What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on? For me, this trip probably takes the cake.
The last month of my life has gone by way too quickly and I have soaked up more sun than I have in the past year. I fell in love with Portland, San Francisco, and everything between and around the two cities. I have a city guide for Portland and St. Louis coming in for ya in the next few weeks, but here are my San Francisco + Big Sur¬†favourites for now.
- Al’s Place – Vegetable focused restaurant with unique flavour combinations and textures. Their baby lettuces with herbed avocado and pistachio crumble + yellow eye bean stew with torn bread were probably the highlight of my meal.
- Flour + Water – Handmade pasta that is cooked perfectly. It’s probably just as good as the pasta we had in Italy.
- Tartine – The pastries, the bread, the sandwiches… it’s a total carb fest, but so worth it. Go for fresh pastries in the morning and for the fresh bread in the afternoon. Bonus: they serve Blue Bottle Coffee there.
- The Mill – A collaboration between Josey Baker Bread and Four Barrel Coffee. The bread here is just as good as and¬†possibly better than the bread at Tartine. Their specialty is toast: come for a slice of toast slathered with almond butter and honey or their local, seasonal jam. My favourite bread is the dark country rye. So. Good.
- Greens – James Beard Award nominated vegetarian restaurant. They have a creative spin with vegetarian dishes and a great view.
- Cafe Gratitude –¬†Wholesome vegetarian food with mindfulness and positivity inspiration in Berkeley.
- Big Sur Bakery – Absurdly expensive food and just okay coffee, but it’s a nice place to sit and hang out.
- Julia’s Vegetarian Restaurant – Our best meal while we were in Big Sur! It’s in Pacific Grove, about a 40 minute drive from where we camped, but the food was delicious (the Iris salad with the vegan avocado caper dressing was¬†amazing). Pacific Grove is a cute seaside town and we really enjoyed walking around the town.
COFFEE + Juice
Besides Four Barrel Coffee at The Mill and Blue Bottle Coffee, we really didn’t drink much coffee in San Francisco. We also didn’t have much juice, besides once at Pressed¬†Juicery. But what we had at those places¬†were good, so pay them a visit if you are in town
Side note: While it’s not coffee or juice, we did visit the Boba Guys for some “real” bubble tea. It was very refreshing to find a bubble tea place with no artificial flavourings, colourings, or sweeteners!
SEE + DO:
- Ferry Building – Indoor market with¬†restaurants and artisan food shops. Fun + delicious wandering guaranteed.
- Asian Art Museum – My first visit to a museum entirely dedicated to Asian Art. The permanent collection has art from over 40 countries.
- de Young ¬†– They’ve got a sweet art selection and an even cooler temporary exhibits. We were lucky and got to catch the last of the JMW Turner exhibit. There’s a viewing tower you can walk up for free to get a view of the city.
- Golden Gate Park – I wish we had more time to properly explore Golden Gate Park, especially the Botanical Gardens and Japanese Tea Gardens.
- Palace of Fine Arts – Beautiful building built for the Panama Pacific International Exposition. You can go for a stroll or go for a show.
- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park – We did the Valley View trail and the view up top was stunning! You can camp here, too.
- Andrew Molera State Park – This is where we camped. Our campsite was walking distance to the beach, and there was a trail that led us to the top of the hill where you get a perfect view of the sunset.
- Pacific Grove Farmers Market – So much fresh organic produce plus cooked food stalls. I found the best berries I’ve ever had in my life here.
- McWay Falls – Unfortunately there isn’t much waterfall left due to the drought, but the cove is gorgeous.
Oh, and here’s a little snippet of our drive down the West Coast… Yep, I even uploaded a video to Youtube!
- Omnivore – I was so excited to discover that San Francisco had a bookstore¬†just for books on food. Lovely selection of books and magazines on food.
- Green Apple – Perfect for getting lost in. The store has many nooks and crannies filled to the brim with both used and new books.
- Booksmith – Accidental discovery while we struggled to look for the bus stop we needed. My favourite thing about the store is that¬†practically every book has a little notecard under it from a member of staff with a snippet of why they loved it.
- Dog Eared Books – Also an accidental discovery. Just a really adorable and cozy bookshop.