I’m still playing catch-up on these monthly round-ups, so please continue to bear with me. Looking back, April was an eventful month and I’m pretty sure spring in full force had to do with it (hello warm weather and flowers in full bloom everywhere I turn). There is definitely a mental switch that goes on in my mind when the rain decreases and the clear days outnumber the overcast ones.
Here’s my highlights (food and otherwise) for April.
Adventures and Highlights
Starting out the month in sunny LA. I have to admit I’ve quickly becoming a superfan of this city. The food scene there is insanely diverse and if it weren’t for the traffic, I would move there in a heartbeat. I have a subscription to LA Magazine and have mentally planned out a food map of the city for future visits (yes I’m a little obsessed).
Going to the top of Mount Diablo. I’ve lived in the Walnut Creek area for almost three years and I’ve never been to the top of Mount Diablo. So when my parents suggested going up to the peak to see the spring blooms I was definitely game. Turns out there was still a bit of snow and intense cloud cover, but when the clouds broke it was worth it to see my city and the surrounding area from above.
Be warned though: the roads are super windy, so take your Bonine if you are motion sickness prone.
Being a guest visitor at Facebook. I’ve seen the outside of Google’s main campus, but I only recently got to see the inner workings of a tech company last month when Mustafa’s coworker invited us for a visit.
It felt a bit like Disneyland’s Main Street, since it was designed to mimic a small town complete with a sweets shop (my favorite part obvi) and video arcade. It also felt like a college campus, since it had a youthful educational vibe, except everyone there was top of their class.
My favorite part of all though was the wide variety of places to eat from Vietnamese to Mexican and all of it was completely free. Facebook if you need a freelance writer, I’d be happy to commute to Menlo Park every day, just sayin’.
Celebrating Easter in San Francisco. We had a pretty chill Easter this year with my family. My mom gave us chocolate Easter bunnies and we ate at Café Europa, that serves delicious German/Polish comfort food. After our feast, Mustafa and I took a walk around nearby Pacific Heights neighborhood and it was so nice to wander around the completely still and fog-filled neighborhoods. Nothing makes me happier.
Visiting the Ruth Bancroft Garden. It wouldn’t be spring unless there was a visit to at least one local garden. Merely 30 minutes walking distance from my apartment there is this beautiful collection of California native plants, including a whole lot of cacti, succulents and water-resistant plants. If you’re in the East Bay, I also recommend the Botanic Garden in Berkley’s Tilden Park or the Garden’s at Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
Watching Kedi at the Embarcadero. We decided to head to SF one afternoon and watch this documentary about the huge wild cat population in Istanbul. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in cats, Turkey or both. Also, the Embarcadero Cinema might be one of my favorite movie theaters ever with reclining seats (!).
Spending a solo afternoon in Berkeley. I needed to drop off something at UC Berkeley one afternoon and I decided to take advantage of being over there by getting a salad from Sweetgreen and then had an impromptu picnic on the campus grounds. It happened to be 4/20 (a major local holiday here in the Bay) and I was definitely not alone out there on the lawn.
A great place to get a custom-made salad, where all the ingredients are incredibly fresh. The prices are a bit steep, but you get a huge serving so it makes it worth it. Plus, did I mention everything is SO fresh and flavorful. It will make you rethink salads, especially if you are not a fan.
Yogurt Park (Berkeley)
This shop has been a Berkeley staple for decades and serves fro-yo that is thick and creamy. I’ve only had the cherry and butter pecan flavors, but man is this stuff addicting. Plus their checkered floors and retro lettering gives the shop plenty of character.
Manna (San Francisco)
This was my favorite find this month. I’m a big fan of Korean food and this family-owned restaurant in the Inner Sunset is always packed. We got there early and were able to snag a table. I got the japchae and it was delicious, but I’d love to go back and try their kimchi pancake that everyone around us seemed to get.
Mercado Del Sol (Concord)
I wrote a piece on tacos for Walnut Creek Magazine and I definitely ate my weight in tacos this past month. This was one of my favorite places that I wrote about. Their staff are always so friendly and their asada tacos are large and flavorful.
Boccalone Salumeria (San Francisco)
If you like pork in any form, this is the place to go for high quality, handmade cured meats from salami to mortadella. Get the meat cone for a sample of three pre-selected meats. Located in the Ferry Building.