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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Tag Archives: parks

I seriously LOVE living in the Bay Area – there’s just so much to do here no matter what you’re into! Here I’ll be sharing some of the fun stuff we did last fall and winter.

Treasure Island Flea Market

A fun place to check out local artisans and grab some food at food trucks! It’s held on the last weekend of every month and entry is $3.

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Cat Town Cafe

A cat cafe in America?! I knew I had to go when I first found out this place was opening in Oakland. The place is pretty small and we needed reservations when we went last year. There’s a cafe area where you can buy drinks and snacks, and a separate play room with the kitties. A must visit for cat lovers!

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Twitter Holiday Party at the Exploratorium

We had been to the old Exploratorium back when it was still at the Palace of Fine Arts, but last year’s Twitter holiday party was held at their new location at Pier 15, so it was the perfect chance to go check it out!

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All the exhibits were open but we didn’t have time to hit up everything with so many people there. Plus, there were delicious food to be had and drinks to be drunk, even ones made by the robot bartender:

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Will have to revisit some day soon!

Sonoma Coast State Park

I am absolutely in love with the California coast, and there’s no better place to see it in all its glory than this gorgeous park! Plenty of trails and beaches along a long stretch of the coast line.

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Devil’s Slide

Another place to admire the beautiful Cali coastline! This one is very close to SF and is an urban “hike” along a stretch of highway that’s no longer in use. Pretty cool place to check out!

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There’s also this cool abandoned bunker at the south end of the trail:

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Calistoga

We went on a relaxing weekend trip to Calistoga last winter. We stayed at the Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, which had several indoor and outdoor hot springs. We also paid for a couple’s mud bath that was very interesting! A fun way to rejuvenate.

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We also visited a couple of wine tasting rooms, my favorite of which is the tasting room for Romeo Vineyards. The lovely garden setting filled with lights made for a very cozy and romantic evening!

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We also went hiking at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park on this trip. There are some really nice trails and we hiked for 6 miles!

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On the drive home, we couldn’t help it but stop and enjoy these gorgeous yellow flowers all along the road! Napa Valley is such a dreamy place.

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Cartoon Art Museum

A fun little museum in SF! We had a Groupon or some other voucher for it so we went to check it out. I had actually been there once when I was visiting SF back in 2011, but they have different exhibits all the time so it was a whole new experience.

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Sausalito

We went to Sausalito for brunch one morning and took a stroll to see the houseboats! Very quaint and charming.

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I feel like I still haven’t really explored Sausalito very much (seems like we only ever stop there for food haha) so I would like to come back and explore the city some more some day!

Grizzly Peak

Gosh, this is such a magical place. Located in the Berkeley Hills, it offers a beautiful view of the Bay Area. It was cloudy in SF when we went, but you could see the tops of the buildings just peaking out from under the cloud covers, which made it look like the city was floating. I would absolutely love to go back when it’s clear, or to watch the sunset!

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Hopefully this gives you some ideas for things to do in the wonderful Bay Area! There will be more posts like this coming soon because like I said, there’s no shortage of fun here!

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Days 1&2 – Reykjavik
Days 3&4 – West Iceland
Days 5&6 – North Iceland

We’re finally coming to the end of our journey in Iceland! Writing this now almost a year later is making me very nostalgic…

On the morning of the 7th day, we woke up early and drove to Glacier Lagoon. The color of the lagoon and the giant blocks of ice in it makes for a spectacular view like nowhere else on earth.

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We then went to Vatnajökull National Park and hiked to Svartifoss, also known as the Black Waterfall. The basalt columns surrounding the waterfall were so cool!

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In the afternoon we went to Fjaðrárgljúfur, a majestic canyon. It was one of my favorite places we visited in Iceland. The green of the canyon against the blues and yellows of the late afternoon sky made the whole place seem magical. It was unreal.

