Being a Central Valley California girl, nothing spells fun better than San Francisco. The excitement of baseball games, shopping at Pier 39, the sights and sounds of the Bay all around – there is just nothing like it anywhere else in California. Whether you end up leaving your heart there or not, sometimes, taking a step away from the well-beaten tourist paths is exactly what every visitor needs.
Our Hermozas are playful and this weekend, we went in search of the most unique fun ever in our gorgeous city by the bay. We planned on eating, wandering, and playing, and we were not going home until we found it all. It never occurred to us how this would inadvertently create an exceptional theme for our day. See if you can spot the common thread.
Our first stop was brunch. We were already famished after a light breakfast, so after doing a quick search through Instagram and Yelp, we found a hole in the wall that had excellent reviews and was anything but ordinary. Straw is a kitschy American traditional diner-style spot that advertises “carnival fare” from its window. Boasting an authentic tilt-a-whirl car that has clearly seen many seasons of excitement, the overall vibe of the place is cute, vintage, and distinctive.
With cascades and pops of muted color throughout the restaurant, Straw serves up some timeless theme park realness with its old school décor. Metal signs posted throughout the location warn patrons of ride safety and standards, while the menus themselves are entertainment enough. Each dish is an inventive take on classic American food with options and add-ons a plenty. Loving a good sweet and savory spectacular myself, I ordered The Ringmaster doughnut burger with avocado and bacon to ensure I got the real fair experience. It was delightful and refreshing and exactly what my growling tummy was calling for.
Walking down into Hayes Valley is always a treat and exactly what we needed after such a filling meal. The area is always bustling with dog walkers and families enjoying the outdoor green, playground, shops, and food trucks. One of our favorite stops is the lively sweet shop, Miette. The most comforting smell greets you on the street as you enter this quaint little boutique store that is filled to the brim with bins and bags of tasty delights for every palette. The colors are so vibrant and spirited; you immediately feel like a kid again as you scoop bagfuls of candy or choose treats from the main case.
To round out our day, we scheduled time at Urban Putt, another random spot we found searching through social media. It too received great reviews for offering “a new kind of mini-golf.” None of us were prepared for the level of innovative indoor amusement available in this two-story big top-style marvel. Grabbing our clubs and golf balls, we set out for an afternoon of adventure with smiles plastered to our faces. Each hole was wonderful and extraordinary and full of steampunk-style surprises. With so many sights, sounds, and smells surrounding us (a gastropub is housed upstairs), Urban Putt quickly became a stock favorite for every Bay Area trip we take in the future.
Surprisingly, we were already craving sweet treats, so again, we hopped on social media for recommendations. Our search took us to Japan Town Center for the most adorable ice cream we’ve ever seen. Belly Good Café & Crepes makes sculpted soft serve that is sure to leave an impression. Ice cream and sweets are molded into shapes reminiscent of loveable cartoon and anime characters. My yummy matcha green tea scoops of deliciousness were adorned with tasty wafers, marshmallows, and candies to form a happy little bear that was almost too cute to eat! This shop also became a fast favorite from our day of unique fun.
Taking a carnival-style break out of our summer was an absolute treat! We weren’t limited by a schedule, reservations, or plans of any kind and all our decisions were made on the fly. The day ended up being such an exciting experience, we are sure to make our own, distinctive tour of the city again sometime soon.
So, what do you think, Hermozas? Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip to The City? What are your favorite stops and spots? Tell us in the comments section below or on social media using #thehermoza and #wellsuited.