San Francisco: Burritos, Bridges, and Beyond

San Francisco is one of those places that I’d file away under, “wow, have I really never been here yet?!?” It’s always been on my travel list, but for some reason or another, I never quite seemed to make it there. Over Memorial Day weekend this year, I finally rectified that.

I began where all good things should begin: with a fantastic burrito. San Francisco is known for an array of great burritos, and I opted for the one at La Taqueria. I bought it and then headed to Dolores Park, where I ate it sitting on the hill, which honestly feels like the ideal way to eat a gigantic burrito. After, I wandered around the Mission, taking in all the cool street art and grabbing an ice cream sandwich from Bi-Rite Creamery.

In the early evening, I headed to Chinatown. I stopped by the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to pick up a few fortune cookies and explored the area a bit.

Then it was off to Leo’s Oyster Bar for dinner. I was mildly obsessed with the decor here – so pretty! The food was also fantastic. I loved my oysters and my pineapple sundae for dessert – not the kind of dessert I’d usually opt for, but oh so tasty.

The next morning, I started bright and early at the Ferry Building. I spent the morning browsing the market before grabbing breakfast at Boulette’s Larder.

From the Ferry Building, I walked along the water for a while, finally winding up at Pier 39 to see the sea lions. Totally touristy, but still fun and worth it, in my book.

Next it was off to Crissy Field, where I took in some views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

And then I swung by Cotogna for lunch. The food here was pretty solid, with the star of the show being the seriously gigantic raviolo:

In the afternoon I poked around the Noe Valley neighborhood, which was quiet with lots of cute shops and cafes.

And I rounded out the day with dinner at State Bird Provisions. They serve American food dim sum-style, meaning that waiters are constantly circulating with different small plates – you can take whichever ones catch your eye. Every dish I picked was pretty solid!

On my last full day in town, I began at Tartine Manufactory. While my bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich was plenty tasty, the true star here was the space itself. Gorgeous, huh?!

After breakfast, I visited the Japanese Tea Garden inside sprawling Golden Gate Park. It was such a peaceful, beautiful space – and quite possibly my very favorite thing I did while in San Francisco!

Nearby in the park, I stumbled upon the Rose Garden – it was also super beautiful. I couldn’t resist photographing pretty much every color and variety of rose.

In the afternoon, I made my way to Alamo Square Park to see the Painted Ladies (aka, the row of color houses with the Full House house). They were pretty, and the surrounding streets were equally chock full of gorgeous old houses.

I finished up my time in San Francisco with dinner at Mourad. The entire meal was fantastic, but I particularly loved the octopus and the couscous side dish. Both were flavor explosions!

Next morning, it was back to NYC. As for San Francisco, I left with mixed feelings. There are so many cool things to see and do in the city, but it’s also hard to ignore all the homelessness you see on the streets, and impossible not to think about how problematic the absurdly expensive housing costs have become. I’m not sure what the solution is, but it felt disingenuous not to acknowledge the problem here. I guess that’s what travel often winds up being: a mixture of the wonderful and the sad, the dreamy and the all-too-real.

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