January 20th, 2014
San Francisco, Mt Tamalpais, Sausalito, and Sonoma
Well I know I tend to start every entry with this phrase, but WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!! Give me a quick second to say, my friend Erica is truly THE BEST. It was so wonderful to have a tour guide that was not only full of interesting facts about the city, but also knowledgeable about the best areas to visit and places to eat, AND I didn’t even have to drive around the (sometimes scary) hilly SF streets. YAY!
After a quick stop at the AWESOME coffee place around the corner from Erica’s place, Coffornia, on the corner of Delano and Ocean (HIGHLY recommend!!), we began our day by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was very exciting to drive over, of course, being such an international icon, and it is interesting to see that many people walk, bike, and run over it. It also apparently has a huge suicide rate (something like one every two weeks – another Erica fact), so there are call bells all over the bridge encouraging people to call for help rather than jump. Personally, I can’t imagine even bungy jumping, so this seems just so horrible to me! Anyhow, the GG is still a toll bridge coming into the city, but free going out, which is interesting. We stopped for a quick viewpoint on the other side, then continued on our way to Sausalito.
Sausalito, California is a small community just across the bay from SF. It has a really cute local feel to it, kind of like Deep Cove, for those of you who are familiar with North Vancouver. There are many small restaurants, cafes, and shops, and a marina, including a ferry you can ride across the bay. We strolled the main drag (Bridgeway), and decided on an adorable and quirky looking Mexican place, Sausalito Taco Shop, for lunch. We had a Cabo chopped salad and a veggie quesadilla, and some homemade chips and salsa, plus I tried Horchata. Horchata, also spelled Orxata, is a Mexican drink made with milk, rice, vanilla, and cinnamon. It was REALLY tasty! We were baffled and excited to find that their cocktails were mainly made with soju as the primary alcoholic component!! Erica selected a drink composed of soju, hibiscus juice (?!), and pineapple. It was rather good, in fact!
With our bellies filled, we set off for a bit of exercise. Our destination was the Muir Woods/Mt Tamalpais area which is just up the road from Sausalito. The PCH (Hwy 1) picks up again here and the road is super twisty and fun to drive. Erica was also excited to show me Erica Road, which is on the way up there. We both agreed that she should probably live on that street and become the block captain.
We got lucky with parking at the first lot we got to, although we didn’t realize that the road did continue further up to a visitor’s centre. We accidentally ended up walking along the road for a while, until we realized that we had probably missed the trail head, so with that extra bit of exercise under our belt, we headed back to pick up the real trail. We had a gorgeous hike along a wooded trail, before turning up to catch some better views at a higher elevation. It was a truly beautiful hike and experience! I will say that trails are poorly marked at best, so it is best to bring someone who has been there previously or use the map found here.
After the hike, we headed for some refreshment. We visited Ram’s Gate winery, which is right at the start of the Sonoma Valley. We were pretty impressed with the layout and decor of the winery itself, although I was surprised that they were charging $15 or more for the tastings. However, I will say that the servings were substantial, more than the usual small pours probably and the attendants were funny and knowledgeable. We ended up getting a bottle of wine (2012 Sauvignon Blanc) and bringing the dark chocolate we had in the car down to the small pond they have and enjoying a glass while the sun set. It is truly a lovely setting.
For dinner, we went to the Mission, to a restaurant called Dosa. They serve south Indian cuisine, mostly focussing on dosa and uttapam with amazing side sauces. We found the service to be excellent (our waiter was adorable), the prices fair ($10 for the original masala dosa), and the food itself to be prompt and very flavourful. Props to them as it kind of seems like a hipster place on first appearance (ie – maybe expensive but not that tasty) but turned out to be awesome.
We retired home with two more It’s Its (cappuccino and chocolate flavours) to try. The cappuccino was quite nice – maybe my favourite of all. I will truly be sad to say goodbye to SF!!