{Travel} A Weekend in San Francisco

I wrote the following post over the weekend before the fires in Northern California broke out.  I've been debating whether or not I should publish this post & the follow-up post all about Napa, but the people who have been affected by the fires deserve our support & love.  We had the most amazing trip, met some of the NICEST people & I want to share what a wonderful experience we had.

Last weekend, J & I took a much needed mini trip up to San Francisco & Napa Valley. We've been talking about taking this trip for about 6 years now, so it was a long time coming.  We spent the first 2 days in San Fran playing tourists & then headed on to Napa for 3 of the most relaxing days of my life.  We packed our 5 days with activities, food & a lot of wine. As a result, I took over 300 pictures.  So today I'm sharing the first half of our trip in San Francisco & tomorrow I will share Napa. All these pics were taken on my phone, so they aren't the best quality, but who really cares when you're having an amazing time??

First off, we need to talk about where we stayed in the city.  Located in the theatre district, Hotel Zeppelin exceeded ALL of our expectations. Let me just share with you a quick blurb from their website.
"Hotel Zeppelin rebelliously celebrates the collision of SF's counter culture tradition with a mischievous approach to contemporary hospitality.  Set in hisoric downtown SF walking stance from renowned Union Square, the hotel celebrates the city's progressive mindset & transforms it into a living story with a revolutionary attitude. A mind-altering experience with a stylish delivery inspired by those who've broken the mold, Hotel Zeppelin defiantly invites our guests to do the same."  OK read that & tell me you wouldn't want to stay there??

Before we headed out to explore the city, we popped into, The Rambler, which was attached to our restaurant for a little lunch.  The lunch menu was awesome, but from what it looked like their brunch looked even better!
J has never been to San Francisco before & the last time I was there, I was 16.  So we took full advantage & did all the fun tourist-y things. First stop was visiting the historical landmark, The Painted Ladies. It was CRAZY windy in Delores Park (where we stood to take this pic) so we didn't stay too long.
From the ladies, we HAD to go find the Full House house.  A little less than a mile away, we found it!
For dinner that night, we headed to Foreign Cinema.  This place was SO much fun & the food was amazing. Known for their outdoor patio with a giant movie screen, we were lucky enough to be able to eat outside while The Princess Bride played. 
Tip: Make a reservation & make it early.  I booked ours a few weeks in advanced & we still ate a bit earlier than we would have liked.
Saturday started off with a trip to The Gap because it was much chillier than we had anticipated (despite my stalking the weather, I failed miserably) so we needed sweaters.  From there, our plan was to take a cable car down towards the water, but the line at 10am was a mile long.  So as we started to head in the direction of the wharf, we stumbled upon a Korean Day celebration happening in Union Square.  So we got some coffee & decided to check it out for a minute.
We then decided to take a quick lyft & made a beeline for Ghiradelli Square.
First stop, Ghiradelli Markplace for sundaes! Best breakfast ever.
Found this in the cutest little paper shop. Easy purchase.
From the square we walked over to Fisherman's Wharf. We walked around for a bit before heading to Boudin Bakery & Cafe for chowder bowls. Around since 1849, Boudin is a San Francisco icon.  Luckily for us, there were two sizes of bowls because we were not that hungry after our breakfast :) 
Tip: The marketplace downstairs can be quite hectic when trying to find a place to sit.  You can get the same food upstairs at the sit down restaurant if you want something a touch quieter. No reservation needed.
After stuffing ourselves with bread & soup, it was time to head to Pier 33 because we had tickets for Alcatraz! When I toured the prison as a 16 year old, I thought it was cool but touring it again as an adult had a quite different impact. I think as a teen, you can't fully grasp the idea of living in a place like that. Maybe I was just immature for a teen, but it felt a whole lot more real as an adult. Also, I had no idea besides the prison that there was a small community of non-prisoners who lived on the island. Officers wives & children also lived on Alcatraz...how crazy is that!
Tip: Buy your tickets ahead of time, especially if you want the night tour.  I booked ours a month out & the evening tours were all sold out!
Since a majority of the trip was going to be planned around wineries & wine is definitely more my thing than J's, I wanted to go somewhere specifically for him. Only a few blocks from our hotel was Bourbon & Branch, a 1920's prohibition era themed speakeasy specializing in bourbon drinks. While you don't necessarily have to have a reservation, they don't pack people in to preserve the experience, so if you want to guarantee an entry, make a reservation. There is no sign outside, only a door with a number.  
You have to give a password in order to be let in & a reservation is a MUST.  They have a set of house rules that at first I thought was a tough bougie, but once inside, they actually made perfect sense & actually made the experience much more enjoyable.
 So I broke a rule & took a picture. I had the absolute best cocktail I've ever had & it warranted a pic. Appropriately named Bonafide Lover is described as "Love is in the air & true love is in the glass.  Although light & refreshing, one must not relax too much & forget that cupid might just be around the corner with his arrows."  This heavenly beverage consisted of vodka, benedictine, lemon, honey, Peychauds Bitters, chocolate bitters & sparkling wine.  Let's be honest, I had 2.
Bourbon & Branch doesn't serve food, so after 2ish hours, we were ready to get some food.  We decided to go into a local pizza by the slice place & gorged ourselves. A perfect Saturday evening.
We checked out of the hotel Sunday morning & picked up our rental car. Before heading out of the city, there was one more stop we had to make.  Since J had never been to SF, we had to stop by Lombardi street.  Well, I thought we were stopping by...then before I knew it, J was turning down it. So...that was a fun experience!!
After that terrifying experience, we departed San Francisco & headed up to Napa.  Check back tomorrow for the 2nd half of our trip in Napa!
Please ignore the bucket ruining my beautiful pic.


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