Tuesday, August 22

San Francisco // Golden Gate Park, Park Chow & California Academy of Sciences

On our second day in San Francisco, we spent most of our day at Golden Gate Park. I have been to San Francisco many times but never to Golden Gate Park and I absolutely loved it. Golden Gate Park is a large urban park, home to De Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences and Japanese Tea Garden. It is a great place if you need a timeout from the city bustle and horsdes of tourists.

Koret Children's Quarter is a wonderful park for kids of all ages - the young and the young at heart. There was a mobile library and a lady was reading stories to children (and their nannies) out in the middle of the park. Such life!

Within a block from Golden Gate Park, we made a pitstop at Park Chow for lunch. Established in 1997, Park Chow offers healthy and hearty food everyone could enjoy. Apparently, everything on the menu is sourced from local farms. We had the Cobb salad, mushroom & sausage pizza, pot roast and ginger cake. All the dishes were good, not great (not quite sure how they earned one Michelin Star). The highlight of the meal was undoubtedly the ginger cake with pumpkin ice cream and caramel drizzle. 

We spent our afternoon at the Academy of Sciences and it was pretty darn amazing! It is a natural history museum and one of the largest museums of natural history in the world. Ok, it's still pretty touristy and busy but definitely worth it! When we were there, there was a special exhibition going on, featuring pteradons, which was way cool as the boys are currently into dinosaurs. Oh, we met Claude, the albino alligator, who was just doing his thang and way too cool to hang with any of us.

Monday, August 21

San Francisco // Exploratorium, Hog Island Oyster Co & Ghirardelli Square

After the weekend, we took a drive up and spent a couple of days in San Francisco. I've mixed feelings beyond the golden gates of San Francisco. On one hand, the pretty areas are interesting but really touristy; on the other, the crummy areas feel relatively unsettling. That said, we had great time visiting our favorite haunts and discovering new sites.

NEW: The Exploratorium was a fascinating place, thought it is admittedly more suited for kids in grade school. The place is huge, containing over 600 exhibits; exhibits cover a range of subject areas, including human perception, the life sciences, physical phenomena, local environment, and human behaviour. I didn't take too many pictures there but as you can tell, Lucas have difficulty leaving the interactive exhibits. We spent just close to two hours there as the kids (and adults) were getting cranky for lunch.

NEW: Lunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. It's hard to beat an al fresco meal, paired with beautiful sunny weather. Grilled oysters, lovely grilled corn salad, laudable clam chowder and an oyster po boy. Happy as a clam can be.


FAVORITE: Sigh, Ghiredelli Square, you still have such a way with my heart. This is the third year we've been back and this time round, Lucas joined us. The cookie sundae is still amaze balls. But what were you thinking, giving us a ginormous single scoop ice cream cone that gave Lady Liberty's torch a run for its money?!

Friday, August 18

California // Orale Mex Grill, Campbell

Looking bad, I regreat only having Mexican once in California. Fortunately, we had an awesome meal at Orale Mex Grill, Campbell. Orale Mex Grill is a counter-order taqueria, focusing on Cal-Mex dishes. Simple set-up but big on flavour.

We noshed on salmon fish tacos and chimichangas. The fish tacos came out on a big platter with rice on one side and salad on the other side. They tasted fresh but paled slightly in comparison to the chimichangas. 

Deep-fried flour tortilla filled with red snapper, topped with sour cream guacamole, salsa and parmesan cheese. The inclusion of fish, instead of red meat, kept things relatively light. This could have been one hot mess … Well it absolutely was and more. The sauces all tasted freshly made and every bite was delightfully special!

Thursday, August 17

California // Shanghai Dumpling, Cupertino

Shanghai Dumpling is your typical authentic chinese restaurant. Stuck-in-90s décor, hard-to-get service but crazy excellent food. I am so glad KW's brother recommended this place for dinner as it was the perfect meal to get over jet lag.

The xiao long baos are insanely good. Big and juicy, a tiny prick frees up the aromatic robust porky broth. I have always thought that the xiao long baos at Din Tai Fung were overrated – and I know I’m right because I finally found an xiao long bao worth the pain when I accidentally scald myself.

Sauteed String Beans. Hmm, how good could they be? Like really really good. I know it is hard to get excited over string beans but these were exceptionally crunchy and moreish.  

Pork Ribs Fried Rice was basically pork, rice and grease. Ok, they added a smattering of greens which makes this smigedly healthier. The pork ribs batter itself was crispy/crunchy, and the meat maanges to stay tender and juicy.

Pecan mayonnaise prawns. Junky Chinese food. Absolutely the kind of food you crave for when your traditional Chinese parents are not around, and you just want to order American Chinese food without experiencing a motherload of “This is for white people!” lecture.

Dong Po Rou was a lesson in restraint. Or rather the lack of. A hunk of steamed and braised pork just waiitng to be torn into and devoured.

Happy faces!