This bit of the trip was a little more familiar, a little more relaxed. It helps that we've been here before. More than once, actually. Long before we set off for vacation, we had already designated this part for family. Both Andrew and I have a bit of family on the West Coast - he has his brother, sister in law, and niece; I have a handful of aunts, uncles, cousins out here, and my grandparents too. And we don't get to see them enough.
So I put down the camera for most of these three days, and shifted my priorities around. It was less about taking the best shot of food I could and more about enjoying the food I was eating. It was more time to bond with Olivia (she grows older and older by the second!) and catch up with the cousin and his new fiancée. I love my camera, I really do, but there's a certain serenity in putting down the lens and opting to savor the moment instead. I'm really bad at that. I've always been someone who enjoys taking photos, but I'm embarrassed to admit that the photography obsession has worsened during medical school. Probably a little to do with this blog, a complicated space that is so private yet so public; and likewise a public Instagram account, just to gather followers, attention from companies, and likes. I got swept up in the possibility of becoming a big-time blogger, like the ones I admire so much. But it also swept me away from savoring sweet moments with friends, ones that don't need a camera to remember. And sometime this year, with graduation approaching, I realized I didn't want that public eye anymore. I didn't want to be only a food blogger who takes pretty photos of what she eats and bakes - because, in reality, I am not that person. I am a recently graduated medical student, about to start a residency in Chicago with a guy that I love and, who happens to really love food with me, but also loves other things with me too.
I've been coming to this conclusion for a while now, starting with posting more and more photos of life and less of food (although, undeniably, food is still a major part of my life). Then changing my Instagram back to a private account, the way it was in the pre-Nommable era. It's been liberating, and I feel a little more like myself. A little less hungry for likes, a little more in the moment. With the people I love. I think this is becoming more and more apparent in the current food blogging era and that makes me really excited, having people open up to the public and telling them that they are more than what their food is. It makes them feel more approachable, more human, and more fun!
So am I still a food blogger? I still love writing on this space, taking photos of my life, and telling you guys what's going on in this little head of mine. And so I'm keeping it. But, like I've mentioned before, I'm kind of over the food. Recipe development, food sponsors, endorsements - that life is great for someone who makes a career of it, where it is their bread and butter. And I'm happy for them. But that's not me. And I'm okay with that.
All in all, I just want to say thanks for bearing with me as I find out where this space will fit in to my new life. We move in less than a week now (omg). And work in less than a month (even bigger omg). For now, I hope you enjoy these photos of our trip, and have a fantastic short week!
- Highlight: Eating the amazing sourdough from Tartine on our last day, both at the manufactory and at home after homemade pizza. Tied with the beautiful gift from Charles and Sierra!
- Lowlight: Having a mortgage scare right after lunch and having to deal with that.. boo. It worked out though
- Insight: It's okay to take a break from vacation. I mean when you have done so much stuff on vacation and all you really want to do is sit on a couch, watch tv, and chill. Take a deep breath and just relax.
- Highlight: Seeing Olivia (his niece)!
- Lowlight: Getting kicked out of an Uber after he accepted our ride and then proceeded to tell us no, he wasn't going to drive us to where we needed to be, and then getting charged for it. Don't worry, we called Uber and got our money back
- Insight: I'll never use Uber again
Charles and Sierra took us up to Yountville our first day for an Ad Hoc celebratory brunch and for Bouchon treats. It was an incredible meal and every bite was rich and indulgent. We drank White Apron, a beer specifically brewed for the meals served at Ad Hoc, which was crazy good - this is from someone who does not drink beer often, so take it for what you will. After the three course brunch we went full fat kid mode and split three macarons. Because when you're at Bouchon bakery, you get the macs. Or the bread. Or both.
Walking through Dolores Park gave me all the feels, all the good memories from my previous visit to San Francisco. This time, the park was completed (last time we went they were still finishing construction) - and the sun shone brightly against all the people who had come to sit in the park and eat their lunches and ice cream cones. It was a moment of peace.
And of course you've got to make a stop at Bi-Rite Creamery if you are at Dolores Park! We got a scoop of chamomile with lemon poppyseed crumbles.
