Category Archives: Travel

Lazy Bear Review

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It has been said the only way you 100% know a date won’t flake out on you in San Francisco is if you have tickets to Lazy Bear.

Lazy Bear is a former pop-up restaurant by lawyer-turned-chef David Barzelay that found a home in the Mission last fall. They use a lottery-ticket system to dole out reservations and tickets are non-refundable. You find out when tickets go on sale either via their e-mail list or Twitter account and you have to be FAST requesting tickets. Sometimes so many people get on to try and buy tickets that the server crashes. If you hesitate a moment, your tickets are gone (a la State Bird Reservations I once tried to make). So anyway, as soon as I found out the day and time the February tickets were going on sale, I set an alarm and was refreshing the Lazy Bear homepage at 11:58 a.m. like a crazy person, waiting for the noon open time.

And you’re reading this because I scored tickets to Lazy Bear. It was everything I hoped for and more. FOIE GRAS. I haven’t had foie gras in so long. Orange wine! Quail and escargot and beets with chocolate. 12+ courses. Luckily, there is a field guide so I wasn’t forced to remember what I ate because I surely wouldn’t ruin an experience by writing it down.

When you arrive, you’re shown upstairs for drinks and small bites. As I tried snapping iPhone photos in some serious bad lighting, my photographer boyfriend asked why I didn’t tell him I wanted to document it for AGIT and we would have brought a better camera and lighting (foreshadowing). Isn’t A the best? Girls, if your boyfriend isn’t supportive of everything you do, including your blog, you need to GTFO. There’s your PSA for the day.

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Whipped scrambled eggs and buttermilk panna cotta with caviar.

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Red seabream with almond milk and plum blossom salt… and a reflection of me taking an iPhone photo. I’m the worst.

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VEAL NUGGETS!!!

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Bone marrow and cheddar fondu with crudités and perigord truffle.

After you have a drink and the above apps, you head downstairs to two long communal tables and and the chefs all introduce themselves, invite you to come back to the kitchen and chat with them, and let you know that someone will come out and talk about each dish as it is served. The menu changes seasonally so dishes may vary from night to night and the menu changes completely month to month. I’m hoping my dad comes out for Easter so we can go to Lazy Bear again.

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Brown butter brioche with cultured butter. They were all about the butter (that they make in house) that night.

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Sorrels with snails, garden herbs, spot prawn, geoduck clam and barley. The prawn was totally worth the cold-like symptoms I get from eating shrimp.

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Charred onion broth with country ham, egg yolk, apple and scallion… if I could figure out how to get a yolk into a soup my life would be made.

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Stelhead trout with cured roe, burnt cream, fingerling potato, rye and grapefruit. A said this was his favorite dish – and it was my third favorite.

You can either do a drink pairing or order a la carte. I love wine parings – I do – but I was concerned this would be too cocktail heavy and also I drink three drinks and I’m out for the night so I didn’t want to get wasted and not remember a seriously amazing meal (because yes, that has happened at some point in my life). Their sommelier is awesome though and introduced me to orange wines… what?! How could I have TAKEN A COLLEGE CLASS ON WINE and never knew these existed. Basically because they are just coming back in style but thank God I live in a city that cares about wine and I can probably track a bottle down at some point.

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Squab with pear, shallot, foie gras and chicory-almond brittle – my favorite dish of the night.

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Lamb with date, mustard, farro, blood orange, olive and garum. You were encouraged to chew on the bone after but we couldn’t get behind that viking-ish idea.

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The pastry chef at Lazy Bear is Maya Erikson. She’s super-famous in the food world and is younger than me. One of the chefs has been asking her to put cheesecake on the menu and this carrot, orange, fennel and cream cheese dish was her answer to that request.

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Beets with dark chocolate and burnt vanilla pistachio. This was my second favorite dish of the night and I now want chocolate beet everything.

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Right when you think you can’t stick one more morsel of food in your body, they bring out these treats – a macaron, two little guys I can’t remember, a s’more ice cream sandwich and some little cake thing that was A’s fave.

So Lazy Bear… did it live up to the hype? Yes. Every meal the rest of the week had to live up to Lazy Bear, which it could not. Except my avocado toast tried pretty hard.

Chat with me:
What makes your top five meals ever? Have you ever been to Lazy Bear… or another pop-up restaurant? What’s some foodie-related thing you’re dying to do?

San Francisco Staycation Recap

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I have so many good photos from A’s trip to SF which I promise I’ll be posting but I want to use them for Field Trip posts, etc. Also I have a lot of raw photos and I’m real lazy and don’t want to edit them and know if I keep putting of this post it won’t even be timely anymore so I just need to do it now.

Here are A BUNCH of iPhone photos from my San Francisco Staycation. It’s weird that I’ve traveled less in the past four months that I’ve been living here than basically ever but when there is so much to explore in your city, you never really need to leave. Plus it’s not like I have awful weather to escape. (But, rest assured – trips to Austin and Portland booked for the upcoming months – and likely an extended trip home.)

