Travel Diary: San Francisco Day 1 - Late Night Arrival

January 19, 2016 (continued): Flying into San Francisco, I was greeted by the most stunning sunset I’ve ever witnessed - the sky was filled with bands of blood red and baby pink (the photos don’t do it justice!). I took this as a good omen for my next set of adventures here.

Landing in SFO, I hitched ride on the BART to my hotel. To lessen any stress, I like to be prepared and as hassle free as possible when traveling so I pre-booked my round trip ticket. I pre-printed the ticket before my trip so I could directly board the train without waiting in any lines. I was also fortunate enough that one of the stations was only a couple blocks walk to my stay for the next few days, Kensington Park Hotel.

 Walking to my hotel in Union Square, I was in the thick of the buzzing night life and I was intoxicated. The lights, the crowd, all the sights to see within a few blocks, I couldn’t get enough and it put an extra pep in my step - which helped when I had to drag my suitcase and thick winter coats uphill! I got to my destination and found it to be a charming, boutique hotel. Built in the 1920s, it had kept a lot of what I loved aesthetically about that era, the vintage fixtures, tiled floor, etc. My room was a nice size with a luxe feel to it. The only drawback was my window looked directly at another building’s wall, which is why I probably got it for a deal!

After freshening up and settling in, my buzz was still going so I ventured out to explore the area nearby. My first stop of course was for dessert at a nearby Ghirardelli. So many choices but I went classic with a scoop each of chocolate and cookies ‘n’ cream. They were a perfectly delicious nightcap and they gave you a couple squares of their signature chocolate as a bonus!

To walk off my dessert, I explored a little more near my hotel. I found a ton of high end shops and the Dewey Monument only about a block away. Just outside the Monuments square, was a man playing a jazzy tune on his trumpet and it set the mood for a kind of lovely, romantic introduction to this city.

Apologies for the phone quality photos as I didn’t feel like dragging out my big camera after I arrived. But I promise I have a whole slew of goodies coming up next!

All photos taken by me and opinions are my own.

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 2 - Seattle Public Library & The Pink Door

January 16, 2016 (Continued): Due to the heavy downpour that ensued after visiting Bruce Lee’s gravesite, and my hesitance to walk around in the freezing rain to tour the Lake Union area, I decided to head back into town and visit the Seattle Public Library.

Now, why would you visit a library when visiting another city? The Central branch of this library is known for it’s stunning glass and steel built architecture, and was voted #108 of 150 on the American Institute of Architects’ list of Americans’ 150 favorite structures in the US. It is free to visit as it’s a public library and there’s even a cafe inside to enjoy a little hot beverage while you read.

The structure was definitely impressive in person and the huge diamond cross windows give you 360 views of the city. You can go to the top floor and get a little vertigo when you see the ant-size people walking around below. It’s a good place to check out if you’re in the area, or if you need a little shelter from the rain. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it, but it was interesting view to take a break in.

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Hunger struck, so I headed back to my hotel room nearby to change for dinner. I was greeted with pretty, leftover Christmas lights adorning the trees as I walked.

For dinner, I decided to go to “The Pink Door”, a highly coveted Italian - American restaurant located in the Post Alley near Pike Place Market. Reservations were already booked out, so I took a chance to see if I could get a walk in. When I got there, there were no signs, only a literal “pink door” to signal you’ve arrived at your destination and a line of people hanging out front. I guess exclusivity is the best advertisement! I made my way through the crowd of people inside towards the hostess and turns out flying solo has its perks as they had an open space at the bar, where they served the full menu.

I love handmade pasta and will try it any chance I get, so I decided to go with the PAPPARDELLE AL RAGÙ BOLOGNESE slow simmered meat sauce, fresh pasta. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce was rich but clean, I was satisfied although it came in a somewhat small portion. 

For dessert I opted for the fresh made bombolone with custard dipping sauce - basically a fried doughnut deconstructed. The bombolone was perfectly cooked, crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside. The dipping sauce was nice because you could control how much sweetness you wanted.

Another perk of solo travel, and being seating side by side at the bar is you notice things that you normally wouldn’t being with other people (though it was hard not to due to their yelling because the room was packed). This particular night was a group of former Microsoft employees griping on how things have changed within the company over the years and it just wasn’t the same. It was an interesting inside scoop on the mega-corporation.

Filled to the brim as the carbs expanded in my belly, I made my way back for the night, since it was too chilly and rainy to explore further.

All photos taken by me via Canon 70D and iPhone 6.