Before the jet lag could wear off from Turkey, we were on the road again. This time the purpose was looking for a new home. After packing up our apartment in Pleasant Hill, we moved to my parent’s house in San Francisco, while we search for a new place to call home. The main reason we moved is that both Mustafa and I are self-employed now and we want to save money as we continue to build our respective businesses. The Bay Area is insanely expensive (even in the suburbs where we were), so thus our mad search.
We had a few criteria: we preferred to stay in California (though we considered Austin for a hot second), and we needed it to be in a place that’s a lot cheaper than the Bay.
A few days after Christmas, we headed up to Sacramento for a few days, and try to imagine ourselves working at the coffee shops on the tree-lined streets of Midtown. We ate incredibly fresh sushi at Lou’s, and admired (and envied) the extravagant holiday decorations on the homes in the Fab Forties. It took me awhile to warm up to the idea, but now I can see Sacramento as home.
A few days later on New Year’s Eve we headed down south. Our final destination? San Diego. It has been a longtime dream of mine to live in San Diego. There’s something about the laid back beach culture that’s really alluring for a Northern California girl who grew up in the fog.
San Luis Obispo
We stopped San Luis Obispo and stayed in a hotel in nearby Atascadero. For dinner, we went into downtown SLO and got gyros at Petra’s Mediterranean Pizza and Grill, one of my favorite spots in town. The owner personally gave us complementary rice pudding after our order got mixed up, and I fell in love with this spot a whole lot more.
Still a bit jet lagged, we didn’t make it to midnight before crashing. Ah well, there’s always next year right?
Where to stay: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Atascadero
The next morning we drove along a scenic stretch of the Pacific Coast to Oxnard. We are still raving about our Airbnb, which we had all to ourselves since the owner was away. My favorite part was the balcony that had been transformed into a mini garden. My biggest regret was not spending more time out there watching the hummingbirds drop in to feed.
For lunch we had this incredibly fragrant pho at Love Pho that is housed in The Annex, an upscale food court in The Collection at Riverpark shopping center. They have an impressive collection of global eats, including poke, Dutch pancakes, and Korean food. Afterward we saw the animation Coco, which we couldn’t stop talking about, and daydreaming about taking a trip down to Mexico City (a top bucket list destination for me).
The day after we reluctantly said good-bye to our Airbnb apartment and headed to San Diego, where our house hunt continued. A day in we realized after seeing a handful of apartments that we could get a much better deal in Sacramento, and so we made the collective decision that it was not the right time to move to San Diego. Maybe someday, but not now.
We consoled ourselves the best way we knew how: with fish tacos from Oscar’s Mexican Food. Eating shoulder to shoulder with barefoot surfers at the outside communal table as the fog rolled off the Pacific Ocean, was a classic San Diego moment if there ever was.
This trip was not all serious business, since we stayed in the central location of North Park, and took advantage of being close to Hillcrest, where we ate breakfast at Bread And Cie (get the salmon plate), and Pappalecco, which had excellent dairy-free gelato.
San Luis Obispo, once more
On our way home we stopped at San Luis Obispo, this time staying in a downtown motel (I always get a secret thrill staying in motels because I’m fascinated by travel in the 1960’s when they peaked in popularity). The Avenue Inn was a step up from the budget motels, since it was remodeled, and had a complementary breakfast.
Best of all, dinner was steps away at Goshi Japanese Restaurant, where delicious rice bowls and udon awaited.
Where to stay: Avenue Inn Downtown San Luis Obispo
Back to the Bay
On our way home, I convinced Mustafa to stop at Takahashi Market in San Mateo, for Hawaiian food. I’m always overwhelmed by the extensive menu and my urge to order everything (poke! plate lunches! saimin!). We ended up getting salmon musubi for each of us (me plain, Mustafa spicy) and some haupia (coconut pudding) for dessert. The most delicious way to end our New Year’s road trip.