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We stayed the night in Vik, and we asked the hotel to give us a wake-up call if there were any Northern Lights that night. And indeed there were! We ran outside in the middle of the night and caught a very brief glimpse of the lights, and I was fortunate enough to capture this photo!

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The next morning, we got up and drove a short distance to the black sand beach near Vik. More basalt columns!

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Our next destination took a while to find since it was kind of unusual. I read online about this plane wreckage on the beach and we thought it would be really cool to see it. The plane wreck against the backdrop of grey clouds of the gloomy sky made for some very dramatic photos.

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Next up is another unusual place: Seljavallalaug, an abandoned swimming pool filled with natural hot spring water. It took a short hike to get there and it started drizzling on our way there, but the water in the pool was nice and warm.

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Definitely the coolest swimming pool we’ve ever swam in!

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After that, another waterfall – Seljalandsfoss.

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And then it was onto Geysir, a park with lots of geothermal activity.

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Saw a geyser erupting!

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And then it was yet another waterfall, Gullfoss. Very big waterfall!

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As the sun was starting to set we did a quick drive through Thingvellir National Park, only having time to stop a couple of times.

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We drove back to Reykjavik, where this whole adventure started, and stayed the night at a small hotel near the airport. We were far away enough from the city that we were able to see some more Northern Lights on our last night in Iceland.

Then the next morning, we said a very reluctant goodbye to this amazing country. We had such an amazing time and it will forever remain one of my favorite trips!

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After we left Bend, we drove to Portland and arrived in the afternoon. We returned the car (you’ll have to wait to see how we got back to SF!) and took a train to downtown. After settling down in our hotel, we went to explore the city a bit. We took a nice walk along the river and in the park along the shore.

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And we had dinner at Saucebox, a pan-Asian restaurant. The restaurant was kind of divided into 2 halves, with one side with black walls and dim lighting, and the other side with white walls and a more airy atmosphere.

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We got seated on the white side and got some delicious cocktails to start. I got their soft shell crab buns, which were really good.

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Yufei and I also shared their pupu platter, which came with a variety of appetizers. We especially liked the Korean baby back ribs.

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After dinner, we just went back to our hotel and rested for the next fully packed day in Portland. We went to Voodoo Doughnuts first to get some doughnuts for breakfast.

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The line was pretty long when we got there but moved fairly fast. We got a Portland cream doughnut and a voodoo doll because it was just too cute. Both were delicious!

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We took a walk through the Portland Saturday Market afterwards, where there were tons of booths of handcrafted items and food.

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Then we made our way to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a classical Suzhou-style garden. It was beautifully done and it was such a peaceful place to get away from the city.

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Then we took a bus across the river to get lunch at Screen Door.

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There was a wait, as expected, which was fine with us since we were still full from the doughnuts. So we took a little walk around the neighborhood and stopped by a park for a bit before heading back. Once we were seated, we decided to get Screen Door’s famous chicken and waffle:

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And also an omelet, which we regretted ordering after seeing how humongous the chicken and waffles was.

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We impressively ate most of the food (it was a LOT of food), all of which were delicious. We were super stuffed afterwards though!

Our next destination was Distillery Row, an area with a bunch of distilleries. We saw this cool sun halo on our way!

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It was kind of hard to find the area at first, but once we found the first one, they were all in the same few blocks.

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We visited and did tastings of all kinds of spirits at 3 different distilleries. It was a cool new experience for us since we’d never done spirit tasting before!

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Portland – Part 2

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Yufei and I took a short trip to Oregon in June at the beginning of my summer break. It was so nice to relax a bit after the first year of dental school! We rented a car and drove for the whole first day, spending the night at Klamath Falls. The next morning we drove to our first destination – Crater Lake National Park. As you can tell from its name, the lake used to be a volcano! And there’s a smaller volcano inside it too.

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The color of the water was this amazing deep blue. We bought sandwiches at a cafe in Klamath Falls before we left, and we had lunch with the prettiest view of the lake.

