Tag Archives: San Francisco

Adios 2012

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Perhaps I should have posted this yesterday but as you’ll see this week (a series of retrospective posts), I’m a little behind….

We were talking around the hot tub last night and my cousin Sarah asked us for our best moment of 2012.  I love games like this!  It’s always fun to look back at the year and really think about the things you did, decisions you made, trips you took, runs you ran that helped make 2012 fantastic.  Even if it was a bummer year for you, surely there are one or two things that stand out as fabulous.  I’ve compiled a list of my ten biggest adventures of 2012, as told to you, my blogging audience – here’s to an even better 2013!

 

1. Completing 3 Half Marathons in 3 different states – Mississippi, Texas and Illinois

2:00 exactly – State # 9, Illinois

2. Deciding to go to Graduate School at the University of Texas

3. Watching the Grizzlies in the Playoffs

Go Grizz!

4. Visiting my Aunt Julie in California

Under the Rainbow at Yosemite.

5. Actually Moving to Texas (what a journey that was!), Goodbye Memphis and Hello Austin!

ATX, my new home.

6. Turning 25, and the blog turns 2!

7. Meeting the Olympians

Speedy boys, and autographed shoes!

8. Running 1,000 miles this year

9. Going home to Memphis for the St. Jude Race

Old Friends before the Grizzlies Game.

10. Spending Christmas (and New Year’s, and the first week in January….) in Mexico.

Feliz Navidad (y ano nuevo!)!

What’s your favorite memory(ies) of 2012?  

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A Monumental Run and California Trip: Food Edition!

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This morning’s run was a big deal.  It’s the last day of June so it was time to squeeze in my monthly 13.1 (gotta stop saving it for the end of the month!).  So, check that box.  My half-marathon also pushed me just beyond 500 miles for the year, just beyond halfway for my 1,000 miles in 2012 goal (and perfect timing since the year’s half gone now!).  I set out early (6:20 is pretty early for summertime, and Saturday!) to beat the heat but still ended up completely soaked by the end of the run.  Besides that it was pretty comfortable.  With just 3 weeks to the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, it’s a good feeling knowing I can go the distance.

And I’d say that many miles has earned me the right to have an entire post dedicated to an indulgent SF foodie experience!

First, Koko and I were welcomed to California by a homemade gift basket courtesy of my aunt Julie.

Cali Gift Basket!

In it she placed anything “local” (Livermore or California) including:

A delicious way to welcome us to the west coast!

Fisherman’s Grotto #9

Saturday after our ferry tour of the bay, we stopped in Fishermen’s Grotto #9 for lunch per my dad’s recommendation.  He had been there several times when he was growing up with his grandparents and suggested we put it on our itinerary.  As we walked to the restaurant vendors were preparing fresh crab right on the street!  Julie said she used to come get a loaf of sourdough with some crab and sit in the square for lunch.

Fishermen’s Grotto

We opted to sit upstairs near a window overlooking the bay.  We could see fishing boats and sailboats near the docks.  I’m pretty sure my dad would recognize the inside – I’m not sure the decor has changed since he was last here, check out that carpet!

Retro Carpet

Before we even had time to open our menus we had a basket of warm, fresh from the oven sourdough bread.  It’s a good thing too because on our walk from the boats you could smell the fresh bread coming from multiple restaurants along the way!

Fresh Sourdough

We split a crab cocktail appetizer and for my main lunch I had crab stuffed sole with a lobster cream sauce.  It was indulgent and delicious!  I didn’t know I liked fresh crab so much 🙂

Mmmm cream sauce!

Lunch Ladies

Ghirardelli Square

Possibly the highlight of the food!  After a satisfying lunch we bee-lined it straight for dessert at Ghirardelli.  The square reminded me of the smells of Belgium – sugar, waffle cones and chocolate.  So sweet!  Inside the store we were offered a free sample of their caramel-filled chocolate squares.  It was insanely hectic inside – a lot of people love chocolate!
I was expecting a wide selection of the typical Ghirardelli Squares (which trust me, would have been delightful enough).  I almost died when I saw the ice cream sundae bar.  There were a lot of fancy choices on the menu – peanut butter fudge sundaes, brownies, cookies, banana splits…..

Mega Banana Split

That is not what we ordered – come on y’all, there’s not enough chocolate on that thing.  I opted for a single scoop Coffee Chip ice cream in a dark chocolate dipped waffle cone.  Damn.

