West Coast Best Coast

From San Fran, I flew to Seattle.


From Seattle, I drove straight to eastern Washington. It was a nice enough drive and I was able to fulfill my Pacific NW beautiful fir tree fix (for the first 10 minutes, anyway); however, if/when I do this trip again, I’ll fly. On this route, the landscape pretty quickly transitions from beautiful fir trees to farmland. And after the 357th farm…well, there’s only so much excitement a field of barley can evoke.

After a few days in eastern Washington, I headed back to California – LA this time. Here’s a view from the Getty:

and Santa Monica beach:


Adding this to my dream board:


After LA came Portland – felt great to be home, especially during the most beautiful time of year in the Pac NW! Courtesy of my social media stalking tendencies, I discovered that my good friend Tracy happened to be visiting Portland the same weekend as me. Although I haven’t seen Tracy in five years, we were able to pick up right where we left off. Friendships like these truly are few & far between and, well, I feel quite lucky.


En route to Portland, I realized I hadn’t been home in 8 months – since Christmas! Luckily, work brought me home and I was able to extend my trip for a few extra days by working remotely. Felt great to be back and have time with friends/family.

…and on that note…

You know you’re Greek when you go home & wind up stuffing grape leaves for 2 hrs on Friday night. …and to you, this seems completely normal.


The day before heading back to Austin, I went to the Vancouver Farmer’s Market with my parents. Check out these incredible veggies! Perhaps the best type of sensory overload one can have…


Spent my final Portland afternoon watching the Duck game with friends, followed by a beautiful sunny Oregon fall afternoon at The Fields Park in downtown Portland.


On The Road Again

I travel quite a bit for work. And many times, I travel to places where most (if not all) food options within a 50 mile radius consist of places like McDonalds, Applebeee’s and Long John Silver’s. Frankenfood at its finest.

Now, this presents a bit of a challenge for those of us who are hyper-aware slash anal about the type and quality of food we consume. While challenging, it’s also surmountable and I’ve found ways to have access to food that isn’t processed, homogenized and/or pasteurized even during these trips. This basically means that before taking off, I A. spend a chunk of time Googling/researching restaurants/stores in the towns where I’ll be heading and B. pay Whole Foods a visit and stock the heck up. While snack-y foods aren’t ideal, they are significantly more practical than packing (grass-fed) meat, (free-range) eggs & an obscene amount of (organic) fruits & veggies. (:

My carry-on bag usually ends up being 70% full of stuff like this:

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 9.11.10 AM

While some trips take me to the middle of nowheresville, other trips take me to wonderful quality food havens. Like San Francisco. As in, where I found myself last week. (: I rarely travel with co-workers, but I did for this trip and it was quite the treat! Julia, my co-worker, is actually as interested in food/nutrition as I am, so we spent quite a bit of time researching. I’d say our research paid off…

Blue Bottle Coffee. The OMSI of coffee shops.


Love the branding. Simple + clean.


At Blue Bottle, I had perhaps the freshest and most quality apple juice I’ve ever tasted. Julia ordered an iced coffee. Although I don’t like coffee, I gave hers a try and actually found the taste to be quite pleasant.


The unique variety of San Fran architecture is one of the city’s most charming characteristics.



We hiked up about 63,097 steps to Twin Peaks. Windy as heck and the most breathtaking views of the city.


Dolores Park. People watching galore.


Castro neighborhood. A little too touristy for my taste, but great people watching and cute little eclectic shops to poke around.

Also, Check out all those wires.


UC Berkeley has a beautiful campus! I love love love all the green. Perhaps it’s because I particularly miss the beautiful Pac NW during these late months of hell, I mean Texas summer.


After reading The Happiness Project, I became cognizant of A. how much I have grateful for and B. how much I forget to be grateful. A friend also read the book and after finishing, suggested we keep each other accountable by starting a joint gratitude blog. Each (most) morning(s), the first thing I now do is write down 1 thing I’m grateful for. Amazing how something so small can set the mood for a day (slash, life).

I was delighted to see this “grateful board” at UC Berkeley…

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 9.12.35 AM

Back to food…

One morning we had breakfast at Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley. I loved sitting at the bar, watching the chef prepare our food. The ambient salsa music was of course icing on the cake. (:


Look at this beautiful bowl of fruit. Restaurant fruit bowls are hit or miss…generally more miss than hit (bland flavors, un-ripe/low quality fruit, etc.). Not this fruit bowl. It was overflowing with incredible tasting kiwis, plums, apples, melons, etc. The freshly squeezed OJ and poached egg were also delightful.


The event we attended was over the course of two days and one night. The evening event was at a beautiful old-timey hotel, the Berkeley City Club. Here’s a group of us from that evening:


These flowers…gorgeous!


Monday morning’s breakfast was at Tomate Cafe. Tomate has quite a few organic and fresh ingredient options as well as a cute outdoor seating area with beautiful greenery. I was particularly fond of this purple-flowered tree:


That evening we had Japanese tapas at a place called Kiraku. This was my first time trying Japanese food and it was delicious.


Another first on this trip – using Air BNB! We couldn’t have asked for a better first experience. Our hosts were wonderful, their home was beautiful and clean, the location was perfect and the cost was less than a hotel.



We had our final dinner at Delfina.

Per the recommendation of our Air BNB host, our final breakfast was at Tartine Bakery, just down the street from our Air BNB stay.


As was this beautiful mural:


A few additional San Fran observations:

  • Little dogs. EVERYWHERE. The curious part? Larger dogs seemed to be practically nonexistent. 
  • Androgyny. Also everywhere. From clothing styles to hairstyles to facial features to mannerisms.
  • Polite drivers. I wasn’t quite the all-star driver in San Fran. Between the 17 way stops, confusing protected bike/bus lanes, no left turns and intersecting grid systems, there were a few snafus. The amazing part? I was never honked at. San Fran has some of the most forgiving drivers.

What makes travel memorable for you? Food? People? Places? Something else?