On friday, matt's oldest brother was coming into town, so we decided to spend some time with him (his name is brandon). Brandon is currently in seminary school in Reno and he is "learning" to be a future pastor (sounds like a pretty awesome gig). He is part of something big...he is trying to help start up a church in San Francisco. It's awesome. On Fridays, he drives up from Reno to participate in the weekly meetings geared towards starting up the church. The meetings are at 7 on Fridays (at a local pastor's apartment), so we graciously accepted Brandon's invitation to join the party. Before we met up with them, we decided to try this awesome organic hot dog place in our neighborhood, Underdog. This place is totally mellow, like straight out of Berkeley "mellow." The hot dogs are a little bit pricier (they run about 4-5 bucks, but hey it's all organic...even the ketchup!). Anyways, Matt tried the bratwurst, and I decided to try the chicken apple sausage. This place is delicious. I love hot dogs, so I honestly am not super picky when it comes to these glorious pieces of meat. The bratwurst was definitely up Matt's alley, and he topped it with some onions, ketchup, mustard, and a little bit of sauerkraut. I wanted to spice up my chicken apple sausage, so I added relish, ketchup, mustard, some deli mustard, and even some sauerkraut. I am a huge fan of this place. At the end of the day, I don't think it tops costco's $1.50 dogs (plus soda), but I'm pretty sure very little in the world can top them. After our delicious dinner, we drove over to UCSF and attended the small group. You know, to be in a place where people love Jesus as much as these people do and are truly driven to do something big (well as big as starting a church) in a city as big as SF...it's incredible. The people were super nice and just welcoming. I know that sounds like every church, but these guys are welcoming, fun, and just overall cool. I think we will definitely be back next weekend...even though Brandon tricked us and didn't tell us that we were going to be filmed for a documentary about the SF lifestyle. Yes it was totally nerve-wracking being in front of a camera, but I guess if we had to do it for something, at least it was for Jesus. Honestly, as nerdy as it sounds, it was a really awesome way to spend Friday night. After the small group, we decided to go to a hookah lounge in our neighborhood called Old Jerusalem Cafe. They guarantee it's the smoothest hookah you've ever had, or you get another one. I don't know that I agree with that (especially since they made us order two hookahs since we had more than 3 people...Brandon brought a friend) but it was still a fun experience. I haven't hookah-ed in ages, so it was fun to do (and it inspired us to buy a hookah later this weekend....wait just a little bit longer to here about that). Plus they had a really good chai. Yum. Fun Friday night :)
On Saturday, we bid farewell to Brandon and his friend, Andrew. Matt and I had decided in advance that this would be a great day to explore SF. We took the N-line (which is kind of like a train/lightrail in the city) to Union Square. We did a little shopping...because that is the best type of thing to do in Union Square. He bought a cute zip up from Gap. We enjoyed watching people participate in a Special Olympics fundraiser....called Over the Edge, where participants climbed down the side of the Hilton. It was pretty sweet and very uplifting.
Afterwards, we walked upwards toward Chinatown. For some reason, I'm the chinese one, but Matt is the one that LOVES chinatown. No joke...this kid talks about it ALL THE TIME. I think it's because last time we went, he got bomb chinese food and bought like 3 t-shirts for 2 bucks a pop. I love Chinatown. It's just full of tourists and all these asian people giving the tourists funny looks. Plus everything is so cheap. I bought an orange scarf (guess where I am going to wear that) for only 4 bucks. We bought some mangos because they looked so delicious it would have been impossible to pass up. And as we were walking through exploring, it turned out that there was a parade today. I think it was supposed to spread awareness about oppression in China, and it was fun to watch the people walking through the streets chanting and the band following close behind them. It's not a good day in chinatown until you see a parade and/or festival. We thought about getting food in Chinatown, but for once in his life, Matt wasn't feeling chinese food. We also tried to get some egg custard tarts from the Golden Gate Bakery, but as you can see...they were on vacation.
We also stopped in a bookstore called City Lights. It's the first business in San Francisco to be named a historical landmark (most landmarks are famous because of the building, not what's inside). I know it's super famous, but I actually need to be enlightened on why it is super famous...so if you know, let me know :)
So we just kept walking...to North Beach. For those of you who don't know, North Beach is essentially San Francisco's Little Italy. If you are looking for some authentic pasta, this is where you need to go. There are little shops filled with cheeses, wines, bread, etc. Everything italian you could possibly think of. Plus tons of cafes (where you can get your cappuccinos!) and lots of pizza and pasta restaurants. Sounds like my kind of place. I love it here. We tried to decide on one italian restaurant, but honestly, unless you do some research beforehand, it's hard to pick one. So we decided to do something a little more interesting. We chose a restaurant called The Stinking Rose....their tagline is "We season our garlic with food." Yes this restaurant is entirely catered towards garlic. Honestly, it sounded like fun, because they had bagna calda (which is this dish matt has been telling me about for ages), but at the end of the day, I think I'm the kind of girl who can only eat so much garlic before I want to puke and die. Don't get me wrong, the food is delicious. We weren't very hungry, so we just ordered the appetizer bagna calda, which is essentially garlic cloves marinaded and cooked in butter, olive oil, and a hint of anchovies and herbs. Yes it sounds weird, but Matt has raved about it forever. What I did love at TSR is their foccacia and free pesto. The foccacia is maybe the best bread ever. Anyways, I think this is one of those places that you can go to only if you love reeking of garlic (and also having garlic leak out of your pores afterwards). I can see why people love it, it's quite the experience, but not so much for me. After our garlic-ky meal, we decided to head home.
|Z Cioccolato candy store in North Beach|
We stopped in Levi's to say hi to Matt's friend, Laith, who works there. After all that walking we were pooped. After our Muni ride home, we passed out for 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes I think we are 4-year olds sitting around waiting for naptime. When we woke up, we cooked up some dinner and stopped in the Haight Ashbury district to buy a hookah. After our hookah session the night before, Matt made up his mind to buy one of his own. I love Haight Ashbury. It's just such a fascinating area. Matt had a conversation with a homeless man who convinced Matt that he was a better rapper than Eminem....see what I mean about this place having personality? It's amazing.
Later that night, we decided to see Captain America. OMG. BEST SUPER HEROOOO EVER. Honestly, watching that movie made me proud to be an American...and thankful for super heroes in the world :) Five stars in my book. And if you decide to watch the movie, make sure you stay until the VERY end. You will not regret it!!!! In case you can't tell, we had a GREAT saturday.
On Sunday, we headed home to Sunnyvale. I think my mom has missed us a lot, so I'm glad we stopped by to hang out with her and my brother. We went to target and did our weekly shopping (for the record, target is much cheaper in sunnyvale than in sf...weird). Then we kicked it poolside. My mom took us to dinner and made us tons of food to take back with us...she is the best mom ever. We have "leftovers" galore and I pretty much don't have to cook all week. Plus we have lunch! awesome. Anyways, it was a perfect relaxing sunday...exactly what we needed.