Bay Area Holiday: Days 1& 2

8 Aug

James and I just came back from 5 days in the Bay Area. We met up with Joel and his fiancee Nancy before they moved back to Australia, and it was so, so awesome. We stayed at Nancy’s parents’ house in Fremont (which was near Silicon Valley and San Jose) for the first two nights and then moved to Nob Hill in SF. I normally micromanage our holidays but this time went a bit loosey goosey.

Day 1: baseball game and Golden Gate Bridge
Day 2: Joel and Nancy’s engagement party
Day 3: Tour of and House of Prime Rib
Day 4: California Academy of Sciences and Google
Day 5: 
Pixar, Lombard street and Union Square

You’ll notice that it’s missing some pretty traditional SF tourist attractions (Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Exploratorium) but we decided to save those for next time because we definitely want to go back.

I think SF is absolutely beautiful – I love the fog and all those hills.

Oh and just as a quick aside, we had the best flight experience with Southwest Airlines! They don’t have assigned seating but they do have assigned boarding so it’s first come first served. I checked in almost exactly 24 hours before our flight so after all the passengers with status and those who had paid for earlier boarding we were 44th and 45th in line. We both figured we’d get seats in the middle of the plane but there were actually 2 available seats in the second row.

I think nobody took them because there was a little old lady in the aisle seat, and it was easier to just go 1 or 2 rows back instead of making her stand up. But the plane was going to be full, so we figured that we might as well be the ones to get the second row seats! It made getting off the plane so much faster and we were both really pleased.

But *ahem* back to the holiday.

Baseball Game

We went straight from the airport to a baseball game. It was the Oakland A’s vs the Texas Rangers. There was a big crowd (I don’t know if it was actually big, but definitely big compared to some of the Seattle baseball crowds that I’ve seen!) and a great atmosphere. It was fun when the ball flew into the crowd and you’d see people jostling for the best position to catch it.

Oh and a public service announcement for the Aussies: nacho hats are not a thing.

There is this amazing disconnect where every Australian I know thinks that you get nacho hats when you go to a sporting event and every American I know is like “wtf is a nacho hat?” And they are all really confused as to why we think it’s a thing.

Well this is why:

I remember when Cat was in the US she posted on her facebook that she was going to a baseball game and so many of her friends were like “OMG get a nacho hat!”

It never gets old for me, seeing the Aussie shock/disappointment and the US befuddlement (and social embarrassment, I like to think, at being unable to provide said nacho hats).

At the game we did get nachos in non-hat form. The chicken part of it was tasty but I couldn’t finish it because I found the cheese-like substance very disconcerting.

Our American friends say that baseball is boring but I thought it was pretty fun! Maybe on par with cricket but definitely not as action packed as Aussie Rules. Something I discovered is that runs are actually relatively infrequent – I think playing baseball on the old Nintendo system made me think that home runs were really common.

In between innings they would play stuff on the big screens; like they had a game with three cups and you had to follow which cup had the ball underneath, and a game where three dots raced against each other. It sounds lame but was actually pretty engrossing. These big bobble-headed mascots ran around the field for one of the breaks – I think maybe they were racing?

Also I discovered that at baseball games they actually do stand up and sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Awesome!

Throughout the game food vendors would wander around. I remember hot dogs, pizza, lemonade, peanuts, snocones, ice creams, churros and fairy floss. I was really excited by how giant the fairy floss was – I got a lot of pictures of the various fairy floss dudes. Look at this guy – the fairy floss is like … a good 1/4 of his size!

We all agreed that the Oakland A’s is a natural team for Australians to support since their symbol is a giant A and their colours are green and gold. It was really enjoyable sitting in the sun, drinking and eating and feeling very American.

Golden Gate Bridge

After the game we went to Vista Point to get a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Nancy warned us there was a big temperature difference in San Francisco so we knew to bring our jackets. A 30 minute drive took us from sunny and warm to windy and foggy. It was pretty cool – you could actually see the fog rolling along the ground.

There was a steady stream of tourists at Vista Point and the views were really lovely.

Dinner at San Tung

Afterwards we met up with Nancy’s brother at his apartment in Noe Valley. He recommended a Chinese place in Sunset called San Tung – apparently you have to wait like 1.5 hours for a seat so we ordered takeout to eat back at his place.

This was the line of people waiting for a table.

There was a similarly long line behind me for takeout. I don’t know if the line was people waiting to order or pick up, but apparently the trick to it is that you call up to order, go to the trolley and look for the bag with your phone number on it and then pay.

Expectations were high because Jesse said this was the best Chinese food in San Francisco. And all the Aussies were like … oh it is on.

I can’t remember exactly what we ordered. I think from the bottom going clockwise it’s their dry chicken wings (apparently a must-order), green beans, some beef dish, pork potsticker and vegie (I think) dumplings. We also ordered hot and sour soup:

The verdict? Extremely solid, though not the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. Joel and Nancy are going to have to take Jesse to some Melbourne restaurants and see how he thinks they compare. All up I think it came to about $70 for five people including a $10 tip so it was excellent value for great food.

Engagement Party and Taco Bar

The next day was Joel and Nancy’s engagement party! We met Nancy’s family and friends and everyone was so nice and easy to talk to.

Also they had a taco bar. A TACO BAR. This is a thing that needs to make its way to Melbourne because it is fanfreakingtastic.

There was a table with various sides, like grilled vegies, salad, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. I largely skipped that table because I can’t have vegies and salad when there are tacos to be had. I’m sorry but I’m just not that strong.

Here were the two guys at the bar. The first guy had grilled onion, jalapenos and tortillas. The second guy had a selection of meat – pork, beef, chicken and chorizo.

After the meat station there was a table with onion, coriander, two sauces (the red one was spicy and the green wasn’t) and sooo many limes. I’m not used to seeing so many limes at once – in Australia that’s like … a week’s salary worth of limes. The two trays in the background had rice and beans.

And my plate (with mojito in the background)! It was amazing.

I think either the pork or chorizo was my favourite but it was all great! Joel and I had 5 tacos each. James had 14. He said he probably would have been satisfied with 10 but when Nancy’s mum told us it was last call for tacos he panicked and got another round.

Unlimited tacos and mojitos all night. Heaven! I hear there was also delicious cake, but I had to weigh the opportunity cost and continued with the tacos. No regrets.

So yeah, those were our first two days in the Bay Area. It was so wonderful meeting everyone and catching up with Joel. With really great friends you can not see each other for years and then when you finally meet up it’s like not a day has gone by. =)

Also it was such a bad idea posting taco pictures. I’m so hungry now.


4 Responses to “Bay Area Holiday: Days 1& 2”

  1. polittacking August 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    unlimited tacos AND mojitos!!!… i fkn hate you key chen-goddard

    • pamperedhousewife August 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Taco bar parties will be the next big thing in Australia – you heard it here first.

      You’re lucky you have someone as cool as me to tell you the next big trends.

  2. abiotechieslife August 10, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Love your Golden Gate Bridge picture. Great photo composition with the fog!

    • pamperedhousewife August 10, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Haha the fog really does 99% of the work in making it seem all moody doesn’t it? =D

      I took (what I thought) were some decent photos of hills but the camera really flattens them out so it doesn’t look as cool as I remember. Oh well!

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