This post is going to be emotional to write because I know it will make me miss my dear friend, Rachel, more than I already do!
A little back story: We have been friends since sixth grade. The way it happened was certainly a funny series of events. First, I moved to her school that year and noticed a cute boy. I had no idea that he was dating Rachel and through the grapevine he heard that the “new girl” liked him. He broke up with Rachel to “date” me (“Going out” with someone in 6th grade means you bashfully smile at each other in the hallway and write their name on your notebook without any actual meaningful interaction). Also let’s take a moment to laugh at how many quote-on-quotes are necessary for middle school romances. Well, when I heard that I was a home-wrecker I told him I didn’t want to date anymore. Hence, my first relationship lasted a total of two days. During this time, Rachel and I shared a mutual friend. She told me that there was no way Rachel would ever like me. “Once Rachel decides she doesn’t like someone, there is no going back from that,” she said. I was determined to make a mends. And gosh darn it, look at where we are today! Thanks for letting that go, Rach ;). We have thanked that boy for helping spark such a great friendship. Fun fact: She actually just went to his wedding a few weeks ago! Look how full circle we all have come.
Fast forward to today: Rach just recently passed her Child Life Specialist exam and officially has a big girl job!!! When she called me with the exciting news we both said how badly we wished we could have sushi together to celebrate (Sushi is our spirit animal). The next day she sent me a screenshot of flight dates she could fly out here (from Ohio to California). I thought she was kidding at first- but no she booked that glorious flight! So the day after my mom left I was driving to the airport to pick up Rach so we could actually have sushi together in real life. We also said we are celebrating our “11th friendiversary” 🙂 She arrived last Monday- August 29th, and the week that followed was one of my favorites.
This was a super chill day since she came in the afternoon. We went to the grocery store to stock up on food for the week. Then I showed her around Main Street Cupertino and then walked down Stevens Creek to show her the main shops and restaurants. We stopped into a bakery and saw “white fungus with dates” among their items. Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel like you “dare” yourself to do something? Like you feel a strange compulsion to try it even if you truly don’t want to? Maybe for some it’s riding a roller coaster, walking on hot coals, or skydiving. I tend to get it in more of a fear-factor-food form. I bought the darn fungus, and Rach and I sat at my counter in my apartment while I tried the mysterious floating wonder. (Is this the weirdest anecdote ever, or what?!). It surprisingly was not that bad! It reminded me of one of those dole fruit cups that we use to all pack when we were in grade school. Probably will never get it again- but truly not bad. For dinner we naturally went to KULA!!! Sushi time! This would not be the last trip there for the week 😉
Tuesday was a blast, well I guess everyday was, but I’ve got two words for ya- SANTA CRUZ. I am getting a bit ahead of myself because first we went on a hike in Saratoga. So we will start with these two words- HIKING TIME!
It was a perfect way to start the day. We were able to bypass the rush-hour traffic and leave a little later in the day. We kept saying how unbelievably smooth the week was with driving! We hardly had any traffic. We were a couple of beach bums and the two of us love to read so we devoured books and our packed snacks on the beach all day.
Around four we were pretty hungry for something besides the “munchie” food we packed, but didn’t want to spend top dollar for the food on the pier. We decided to get a couple happy hour appetizers to tide us over at Stagnaro Bros. I have now ate at three places on the pier and this was by far, hands-down, no questions asked THE BEST.
First we split the Blackened Sliced Ahi over mixed greens with a creamy wasabi dressing. We easily could have ate the whole thing, but we wanted to leave room for a place we had in mind for dinner. This “appetizer” definitely provided us yummy leftovers for lunch the next day!
We also tried Chili Lime Prawn Tacos. These are prawns sautéed in a chili lime and cilantro sauce, topped with pickled cabbage and Mozzarella cheese. I PRAWNISE, these were delicious 😉 #prawnpun
We would like to introduce you to our dear friend, Buffy. Buffy was our pal that sat next to us for most of the meal and he was quite the spit-fire. If another seagull even thought about sitting on his pier, he squawked them away with the ferocity of a lion. Don’t mess with Buffy, boys and girls.
We had about an hour drive home and leisurely took our time to get ready for dinner. We walked to Arya, a Persian restaurant in Cupertino. Guys- this is truly probably my favorite I have tried since being in Cupertino. I know I always say that, but the flavors were overwhelmingly delicious. Like each bite I savored so carefully, I didn’t want it to end! The best part was we had a Groupon for it as well, so we got a great deal for a fantastic meal. We also ate outside on their quaint patio. We got to watch the most gorgeous sunset with our scrumptious array of Persian cuisine.
I had the veggie tower for my meal. It was mushroom, spinach, eggplant, tomato, and rice in a saffron yogurt sauce. I WANT THE RECIPE. The saffron yogurt sauce was absolute perfection. I crave this meal.