Our last day in San Francisco was extremely chill - lunch at Tartine Manufactory and our final ice cream cone of the trip, then a quick walk around the neighborhood followed by a hike at The Dish, a trail at Stanford University, before picking up Olivia and making pizza at home! With sourdough bread for dessert. And a bite of ginger cookie.
- The sausage and eggs platter at Fenton's Creamery, with a necessary coffee: We flew into Oakland and were picked up by Andrew's brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Sierra, and their two-year-old Olivia and headed straight to this sweet, adorable restaurant. So adorable that it's sneakily in the Pixar movie, Up. Ooo and we denied ourselves a scoop of their ice cream but trust me, it was strongly considered
- A smoked salmon and crispy caper salad with the butteriest, crunchiest homemade croutons, my first eggs benedict with textbook hollandaise, a cherry walnut scone with chantilly cream at Ad Hoc. They're typically known for their fried chicken, but we flew in on a Sunday, which meant a brunch menu rather than their typical four course lunch - either way, it's a Thomas Keller restaurant, so no complaints here
- A robin's egg macaron, a sour cherry macaron, and a pistachio macaron from that famous bakery next door: it was inevitable
- A california roll and a salmon roll take out from Ryoshin sushi: Somehow after all that indulgent breakfast, we managed to find room for a teeny "light" dinner. Solid fish, and I'm slowly rebuilding my relationship with sushi
- A pork rilletes and eggs on top of thick toast, with pickled fennel and apple butter from Outerlands: a cute restaurant in San Francisco, with a very hipster feel along with the rest of the block
- Dolores Park and the shops around the Mission, in the sunshine and feeling so very California
- A scoop of the chamomile ice cream with lemon poppyseed crumbles from Bi-Rite Creamery: I've had Bi-Rite every time I've been in SF, and I wasn't stopping now
- A teeny bite of sesame orange tea cake from Tartine: we couldn't resist stopping in
- All the shopping, which surprised me since I normally don't enjoy that kind of time. But with work starting soon and being especially inspired by some cute Instagram accounts lately, new clothes are in order. I found the cute jumpsuit you see in the third to last photo at Nordstrom Rack!
- The delicious short rib for four, buttery couscous, sauteed kale, white beans in tomato sauce with whipped feta and za'atar, roasted potatoes, and a rosé for the season at Mourad: Andrew and I stayed in the city that evening for dinner to celebrate my cousin's engagement with him and his new fiancé! It was such a fun night, with lots of laughter, semi-bad jokes, and stories - it had been way too long since we last met up. This was a night to remember
- The Cal-train station! It was so fun and efficient and after the bad Uber experience (see Andrew's lowlight), I'm much more open to the idea of trains and buses (not that I've ever been opposed! It's mostly that Indy's public transit has been lacking and I'm just so used to Uber, cars, the like)
- A porchetta sandwich, a crispy soft shell crab sandwich, a butter lettuce salad with green almond and lemon cucumber, and sourdough with pickled ramp butter at Tartine Manufactory: their newest space, which is so bright and clean and lovely. We also got a country loaf for home, but tore off a few pieces at lunch because there was extra butter and... well we couldn't let that go to waste, right?
- The most beautiful ceramics from Heath Ceramics. I wanted everything in that store, all their plates and mugs and beautiful linens. And then later that night, Charles and Sierra surprised us with a gift card. I'm still speechless and so, so thankful - we've chosen the set we want and are just waiting for the move before placing the order!
- A two scoop cone of malted milk chocolate and secret breakfast (bourbon and cornflakes) at Humphry Slocombe: our last cone of vacation and pretty fantastic. I had had secret breakfast before, for actual breakfast. It was more appropriate this time around
- A walk down the neighborhood in Belmont to get rid of the sleepies
- A walk around The Dish at Stanford in Palo Alto, for some exercise and quality time
- A homemade pepperoni pizza, a homemade sausage broccoli pizza (with lemon zest because we're fancy), a fat slice of that Tartine sourdough back at the Srisuwananukorn home for our last meal of the trip: note to self, must start making homemade pizza again
- A teeny bite of ginger cookie with some Master of None in the background