|View from the tower at the top of the de Young Fine Arts Museum|
We just spent a terrific weekend in San Francisco with a day trip to Santa Cruz. We mostly explored beautiful spaces and ate, with a few shopping outings thrown in, and had a great, energetic but relaxing, mini-vacation. We arrived late Friday afternoon, and settled into our airbnb in Lower Haight. The small space was comfortable enough, but if I were renting out my place and charging rent plus a cleaning fee, I'd try to make it actually clean.
On Friday evening we went to a new vegan sushi place in the Mission, Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya, and I was very excited to experience a restaurant that served creative vegan sushi, since I'm usually limited to cucumber, avocado, or if I'm lucky, kampyo sushi. We started with a warm garlic-kale-hiziki dish that was extremely delicious.
After the kale we shared two specialty rolls, but I'm really sorry I can't remember what they were. They were both so good I was practically inhaling them. The one above came flaming at one end of the plate, which was exciting.
I can't remember what this one was, either, except that it tasted great. So great, in fact, that we ordered another one, but for some reason the second roll wasn't nearly as good as the first.
My husband and I were sharing gluten-free options while our dining companions ordered with abandon. Imagine, vegans, going to a sushi restaurant and ordering anything on the menu! This roll was one of their choices, and you can see another one of their selections peeking out in the background. (The restaurant was too dark for my camera so I had to rely on my iphone.)
Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya was not without issues. Though I enjoyed eating there, it was impossible not to notice the extremely slow service. I'm talking at least an hour wait before we were seated, another hour wait before the first dish came out, and maybe another hour before we had received and eaten all of our food. Everything was beautiful and delicious, but at least one of my (very hungry) dining companions was rather miffed. And since we ordered two of the same rolls, and the second one was not nearly as good as the first, there might be issues of inconsistency. Still, if you are in San Francisco, you should try Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya. Hopefully they will only get better, if that's even possible. I will certainly go there again no matter how long I have to wait.
My iphone app says I walked more than 12,000 steps on Sunday and even more on Saturday, but now I'm having trouble keeping it all straight. I know we went to the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park on Saturday, where we strolled through the gorgeous gardens, including the succulent garden, above. I love succulents, though I never can seem to grow the really big ones that I see all over San Francisco in pocket gardens and pots.
After the gardens and a view from the top of a nearby museum tower, we went out to a late lunch at Seed and Salt. Alison and I loved our kale Caesar salads — so fresh, crunchy and tasty, with small squares of crispy, fried black-eyed pea tempeh and toasted sunflower seeds, and I think Jordan enjoyed his eggplant BLT.
But my husband was much less enthusiastic about his beet burger. It was pricey at $14, and kind of small. I was stuffed after my salad but he was still hungry. I really loved Seed and Salt — both the atmosphere and the food, though it was on the expensive side, as you can see if you follow the link and peruse the menu. I'd absolutely go there again.
After lunch we had a little shopping expedition to an enormous athletic store where Alison looked for bike gear for a ride she's going on, and the rest of us just wandered around looking at clothes and stuff. Then we headed to Rainbow Co-op which is the most excellent natural foods store I've ever been in. I wish we had a similar store in Seattle. I could find anything I could possibly want there, no matter how obscure. Alison and Jordan did their grocery shopping, and Ken and I picked up a few provisions for breakfast and the trip home. We bought one of Miyoko's Creamery cheeses as well as a package of chewy and delicious Hodosoy tofu and some Suzie's thin cakes crackers.
|My favorite crackers — next to Mary's.|
On Saturday night we picked up my niece, and the five of us headed to what used to be one of my favorite restaurants, Gracias Madre, for dinner. You can read about my other visits to Gracias Madre here and here. I say "used to be" because I'm now thinking the food is too heavy, or too oily or too something, because I had an upset stomach after my meal.
|Tacos and refried beans at Gracias Madre.|
It's so dark in the restaurant that my photos are not very mouthwatering, but I can tell you I had three tacos, one of which was filled with roasted beets, one with asparagus and one with broccoli, and a mound of refried black beans that looked like a big pile of decrepit poop, and which were too salty to eat. I ate some of the soft corn tortillas, all of the tasty vegetables, and none of the beans. Maybe it was an off night, but I wasn't as thrilled with the food as I usually am. Read my other posts for much more positive reviews. My husband had the evening special, and he described it as "OK but not great." On the other hand, Alison thought the same dish was delicious. So there you go.
Dinner was late — there had been a long wait for a table, and by the time we got back to the airbnb, we were ready to do some quiet reading, and fall into a deep sleep.
|Giant succulents in a pot in front of our airbnb.|