I am really embarrassed by how long it has taken me to blog this, the second part of our California trip that took place way back in June. Man, time flies. You likely forget, but the first lag of our California trip was spent in Los Angeles before we headed to San Francisco. The whole point of the entire California trip was to attend Barb & Brian’s wedding in SF. Since we had just been there six months earlier, we had opted to spend more time on this trip in LA and to stay in a different neighbourhood whilst in San Francisco. The one we chose: The Mission. Obviously. Ask anyone about the San Fran and they always talk about The Mission. At least, our friends do. The last time that we were in town, we stayed near Union Square so we could be close to the touristy things that we were going to do but this time around, we wanted to experience a real neighbourhood.
If you read my other post, you will know how awesome the transit system is in San Francisco so I won’t go too far into that again. But I will say that we landed at the airport and between taking the train to the Mission (on one direct line from the airport) and walking, we were at our destination within an hour. Yes!
Instead of staying in a hotel, we decided to use Airbnb for the first time ever. If every Airbnb experience is as awesome as this one, then I am 100% always going to travel this way. After looking at what seemed like a million listings, I found Judith’s Mission Hideout. What I liked about the listing was that it was it’s own separate unit with it’s own bathroom. When we arrived, Judith was there to greet us and show us around. We were given a key so we could come and go as we pleased. The room was located on the ground level at the back of the garage. It included a room that had a Queen bed, small sitting area, a kitchenette and bathroom. The kitchenette included a microwave, coffee maker and fridge plus all of the extras that you need for kitchen happenings. The bathroom was small with a Mexican-style shower which was fine by us. Oh, and the toilet seat was heated. Luxury. Judith was adorable and had left us some homemade squares and two Blue Moon beers in the fridge. I loved this extra caring touch. (And yes, we left her with two beers on our departure as well!)
We arrived and were hungry so we put a call out on Twitter about where we should eat dinner that night. We wanted something that we could walk to. We ended up at Pizzeria Delfina (3611 18th Street). Although it was a wee chilly, we sat outside on the street and ate some seriously awesome ‘Za. Equally awesome was the Insalata Tricolore (and that glass of red wine!).
After dinner, we headed to maybe our favourite cocktail bar in SF – Trick Dog. It was our only night to go out since the rest of the trip was dedicated to wedding things. Our buddy Caitlin was not on the bar that night but the drinks were still incredible. When we visited in December, their cocktail menu was a binder of records with the drinks descriptions printed on the labels. This time around, it was a zodiac wheel which was a lot of fun. Naturally we started with our own signs (mine is Virgo!). My second drink was the Aries and holy heck, I’m pretty sure that was one of the top three for my favourite cocktails this year. #coasterboy
We did a lot of wandering around the Mission the following morning. I am a big fan of photographing things on the street and this neighbourhood did not disappoint in providing lots of interesting things. The area is not unlike our own Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale. Rundown buildings situated beside cool coffee shops and shops. I loved the grunge of it. The old signs. The colours. The graffiti.
As I said, we were here in June and at that time, the World Cup was taking place. On our first morning, my beloved team Mexico was playing and I really wanted to watch the game. We also needed to eat breakfast and since the Mission is basically Little Mexico, I had chilaquiles on my brain (you know that’s my favourite breakfast!). After some wandering and searching, we happened upon Taco Loco (3274 24th St.). They had chilaquiles (which I had to order in Spanish) and they were all set to air the game. I can easily say that this was one of my best memories in recent time. We were the only non-Mexicans in the restaurant, which quickly filled up as the game got going. As we scored, everyone cheered and all the while, I was there happily eating my chilaquiles. Life awesome, I tell you.
Philz Coffee (3101 24th St. at Folsom St.) was a new discovery for us on this trip. I had noticed it when we had first arrived and walked by with our luggage and made a note that we had to go. We did. A couple of times. What makes Philz cool is that all of the blends of beans that they offer are their own. They also handcraft each individual cup of coffee. The sign when you order says, “Good coffee is like a fine wine.. it takes time. Thank you for your patience!” And yes, it takes time but it is totally worth it.
I love all of the Mexican bakeries that are in the Mission. One afternoon we picked up some empanadas filled with fruit which made for a very delicious breakfast the following day.
Another incredible discovery while on this trip was The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (2400 Harrison Street). We found this place on the day after the wedding (read: consumption of too much wine) and yes, those sandwiches totally hit the spot. They are committed to using ingredients from local businesses which is something that we can all appreciate. I had to do it, and totally went for the Mac n Cheese Grilled Cheese. I mean, it’s mac n cheese INSIDE a grilled cheese sandwich. That is what dreams are made of. It was incredible. I wish I was eating one right now. Josh had the Cubano and said it was also good but I think that I win this one. I love that the sandwiches were served with little apples because after such an indulgence, you need to consume something pure. But seriously, Mac n Cheese Grilled Cheese.
Barb and Brian’s wedding was an awesome one! There were about twenty of us in attendance. Their ceremony was held at the San Francisco City Hall and the reception was at a baller house that they had also rented through Airbnb. City Hall in San Fran is absolutely stunning. So was the bride and groom.
We took Uber cars to City Hall and the back to the incredible house that was rented for the wedding. Unfortunately, I do not think that this house is available to rent through Airbnb anymore but let me tell you: it was awesome. It was super modern and very open with three balconies (one had a hot tub). We had a catered dinner in the backyard and then had a dance party upstairs in the main room. It was fun and intimate and was one of the best weddings that I have been a guest at. I am so happy that we could be there to celebrate with Barb and Brian that day.
The day after the wedding, we headed out of the city to Sonoma Valley. Stay tuned for that upcoming blog post! Hint: there was lots of wine consumed.