Get up around 9am to meet my best friend J for the first time in five years. Obviously, the first brunch place is Tartine Bakery, where we split a croque monsieur (okay) and the brioche bread pudding (as amazing as I remember it and I’m not a bread pudding person).
Next, head to Craftsman and Wolves for the Rebel Without A Cause, which tastes like a slightly onion-y scone with a runny egg inside. It’s particularly good with the pink salt on the side. We are getting kinda full. I hand off the Conveni stuff I’d bought for J back in Japan. He gives me a pair of coveted Air Jordan 1 Low Slip Chicagos in exchange.
We walk south along Valencia Street and drop by Dog Eared Books to check out their used book section. I get a used copy of “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen and get a couple recommendations from the guy at the counter.
J shows me Al’s Place, a largely vegetarian restaurant with a Michelin star. We walk to La Taqueria and get tacos (meat for him, vegetarian for me). The guy who rings me up gives me a rose because every woman there gets a rose and compliments along with amazing tacos and burritos. The Jamaica juice (sweetened, bright red, hibiscus tea) is delicious.
On the way to the CalTrain station, we stop by The Boba Guys because we haven’t exploded yet. J gets the Matcha Strawberry which tastes like strawberry juice, and I get the Dirty Horchata. The bubbles are chewy and delicious and the espresso mellows out the sweet horchata.
We part ways and I have a Whole Foods salad bar dinner because I have some work to do. A vegan carrot cake finishes the day.
I take an Uber to Green Apple Books, but decide I’m too hungry to browse books. I head up a block to Nourish Café and order the Bap Bowl. The vegan sriracha miso dressing is addictive and it has just the right amount of crunch and creaminess. I’ll be thinking about this for days.
I head back up to Green Apple Books and raid their used book section. They have an annex three doors down that has all their used fiction, plus a second story in the main store with used nonfiction. I buy as many books as I think I can bring back. I find a copy of a book about Hinault and buy it for the pictures.
Back in the Mission district, it’s time for dessert at Garden Creamery, which offers six non-dairy, vegan ice creams. I choose one scoop each of Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate. The Dark Chocolate tastes like the inside of a truffle.
I somehow get on the CalTrain that has a weird weekend schedule and have dinner with Bestie and his family. I learn I am not bad at playing with kids. We head to Salt & Straw for more ice cream. J orders a cone with the Wild-Foraged Berry Slab Pie flavor. I get a cup with a scoop of Freckled Mint TCHO-colate Chip and Dandelion Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies & Cream (both vegan!). The coolness of the mint chip balanced out the gooey-sugary-filled-with-cookie-bits Dandelion Chocolate flavor. I go home full of good food and great times and catch a flight back to Tokyo the next morning.
I love San Francisco.