Thanks to the snow storm back east, A’s trip was extended by a couple days. We did a lot of my favorite SF runs – my daily Marina run, Golden Gate Park, Land’s End, ate at a lot of restaurants on my list – Lazy Bear, Pink Zebra, Nopa and Marlowe, and soaked up the California sun.

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Lazy Bear. Full recap coming tomorrow!

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After geeking out about how much I loved Scribe, we went back up on Thursday afternoon.

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Omakase Bar at Pink Zebra. This guy had salmon roe instead of shrimp roe because #death.

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The first time I ran at Land’s End I knew I wanted to bring A here to run.

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Forcing A to take selfies at Land’s End.

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End of the trail at Land’s End. Irony? Also I wear the dorkiest running socks ever because if not I get awful blood blisters. TMI? Probably.

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I’m not sure whether A came to see me or came to drink sour beer at The Rare Barrel but I’ll take it.

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The Rare Barrel – sour beers are my jam. If you live in the Bay and like beer or wine – go.

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You can tell I used to take behind the scenes photos on Instagram for a living.

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Nopalito. This guac is for you, Em.

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Starting Valentine’s Day with a run through the ‘hood.

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Every Saturday I think I’ll stop at the Philz Truck and this Saturday I actually did stop at the Philz Truck. Mint Mojito Iced Coffee.

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A is super into things in cans so we took canned wine hiking at Pt. Reyes. We did have to drive across town to find a wine store that carried this.

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One or both of us dropped lens caps off a dock. I don’t think we can blame the canned wine.

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Take-out Les Rois Thai after a long day of hiking, looking at elk and the ocean. Seedy Asian food on traditionally romantic holidays has become our thing. See also: New Year’s Eve.

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Being real life San Franciscans and standing in line for things, i.e. Bi-Rite Creamery. Which was my third ice cream trip of the week.

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His and hers Nikes waiting for an Uber to go to Barcade when I unexpectedly got A for a couple extra days thanks to the crappy weather back East.

Chat with me:
Do you like having visitors? What things would you take someone visiting you to do in your town? Have you ever been to do any of these things?

Field Trip: Alcatraz

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Welcome to the newest feature on AGIT, “Field Trip”. I’m not good at sitting still and I’m good at adventuring places so I thought it would be fun to start doing photo journals of more tourist-y, destination-y, what-do-I-do-with-a-random-Monday-I-have-off-y things.

I asked Angela if there were any touristy SF-things she wanted to do while she was here, she really only felt pretty passionately about Alcatraz. I’m totally into abandoned things and history and have wanted to do the tour for a while, so I was down.

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Outside the Administration Building.

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Stairs to the recreation area.

What: Alcatraz Island
Where: San Francisco, California 
What to bring:
Camera, water, snack. 
What to wear:
Comfy walking shoes, light jacket
How to get there:
Buy a ticket in advance. Take a ferry from Pier 33.
How much: $30
Tips: Do the free audio tour. Don’t think you’re too cool because you’re never too cool to learn. I unabashedly love audio tours.

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Shuffleboard.

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Alcatraz was taken over by the Tribe of All Indians for 18 months in 1969-1970.

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Having a good time despite the rain and shitty Sunday.

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Angela at Alcatraz.

It was one of the worst days weather-wise since I have been in SF. It was cold and rainy and windy and miserable. We definitely tried to make the most of our day and luckily, a lot of the island is checking out the old penitentiary.

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Ultimate #abandonporn.

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Views of SF from Alcatraz.

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Rainbow vibes.

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This is how sad I would be if I were in jail.

Alcatraz really affected me. I’m not sure if it’s because I run past it and drive past it every day but I can’t look at it the same since visiting. I also can’t get the Battle of Alcatraz out of my mind because if it were 1946, I would have been watching this unfold from my windows.

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Alcatraz allegedly had the best food out of all the penitentiaries in the US. Typical SF.

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Kitchen at Alcatraz.

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Where’s Red?

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Abandoned hospital.

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Operating room.

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Hydrotherapy room – whatever that means.

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Part of the current Ai WeiWei exhibition.

Chat with me:
Have you ever been to Alcatraz? Do you like visiting historical spots? What other places would you like to see profiled on AGIT?

The Most Romantic Spots in San Francisco

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’m actually going to get in the spirit of things. I don’t believe in actually celebrating Valentine’s Day because I can go out to a fancy dinner with my boyfriend whenever [we are in the same city, that is] and I’d rather us both save money on gifts and save it for an awesome trip.

I do like Valentine’s Day for what it is, single or in a relationship – I think it’s a good way to celebrate love and good vibes. Anyway, this is going to be a really honest, maybe surprising post. I also feel really weird giving away all my secret spots but hey, SEO.

