Sunday, September 19, 2010

California Here I Come

I'm back from the west coast with lots to share! Aside from the beautiful weather, steep roads and mountains, and excellent shopping, San Francisco offered an incredible spread of food to choose from. My co-worker Jessica and I flew out to San Francisco last Tuesday morning at 6AM to work out of our sister company's office out in Novato. We landed around 12PM west coast time and after checking in at our hotel, freshening up, we immediately went in to work the rest of the day. Exhausting, I know. Afterwards, we decided to get dinner immediately and go to bed early so we can keep our brains on east coast time. We decided to try Boca Steak House. After ordering a delcious bottle of blended red wine (half off bottles of wine on Tuesday!), we selected ground lamb empanadas to start, and we both went for the petite hanger steak with duck fat fries. It was awesome to say the least. On Wednesday, we both woke up at 3AM, still on east coast time. I tried to go for a run in the hotel gym, but my body could only drag me through 3 measly miles. Instead of hitting up lunch in their huge cafeteria, we were invited to their HR chili cookoff. This was awesome for me since I love chili, and especially a cookoff where I get to try multiple types. We had plans to head to wine country after work to eat dinner but with the 45-min drive ahead of us, we decided to bag the idea and just grab dinner at Wildfox. Jessica wasn't feeling well and staying close by seemed like the best thing to do. It worked out great because we ordered 2 specialty pizzas and split them - filet mignon, mushroom and gorganzola, and procciutto, arugula and smoked fontina. YUM. Such a comfort meal, plus I never eat pizza anymore so this was a huge treat for me (I figured if I'm traveling and they are gourmet pizza, then its okay to splurge, right?)...
I got in another 4 mile run during my stay in Novato, then we headed into the city to spend out last night in a hip hotel in Union Square - Le Meridien Hotel.
On the way into the city, we decided our trip wouldn't be complete without stopping by In and Out Burger. They are only franchized on the west coast so we went for the double cheeseburger and split it between the 2 of us. After crossing back over the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped by Lands End, but it was too foggy to see anything around us. After a few wrong turns and a drive-by of Fisherman's Warf, we finally made it to our hotel. Seated in the center of the financial district, our hotel view of the San Francisco Bay bridge and enormous office buildings was beautiful. We decided to walk around Market St. and Westfield Shopping center where we visited the 2nd largest Nordstrom in the US among other stores. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious "French Sparkle" martini with an elegant cheese tray in our hotel bar, then headed to Ozumo for dinner down by the water. I had the most amazing sushi roll filled with toro, avocado, asparagus and sprouts, wrapped in a daikon radish. It probably ranks as one of the best rolls of I've ever tasted... Dessert included assorted fruits dipped in dark chocolate fondue and a homemade guava sorbet. To top of it all off, we were told that Michael Jackson's brother Randy was sitting next to us... Not sure though.

Overall the trip to Cali was great. Got all my work done and definitely enjoyed the sights, sounds, tastes and scenes, even despite the long flights from coast to coast.

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