In & Out of Oakland…

So no California trip would be complete with a stop at In & Out Burger… so to complete our vacation, we packed in a lunch just before our flight. (And for those that haven’t heard of In & Out, its a popular fast food chain that doesn’t have a fancy menu aside from hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, onion rings and shakes… all fresh & made to order!)
Double Double w/Cheese Animal Style

Triple Triple w/Cheese Animal Style
Fries Well Done

In-N-Out Burger has a secret unpublished menu for insiders who are In-The-Know. Next time you’re at In-N-Outorder a bag of these off-the-menu specials:

3-by-3” = three meat patties and three slices of cheese.

4-by-4” = four meat patties and four slices of cheese.

2-by-4” = two meat patties and four slices of cheese.

*Note: You can get a burger with as many meat patties or cheese slices as you want. Just tell the In-N-Out Burger cashier how many meat patties and how much cheese you want and that is what you’ll get! For instance, if you want 6 pieces of meat and 10 pieces of cheese tell them you want a “6-by-10.”

Double Meat” = like a Double Double without cheese.

3 by Meat” = three meat patties and no cheese.

Animal Style” = the meat is cooked and fried with mustard and then pickles are added, extra spread and grilled onions are added.

Animal Style Fries” = fries with cheese, spread, grilled onions and pickles (if you ask for them).

Protein Style” = for all you low-carbohydrate dieters, this is a burger with no bun (wrapped in lettuce).

Flying Dutchman” = two meat patties, two slices of melted cheese and nothing else – not even a bun!

Fries “Well-Done” = extra crispy fries . . . even better than the regular!

Fries “Light” = opposite of fries well-done, more raw than most people like ’em

Grilled Cheese” = no meat, just melted cheese, tomato, lettuce and spread on a bun.

Veggie Burger” = burger without the patty or cheese. Sometimes we call this the “Wish Burger.”

Neapolitan” Shake = strawberry, vanilla and chocolate blended together.

Romantic Drive Into the Sunset…

We had a full day and it was time to wind down… and so we took the scenic route back by driving the Pacific Coast Highway 1.

After crossing the Golden Gate bridge and entering Marin County, Highway 1 then splits from and becomes the Shoreline Highway. We went through winding turns on a two lane road as it took us through various coastal cities and towns between Muir Beach & Fort Bragg. Once we hit Bodega Bay, we headed east towards our hotel. Here are a couple of my fave shots taken just after leaving San Francisco from the northern vista point of the bridge and while on the drive at sunset:

Jolly for Jollibee!

Jollibee is a fast food restuarant chain based in the Philippines and also has locations in the United States (California), Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Dubai and Brunei. Jollibee is also the name of Jollibee’s mascot, a large bee in a blazer, shirt and chef’s hat. It is an American style fast-food restaurant with Filipino-influenced dishes. It specializes in chicken, burgers, and spaghetti.

I haven’t had Jollibee since I was in the Philippines a few years ago… such fond memories! And since there isn’t a Jollibee anywhere close to Chicago, I had to take advantage of having my fix while in Daly City! Here’s what we had for dinner:

Palabok Fiesta ~ a meal of pancit palabok, which is rice noodles
smothered with a thick, golden shrimp sauce or other flavored sauce,
and topped with shrimp, ground pork, green onions and egg. Chicken Joy ~ a fried chicken meal served
with steamed jasmine rice and gravy.

Ciao Bella, Ciao ‘Frisco!

To end our visit to San Francisco, we took a visit to the Ferry Building & Marketplace in San Francisco.

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a vibrant gathering of local farmers, artisan producers, and independently owned and operated food businesses and the customers they serve. The marketplace:
~ Showcases small regional producers that practice traditional farming or production techniques and who develop personal relationships with their customers.
~ Promotes the Bay Area’s vast ethnic diversity and serve and an incubator for artisan producers who are returning to sustainable methods of agriculture and production.
~ Provides a central location for the promotion of the world-class food and wine producing regions of Northern California and recognize wine’s connection to our rich regional cuisine.
~ Collaborates with local transit authorities to build strong regional ties to the Ferry Building and support the revitalization of the San Francisco waterfront.
~ Operates as a community gathering-place for the celebration of local culture and cuisine.

One of the places we fell in love with at the marketplace was Ciao Bella Gelato. I was familiar with their gelatos prior to visiting them during our trip, as some great Chicago restaurants offer it on their menus. Their gelatos are truly intense, creamy and trumps ice cream any day!

We got the chance to try out the following flavors:
Carrot Ginger
Zambolne(sp?), a chardonnay infused gelato
Scharfenberger Chocolate
Triple Espresso
Cookies & Cream

Cool View from Coit

We squeezed in some more sightseeing around San Francisco after our dim sum brunch. On a whim, we headed up Coit Tower for another view of the city.

Coit Tower was built atop Telegraph Hill in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the City of San Francisco. The art deco tower, 210 feet (64 meters) of unpainted reinforced concrete was designed by architects Arthur Brown Jr. & Henry Howard with murals by 26 different artists and numerous assistants.

