30th Birthday – Pt. 1 – San Francisco
April 18, 2019
It was the evening of Tuesday, April 2nd, Eddie had just come home from work when he dropped the bomb of a surprise trip for my birthday beginning on Thursday evening after work. I had two days to pack for a long weekend going … somewhere. All I knew was roughly what the weather was going to be like and that I had access to a pool. I’m already an over packer as is – can you imagine how difficult it was to pack for a place without knowing the exact location?! I think I stressed about it for 1.5 days and finally packed Thursday morning before the flight. Procrastination station much.
Keeping my eyes down and ears blasting with music the entire time at the airport and on the plane, I finally found out that we were landing in San Francisco! Eddie and I had been before a couple of times (you can see that post here) so I was curious to know what we’d be up to this time around.
We picked up our rental car and headed to the Fairmont Hotel for an exquisite stay. The story behind this hotel and its guests is fascinating so I’d highly recommend a read up on it or, even better, a visit next time you’re in San Fran!
Before our dinner, we swung by the Fairmont’s beautiful restaurant for a quick glass of bubbly and some truffle fries (because why not?!). We were starving from not having eaten all day and I knew I wouldn’t make it to our 9pm dinner reservation.
No longer hangry, we went to Al’s Place which is a 1 star Michelin restaurant that focuses on an inventive take on veggies. It’s set on a quiet corner and has a wonderfully relaxed setting. The best 90’s playlist plays in the background of all the happy chatter throughout the restaurant.
Spoiler alert: The food here was the best food we had the entire weekend. Can-NOT recommend enough. Please do yourself a favour and book a reso here when you visit this city!
First up: Baby lettuces, herbed avocado and a pistachio crumble.
Then: Chickpeas a la Catalan with a romesco sauce.
Last up: Yellow eye bean stew, torn bread – “Andrew Style” which means with rice noodle croutons and kimchi. Holy crap. This stew doesn’t look like much but by golly it was incredible. I definitely want to figure out a way to replicate this at home.
I slept well that night with a belly fully of delicious veggies, great music, and even better company.
The next morning (my actual 30th bday!) we headed to Pearl 6106 which looked like the only brunch spot relatively close to us that had a decent vegan option. I instantly fell in love with the cosy decor and old, quirky mugs used to serve their coffee.
Reminder to self: put pickled red onions on your avo toast. Game changer!
Eddie got the toasted farro bowl and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Auguste the Label Jumper (no longer in production)
Pyne & Smith Overalls (c/o)
We needed to drive over the bridge to our next destination so stopping to play tourists was a must 🙂
Next up: Muir Woods to see all the redwoods up close and personal.
The sheer magnitude of these beautiful trees were impressive in and of itself. But stopping at almost every plaque (as Eddie does) gave us rich insight into the history behind these beasts.
After a beautiful (& muddy) stroll through the forest, we headed back into the city and made a pit stop via the Palace Hotel which Eddie had seen when researching hotels to stay at. We had another late dinner reservation booked so used this as an excuse to get more bubbly and also try their truffle fries (so adventurous, aren’t we?). I can confidently say the Fairmont Hotel’s truffle fries were far superior.
Knackered from the day, we headed back to our hotel and Eddie ordered me a chocolate birthday cake to enjoy in bed! Seriously, the most perfect birthday – my heart was so full.
Our late dinner reservations were at a place called Nopa that Eddie and I stumbled upon our very first time visiting San Francisco three years ago where we had a marvellous time eating and drinking wine past closing time.
Excited for an evening of reminiscing and delicious food, I have to admit it was the worst experience we’d ever had at a restaurant, let alone at Nopa where we had fond memories. Our waitress was beyond rude and it felt like such a let down for my bday dinner.
The food was still delicious, however!
Feeling a tiny bit let down by our experience at the restaurant, I was tired and ready for bed. However, if Samantha knew what lay in store the next morning she might not have been able to sleep!