A day trip to San Jose and Berkeley California

Sometime Friday morning I decided to take the train over to see The Tech museum in San Jose. I’m blown away about how easy it is to get around here in the Bay area, so many options and interconnected transit systems. I can only hope that Edmonton gets somewhere near this someday. It took about two hours in total to get into San Jose, the BART and an express bus into the city. First stop was the San Jose Museum of Art. Couldn’t miss it. They had a Retro Tech exhibit and a lot of mixed media/mixed technology pieces there. My favourite part of the space was that it encouraged participation and creativity, and provided “Art Packs” that had art supplies, paper and a game in it, so people could write/draw/play while they were in the Gallery. I think one of the most moving and horrifying things I saw was the Midway: Message from the Gyre (pictures are graphic) photo exhibit from Chris Jordan. I’ve seen them before, but just wow. They are photos of dead albatross chicks who had been fed plastic debris from the ocean by parents mistaking it for food. It was hard to look at. The Tech Museum was great, and had a lot of interactive fun stuff to do (even as an adult) and they have an extra bit of fun to take home with you (via website.) My favourite exhibit was the one on alternative energy, and that tied in well to going up…

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Soul Cucina at La Victoria and a Visit to the Golden Gate Park.

I started my wandering early again, but finally ended up at the sfMOMA and the Yerba Buena area again. It was time to check out Samovar. My early lunch was the Tea Soup with braised tofu, and a pot of Golden Phoenix tea. It was surprisingly tasty. Surprisingly because the tea soup didn’t look like much when I got it (though the veggies were a beautiful vibrant colour,) but it turned to be a really pleasant flavourful soup. I wasn’t really conscious of the tea flavour, but there were subtle notes that were really appealing. I learned quickly that I should not steep good tea for very long. I forgot about my Golden Phoenix tea for a while while it was steeping got the full power of the tea, plus the added over-steeped bitterness. But all future cups (I steeped about 10) were lovely, with a hint of peach and apricot. After getting pleasantly full at Samovar, I took the (#5) bus over to Golden Gate Park. It’s a huge park packed with things to see and do, such as the Botanic Gardens, the Japanese Tea Garden, de Young Museum, the Academy of Science, Conservatory of Flowers, and more. I had planned on renting a bike and ride around in the park, but I’ve been enjoying travelling through on foot. It’s given me a great feel for the place. My first stop was the Conservatory of Flowers, they have a beautiful collection and a great flower garden outside. Next I…

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Souley Vegan, or… a reason to move to the Bay Area

I went to Souley Vegan in Oakland, California last night. What an amazing place to eat. The servers are super friendly, the food is ridiculously good, and I left feeling fuller than ever before, and still didn’t finish everything on my plate. I was tempted to do an “after” photo to illustrate how little I ate, but it was just embarrassing. I was waiting on a couple of other people, so I just started off with a piece of cornbread. I love cornbread. I loved this cornbread even more. It got me excited about what else I would eat. When it looked like I would be dining alone, I decided to do what I always joke about with my friends, “I’ll have one of each…” So I did. The Everything Plate (+ fried okra and rice and red beans for 25$ in total) is a good option if you don’t know what you’re doing, and not sure what you’d like. These plates could probably feed three people. Everything was yummy, but I had a few favourites. The fried okra was amazing. How unbelievably good. Sliced up, breaded in corn meal, and fried. Coming in second was the breaded & fried tofu. Where have you been all my life? It was so good, so salty, so satisfying. It makes total sense that Souley Vegan would be rated as one of the top soul food places in the city (vegan or otherwise). Don’t miss it! I left with two boxes of left…

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Prairie Vegan in San Francisco

I have one more stop before I get back to Edmonton. I’m on my way to San Francisco, and as usual, I’m trying to plan out the visit in advance. But unlike usual, I’ve failed the planning process, and am doing it on the plane, on the way (yes, that’s right, I’m up in the air on a plane right this second). This trip will be more for sightseeing than for eating, probably similar to my trip to New York in 2008 (two restaurants, twelve “places of interest”) but I’ll have more time. Some food places I really want to check out are: Millennium Restaurant (580 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA, 415-345-3900) One of the things I’m really excited to try is Millennium’s Frugal Foodie Menu (with the optional wine pairing.) They offer a three course prix fixe meal for $39/person ($12 for wine) Sunday thru Wednesday. Another one that sounds wonderful is Souley Vegan in Oakland, California. It’s a vegan soul food place, with generous portion sizes and comes highly recommended, so how can I pass up the opportunity. (Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607-3804, (510) 922-1615) There is a special event on Wednesdays and Thursdays at La Victoria Bakery (2937 24th street, San Francisco) called Soul Cucina, where they have a variety of fresh new vegan items to choose from. When there are lots of options it’s hard to decide where to go, so I’ve been modifying and cutting down on places to visit as time has…

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