I have to tell you a secret. I’m really, really good at making boys like me because I take them to do cool things. I put SO MUCH THOUGHT into what I take boys to do. I put so much thought into what I take anyone to do – we’re talking hours of research on brunch with friends (as Kay can attest to when we spent over an hour trying to find waffles in the city). I am always late on giving people gifts because I put way too much thought into it as well. (Sorry, friends.)

The Most Romantic Spots in San Francisco

Lyon Street Steps
SF is all about them #hills and you can make some gains in elevation with the Lyon Street Steps. If you’re in the Marina District or Presidio, if you walk past Broderick Street you’ll hit Lyon Street. Cars can’t really go up Lyon Street – you have to hike up a million sets of stairs but the views are breath-taking. I accidentally stumbled upon this when I had the great terrible idea to run from my apartment to Ocean Beach one Saturday (see below).

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Insta-worthy views.

Presidio Batteries
In case you didn’t know, the Presidio in San Francisco was an old military base. It was founded in 1776 by Spain and has changed hands between Mexico and the US since that time. If you’re not familiar with the city, the Golden Gate Bridge basically starts in the Presidio. My daily run takes me through Chrissy Field to the bottom of the bridge. If I’m feeling real ambitious and my Achilles isn’t bothering me, I run up to the batteries.

Skip the crowds at all of the overlook vantage points and drive or hike up to the batteries. You can climb up to the top for amazing views of the bridge and the bay. If you do it at night with a cute boy, you’re just asking to get kissed… not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

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Presidio Bluffs… by day.

Foreign Cinema
I actually ate at Foreign Cinema a few years ago when I was here on a trip. When I told a friend from college who was living in the city he replied, “Your boyfriend must really like you”. Anyway, dinner and a movie is totally upgraded at this restaurant in the Mission that plays old black and white movies on a projector in their garden dining area while you’re eating. Extra points if the boy you’re with went to film school.

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Photo via Foreign Cinema

Ocean Beach
I geek out around water but what is more romantic and cliche then walks along the beach? Not much, I’m gonna be honest. You can also have bonfires at the beach which I haven’t done but hey, the option is there if you want it. Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine but don’t get drunk and get in the water because it is A) cold and B) the riptide is a real thing, not just a Vance Joy song.

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Ocean Beach vibes.

San Francisco Botanical Gardens
I actually plan on doing a cute little series about cool places to check out in SF and featuring the Botanical Gardens, but you can spend a couple hours walking around the gardens after you picnic and drink some wine in Golden Gate Park.

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Grab your blanket and picnic among some fancy trees and flowers.

Napa/Sonoma
I know, not truly SF, but after a conversation with Kay this weekend about how many people go to wine country for their honeymoon, it made sense. I’m going to be honest – I’ve been to various wine regions (Chianti in Italy, Willamette Valley in Oregon and of course, Napa and Sonoma) and it’s super romantic, even if you’re with your girlfriends. I’m going to do a whole post on Scribe Winery because I’m hardcore fan-girling over it… and I’m also sure I’ll have some more wineries to talk about after A and I head up north this weekend (#romantic). If you want to be real cute, rent bikes and bike around the vineyards.

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Views from Scribe Winery.

Chat with me:
Have you ever been to SF? Any other romantic spots I should check out? Where are the most romantic spots in your city?

The Perfect Carry On Bag

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As I write this post, I’m on my third trip across the country this month (unless you also want to count return trips, so make this fifth). I am an unabashed travel expert as I have not been shy to mention. Yes, my carry on (as in my under-seat bag… not my actual rolling suitcase carry on with clothes, that’s a different story), is as big as me but you know what? I’ve never sat on a 6 hour flight wanting for anything, despite for the flight to be over.

I usually trade out my carry on bag, a similar version to the Kate Spade one below but much bigger, (I bought in the beginning of summer… I think they’ve stopped making them You can see it in this post) with my “work bag” after a trip. Since I was running a million errands while I was home from San Francisco (or in Pittsburgh from home? Weird concept.) I never bothered to unpack it since I didn’t know what I would need or when I would be home.

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(Clockwise) 

