Posts Tagged With: California

Mitchell’s Ice Cream

I was in San Francisco for 5 days with my wife and kids. In that time we drove across town to Mitchell’s 3 different times for their wonderful ice cream. On the first drive the kids fell asleep so my wife went in and got two cones whiles I waited in the car with the kids snoring in the backseat. She came back with one Macapuno (sweet coconut) and one Ube (sweet potato). Both are Filipino flavors and both were delicious. But the Macapuno was the best!

We went back the next day for a second visit while the kids were still awake, found street parking and went inside together. It is a cute little ice cream shop serving dozens of different flavors, most which are quite unique. I wish I could say we tried a different flavor, but no it was Macapuno again. My daughter had Vanilla but my wife, son and I all had the Macapuno.

Mitchell’s has an impressive history dating back to the late 19th century when the family moved to San Francisco from New York in 1865 and later started a dairy farm. In 1952 brothers Larry and Jack Mitchell opened Mitchell’s Ice Cream on the corner of 29th Street and San Jose Ave. 60 years later Mitchell’s is still in business and still owned by Larry Mitchell. They are still serving some of the most delicious ice cream in the Bay area made with 16% butterfat cream and superior ingredients.

Our last visit to Mitchell’s was on our last day in San Francisco and while the Macapuno ice cream was just as delicious as the first time, it was bittersweet to know that I wouldn’t be able to come back again for sometime. I told my wife and myself that on our next visit I would try a different flavor other than Macapuno – Maybe!

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The Golden State Warriors

I have been meaning to share some photos and write about my family trip to San Francisco. We have been back for well over a month and it has been that long since I posted anything as well. There was so much to see and do while we were in the Bay area. One of my favorite nights of the trip was the basketball game I went to see with my son James. It was Monday, March 4th 2013 when the Golden State Warriors hosted the Toronto Raptors at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. And the Warriors won (125 – 118).

James and I had a great time at the game. We bought Warriors t-shirts, ball caps and a giant yellow foam hand. We chanted “DEFENSE” along with the crowd whenever the Raptors had the ball and munched on hotdogs, nachos and ice cream throughout the game. Our seats were excellent and well worth the price. From row 15 in section 102 we had a great view of the entire game. I took a lot of pictures with my Apple iPad but they didn’t all come out that well. I believe it is time to invest in a new camera.

The Golden State game was awesome! So now that my son and I have seen the Dodgers play in Los Angeles and the Warriors play in San Francisco (or Oakland actually), I think for the next time we visit California we will go and see a Chargers game in San Diego.

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3 Days til San Francisco

Back to San Francisco – 

Saturday night my wife and I will be flying back to San Francisco and this time we are bringing the kids. (4 nights and 5 days in the City by the Bay.) We absolutely love SF and can easily see ourselves living there someday. But for now we stay in Hawaii and fly over to SF when the island fever gets to be too much. It is our vacation spot. A short five hour flight across the Pacific Ocean and we’re on the coast taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the wonderful cuisine. We were just in San Francisco (without the kids) a few months ago and immediately knew that this was the city for us. There is so much to see and so much to do. I can’t imagine ever being bored or feeling jaded if I were living in San Francisco.

Favorite Things to See, Do and Eat: 

The Golden Gate Bridge is an amazing sight to see, either from below at the Fort Point Trail or from above up in the Marin Headlands. I’m sure there are a few other vantage points to view the bridge and you can be sure we’ll find them.

Patxi’s Chicago Pizza in Hayes Valley is one of my favorites. Some people might say go to North Beach for good pizza in SF. Patxi’s has both Chicago style deep dish and and excellent thin crust pizza as well. You be the judge.

The Palace of Fine Arts! What an awe inspiring creation. I feel like I’m in Rome when I’m looking up at this monumental manmade structure. I love to walk through and just marvel at the sheer size of the columns, busts and arches.

Scoma’s in Fisherman’s Wharf is a good spot for fresh seafood. They also have another restaurant across the bay in Sausalito. Scoma’s has an excellent calamari appetizer, you can really taste the freshness. Next time I’m getting the Cioppino!

The Painted Ladies on Steiner St. just across from the Alamo Square Park are my wife’s favorite part of San Francisco. They are lovely to gaze at while sitting in the park with the San Francisco skyline in the background.

Mama’s on Washington Square has the best breakfast I’ve ever had in my life. They open at 8 o’clock in the morning but show up early to get a good spot in line. Yes there is a line but it is well worth the wait. I recommend the North Beach Omelette!

Lombard St. has the distinction of being “the most crooked street in the world.” It’s crawling with tourists (myself included) but is a must see for everyone who visits SF. If you have a car be sure to drive down taking the eight hair pin turns.

Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery is on the corner of Post St. and Taylor St. near Union square. They have delicious crepes both savory and sweet. For me it’s the North Beach crepe, a glass of fresh squeezed OJ and a piece of baklava.

Adventure Cat is definitely the way to go if you want to do a tour of the SF bay. It is a sailing catamaran and the tour is with a smaller group and feels more personal. The Adventure Cat is exactly what it says , an Adventure!

Chinatown in San Francisco is something everyone should experience. It is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in North America. Spend some time walking through the streets and browsing the shops. Find The Golden Gate Bakery!