Rach ordered shrimp scampi. It came in a lemon caper sauce and easily the best shrimp scampi I have ever tried! I definitely stole a few bites.
So you may be wondering- what about our poor Deej?! Well- you know how I love trying these different food delivery services since they usually have a deal as first users? The newest one we found is called Munchery. Munchery is different from Blue Apron and Green Chef because you do absolutely no preparation. It is almost like a restaurant on wheels. You see what is cooking in “their kitchen” online, and they deliver it to your door at the time that you clarify. So we chose DJ’s meals for the week and so they would be delivered for him right when he got home from school. The best part was there was a giant discount for being a first time user. We have held out trying it for a busy week since you only get the discount once, and this week was the perfect one to try it out! DJ loved all the meals.
Wednesday was deemed San Francisco day! We went into full on tourist mode and did everything. Rach has never been to SanFran so I was determined to make sure she got the full experience. First we went to the painted ladies homes. As a couple of typical 90s children, we were in absolute heaven standing in front of those homes. Currently have the song running through my head- “Everywhere you look (everywhere you go) There’s a heart (there’s a heart) a hand to hold onto!”. Okay- I’m getting far too nostalgic about this.
We found a good parking spot and walked the pier toward one of the highlights of the entire week. Rach wanted to make sure to do a wine tasting while she was out here (because it’s basically a must if you come to wine country), and what better way to do it than on a boat that goes under the Golden Gate, close to the Bay Bridge, and around Alcatraz?! We were shocked at how little it cost for how intimate the setting was and how absolutely wonderful the experience was.
They had all kinds of delicious cheeses, grapes, crackers, bread, and chocolate. Truly ANYTHING you could want to enhance the different tannins. Lolz, I’m pretending to wine speak. Not sure that even made sense?
One of our favorite parts of the wine tour was the people we met. We conversed with all kinds of people from all over the US. We met a mother and daughter who were traveling cross country, a few friendly couples of all ages, and an absolutely jovial staff. It was the sweetest group of people.
After, we still agreed we had to actually go to the Golden Gate even thought we did go under it. Rachel kept saying, “It’s just water under the bridge!” cracking herself up. 😉
Ya’ll know how I love my puns- I call the one above a “Bridge next to a bridge”.
We did a quick jump over to Lombard Street. The famous windiest road in the world!
Naturally we had to pop into Ghiradelli square! Our Uber driver was one of the most fascinating people we have ever met. He is traveling the world with his son and takes him out of school every year a few months before it is technically over to go to a new destination for several months. I didn’t even know that was legal?! Their next stop is Tawaiian.
After exploring Ghiradelli square we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf and PIER 39. We just walked around, and I had to stop in to one of the candy shops to get salt water taffy. I was craving it a lemon meringue piece. Rach actually introduced me to the yummy land of lemon flavored desserts a few years back. She had a lemon bundt cake at her 18th birthday and from that point on I was (and still am) obsessed with all things lemon. My mother-in-law brought me the BEST lemon curd cake in the whole world from a local bakery in Ohio for my birthdays while I was in college! <3 Thanks again for all those, mom! Best part of my birthday fo real dough. Anyway, I digress. But the taffy was spot on.
Rach is a lefty. This picture was essential!
We once again were pretty hungry, but we didn’t want to spend the pier prices for dinner. We decided to once again split some appetizers, but in reality they ended up being our dinner. The portions were huge- and delicious! We both love clam chowder and rumor had it that Fog Harbor Fish House had the best around. It did not disappoint! If you are ever on the pier, please do yourself a favor and get you some of it (in a bread bowl, of course).
We also had the steamed clams. These were clams with roasted peppers, corn and chorizo butter served with garlic toast.
Later that night we scrounged up our leftovers from the last couple days and had a late night smorgasbord. We set up our TV out on the balcony, grabbed a few blankets and watched Gabrielle Iglesias the comedian. Anyone ever seen him?! He is HILARIOUS. He is pretty clean for the most part too which is hard to come by. It was super refreshing sitting out in the late night cool air and I wondered why I don’t do that more often!
I am going to make a separate post for the rest of the week. Currently have to go set up a lamp, run to the store, and hang up some more pictures!
Wishing you a golden afternoon,
55 thoughts on “In the Best City with the Best Friend- Part One”
Great week: I’d like some of those recipes too, veggie tower, eh? I loved SanFran when I was there. Thank you for bringing back some great memories.
Haha the food was toooo good! And yes it is such a special place. Glad to bring back some good memories, Roger!
Thank you: I can’t remember how many different kinds of sushi I had. Good conference too.
What a great post Mack. From the cute story of how you met, to your prawn jokes, wine tour and everything in between sounds as though you two had such a wonderful time. Obviously a very special friendship. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading this. 🙂
Thanks Miriam ! Glad you enjoyed (and so glad you got the prawn joke 😉 ). Have a wonderful (almost) weekend!!!!
