Thanksgiving week in the Bay
I’ve really been enjoying exploring the Bay Area & SF with my friends and am excited to continue doing so next year. This was my first Thanksgiving week not spent at home in NY, and I’m grateful to have filled it with many activities and wonderful people who make my heart full.
My friend Sreeya flew in from NYC to San Jose to spend the week with me. We ate some rather spicy tacos from a taco truck nearby and stayed in during the night after work and cooked some dinner while catching up on some facetimes.
We both had to work on this day, so the workday dragged on quite a bit. We met another mutual friend for dinner at Inchin Bamboo Garden. Indochinese cuisine is perhaps my favorite one so I always enjoy eating at or taking out from Inchin. While it’s not the best Indochinese food I’ve had before, it does remind me of my love for this type of food, and specifically sweet corn soup.
We took the Caltrain into SF for the day. Started off the day at the Ferry Building for a quick bite at Acme bread. Their spinach mushroom turnover was out of this world, especially pared with Red Bay’s slightly sweetened matcha latte. Then we took a cable car all the way over to Lombard Street which was so touristy but so fun. The last time I’ve been on an SF cable car was probably 12+ years ago with my family and I was feeling the throwbacks to that trip.
We met up with another friend at Lombard Street, walked down the zig-zaggy road and over to Ghirardelli Square. Ironically we ended up getting boba and chilling outside a mini-golf course within the Square.
This was a perfect segue way to our afternoon plans of exploring the Golden Gate area. We walked along Bay Street all the way to Crissy Field, Palace of Fine Arts, and the base of Golden Gate Bridge and the docks. It was a beautifully sunny day and you could clearly see both sides of the bridge untouched by the fog. At this point, we were joined by another friend and made our way over to North Beach (?) neighborhood for an early dinner at Tony’s pizzeria. This was an experience and a half but let’s just say it felt like we were at Lotus Casino from the Percy Jackson series, due to some blockers. The pizzas tasted amazing but one of our pizzas was accidentally sent to and eaten by people at the wrong table :( We also had to check on my friend’s car mid-dinner to refill the metered parking.
To recover from the hangry dining experience at Tony’s, we headed to Caffe Greco for dessert. This included some divine, frothy hot chocolate and snagging the last slice of tiramisu to share! There were several vintage art posters decorating the walls and several other parties enjoying their daily dessert fix. I loved the vibes in Greco, the atmosphere both inside and outside felt like we were transported to a romantic bakery or cafe in Europe.
We took the train back to my apartment and promptly passed out after a long day.
Thursday (Nov 25)
Thanksgiving Day! Sreeya and I went to my friend Sindhu’s house to spend Thanksgiving dinner with her family which was so nice. We tasked ourselves with baking a vegan chocolate loaf cake of sorts, which was a chill and lazy way for us to ease into the day. Dinner was excellent and included biryani, vada pav, tomato soup, and many other goodies — all of which were absolutely delicious.
Friday (Nov 26)
Sreeya and I booked a Turo car (later named Priya the Prius) from Friday to Sunday. On Friday morning, we took an uber to Cupertino to pick up the car and started familiarizing ourselves with the roads! We drove to Half Moon Bay and ate some tasty savory crepes at Maverick’s Creperie. Then we headed to the coastal trail and walked along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The beaches were so peaceful and grounding to walk on. After spending a couple of hours at Half Moon, we thought it’d be nice to drive along Highway 1 for a few miles. We checked out 2–3 beaches around sunset time, which was such a good decision. Highway 1 is gorgeous in all aspects and I want to head back and drive along it again ASAP.
We started driving back to my apartment by 5 pm or so and had a couple of directional mishaps... Driving along windy, twisty roads at night was a bit stressful but we made it back without too much of a delay.
We joked that Google Maps should have a feature baked in where they capture how new a user is to a given geographical area. This way, the routes/paths can be optimized for newcomer comfort rather than the fastest arrival time. Maybe I’ll submit this feature request to Google.
Saturday (Nov 27)
We spent the morning driving to Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos which was a lovely decision. The entire winery, surrounding gardens, and vineyards are so pretty and the perfect atmosphere for a date or with a group of friends. I’d go back anytime to bask in the views and vibes. It also made me really want to explore Napa and Sonoma! Please visit with me ❤
From there, we drove down to Santa Cruz and enjoyed a Mexican lunch at El Palomar. Everything we ordered was so yummy. The salsa was kind of life-changing: so refreshing, just the right spice level, and perfectly balanced ingredient-wise. I would literally go back all the way to Santa Cruz just for that salsa. We headed to Natural Bridges State Park to walk along the beach and check out some cute perched owls and butterflies at their sanctuary containing thousands of butterflies.
The drive back was a bit challenging since we ended up on a route primarily consisting of narrow, windy side roads but I’m happy to report we made it back in one piece (albeit after 2 hours) :) We nibbled on some cookies bought earlier in the day at Pacific Cookie Factory in Santa Cruz to get through that drive.
Sunday (Nov 28)
This day, we were supposed to visit Muir Woods but after watching a 4 minute time-lapse of the journey up, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with all the curves and twisty roads. I still want to visit Muir Woods in the future (and Hendy Woods State Park, as recommended by my manager!). We still drove into SF and went back to Acme Bread in Ferry Building. At this point, we met some friends and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, and visited Sausalito for pizza and ice cream! Sausalito is such a cute town with good food, views, and vibes. Not sure what else is needed in life.
We got an uber back from Sausalito to the parking garage just in the nick of time, with a 5-minute buffer window to successfully pull the car out before heading home.
Monday (Nov 29)
Blah. It is so so hard to be motivated to do your work after a long week of shutting your brain off. We got an Italian dinner at Don Giovanni’s on Castro followed by a passion fruit mousse cake at Maison Alyzee. The French really know what they’re doing when it comes to making delicious desserts.
Tuesday (Nov 30)
Sreeya and I powered through work for most of the day and tried grilled cheese and fries at In & Out for the first time. This may be a hot take but as vegetarians, we did not love the meal lol. We later learned that we should have ordered the off-menu treat Animal fries but maybe I’ll try it in a couple of months.
Overall it’s been such a nice week and I’m starting to really appreciate what SF and the Bay area have to offer. Very excited to continue exploring and dragging more friends out here to visit :) Let me know if you’ll be in the area.
The end of the year is always a pretty reflective time, and I’m currently thankful for the health of my family & friends, having stable employment, and an abundance of nature at my fingertips.
Merry Thanksgiving and thanks for reading.