Before a whirlwind trip of going to LA back in 2011 for the VMAs (which included an upcloseandpersonal rendition of “One Thing” by One Direction), I had never been to California. But somehow in the past couple of years, I’ve been back to the West Coast a few times and it has a special place in my heart. As if it hasn’t become clear, I will travel for a boy band member, and this time it was for Harry Styles. He didn’t disappoint, and neither did the food/drink in the Bay Area-Berkeley/ Oakland,/SF and a day-trip to nearby Sonoma.
[A note: It’s beyond sadness and comprehension what’s going on in Northern California with the fires. It feels so superficial to be writing this fluffy post about food/drink right now, but it’s such a beautiful and resilient area and I know it’ll come through this even stronger.]
If you are looking for a bomb breakfast in Berkeley, get yourself to La Note, a quaint Parisian bakery with delicious fluffy eggs and lattes served in big ass bowls.
If you are looking for a less formal breakfast situation, swing by and pick up a pastry at Nabolom Bakery. We were lucky enough to order a black-sesame sprinkle challah that was just as delicious as it looks.
My last rec for breakfast in the Bay Area is in SF, and some may say it’s past it’s glory days, but the toast at The Mill just feels *special*. I got butter/cinnamon/sugar and my friend went with the butter/jam option. Not even kidding, this jam was next level. Honestly, it’s good enough you won’t feel too dumb spending $4+ on toast.
San Francisco is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world. Last time I was there we hit up Smuggler’s Cove. It feels like a faux Pirates of the Carribean, but damn, I love that sort of kitschy stuff. So it was right up my alley and their rum-based drinks are no joke. This time we went to the famous Trick Dog. Trick Dog changes its menu every six months and by menu I mean they completely re-theme the menu and the drinks within. When we went, it was modeled to look after a Little Golden Book (remember those?) and the drinks were so refreshing and unique. How cool are the stars made out of pineapple on mine?
Afterwards we popped over The Saratoga. They make a mean pisco sour-esque drink and grown-up remakes of kids food: fancy tater tots and ho ho’s for example. Sit in the basement and feel bougie while eating your vamped-up ho-ho.
For some reason, we thought that after going to Trick Dog and Saratoga we could fit in a multi-course omakase sushi dinner at Robin. No regrats. Definitely make a reservation if you plan on going here. It’s small and trendy/instagrammable and the Infatuation coincidentally did a write-up on it right after we went, so getting a res could get harder. Anyway, it’s sort of a “name your price” situation starting at $79. We went with the basic $79 menu, but you can add on extra uni/toro etc. and the price goes up accordingly. They very kindly accommodated my pescatarian diet, but their usual courses do include wagyu and foie gras. I recommend this place for accessible omakase, just maybe don’t go after multi-cocktails/apps and right before a Harry Styles concert, cause jumping around to What Makes You Beautiful with that much sushi in my body was not comfy.
We took a day-trip to Sonoma to do some wine tasting and went to Scribe Winery and Cline. If you plan on going to Scribe make a reservation ahead of time and do not eat before hand–we made that mistake. For $65 you get a tasting of 4 of their wines and a gorgeous food spread made from many ingredients they grow themselves. The views are incredible, and I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a California Saturday.
[Note: Unfortunately, Scribe has been greatly affected by the fires, but the beautiful Hacienda and other structures have been spared.]
Next up we went to Cline, which has a very different, more laid-back vibe that Scribe. For $10 you can get 5 tastings! The grounds are pretty and lush. It’s got to be one of the best deals in Sonoma, so consider swinging by.
As an aside, how ethereal is Harry in his floral suit situation at the first concert of his solo tour at the Masonic? Angelic, even with my crap picture quality.
OTHER DOPE SH*T:
A list of other great places I ate that I don’t have a picture for but would definitely recommend…I literally would recommend every place I ate at:
– Ramen Shop in Oakland: This was the first stop of my trip and such a cozy place to sidle up to the bar at after a brutal plane ride across the U.S. It had unique, Asian-flair cocktails–one of mine had matcha in it and comforting ramen and poke bowls in the cozy-West-coast-hipster atmosphere you can’t help but love.
–Summer Kitchen in Berkeley: Big yummy salads. The crispy chicken kale ceasar is my friend’s favorite and it looked bomb, but I’ve recently gone pescatarian (damn you Okja and @mybestfriendhank!) so I went with an arugula/watermelon sitch that was also great.
–Ici Ice Cream (right next door to Summer Kitchen–balance out that salad!): OMG THE CONES HERE. They are like little crepes with crystallized sugar bits and a chocolate fille tip. Do not go here and skimp on the cone. I had the thai tea flavor, which was delicious, but the cone really stole the show.
–Secret Scoop Ice cream: Incredible Thai Flavors, but the best part is the warm sticky, sweet rice you can get on top. Just trust me and get the rice!!
–Mission Chinese in the Mission district of San Francisco: I’ve been wanting to try this place because of its notoriety, and contemplated hitting up the New York outpost.
After CA, I headed to Seattle for a few days with my sister. It was both of our first times in Washington and I wish I could take off another week just to explore the more nature-y side of the Pacific Northwest. Until then, my next post will cover some of the great vegan/Italian/seafood places in the Puget Sound gem.