Before our month-long trip to Poland and Turkey, we celebrated Mustafa’s birthday the only way we knew how to-by taking a weekend road trip. Originally we planned to go all the way down to San Luis Obispo, but at the last minute we decided to stay closer and headed down to Silicon Valley instead.
This time it was less about packing our weekend with numerous local activities, but more about taking time to slow down and recharge before our lengthy trip abroad.
In a part of the Bay Area that is known for moving at lightening speed, it’s not usually the first place that comes to mind for a relaxing weekend. Surprisingly though we found plenty of ways to do just that.
We drove down from the East Bay in the early afternoon, did a quick bag drop, and headed straight for Esther’s German Bakery-a name that hardly give this place justice since it’s a biergarden, restaurant and bakery all rolled into one.
It was the perfect destination for a leisurely late lunch, and my order of bratwurst came with this addictive sauerkraut that was the perfect balance between sweet and tangy. I still dream about that sauerkraut.
Our home for the next two nights was Dinah’s Garden Hotel, a unique motel that was built during the 1950’s when the motor hotel era was popular, and cars could easily pull up to their lodgings before continuing on their respective road trips.
With tranquil koi ponds and Japanese-themed gardens, this was not your typical barebones motel, and it was hard to believe we were right off El Camino-the main drag. Little touches like chocolates and apples upon our arrival continued to win me over, plus our view of the pool area with a spacious balcony didn’t hurt either.
It was the perfect start to our weekend of zen.
The highlight of our trip was downtown Mountain View. I had been briefly before, but this time we actually took our time and walked down the entire length of Castro Street. I quickly realized I had grossly underestimated this tech town. It didn’t take me long to become enamored with the small shops and wide range of eating options.
After our jaunt downtown we wandered around the nearby residential neighborhoods. I declared that if we won the lottery we should relocate to one of these quiet tree-lined streets, where we’d finally have a yard (which means we could fulfill my lifelong dream of having a dog).
The next morning we headed back to downtown Mountain View, for a Turkish breakfast al fresco at The Olympus Bakery and Caffe. With rows of borek (savory pasteries), simit (Turkish bagel) and other familiar treats displayed inside, we knew we had made a wise decision indeed.
We ended up ordering a little of everything: a cheese plate with tomatoes and cucumbers, simit, and borek. They also have heartier options like menemen (egg dish) and omelets. Siting outside in the midday sun with a Turkish breakfast feast is highly recommended if you ever find yourself in downtown Mountain View!
For our last meal, we headed out to Odori Sushi and Teppanyaki in Palo Alto, a local sushi spot for Stanford students (I felt like we were on the older end of the spectrum regarding customers…).
If you go…
Mountain View and Palo Alto (where Stanford University is) are neighboring cities and are easy to drive back and forth between the two.
We stayed in Dinah’s Garden Hotel, which is located in Palo Alto on the main throughfare-El Camino. Prices are reasonable compared to other nearby hotels, and I cannot recommend it enough (this is not a sponsored post, just my own personal enthusiasm).
Although we didn’t go this time, the Stanford campus is a great place to wander around the beautiful grounds. Highly recommended!