  • Notebook: I get stressed super easy. Like I’m stressed right now thinking about all the lists I should be making. Writing down what I need to get done helps me immensely, plus I like filling in the little square I draw for each item on my to-do list when I’ve completed something. I’m loving this notebook set from Pendleton right now (and my have ordered it to get my order over $200 for free shipping, whoops).
  • Sharpie: I have exclusively been writing in ultra-fine tipped Sharpies since I was in high school. I usually have like 6 randomly in the bottom of my bag at all times.
  • Water Bottle: Do yourself a favor and carry an empty water bottle through security with you. Like I don’t trust bottled water typically, especially if it’s Dasani or Aquafina because it’s probably tap water, and you can get filtered water from any coffee place or even water fountain.
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: I usually have a book with me (or my iPad with an e-book on it). I just finished Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage in three days, which is the quickest I have finished a book in years. If you’re going through a weird transitional period in your life, I suggest reading it.
  • Macbook: I should sleep more on flights (to catch up on the sleep I never seem to get enough of) but I love using those four or five hours to catch up on blog work/writing.
  • Scarf: Love the blanket scarf trend which is ideal, because I keep a really nice one (nicer than this one from Aerie but this one is adorable and mine is from a random boutique in Pittsburgh that I can’t find a link for) tied around my bag handles. It’s great if you’re cold when you get to your destination and to use as a blanket on the plane.
  • SPEND MONEY ON QUALITY LEATHER BAGS. I have a black Kate Spade bag I have used more or less every day for the past two years because I am too lazy to switch it out and I still get compliments on it and it still looks brand new. Plus, carrying a good bag at the airport makes you feel good and if you look nice sometimes you get upgraded.
  • Sunglasses: Another obvious one.
  • Compression socks: I had to upgrade from compression sleeves to compression socks because my toes look like Vienna Sausages for two days after flying. Am I dying? I think that’s a symptom of dying.
  • iPhone: Duh. With earbuds and downloaded Spotify playlists and white noise apps so I don’t strangle toddlers who are screaming. (Parents: give your kids Benadryl before you get a on a plane. My mother did it and I turned out mostly fine.)
  • Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream: My hands are constantly dry and just get drier from traveling. This is the best hand cream I’ve found yet, plus it’s under 3 oz.
  • Slim Sonic Toothbrush: Fun fact about me: I kind of have oral hygiene OCD. I brush my teeth 8-10 times a day. It’s been going on since I could brush my teeth on my own, so like since I was two or three. My parents took me to a psychologist at that point because they were so concerned (is anyone surprised my parents are so insane/I am the way I am?). So yes, this little guy is electric and is cute and makes my teeth feel really good. Definitely recommend buying one.
  • Evian Water Facial Spray: On really long flights, I’ll wash my face before landing, but if not, I’ll go to the bathroom and spray this hydrating mist all over my face. Definitely keeps my skin from peeling.
  • Inflatable Neck Pillow: Don’t be that creep who carries an entire pillow on the plane. Or an entire blanket. Please, be a real person. Caveat: Unless you are flying like, internationally overnight. I think I carried my favorite blanket to Hong Kong and back but I also slept with it every night.
  • KIND Bars: I’m bound to get hungry every two hours so I always keep a couple Kind bars in my bag. They seriously keep me satisfied more than any other snack bar.
  • Nuun: I’m a creature of habit. I’ve talked about my love of Nuun before but I love having one while I’m traveling or after I land to get some extra hydration since plane air dries me out and I get so puffy after being in the air.

Chat with me:
What do you have in your carry on bag? What is the last book you read? What am I missing in my bag?

Eating in San Francisco

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I ate like a real goon in San Francisco. There is no other way to put it. I have been eating like a goon all the time lately, I need to get back on the wagon. I am not in the position right now to gain weight and have to buy new pants because I like designer jeans and Lululemon and that is not in the budget right now thanks to my insanely expensive San Francisco rent. (I should find out if I got the apartment I can’t afford want today!)

An interesting phenomena: my dad has lost 30+ pounds in the past four months so he is obsessed with eating healthy. I ate (and drank) way worse than he did. He was very focused on eating healthy, which was nice.

We got in Thursday afternoon and went to Split Bread since it had good salads and it was a few blocks away from our hotel (we stayed at the Intercontinental downtown).

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Salad from Split Bread.

After an initial frustrating day, we needed oysters and wine stat. I was too tired to think about where to go so we went to Hog Island Oyster Company since I had been before and it is delicious. I also had some wine (I forget what).

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Raw Oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company.

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King Salmon with some delicious seasonal spinach (forget the name).

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Grilled oysters.

Since we were mainly looking at apartments in the Marina, we ate most of our meals in the Marina. I was craving fish so we went to Pacific Catch.

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Cajun Mahi Mahi Salad from Pacific Catch. (I’m not really that hungry, can I just have one mahi?)

I think I was craving sugar because of all of the stress. Needed ice cream. Luckily, there was Over the Moon so my craving was satisifed. The guy at the store told me not to live in the Marina. The other girl in line told me to live there. I’m going to go with her.

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Ice cream from Over the Moon – chocolate and snickerdoodle with rainbow sprinkles, duh.

For dinner Friday, we went to Off the Grid, a food truck round-up in… you guessed it… the Marina! Señor Sisig, a Filipino-Mexican fusion truck had an insane line so we decided that should eat there. Dad had been very good all day (aka we walked like 10 miles and he probably ate like 700 calories) so he decided to have the California Burrito, which was a pork burrito with french fries. And it was totally worth it (I had a few bites, duh). I also chugged two glasses of wine from a plastic cup because I just could not with Friday or apartment hunting.

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One pork and one tofu taco from Señor Sisig.

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California Burrito from Señor Sisgi. This happened. Ignore how awful I look.

Saturday was really stressful and I didn’t care about food. We had lunch at Blue Barn Gourmet which is my new fave go-to in SF (and the Marina). Dinner we had gluten free pizza and salad at Presidio Pizza (my go-to pre-race meal). It was amazing.

