SF.

As promised, a recap of a recent long weekend in San Francisco. Though it torrentially down poured for the duration of our visit, friends and I still managed to love every sock-soaked minute of it, damp hair and all.

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Our first evening brought us to dinner at Starbelly, in the Castro. Despite the rain, we were able to sit in the eatery’s covered backyard garden, where string lights and heat lamps made for a perfect hideout for hungry travelers. We shared a quinoa salad pumped up with kale, avocado, marinated beets, and parmesan; grilled broccoli rabe with butter beans in tomato sauce; and a butternut squash / sage / pumpkin seed / goat cheese pizza, below.

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With morning came somewhat clearer skies and lovely views from our stellar Airbnb. (Seriously, check these guys out if you’re looking for a place to stay in SF. Airbnb ranks them as “superhosts.” Probably has something to do with the complimentary granola and Nespresso machine access they provided, as well as the glasses of wine they greeted us with at the door upon arrival. Swoon.)

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When it wasn’t monsoon-ing, we walked SF’s streets (or perhaps more accurately, mountains), stopping at coffee shops and lunch spots along the way…

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{ In the Castro }

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{ At Flywheel Coffee Roasters in Haight Ashbury }

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{ More in Haight Ashbury }

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{ More in Haight Ashbury – lunch of Vietnamese shrimp salad from Dragoneats }

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We also wandered over to the Mission, where authentic Mexican bakeries sat adjacent to hipster coffee shops, new-agey apothecaries, and upscale vintage clothing stores, as seen above + below.

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With SF’s major hills comes hunger. So after careful brunch research, we made our way to Beretta in the Mission. I went for a flavorful pesto frittata packed with veggies and paired with roasted potatoes, greens, and a slice of crispy, grilled bread. Friends opted for breakfast pizzas and burrata toast that were equally inhale-able.

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After finding out that SFMOMA was closed for renovation for the foreseeable future, we headed to the de Young Museum, located in the city’s famous Golden Gate Park. Our visit included a stop in to the viewpoint at the top of the museum’s observation tower, which offers 360-degree views of downtown SF, Golden Gate Park, the Bay, and the Marin headlands (weather permitting, of course).

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Anxious to see more during my last hours in the city, I walked my way through part of Golden Gate Park, where the lush greenery benefitted considerably from the consistent drizzle. I benefitted less; the steady rains eventually led me to (woefully) call an Uber to bring me the rest of the way back to my Airbnb.

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In some way I’m thankful for the unrelenting weather, as I have all the more reason to return for the activities I’d hoped to get to. I’m thinking a walk along the Embarcadero, a bike ride along the Golden Gate Bridge, and another brunch (or three) are in order.

LA la la.

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Remember when I was lamenting midterms and counting the minutes until spring break? Well, now you know why. I was one lucky lady this past week, as I got to spend six days in LA, followed by three in San Francisco (but I’ll leave that for a Part II post).

Here are some of the things I saw, ate, and did — in no particular order — in the city of angels.

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Day one started at the “farmer’s market” at The Grove. Why the quotes? When I hear “farmer’s market,” I expect to see bundles of fresh produce sold by bearded vendors standing under white, tented stands (What? You don’t?). This was not that. Instead, the market offered a plethora of ethnic food options, sweets, and some of that fresh produce I imagined, which my travel buddies and I diligently ignored.

Though there were candied apples galore, pierogies, and Brazilian-style grilled meats among a million other choices, I opted for Mexican (since, California) and also to break my pescatarianism with the above: one chicken mole and one shredded beef taco on homemade corn tortillas + a side of black beans. Would do it again. And again.

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Satisfied, we made our way to LACMA, where we wandered through captivating contemporary exhibits, before plopping ourselves down in the café for a necessary caffeine hit. Museum-induced fatigue is very, very real.

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Other highlights included a trip to the Melrose Trading Post..

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A most nourishing bowl o’ goodness from Cafe Gratitude in Venice…

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A trip to the wonderland that is the Venice canals…

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And a quickie stop in windy Santa Monica…

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More Mexican food at B.S. Taqueria in downtown L.A. (Pro tip: do order the butternut squash tamale and the “duritos” and bean dip, don’t order the “gordo cup” cocktail)…

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And an all pink everything journal session at Espresso Profeta in Westwood Village.

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As if I didn’t cover enough (neighborhood) bases, I also joined friends on a perfect hike (by perfect I mean mostly flat, super scenic, and less than two hours) in Studio City.

Other activities not featured but thoroughly enjoyed included a traditional Persian feast, a visit to a taping of a TV show, phenomenal dinners at Katsuya (we tried both the Brentwood and Studio City locations), and a whole lotta pool time. Needless to say, I returned home feeling indescribably grateful — for old friends, new places, and more.