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Even though it was a nice sunny day at the end of June, there was still a ton of snow up on the mountains.

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We took a hike down to the shore too.

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The water looked so clear. I wished it was warm enough to swim in it.

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We left the park in the afternoon and drove towards Bend, our next stop on the trip. We took the rest of the day easy since we were pretty tired from the hike. The next day, we had scheduled a tour at Deschutes Brewery. But before that, we had lunch at their Bend public house. Yufei got the elk burger:

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And I had this wonderful steak salad with grilled romaine, grilled flank steak, and the most delicious cumin vinaigrette. I still dream about this salad from time to time…

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We got to the brewery a bit early, so we started on the tasting samples. We each got a stamp card for 4 beer tastings. So many different yummy beers!

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The tour itself was informative and we learned so much about the brewing process!

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Next stop – Portland!

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Even though spring quarter of D1 year was tough academically, I still had plenty of time to have fun outside of school to explore different places in SF and beyond. Here are some of the things I did!

The Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio. It’s a really cool museum and you learn so much about Walt Disney’s life and legacy. They also have special exhibits with art from different Disney artists. Highly recommended for any Disney fan!

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My dad, Yufei, and I went hiking in Tennessee Valley in Marin over Memorial Day weekend. We hiked all the way from the Tennessee Valley trailhead to Muir Beach – a hike that turned out to be much more physically demanding than we expected. There were so many ups and downs. But the views along the coast was incredible.

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We had lunch at Pelican Inn once we got to Muir Beach.

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After lunch, we took a much less scenic but much flatter and faster route back!

After we returned to SF from the hike, Yufei and I stopped by Baker Beach. It was our first time there and it was a gorgeous day for the beach.

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The view of the Golden Gate Bridge is great!

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Another weekend, another hike. This time we went to San Pedro Valley County Park. It got increasingly cold and foggy as we went higher and higher, so we eventually gave up and hiked back down before we reached the peak. The mountains did look very mystical in the fog though.

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Then the sun came out unexpectedly near the end of our hike!

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Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Our last full day in the city was fully packed! In the morning we went to Katz’s Deli for breakfast. Their famous pastrami sandwich was every bit as delicious as I had hoped.

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Then we went to the 9/11 Memorial. I had gone in 2012 right after graduation, but this time the Freedom Tower is pretty much complete and is a beautiful addition to the New York skyline.

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We walked around the reflection pools for a bit (sadly the museum wasn’t open yet at the time) and then headed to Chinatown. We had dimsum at our favorite place – Golden Unicorn. I was too busy eating to take photos of the meal! We had planned to get a snack at Xi’an Famous Foods, but it wasn’t open. So we opted for lamb kabobs from this street cart instead.

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After we filled our stomaches with delicious Chinese food, we walked to the Highline. I’d always wanted to visit when I was in college but never got to. Winter isn’t the best time to take a stroll there (I can imagine it being such a cool place to hang out in the warmer seasons) but we still walked almost the entire length of it.

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After so much walking, we were hungry again so we got Wafels & Dinges! This is one of the things I really miss in NYC and that I really wish they had in SF (though for the same of my waistline it’s probably good that they don’t). It was so warm and delicious and now I wish we had gotten 2.

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Macy’s was nearby and they were having their flower show at the time, so we went inside to get away from the cold for bit and enjoy the gorgeous blooms that are nowhere to be found outside.

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After that, we took the tram to Roosevelt Island. There’s really nothing much to do on the island but we wanted to take the tram. It was pretty cool.

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It was still too early for our dinner reservation at Porter House, so we just hang out in Time Warner Center where the restaurant was located for a bit before going in. We used to go to Porter House for lunch in our college days because they had a really good prix-fixe 3-course lunch menu, but this was our first time going there for dinner. We started with an arugula salad to share (bonus points for actually splitting the serving into 2 individual plates for us).