Sunday Dad wanted to go to Sausalito so we decided to have brunch (which turned into lunch) out there at fish. I had serious runger and I was doing the ordering so things got out of hand. Dad had a dungess crab salad, I had a grilled tuna salad and we split Bombaloni beans and mussels. DEFINITELY go to fish if you are in Sausalito. And get the Bombaloni beans.

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Feast from fish. in Sausalito.

Before we headed to the airport, we went to Padrecito after hiking around the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge all afternoon. We demolished some chips and guac (I ordered them after Dad said no) and then split steak tacos and king salmon tacos. They had a white Pinot Noir I need go to back and drink ASAP. To note, Padrecito is on Eater’s 38 Essential San Francisco Restaurants for October.

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Fish and Steak Tacos from Padrecito.

Chat with me:
Any places in San Francisco you loved that I should eat at? What was the best thing you ate this past week?

Event Recap: #Fly2014 with Pittsburgh Airmall

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Last month, I was asked to attend the grand opening event for Pittsburgh International Airport’s Airmall. When I first read the e-mail, I thought Skymall, and it was absolutely irony because one day Skymall jokes between Jake and I went too far and we made a Skymall Reviews Tumblr. Fun fact: one of my secret talents is thinking up ridiculous Tumblr ideas (see also: Things That Give me Anxiety… now if I could only get a book deal).

Personally, when I think of killing time at the airport I usually think of working (both for work and on the blog) or drinking wine. Or sometimes both at the same time. There are always a ton of shops at the airport but I never really peruse them, to be honest. If I’m doing laps around the airport, it’s to find a plain Greek yogurt or non-shitty cup of coffee (the struggle is real).

Airports do strangely have good shopping since people have a lot of time to kill. I remember frequenting the Hermes in the Hong Kong airport and Gucci at Milan Malpensa. As a child flying from Oklahoma or West Virginia back to Pittsburgh to visit my grandparents, I was acutely aware of the random Gap at the Pittsburgh airport.

US Airways abandoned Pittsburgh as a hub in the early 90s and a lot of shops left the airport. Since I’m a regular at Club PIT, I noticed recently there was a Lacoste, an Italian market (Bottega dei Sapori, which serves wine by the glass in case you were wondering) and even a Furla. Stepping up your game, PIT. (Side bar: people who called the library Club Lib in college, it was Club Wise, come on, have some sense about you. Also I typed clibrary at first… club-library.)

Back on track: I was invited to the grand reopening of Airmall as a Pittsburgh style (ha, remember when I still did that?) and travel blogger. Or as I like to think of myself, lifestyle blogger. It was a really cool event and made you remember when travel was actually glamorous and not this awful cattle-herding affair with people in sweatpants and Steelers jerseys.

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If an event didn’t have cupcakes, did it really happen?

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Music at the airport… makes me think of the classical music that’s in maybe the Paris or Denver airport? Can’t remember.

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Carmindy from What Not to Wear.

Carmindy from What Not to Wear was also at the event, teaching her “5 Minute Face” and travel beauty. She was absolutely wonderful to talk to and I am going to do a separate post about that next week. Stay tuned.

I also loved meeting Pittsburgh bloggers – and seeing one I already knew! Jessica from In Pursuit of Simple, Alex from Duffy Dossier, Nicole from Champagne to Crayons and Kelly from Pittsburgh Momtourage.

Want to win $100 at Pittsburgh Airmall that you can use towards shopping, dining and more? Enter my giveaway below.

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Chat with me:
Best airport you’ve ever been to? Worst airport you’ve ever been to? (Best: Hong Kong, obviously. Runner up: Minneapolis. Worst: Tie between Managua, Cebu and Charles de Gaulle, because every time I’ve been at CDG it has not been good.

Getting it Together on the Road: Oregon Coast

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

When I travel, I either have a down-to-the-minute (slight exaggeration) plan or no plan at all. Lately, it’s been “no plan at all”, which is ironic, because I’m a serious planner (in my head at least I think I am… I like to know what dates are on the calendar, etc.). When I was in Portland last, I decided that Jake and I could use a little out-of-Portland adventure, so I rented a car with my only plan being “drive until you see the Pacific Ocean”.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Reaching the Pacific: Check.

The car rental guy asked me where I was headed off to. I usually hate answering these types of questions because I like to be mysterious but I thought maybe I could use some advice. “Um, the coast? Any towns you would recommend”. He said Cannon Beach and I had already thought of Cannon Beach because I heard rumors of puffins (bird, not the cereal) on Haystack Rock. I had totally meant to grab a pair of binoculars from my dad because allegedly they up really high so they just look like normal birds. When I got back and surprised Jake with the keys I told him Cannon Beach and he seemed cool with it so that’s where we headed off to.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Bay views.