Delicious!

Look at the size of those things!  Can you believe we ordered the smallest possible?!  It took us about fifteen minutes to enjoy it.  And we did.  The entire thing.  Good thing we walked the entire Golden Gate afterwards!

Later that night we met up with an old college friend who is starting a Graduate Assistantship position as defensive coordinator of the Stanford football team.  The three of us had a lot of fun catching up on the past three years of life, reliving old times at Rhodes and talking about future plans.  I love how easy it is to re-connect with old friends in new places!

Phew.  What a trip.

 

California Trip Day 3: San Francisco

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After two breathtakingly beautiful days of natural parks, I was ready for the bustling city!  Luckily for me I enjoy and appreciate both environments – I like the tranquility and wonder of nature but I also really enjoy the sounds and energy of a big city.  There was a lot of concern from people (both in SF and some readers) about the weather but on the ferry ride over the entire city was in full view!

We drove from Livermore to Oakland to catch the first ferry over to San Francisco.  The first part of the trip floated us by a lot of industrial yards where shipments were being unloaded (I’m assuming imported from the mass production worlds of Japan, China and Taiwan).   Some of the architecture and machinery even inspired “characters” (is that what we’d call them?) from a famous blockbuster!

Look familiar?!

And then…….San Francisco!

From the ferry

The city really is incredibly beautiful with the two bridges in full view.  It was windy and very chilly on the boat but the sun felt great on my face and I was warm in several layers.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Once we stepped off the boat from Oakland, we headed to get tickets for another ferry boat ride – this one around the bay.  We had about 3o minutes before sailing so strolled along the piers and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Boats on the Bay

It was so refreshing to be near the water and our temperatures were great (mid 60s I’d guess).

Golden Gate

The bay ferry took us right along the shore of the city, heading straight for the Golden Gate Bridge (the number one attraction on my list).

Getting closer

We actually sailed right under it and turned around to head back towards the docks.  I know you know this but it is SO BIG!

Me and Koko

On our way back from the bridge, we passed some sailboats being tossed in the wind and waves.

Sailboats

The next big tourist site to see was Alcatraz.  The boat didn’t stop to let any of us off so I wasn’t able to tour the island (would have been a pretty incredible experience I think) but it was pretty eerie from the boat anyway.

Alcatraz

After the tour, we made a pit stop for lunch (there’s an entire California food post coming up so I’ll save those details) and then onward to Ghirardelli Square (thanks for the recommendation Chad!)

Ghirardelli Square

It’s hard to tell but behind us at the top of the photo is the word “Ghirardelli” in big white letters with lights around the outside.  Inside that building is where the finest dark chocolate in the U.S. is made (sorry Hershey’s and Dove).

The girls at the fountain.

We stopped to take in the activity of the square (it smelled like waffle cones and chocolate!) and throw coins in the fountain.  I kissed mine and made a wish.  It hasn’t come true.  Yet.

And of course we went inside – but that’s a story for another day.

After our chocolate stop we headed for my favorite activity in the city – walking across the Golden Gate Bridge.  If you can’t tell already, I’m a big believer in active vacations (hiking, walking the city, climbing to the tops of things) and so walking across the city’s landmark was a no-brainer.  

 

Up close with the cables

 

Looking up

Tiny boats below

We did it!

Natural wonders like the waterfalls at Yosemite are pretty mesmerizing to me but then again so are man-made structures like this one.  I mean, at some point before my lifetime, this bridge did not exist.  And now it does.  And it’s massive.  So much concrete and steel and cable and nuts and bolts.  Absolutely incredible.

The final thing that I really wanted to do on my tourist list was ride a cable car and at this point we were running low on time.  Koko and I booked it to a stop and managed to catch one that was heading to a restaurant we wanted to check out for dinner.  We almost brushed it off but I’m so glad we went!

San Francisco Cable Car

We found prime riding spots at the front of the car and hanging on the edge.  There were some tight squeezes, especially when other cable cars came zooming by from the opposite direction!  And man going up those hills reminded us of chugging up a roller coaster.  We didn’t reach quite the high speeds of coaster on the downhill but falling off or crashing would have been zero fun.  Definitely worth doing if you’re ever in the city.

And that was the end of an exhausting day 3.  Phew!

Have you ever been to San Francisco?  What was your favorite thing?