No worries Mack. You too, enjoy the weekend. 🙂
Love your photo stories….you live every moment with such joy
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Okay, you and your friend are so freaking cute! And the 6th grade love triangle literally had me laughing out loud. Sooo many quotes are needed for describing a relationship at that age haha! I love your pictures. It looks so nice and warm and since I’m in North Dakota where we rarely get warm months, I will live vicariously through your photos 🙂
Hehe thanks Anna! We always laugh about how we became friends! This is my first time living somewhere warm like this and I’m worried I’ll miss those cool bonfire fall nights- so I’ll have to live vicariously through you for that!! Have a wonderful rest of your week, dear! Almost Friday 🙃
it looks like you’ve had lots of fun! I miss travelling with my bff 🙂
It was a blast! You guys should make a trip again soon- why not, right ?! 🙂
“White fungus with dates” – If it’s what I think it is, it’s really healthy for you! (Depending on how much sugar they added, of course :p)
Thanks for sharing your week! It was a fun read. : ) Perhaps you can consider being a tour guide as a side job?? :p
No way- you actually know about that dessert?! How fun! We just found another bakery that has calamari bread so that’s the next thing on the list 😉 I would LOVEEEE to be a tour guide- I told DJ the suggestion and he laughed. But I am very serious… Wheels are turning ! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, Afrilly ❤️
Calamari bread whaaaaat..! People are so creative! You’ll have to tell me how it tastes! : )
I definitely will- you will have to hold me to it. Maybe in the next few weeks I will pull DJ out of his study hole and we will go try it together, hehe.
Hi Kenz, how exciting to venture out with Rachel and have such a great time to catch up with each other lives.
Friends are so important .!! your pictures brought back memories from the times we have been there years ago;
We enjoyed your time there thru all the pictures, Must be lonesome now that Rachel is gone. Bet dj enjoyed his meals that week. Good thinking on your part. Love you God bless you and DJ
Gramma and Grampa
Aww thanks Gramma <3 We love you! Rachel said a big hello. It is hard since she left, but now it's time to buckle down for the big test! Give Grampa a big hug for me!
The pics are beautiful. The video of you and your friend dancing, was funny and classic, and the food looks delicious. Im adding all of these sites to my list, once I head back west.
My friend and I have a weird first time we met story too,maybe Ill make a post about it. Cheers.
Yes add every place to your list!!!! It was all incredible! And if you ever need suggestions for other places I have a whole bunch- please post your story, I would love to hear! Have a great rest of your weekend!
I definitely will. And cool, I appreciate the help. Thanks for responding.
What a wonderful week! You two are lucky to have such a gorgeous friendship 🙂 xxx
Aww we do feel quite blessed ❤️ thanks for the sweet words. Have a wonderful week, lovely!
It’s our fiftieth anniversary, my friend’s and mine. She’s a matriarch now, seven grandchildren, I have four. What a journey it’s been so far. I envy you yours.
Thanks for following, Mack. I appreciate it, but I always wonder when people do, what it is that they like about my blog. 🙂
Wow! That is incredible! Congrats on that many beautiful years of friendship. I love your zest and humor! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend <3
Ahhhh i really love the scenery in your post, it looks so fun. Have a nice week ahead! 🙂
April of: https://beybiapril.wordpress.com/
It was a blast! Have a nice week yourself 🙂
I love the bridge next to the bridge! Love all of the pics!
Thanks so much 🙂
It looks like you guys had such an amazing time 🙂
It was such a blast, just posted the second part- only took me like two weeks lol. Have a wonderful rest of your week, beautiful! xx
WE should be friends! I love wine and pizza and TRAVEL!
Yesssssss, girl! 😍
Best photos, best cuisine,… what a a gret trip you had. 🙂 I love all the photos of SF, what a great city via your lens, Mack!
Thank you so much, Amy 💕
Mack what a sweet post!! Love how you and Rachel met (and the description of 6th grade dating). So glad that the two of you had quality time together, especially with the sushi! And that veggie tower looks magnificent.
Debbie 🙂 and lots of love
Thank you, Debbie!!!!! It was such a special week 🙂 I am certainly going back to Arya for that veggie tower.. One of those meals I absolutely crave. If you are ever in the northern CA area it’s a must !!! Hope your week has been nothing less than wonderful 💕
Thank you Mack you too! BTW I’m going to Japan tomorrow so will be off blogging for a few weeks. BLESSINGS! <3 Love, Debbie
That’s right!!!!! How exciting! Safe travels! 💕
I loved this story! Thanks for sharing! It looks like you had a fantastic time!
Aww thanks Samantha! I hope you are having a lovely week, beautiful! One more day until Friday :)!
What could be better than good friends, good food, good places to visit, and good wine? How about great pictures?! Well done.
Thank you so much! It was a treasured week for sure 🙂 Hope you are having a blessed Sunday!
Best on the best photos what a a gret trip you had. We love all the photos
Thank you so much, Latina!