I didn’t tell Jake that I didn’t have a serious plan because I didn’t want to stress him out. I had spent a little time researching where we should go (aka Googling “Best Oregon Beaches”) and looking through a Pacific Northwest Road Trip Lonely Planet guidebook. He asked if we should fill the car up with gas before we left Portland and I said no, it’s fine, we have a half tank (foreshadowing) and we hit the road for the Pacific Coast Highway. (Or is it Oregon Coast Highway – fact checker, where are you?)

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Not a bad view.

I imagined every Oregon Coast town to be completely deserted and idyllically isolated, much like the photos I had seen. I often have gross misconceptions (or no conceptions at all) of what places are going to be like. Cannon Beach was a NUTHOUSE. We drove around the town that is really 3 or 4 streets that circle around each other for at least thirty minutes until deciding to try our luck leaving the car in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant, El Mariachi Loco.

On the drive to Cannon Beach, Jake and I had been lamenting on the lack of good Mexican food in both Pittsburgh and Portland… and by good Mexican food we mean the greasy Tex Mex of our childhood. “We can eat seafood for dinner, right… and we had a lot of seafood last night at Roe” we asked/told ourselves and promptly decided to have lunch at the famed El Mariachi Loco.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Obligatory selfie.

After we had fueled up (aka put food to our Roe hangovers) we hit the beach. Strange fact: the beaches in Oregon are cold and no one wears swimsuits. I’ve toyed around with the idea of surfing in Oregon because it is supposed to decent surfing (as if I’m an expert… ha) but we were both too hesitant to test the water temperature, which makes me think I would just be miserable surfing in it, even in a wet suit. We checked out Haystack Rock, the third largest sea stack in the world (can someone tell me where one and two are?) looked at some things that could have been puffins, and watched a lot of people all flying the same kite.

cannon beach haystack rock oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Looking for puffins at Haystack Rock. There those black things that look like dirt on your computer screen.

We walked back down the beach with fingers crossed the car was still there (it was) and only got lost once in the process (see: having no plan). We decided we should just keep driving south since Cannon Beach is Northwest of Portland along the Pacific/Oregon Coast Highway to Manzanita, the next stop on the “Essential Coast Roadtrip” or whatever chapter in the book.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

See why I love Oregon?

This is where things get sticky. It’s always interesting traveling with people because you see a side of them you never normally do. With me, that’s a not-so-wound-up-with-anxiety side. We had a quarter tank of gas (completely acceptable to me) and Jake began to get nervous (author’s note: I’ll give him this – gas stations were few and far between). “I have AAA, it’s fine they’ll just bring us gas.” “How long will it take? Also we have no cell service. Will you look up gas stations?” (PS Jake you’re extra cute when you’re anxious about running out of gas.)

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

I found this in my bag so I had to leave it at Jake’s with a note on it. PS the lack of Fiji Water in Coastal Oregon is anxiety-inducing. Yes, I pay for a bottle of water with a debit card like an asshole.

Manzanita had little to look at, but did have the highlight of the trip for Jake, a Shell Station that was every bit as scary as you would imagine a gas station in the middle of nowhere Oregon to be.

Since Manzanita was a bit of a bust, Jake remembered Oceanside was nearby and had a lighthouse at Netarts Bay as well as an “Octopus Tree” from his trip to the coast earlier this year. We drove through Tillamook (of Tillamook Cheddar fame) and the drive from Manzanita to Oceanside was the most beautiful of the trip (and honestly one of the more stunning drives I have done – it reminded me a lot of Hawaii).

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

This post could alternatively be titled “look at how attractive my boyfriend is”.

We went to Netarts Bay and checked out the Cape Meares lighthouse (which was like maybe taller than me but possibly not) but the views were worth the trip. There were also more puffins at Cape Meares (as the excited older women next to us exclaimed) and our lack of binoculars or a quarter for the binocular machine thing made us feel like particularly bad birdwatchers.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Aren’t the views STUNNING?

Now to the part you’re all waiting for – what is an octopus tree, you ask? Well, the Octopus Tree is a tree that has a bunch (maybe 8?) of huge trunks (I had to look up “part of a tree” to find that word) and no stump. It is also a Historic Oregon Tree incase you were concerned. Despite my wish to climb the tree for a good Instagram photo, I decided to obey the State of Oregon’s request to “stay off the tree”. Two young gentlemen who were walking towards the tree on our way back probably did not obey those wishes.

octopus tree oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

An Oregon Historic Tree.

octopus tree oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Octopus Tree Take Two.

We decided a drink/snack was in order and headed into Oceanside for a bite. It was dinner time so we ended up stopping at Roseanna’s, which was basically everything you could hope for in a small, sleepy beachside town. Roseanna’s had a hand written menu, a heavy pour of Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris for $7 and a lot of butter-laden dishes. We sat by the window, polished off a lot of clams, bacon wrapped scallops and more wine (and beer for Jake).

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

See that help wanted sign? It felt enticing to stay in a town forever where I could drink $7 Sokol Blosser.

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

CLAMS. You can buy a $7 shellfishing license to go clamming on your own.

