Oh HEY there! I’m probably too excited to be writing on my close friend Alena’s fantastic site. Have you SEEN this girl’s photography skills?! My name is Hannah -- I’m a fourth year at Northeastern University in Boston, originally from a small suburban town in Connecticut. Aside from a short study abroad program freshman year (when I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece), I had never lived anywhere outside of Connecticut and Massachusetts. I am a cold-blooded New Englander, born and bred.
This past year, I decided to change that.
With no business experience whatsoever (but a hell of a lot of drive, passion, and gusto), I applied to a marketing internship in the Silicon Valley tech industry.
I was offered the position, and at the beginning of 2017, I left my best friends + fam, the icy snow, and the love in Boston that I’d come to be surrounded by as the plane took off for sunny Northern California.
Now, having just returned home to Boston a few weeks ago, I’m here to share with you some of my favorite things that I ate and did while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know I that I only had six months there (while some of you may have had a year or more), but what I was able to explore was absolutely magical. These are my sincere recommendations!
Try: chicken skewers, cucumber and tahini salad, and of course some table hummus with freshly-baked pita bread! The pitas are huge. I am obsessed with them.
Try: almond butter and jelly toast, but get it with a slice of real bread, such as their sourdough, not the nut-based gluten-free bread. That stuff tasted like bird seeds.
Try: tequila-marinated chicken tacos with avocado aioli, the fried plantains with coconut shavings, and a tropical margarita
Try: iced chocolate horchata (and while you’re there, be sure to sample all of the different kinds of chocolate!)
Hike a trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (Big Sur), Wilder Ranch State Park (Santa Cruz), Castle Rock State Park (Los Gatos), or Henry W. Coe State Park (Morgan Hill)
Drive over the Golden Gate Bridge while blasting the Full House theme song - San Francisco
Picnic on the Presidio, in Golden Gate park, or in Mission Dolores park - San Francisco
Walk all of the way up the stairs in Mission Dolores park: don’t turn to face the city until you reach the top; when you do get to the highest stair, close your eyes, face the city, and BAM!! The most picturesque view of Downtown San Francisco will be before your eyes - San Francisco
Cruise along the San Francisco Bay and under the giant red bridge via a catamaran. My friend & I went with the company Adventure Cat ($45 per person for a 90-minute cruise). This is totally unsponsored -- going on this boat ride was simply the absolute best thing that I did during my time in the Bay Area! If you like boats, sunshine, and the water, do this; you won’t regret it - San Francisco
Bike over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Sausalito, a cute little beach + boat town right on the water - San Francisco/Sausalito
Explore the architecture and shops in the Haight-Ashbury district - San Francisco
Stroll around the Berkeley Marina and waterfront before going into town (UC Berkeley area) for some CREAM ice-cream sandwiches - they make dairy-free ice-cream if you’re allergic to milk! - Berkeley
You’ll be hungry, so...EAT SOME MORE
Try: are you lactose-intolerant or very allergic to dairy like me? I get their vegan chocolate fudge pops, and they are delightful!
Try: avocado toast with onions, garlic, lemon and sesame zest, and poached eggs on thick, delicious bread
Try: this liquid nitrogen ice-cream is superb. Options for the dairy lovers and the dairy intolerant! I love the chocolate ice-cream (dairy-free coconut milk base) in a homemade vanilla waffle bowl topped with banana slices & crushed oreos
“But what about In-N-Out??? It’s a California THING!!!”
To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite. Yes, the burgers and the bright red accents on the trays, employee uniforms, and cups are super aesthetically-pleasing, but the secret sauce gave me a stomachache in the car ride home, the fries were unflavorful, and the burger was dry af. I know some people really enjoy it (sorry, friends), and it definitely is a cheap & fast place to grab a bite if you’re starving, but it’s not my first pick. Are you looking for that perfect burger? You might like:
Try: building a custom burger (so many choices!!)) + a side of sweet potato fries