine with Asian flavors, whatever that means. The Dine About Town menu has a few different choices for each of the three courses. For appetizers, Yufei and I both got the seared ahi tuna. It was pretty good, though the serving size was really small.
For my main course, I decided on the oven roasted king salmon, with scallion gnocchi, Japanese eggplant, pickled turnips, and kaiyaki sauce. I really liked this dish. The salmon was very crispy on the outside and very flavorful.
Yufei chose the grilled hanger steak with mushroom ravioli and port wine reduction. He replaced the side of broccolini with garlic fries (so typical of him…).
For dessert, I got the pomegranate crème brûlée with macaron cookies. It was an interesting take on crème brûlée since the pomegranate taste made the usually sweet dessert more tarte and sour. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the best crème brûlée I ever had.
Yufei dessert was a chocolate indulgent cake with grand marnier crème anglaise sauce.
Overall, the food was okay. Service was lacking a little (forgetting to bring my drink order, not refilling our waters, etc.). Even with the Dine About Town discount, we felt it was still a little expensive for a just-okay dinner, and we probably won’t be back again.
Just wanted to share some photos from the top of Twin Peaks. Yufei and I were lucky enough to pick two gorgeous, clear days/nights to go up there. For the day trip we took the bus to the bottom and walked up this dusty, dirty trail to the top. I like hiking but I really did not like the climb hahah. But the views at the top were worth it!
Then we decided to go again, this time at night and driving instead. The view is equally fantastic when it’s dark, with the glittering city below us.
Twin Peaks is a definite must see for anyone visiting SF! Also notice the weird weather: it was cold and windy during that day in October, but much warmer the second night in November!
Tags: san francisco
Oh dear, I’d been putting off reviewing all the restaurants we’ve been to in SF and now there’s too many racked up! So I will just do a few of the more memorable meals here.
I made a reservation there for Yufei’s birthday back in August. Yufei loves steak and Yelp helped me find this place. It’s on the top floor of the Marines’ Club building and there were excellent views of downtown SF. Very reasonable prices for the food and service. Very classy place – they had a live piano player! There were mostly older patrons though, but I guess that was expected. Good place for a special occasion dinner.
2. Slanted Door
A modern Vietnamese restaurant. I’d been wanting to come to this place since I found out about it during my SF visit last summer (I went to their sister restaurant Out The Door last year). We were at the Ferry Building one afternoon and decided to have an early dinner there. There was a line as soon as they opened for dinner, but we got a table pretty quickly. I liked the space a lot, very modern and simple with plenty of sunlight from the windows looking out into the ocean.
We got a couple of cocktails to start, which were both pretty good. (The pink girly one is Yufei’s. It’a actually hilarious how more often than not te drinks he order end up looking girlier than mine.)
For food, we got the daikon rice cakes for appetizer. They were pretty good, nothing too special for $14 though.
I got their famous cellophane noodles with dungeness crab for my entree. It was really delicious! A really simple dish but done well.
Yufei got the stir fried chicken with cashews, walnuts, and raisons. It sounded boring but actually was very good. The chicken was nice and crispy and the nuts and raisons complemented the meat well.
Overall a good meal but really a little too expensive for what you get.
A little French Bistro not too far from where we live. Yufei went there for brunch with a friend of his and said that it was really good, so we went again for brunch a few weeks ago. We sat in the back garden, which was nice (if on a nice day). Those tall umbrella things are actually heaters, which was very necessary for the cool SF summer.
We got a bottle of sparkling lemonade to share. Yufei ordered the Un, Deux, Trois: 1 buttermilk pancake, 2 eggs, and 3 strips of bacon. I got one of their many eggs benedict specials, the La Mer, which was served with dungeness crab and avocados (as you can see, I really like crab!).
My dish was really good. Eggs and crab and avocados and Hollandaise sauce sound really rich together, but it was just right and not too much. I love eggs benedicts and would love to come back and try some of their other varieties!
That’s all for now! Now I have a question for anyone who’s been to SF: are there any good, cheap Korean restaurants in the city? Like a bibimbap under $13? We’ve been to a couple but they were really pricey. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by 4 years of Mill back in college. Anyways, if anyone knows, let me know!