Squeezing the last few hours out of San Francisco – Souley Vegan… and Cinnaholic!

Hello throwback Tuesday ( I know, I know, it’s not a real thing), where I hopefully recap all of the awesome food related stuff we did in December/ early January. To Recap (and to keep myself organized), up until this point in San Francisco, we had visited: – Millennium – Happy birthday to me! – St. Francis Fountain – Brunch of Champions – Souley Vegan – Amazing vegan Soul Food in Oakland – Herbivore – Brunch of okay. – Gracias Madre – Delicious food with a side of sexism. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: There is one thing I really enjoy about being on the west coast now that I’m so accustomed to the east coast time zone, and that’s waking up earlier than most people. Especially on those days when you just want to cram every moment with something. Well, 5am on Saturday morning is not really that exciting, but there is time to read emails, and catch up on all the online stuff we missed while gallivanting around the city. I sat, sipping complimentary tea in a lounge, watching some of the early risers slowly make their way down for coffee service. We made a point to pack up most of our things the night before (really – because who wants to run around trying to locate that missing shoe immediately before you have to leave?) As planned, we were going to have one last meal at Souley Vegan, a quick BART ride over to Oakland ,and we were there. The familiar sign in the distance,…

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Goodbye San Francisco – Hello Gracias Madre

In another edition of throwback Tuesday, where I hopefully recap all of the awesome stuff we did in December. To Recap (and to keep myself organized), up until this point in San Francisco, we had visited: – Millennium – Happy birthday to me! – St. Francis Fountain – Brunch of Champions – Souley Vegan – Amazing vegan Soul Food in Oakland – Herbivore – Brunch of okay. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: The last night in San Francisco, and I wanted to spend it with JC and enjoy the vegan Mexican food at Gracias Madre. I had a lovely time, and great food on my last visit in 2010, so I wanted to share that same positive experience with my Love. Unfortunately, there was some server weirdness as soon as we were seated.

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A slow and lazy afternoon in San Francisco – Herbivore for Brunch, Presidio & the Golden Gate Bridge

Am I still writing about our December visit to San Francisco and Las Vegas? Yes. Yes I am. There is something about the day before the day you are planning on leaving somewhere. There is that urge to fit in the sightseeing and eating, with the desire to just take it easy and enjoy your vacation. At least there is for me. Maybe it’s because both of us have been to San Francisco before, and done a lot of the tourist stuff, but we decided to take it easy with a languid walk to Herbivore for brunch, followed by a maybe walk over to the Golden Gate Bridge. I noticed the great mural work and street art on previous visits, but as we walked down Geary Street we got to enjoy some interesting tile work and faces, and walked up and down the rolling hills that San Francisco has to offer.

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Vegan Soul Food in Oakland, California – Souley Vegan

I’ve talked about Souley Vegan enthusiastically with anyone that would listen. On my first visit to San Francisco in 2011, I discovered this place, and never wanted to leave. I went to Souley Vegan three times in a week. This time we just went twice (in one week), but it was great both times. The front staff has changed a bit (unsurprisingly with two years passing, and increased success) but they’ve got a good and friendly crew from the person that takes your order at the cash, to the serving staff, to the bartender. The clientele is a great mix of different people, when we went on a Thursday evening, it was busy with lots of chatting families, nerdy looking professionals, and several groups of friends. You walk in and take a look at the menu, order and pay at the front desk, and someone will give you a number on a stick. Food comes out reasonably quickly, even on the night it was busy. We ordered the Everything plate, as I did the first time I visited, and it was appropriate for two people (though we still took stuff back to the hotel anyway.) It comes with a taste of each of their delicious menu items.  Mustard greens, black eye peas, yams, lentils, BBQ tofu, southern fried tofu, potato salad, cornbread, mac and cheese, and southern fried smothered tofu. We added the red beans with rice and the fried okra, and the mashed potatoes with gravy to our order for a…

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San Francisco – St. Francis Fountain

Bright and early Saturday morning we opted to seek out some breakfast. Though most places only opened at 11am. The best/worst part about visiting the west coast, when you’re completely accustomed to east coast time is that you walk up earlier than nearly everyone else, but that also means that walking up to go anywhere is never a problem. Luckily, our hotel accommodated us early risers with coffee and mighty leaf tea bar that started at 6 am, and a selection of four different newspapers to read (and free wifi.) And as an added bonus they had soy milk for coffee and stevia sweeteners available and all the earl grey tea I could drink. I tried asking around for suggestions for breakfast in San Francisco, but didn’t really get any definitive suggestions. I found a place called Sun Rise Restaurant through Yelp that seemed interesting, it had a lot of variety, including Latin inspired tofu scrambles, and tamales, and other tasty sounding options. Wanting to take advantage of the weather (which by our standards was lovely) we opted to walk the 3 miles over to the Mission District. The 24th St Station BART train stops not far from there, so it’s easily accessible by transit. We walked down Market and Folsom, enjoying the street art, murals, and public art spaces all along the way. At around the 2.5 mile point I said “Wouldn’t it be funny if this place was closed because of the holidays?” JC told me it wouldn’t. Well, he was right, at least…

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Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco Birthday Dinner – 5-course tasting menu, wine pairing, custom cakes, oh my.

On December 26th we flew over to San Francisco to celebrate my birthday in the most absurd and delightful surprise way I’ve ever had. After a remarkably straightforward, and easy trip through US Customs, a quick and painless security screening, and a window seat on the air plane on a direct flight, we left behind the storm warnings and cloudy days in Toronto and were basking in the sunshine in SFO. It seems we left right in time, because while I was looking forward to having a bit of snow, the storm front that was hitting Toronto wasn’t my idea of a good time. After checking in to our hotel (a mere block away from Millennium) we relaxed, enjoyed the complimentary wine hour at our hotel, and got ready for dinner. Entering the restaurant is always a bit weird because walking through the Tenderloin area of San Francisco with it’s display of overt poverty, addiction, and illness, in an area full of hotels, tourism, and theaters is quite the contrast. It’s also hard for me not to think about the last time I  ate at Millennium and saw a shooting after dinner. It’s an area permanently blended with weird reality of have and have not, and it’s not something easy to overlook (at least it’s not something I can ignore.)

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