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Is this vegan?

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Grilled salmon salad because it’s my favorite food (besides oatmeal, greek yogurt, avocados, nut butter and ice cream, of course).

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Cioppino.

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Not a bad dinner view.

Jake indulged me by walking back out to the ocean one more time before we headed back to Portland. The sun was setting and it was the end of a perfectly unplanned day with all of my favorite things – sun, sand, ocean, a solid wine buzz and handsome boys.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Fave.

Chat with me:
What’s your travel style – plan, no plan? How are you on road trips? Do you get anxious when Fiji Water/coconut water aren’t readily available?

How to Survive Long Flights [and a Giveaway!]

tips for long flights | almost getting it together

Step one: Don’t let your heart stop beating.
Step two: Arrive at destination.

Just kidding (kind of).

I’ve done my share of long flights: DC to Buenos Aires, New York to Hong Kong, Atlanta to Hawaii and of course, the ever-classic Pittsburgh to Portland. Yes, some of them are miserable and feel like they will never end, but funny story, they always do, some way or another.

tips for long flights | almost getting it together

Sad airport moments in San Francisco because I’m getting ready to sleep sitting up.

There are some ways to handle these flights so you aren’t tempted to never venture further than 1,000 miles from your home again.

• Don’t fly drunk/hungover
I know, it sounds fun in theory, especially if you have a 6 a.m. flight and don’t want to pay for another night in a hotel in Kuala Lampur. “I’ll totally pass out on the plane!” Yes, yes you will… and you’ll wake up a few hours later with a hangover that is so memorable that I’m writing about it five and a half years later. Altitude + dehydration = feeling like death. I think I can leave it at that.

tips for long flights | almost getting it together

Wine sounds like a good idea… but don’t go overboard.

• Dress smart.
I don’t mean wear sweatpants. You’re getting on a plane, not sitting on your couch watching House of Cards. I’m a proponent of wearing heels to the airport because it a) takes up less space in your suitcase and b) you’re just sitting there so why do your feet need to be comfy? “What if I need to run to my gate?” Well, if there is one thing being in a sorority taught me, it’s how to run in heels.

tips for long flights | almost getting it together

Fun fact: This is what I wore flying home from Nicaragua – chino shorts from J Crew and a Dolman Shirt.

Back to the point at hand: if you’re on a long, overnight flight… feel free to wear soft pants, boyfriend jeans, or leggings. Those are okay because they aren’t sweatpants. Hell, wear joggers! I’m also a fan of a chino or soft short in the summer. Wear a comfy t-shirt or sweater and wear a cardigan over it. Then either tie a long, wide heavier knit scarf around your bag or go invest in one so you can use it as a blanket. Trust me, it really helps with the whole sleeping sitting up thing.

• Download a white noise app.
I need background noise that doesn’t involve other people’s conversations or screaming children to sleep. Even at home I sleep with a fan on for noise or use my white noise app if I’m traveling. I’m bad at sleeping which also means I’m a super light sleeper – the slightest thing will wake me up. I use Relax Melodies. You can make your own background noise from dozens of different combinations. The one I use is city ambiance and urban rain.

• Have entertainment.
I’m pretty positive I have ADHD but I’m also too distracted to go get tested for it. Luckily, being on a plane gives me some uninterrupted time to write (which is when I’m actually writing this post). I’ll also download a movie I want to see from iTunes or download a new book, but 99% of the time I never open the book or watch the movie. Whoops.

• Pack your own food.
Airport and plane snacks suck. Airport and plane food sucks in general, unless you’re in business or first class, then it might be slightly edible and less full of preservatives, but typically doubtful. They’re always out of whatever I want anyway. I’m insane, so I pack overnight oats for breakfast then a salad or sandwich for lunch/dinner because those things get through security pretty well and I know that no matter what I end up eating when I land, I ate something that probably involved fruit, vegetables, fiber and protein prior.

If you need extra snacks, I’m obsessed with Kind Bars. They are low in sugar, high in protein and taste like a candy bar… except they are good for you. Keep reading for your chance to win an 8-pack!

tips for long flights | almost getting it together

First Class Overnight Oats (because even first class food isn’t the best).

• Stay hydrated.
Duh. Seriously. Just pack a refillable water bottle. Usually if the flight attendants like you they’ll fill it up for you with bottled water once you drink all yours.

• Get an aisle seat.
I can’t sit still. Whatsoever. Plus then my knees and hips start to hurt. I literally will do laps on planes. “What if I disturb someone?” I’m sorry, walking down the aisle won’t disturb anyone and you have to do what you have to do to keep yourself healthy and happy.

• Pack a tooth brush and face wash.
I have slight tooth brushing OCD if you weren’t aware, i.e. I brush my teeth approximately 8-10 times a day. I’ve been doing it since I could brush my teeth on my own. My parents took me to a psychologist when I was little because they were so concerned… anyway, I brush my teeth and wash my face before I land because I feel like I get oily on planes. I also use Evian Rehydrating spray to get some more moisture back in my skin.