Check back soon for my SF recap .

Life Lately (12).

As per usual, bits and pieces of Life Lately. Scroll along for the ride?

China: Through The Looking Glass

Taken at, “China: Through the Looking Glass” @ The Met Museum. The exhibit illustrates where traditional Chinese aesthetics and Western fashion intersect by way of beaded dresses like the one featured above, ornate displays, and movies from the past. All of it had me ooh-ing and ahh-ing throughout the galleries, but the dresses stole the show above all. I’ll take one of each.

healthy al fresco dining

Warmer temps mean al fresco lunches every damn day. No complaints. Above is a healthy picnic-inspired lunch spread from a recent weekend in the country. On the table: marinated artichokes, farm fresh egg salad studded with asparagus, hummus, fresh veggies, olives, pretzels, cheese, and drinks. Can I get a do-over?

weekend hike

That same warm weekend called for some relaxing walks through picturesque rays o’ sunlight on back dirt roads.

saturdays surf nyc

Back in NYC, a 3pm pick-me-up in the back garden at Saturdays, where the coffee is strong and the people-watching is prime. What else could one ask for?

Check back soon for more of life lately!

Life Lately (11).

Though now back in my home sweet home city of NYC for the summer months, I’m taking it back a couple of weeks (call it, “Life (sort of) Lately”) to when my parents joined me in Atlanta for a weekend in the South. So I ended the semester on a touristy note, showing them all my favorite sights and bites along the way.

high museum atlanta

We started at The High Museum of Art, where we sat on rainbow rope structures outdoors, and marveled at the modern design and works indoors.

high museum atlanta

high museum atlanta

Next we hopped over to Piedmont Park. A quick walk around the lake — interspersed with seated stints under shady trees — proved the perfect afternoon activity.

piedmont park

We also got to walk through all my favorite areas, including Little Five Points, Virginia Highlands, Decatur, Inman Park, and parts of the BeltLine.

Indeed, all this touring –> hungry bellies, which we happily tended to. Highlights included:

From JCT Kitchen, a special starter of chilled watermelon slices paired with ricotta cheese and house-cured prosciutto (not pictured).

metrofresh atlanta

From MetroFresh, a multitude of salads, including the summer fruit medley and kale / plum / walnut salad above. We also tried their “strawberry caprese” (strawberries, cucumbers, mozzarella cheese) and tuna salads.

buttermilk kitchen atlanta

From Buttermilk Kitchen, a magical breakfast sandwich of fried eggs, crispy bacon, spinach, pickled green tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and lemon mayo on a crusty ciabatta roll. Plus a hashbrown cake, plus fresh-squeezed orange juice, plus a licked-clean plate.

no. 246 atlanta

From No. 246, this bubbly pizza topped with fontina cheese, prosciutto, roasted grapes, arugula, and a balsamic reduction. We also tried their “award winning meatballs” and shrimp scampi. All 10’s, all delicious.

Somehow we managed to roll ourselves onto the plane back to New York, just in time for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day Weekend, and all the soon-to-be-summer goodness that awaits. Check back soon for more of Life Lately!

Life Lately (8).

Post-holidays, post-break, post-everything and back to reality. That’s how I’d describe my Life Lately.

Now that I’m back in Atlanta for round 5 of college, I’m figuring out how to be an adult. Well, sort of. That is, I’ve moved into a brand new home that has me feeling like a suburban soccer mom, with its very own laundry room and a walk-in closet the size of a studio apartment in NYC.

Don’t get me wrong, though. It hasn’t been all about Target runs lately. Before departing New York, New York, I managed to gallery hop through Chelsea on a frigid Saturday evening. Afterward, a friend and I headed to vegan eatery Blossom for some seitan meatballs and tempeh kebabs (not pictured).

chelsea gallery

chelsea gallery

chelsea gallery

chelsea gallery

My last week at home also included some evening skyline marveling from Central Park’s Great Lawn…

central park views

…as well as some final, flavorful eats. Here’s a warming noodle soup I made for my family in an effort to combat the outside temps that my weather app described as: “Feels like 1 degrees”. The super simple soup consisted of chicken broth packed with udon noodles, sauteed veggies (baby bok choy, snow peas, scallions, mushrooms), and crispy shrimp.

udon noodle soup

I guess that meal was slightly more balanced than what I started with in my fridge on the day I moved into my new Atlanta abode:

chobani

Have no fear, though. I quickly rectified this situation with a trip to Trader Joe’s, where I spent more than I’d like to admit in order to fill up my unbearably bare fridge and pantry. Does a pound of dark chocolate sound like too much for one person? Oh well.

Check back soon for more of my Life Lately!