Here are some pics we took from the top of Coit Tower:

Afterwards, we took a drive down the famous Lombard Street. Lombard Street is best known for one block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being “the crookedest [most winding] street in the United States.”

Dim Sum Yum Yum!

Dim sum is the name of the Chinese cuisine involving a light meal or brunch served with Chinese tea. Dim sum cuisine consists of a wide spectrum of choices. It includes combinations of meat, seafood, vegetables, as well as desserts and fruit. The various items are usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate. To start our last full day of our vacation, we headed to Daly City, a suburb of San Francisco. There, we dined at Koi Palace, a favorite dim sum house of the locals.

Here’s what we feasted on:
Shrimp Dumpling Purses (蝦餃 har gau): A delicate steamed dumpling with whole or chopped-up shrimp filling and thin (almost translucent) wheat starch skin.

Rice noodle rolls or cheong fun (腸粉 cheong fan, 肠粉 chángfěn): These are wide rice noodles that are steamed and then rolled. We had ones that were filled with vegetables inside and topped with a sweetened soy sauce.

Steamed meatballs (牛肉球, usually simplied as 牛球, 牛肉丸 niúròuwán): Finely-ground beef is shaped into balls and then steamed.

Cha siu baau (叉燒包, cha siu baau, 叉焼包, chāshāobāo): the most popular bun with Cantonese roasted pork & onions inside. We had them steamed, fluffy & white.

Potstickers (simplified Chinese: 锅贴; traditional Chinese: 鍋貼)Northern Chinese style of dumpling (steamed and then pan-fried jiaozi), usually with meat and cabbage filling. Note that although potstickers are sometimes served in dim sum restaurants, they are not considered traditional Cantonese dim sum.

Sou (酥 sou, 酥 sū): A type of flaky pastry we had that was filled with shrimp.
Stuffed Crab Claws (Yeung Hai Keem): For these, the snapper is used as a handle. A portion of shell is removed from the meaty end, leaving the meat attached. Shrimp and crab paste are then pressed around the claw meat, and the whole is dipped in flour and crumbs, then deep-fried.

Pork Spareribs: Marinated spareribs cut into bite-size pieces that have been steamed (seejup pai gwut) and served with a light black bean sauce.

Our Civil Right to Citizen Cake!

As we wind down for the evening, our sweet tooths start calling out for some desserts. Well, sources tell me the best desserts can be found at Citizen Cake.
Elizabeth Falkner is the executive pastry chef and owner of Citizen Cake in San Francisco. In 1997, Falkner opened Citizen Cake at its first location in the South Market district of San Francisco. Citizen Cake, and Falkner in particular, are known for their original and creative cake designs. Falkner appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef, a reality show on the Bravo network. She has also appeared on Iron Chef America, Tyler’s Ultimate, $40 a Day, Sugar Rush, Best Of, and more.
With such accolades, we couldn’t resist trying her creations for ourselves. With that, we submit ourselves to two patisseries:

Mocha Misu Their play on Tiramisu. Layers of cocoa genoise punched with an espresso-rum syrup, another layer of mocha mousse and a final layer of whipped crème fraîche with just a hint of marsala wine. This cake can be finished with ganache or coffee infused buttercream.
Love Letter A gorgeous combination of Grand Marnier infused pâté genoise, black pepper-crème fraîche Bavarian mousse and fresh strawberries of raspberries covered in rose buttercream

Chinatown Poses

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of North America’s largest Chinatowns. It is also the oldest Chinatown. Established in the 1850’s, it has been featured in popular culture, such as in film music, photography and literature. It continues to remain a major tourist attraction — drawing more visitors than the Golden Gate Bridge, and being one of the largest and most prominent centers of Chinese activity outside of China. One thing to note is that bartering for wares is highly encouraged!

Although most people would try Chinese Dim Sum in the heart of Chinatown, I did some research and planned on having Chinese Dim Sum elsewhere. I’m following the local’s on the dim sum hotspot – which we will partake in the following day of our trip!

Tadich Grill ~ An SF Tradition!

For dinner in San Francisco, we really wanted to go somewhere special to San Francisco and took advantage of the abundance of fresh seafood. Where else is there to go but Tadich Grill? It happens to be San Francisco’s oldest restaurant.

For 154 years, Tadich Grill has been a San Francisco tradition. Founded as a coffee stand during the California Gold Rush of1849, it is the oldest restaurant in continuous operation in the state of California, and the third oldest in the United States. We dined on 2 of their house specials:

Cioppino with garlic bread,
a seafood stew that’s chock full of
clams, prawns, scallops, bay shrimp, crabmeat & white fish;

and Dungeness Crab & Prawn a la Monza,
a blend of crab & prawn in a rich seafood sauce
baked in a casserole dish over rice.

Toying with the Transamerica Pyramid

The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. Built on the location of the historic Montgomery Block, it has a structural height of 260 meters (853 feet) and contains 48 floors of retail and office space. It is currently ranked as the 88th tallest building in the world.

Funny, it doesn’t seem that big to us!