• If all else fails, take melatonin.
I carry melatonin with me when I fly across time zones. It helps with jet lag and puts (and keeps) me asleep. It also doesn’t leave you with a sleeping pill hangover like Tylenol PM or Benadryl or a real prescription sleeping pill.

I’m partnering with Kind Snacks to giveaway an 8 pack of Kind Bars, perfect for traveling! This contest is open through August 6th to US residents only (sorry, international friends!).

tips for long flights | almost getting it together

This actually happened coming home from Portland on Tuesday.

Win an 8-Pack of Kind Bars!

Chat with me:
Did I leave any good tips out? What’s the longest/worst flight you’ve been on? What do you wear to the airport?

What I Ate Wednesday: Cincinnati

abigail street | almost getting it together

Last month (I’m constantly on Italian time, even with the blog, which is nothing new) I went to Cincinnati with Angela to visit my cousin Jaimie and oh yeah, see Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Jaimie is forced to love me because I’m related to her. She isn’t forced to like me, so we’ve lucked out that we’ve always gotten along and as we get older, I definitely consider her one of my best friends. She understands my intense food anxiety and always makes sure that I’m somewhere I can get vegetables (oh, and wine). Even before I came she texted me to see what groceries I wanted her to have in the house for me.

I’ll do a full Cincinnati recap in the next few weeks since I was so pleasantly surprised with the city (I actually have SO MANY RECIPES shot, it’s insane), but until then, I thought I would share some of the food I ate while I was there and link up for What I Ate Wednesday in the process!

Friday when we got there, we freshened up and went to Over-the-Rhine, the cool, up and coming neighborhood in Cincy. Abigail Street, where we decided to have dinner, doesn’t take reservations, so we had about an hour wait and spent most of it at Senate Pub, it’s sister restaurant next-door (you can walk through one to get to there other, actually).

First off, lots of wine. It’s summer so we had to have Rosé, duh. We each had a glass at Senate, followed by a bottle of Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley (swoon) at Abigail Street.

rose senate Cincinnati | almost getting it together

Rosé toast for Frosty the Snow Goat. RIP, little pal.

Pinot Gris from Williamette Valley at Abigail Street Cincinnati | almost getting it together

Of course with my new-found Willamette Valley obsession, had to go with the WV Pinot Gris.

Abigail Street is tapas, so we each picked one thing then went with the special, which was an heirloom tomato salad. Angela picked the beets, Jaimie picked the lamb sliders and I picked the borek. We probably would have ordered like 8 things and only eaten 3 (cough, Tasty n’ Alder, cough) if we didn’t decide to cap it at one each then see how we felt.

caprese salad abigail street Cincinnati | almost getting it together

Heirloom Tomato Salad from Abigail Street.

roasted beets abigail street | almost getting it together

Beets with hazelnuts and lemon vinaigrette at Abigail Street.

instagramming food abigail street | almost getting it together

Instagramming the s**t out of some vegetables.

I’ve never had borek… it was roasted eggplant, peppers and feta in phyllo dough. Not that I should be eating phyllo dough, but whatever.

Borek instagramming food abigail street | almost getting it together

My favorite dish… Borek!

These lamb sliders had a clever little flag… too soon, seeing as Frosty had passed away that week.

lamb sliders abigail street | almost getting it together

Lamb sliders. Too soon.

Saturday breakfast was me eating berries and granola with a little yogurt prior to running 12 miles, during which I think I crossed state lines like 4 times (yet was SO AMUSED two weeks ago when I crossed county lines during a 14-miler). After I came back and got a shower, I inhaled a salad and didn’t take a photo of it.

I ran past this coffee shop called Carabello Coffee that was PACKED during my run. I bribed my equally-caffine addicted comrades with the promise that I would purchase their coffees if we stopped by there.

Carabello Coffee Cincinnati | almost getting it together

Almond milk looks so gross in iced coffee.

Fun fact: everyone who was trying to see Jay-Z and Beyonce was planning on eating near the stadium so we ended up walking downtown to find a place to eat. We ended up at Local 127 (and it happened to be closing that night) and I inhaled yet another salad and split a chicken dish with Angela. My cousin made out with some copper mugs from my Moscow Mule.

chicken local 127 Cincinnati | almost getting it together

1/2 a chicken.

So… funny story. I though Emily had been to Cincinnati and eaten at a place called Melt that she loved. No, no she had been to Cleveland and eaten at a place called Melt that she loved. Ohio, please get some cities that don’t start with a C. Anyway, so then I saw this place called Melt and made everyone go there for brunch on Sunday and it wasn’t even the same place. But it was good. So there you go… you win some, you lose some.

melt Cincinnati | almost getting it together

Some sort of fritatta involving vegetables and a salad from Melt.

Chat with me:
Are your family/friends as awesome as mine/supportive of your food insanity? Have you ever been to Cincinnati? WHERE SHOULD I EAT NEXT?