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Yufei’s steak (and a humongous serving of fries):

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My usual order of salmon:

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Food there was delicious as always. Not quite ready to relinquish our last night in NYC, we decided to get a drink and dessert at Stone Rose Lounge next door, where we were greeted with this gorgeous night view of Columbus Circle.

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Thus ended our last day in New York. The next morning we packed up, checked out of the hotel, and grabbed a quick lunch at Aceluck. This little restaurant holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I was introduced to the delicious world of Thai food.

After lunch, we headed to the airport. Yufei had used his miles to book first class seats for our return flight and it was awesome! We got champagne after we were seated:

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And they handed out tablets with entertainment for the flight. We watched Dallas Buyer’s Club. Here is my movie and part of my meal:

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This is the life. It was such a great way to end our trip on a high note!

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Day 1

Day 2 in NYC was quite packed indeed. Two years ago, Yufei and I had lunch at Nougatine and for this trip, we decided to try Jeans-Georges.

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We both decided to get the 2-plate tasting of spring. Before our first course we got a trio of amuse bouche, the specifics of which are escaping my mind now a month later. But I do recall them being very delicious. In the background you can see my house made passionfruit soda.

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Yufei’s first course, butternut squash soup with black trumpet mushrooms. It was really good and I stole quite a few spoonfuls.

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My first course, Nishiki risotto with peekytoe crab, nori and key lime. It was really savory and delicious.

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For the main course, Yufei got the beef tenderloin with brussel sprouts and mashed/pureed something.

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I got the black bass crusted with nuts and seeds with sweet and sour jus. I really liked the flavor of the jus and the fact that it also came with a nice medly of veggies. The fish was also cooked to perfection, and the crust was a nice addition.

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We decided to get a dessert to share and chose the tasting of chocolate: white chocolate ice cream with yuzu sorbet; milk chocolate custard with piedmont hazelnuts, and candied orange; and their classic warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

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And of course there’s always more food after the last course – petits fours. House made vanilla bean marshmallows and a selection of candied fruits, chocolates, and macaroons.

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Everything was delicious at Jeans-Georges and the service was impeccable too. The only regret I have is that, now, looking back at my post about our meal at Nougatine, I realize that we ordered a lot of similar dishes. For instance, Yufei also had a butternut squash soup and I also got a bass at Nougatine, and we also had the warm chocolate cake. If I had reviewed that meal before we went to Jean-Georges, I probably would have ordered dishes that I hadn’t tried before. Oh well, I guess this means at least we’re consistent in what we like!

After lunch, Yufei went back to the hotel and I walked across Central Park (partly to walk off some of my big lunch, partly because it was tricky to get to via transit, and partly because I miss walking in Central Park) to meet some college friends at Alice’s Tea Cup. I got distracted by some street performers on my way:

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We went to Chapter III on 81st and had to wait a bit for a table of 4 at 2:30 in the afternoon. I decided to get a small pot of tea and 2 scones. The passionfruit black tea was really good. I got a sweet scone and a savory scone – blackberry and parmesan and capers. They were good too but really big; I thought they would be more dainty, but I guess I shouldn’t complain about getting more food for my money. My friend Jin was a big more hungry and got the Nibble, which was a pot of tea, a scone, a sandwich, and a platter of cookies. There was definitely more food than just a nibble.

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We had a really great time chatting and catching up on each other’s lives. You’re looking at 4 future health professionals right here!

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After we left Alice’s Tea Cup, we walked around a bit and checked out a grocery store, an H&M, and a Goodwill nearby. Everyone was pretty tired so we parted ways and I went back to the hotel. Yufei was having dinner with some of his friends so I just rested in our room for a couple of hours.

It was getting late when Yufei got back and I was getting hungry again, so we decided to go to the nearby Pony Bar for some food and beer. It was surprisingly empty for a Sunday night

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They had a pretty interesting beer selection (listed on the scoreboard-looking screens in the picture above).

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We got a couple of beers and also some small bites to eat and called it a night!

Day 3
Days 4 & 5

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