This is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to all of the amazing things to see, do and eat in San Francisco. I plan on doing all of these and many more during my visit. I hope to have a lot more special experiences to share when I return next week.

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A Taste of San Francisco

It has been a month since I got back from San Francisco and more than a month since I last posted anything here on my blog. What can I say? Life has been busy. This is the last week of the semester and finals are coming up. Soon I will be able to write and post pictures at my leisure. For now I will give you a little taste of my trip to San Francisco.

I love this city. I love it! We saw the Golden Gate Bridge, we rode the Trolley, we saw the Mission Dolores, the Conservatory of Flowers, we saw Lombard St. “the most crooked street in America” and we walked through Chinatown, saw the Palace of Fine Arts, drove to Napa Valley and drank wine, went sailing in the Bay. We did so much in 4 days. I can’t wait to go back.

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Thirty Days til San Francisco

I’m planning to take my wife to San Francisco for the first week of November. It is her dream destination. “How sweet, right?” And yes we’re leaving the kids at home. “So mean, right?”  It is still thirty days away but I’ve been going crazy making plans and doing research for an awesome and hopefully romantic 4 day vacation in San Francisco.

It all began with amazingly cheap airfare ($299 each) from HNL to SFO on United Airlines. That got the ball rolling. Next it was finding a “hotrate” employee discount for a Sheraton Hotel in the area. Nothing available in the city (we were hoping for the Palace) but we ended up booking at the Four Points ($49 a night) up in San Rafael, just a forty-five minute drive across the Golden Gate bridge.

Last, I had to find a rental car since we are staying outside of the city. Easier said than done! Rental cars in San Francisco are freakin’ expensive (compared to L.A.) – but I managed to find a Chrysler Town & Country with unlimited miles for $44 a day plus taxes and fees. A lot of people say you don’t need a car in San Francisco but since we are staying in San Rafael and will be commuting to the city I think it is a good idea to have our own wheels. Also this allows us to drive up to Napa Valley on one of our days for some wine tasting.

With airfare, lodging, and rental car taken care of I moved on to the important details of any tourist undertaking. What to see? What to do? Where to Eat? This is where the real planning and research begins. I hit the TripAdvisor forums hard and even dared to peak inside the cultish world of Yelp to see what were the favorites among locals and visitors alike.

I usually don’t like making my travel plans based on the opinions of others. “Opinions are like Assholes – Everybody has one” a wise man once told me. So I search the internet and with a healthy grain of salt consider the experiences of others and decide for myself. Of course there are the basic tourist activities that goes without saying – the cable car ride, pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, a walk through Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf.


There are a few activities that have been carved in stone, so to speak. I made reservations for a tour of the Duckhorn winery in Napa Valley on Wednesay morning. Can’t wait to taste some good wine. And I made reservations for the free tour of the Anchor Brewery near Potrero Hill on Thursday morning. Can’t wait to taste some good beer.

I bought two front row mezzanine tickets to see Olympia Dukakis in Sophocles’ Electra at the A.C.T. on Thursday evening. I also made reservations with Adventure Cat sailing charters to take a catamaran ride on Friday afternoon. I think sailing in the bay with a small group will be more fun than being squeezed onto one one of those big ferries with a group of two hundred.

I wanted to catch a basketball game while we were in town. The Golden State Warriors are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Oracle in Oakland but my wife ruled against me. I am hoping to get tickets to see a comedy show at Cobb’s but still waiting to see who will be performing on the nights we’re available to do so.

My wife has a childhood friend who lives across the bay in San Leandro so I think a visit over lunch or dinner will be in order. After all this vacation is supposed to be for her (my wife). I thought maybe we can meet her friend in Daly City and they can catch up over a nice spread at on of the many Filipino restaurants in the area.

I have collected a long list of restaurants that I would like to patronize while in San Francisco. Unfortunately we can’t make it to all of them in only 4 days but I’m sure that we will get to experience some amazing meals in some wonderful restaurants. I have a few ideas already but I think that “Where to Eat in San Francisco” is deserving of it’s own blog post. Don’t you?

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Santa Monica Pier

I wasn’t that impressed with the Santa Monica Pier. It seemed so small and outdated. There just wasn’t that much going on. Maybe I missed something but I was really expecting a lot more. We took the kids for a ride on the ferris wheel which had a nice view of the beach and the surrounding area. My son and I rode the roller coaster which was fun but it only went around twice. The rides were overpriced and we didn’t see very many souvenir booths or food vendors. The kids had a great time playing at the arcade but I don’t think we would ever return to Santa Monica in the future.

Have you ever visited someplace that turned out to be less than what you expected?

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Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank

Food is often the theme and inspiration for many of my travels. No matter where I’m headed I always try to visit landmark restaurants and try some of their signature items. Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank was at the top of my list when I took the family to Los Angeles. My wife and I each had the classic Big Boy, the kids ate chicken strips and we all shared a basket of their famous onion rings. We bought a Big Boy souvenir and made sure to get plenty of photos of the kids with the Big Boy statue outside the restaurant.

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A Day at Dodger Stadium

This is one of my favorite Father & Son memories by far. On our first family vacation I took my wife and kids to Los Angeles for 9 days. We spent most of that time in Anaheim hopping around Disneyland and California Adventure Park. But on one special day while the girls were out on a shopping spree, my son and I went to see a Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine.

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