First family outing to San Francisco

2 Mar

Recently, after several weeks (though it seemed like several months) of cabin fever, Charlie and I finally got a chance to take Noah out for our first family “fun day.”

If you ask Charlie, every day is a family fun day and the most relaxing fun time can be had by doing nothing at home all weekend. But being a stay-at-home mom, our home is my “workplace” and when we’re home on the weekends it feels like I’m still “on the clock.” After days of nagging, pleading, negotiating, I finally convinced Charlie to take our family SOMEWHERE. So over the President’s Day weekend*, we made a “pilgrimage” to San Francisco and visited some of our favorite food spots and as well as a few new ones.

Basically, my goals were to 1) introduce Noah to sightseeing, eating outside our home 2) give us practice taking Noah out so that we don’t give up on traveling altogether 3) have some fun and eat some yummy food while doing 1) and 2).

Before the trip I spent hours pouring over yelp reviews, blogs, and restaurant websites trying to determine the “best” course for our day. Knowing how much Charlie hates driving in the city (but he also didn’t want to take BART – so hard to please!) and looking for parking, I researched not only restaurants but also parking garages and some additional options for Plan B.

Including the last few months of my pregnancy when we were basically homebound unpacking from our move, it had been nearly half a year since we had gone anywhere so I really wanted the day to be PERFECT. But not knowing what to expect and whether Noah would be a good sport, I kept my attitude in check. If things go well, great. But if they didn’t and we end up having to come home early, then that’s fine too. The point is to START SLOW, and take it ONE TRIP AT A TIME.

Noah in stroller

On Friday around 11 AM, we set off for our first family adventure. I’m not great with writing long narratives (and you probably don’t want to read them anyway) so I’ll just say that the day was a big success. When we drove home around 8 PM that night, all three of us were completedly exhausted but in a good way. Charlie got to have his yummy food and visit the new Blue Bottle Cafe. I got to stop by my old workplace to introduce Noah to some colleagues and picked up another LeSportSac bag (see my post about it here). Noah was a trooper through it all, way beyond my expectations.

AcmeCharlie eating

I’m really thankful that we had a good time. (I had hoped we would and planned thoroughly so we could but in the end, we just had to go with the flow.) It was nice to be able to go to the city this time but I am sure that even just a walk down the block would be enjoyable if we did it together as a family.

Mistral Lamb Plate

Mistral Lamb Plate with Nimen Ranch leg of lamb, ratatouille, mac & cheese

Ciao Bella

Ciao Bella Sorbet (Blood Orange) and Gelato (Pistachio)

Back A Yard Jerk Chicken and Pork Combo

Back A Yard (E. Palo Alto) Jerk Chicken and Pork Combo with Corn Festival

Our next break is coming up in mid-March and I’m already planning another family outing. Of course, it’s going to be a while before we can take any long trips but for now, I’m happy to just be able to get out and enjoy the sunshine and spend time with my two favorite guys.

Blue Bottle CafeMiette Chocolate Cake with Creme Fraiche
Blue Bottle Cafe and Miette Chocolate Cake with Creme Fraiche

*Fortunately, Charlie got 2 extra days off that weekend so he got to rest on Thursday before our adventure on Friday. Also, for some reason, Noah slept really well on Thursday and took a three-hour nap that afternoon (he hasn’t done that since) so I got to finish making my nursing cover, just in time for our outing. What a cooperative baby!

5 Responses to “First family outing to San Francisco”

  1. Crystal March 2, 2008 at 4:10 am #

    Blue Bottle has a new cafe!

  2. Min March 6, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    剛剛把有機食材採買文貼上,
    來通知一聲,
    Noah第一張照,
    臉紅通通的真可愛.
    真是太好啦!
    第一次全家進城出遊大成功,
    讓我想起小查還小,
    我們還在東岸時,
    不管到那裡我們都帶著他,
    所以小小年紀的他,
    可是逛遍了紐約名店,
    也吃了不少好料理,
    老實說,
    我也不知道是不是太幸運,
    小查每次出門都獲得路人甲乙丙的讚賞,
    所以雖然麻煩些,
    該玩的還是玩到了,
    所以我想不必太自我設限,
    有時結果可能會完全出乎意料之外的好.

    看到妳也去back-a-yard了,
    我好久沒去了,
    上回去覺得老闆娘的態度不是很友善,
    這其中是有些曲折,
    所以讓我每次動念想去,
    又一再打消念頭.

    Blue Bottle Cafe妳覺得如何?
    上週末我們去了DWR的Sample Sale,
    礙於還要去Sausalito購物,
    沒時間繞過去看看,
    照片看起來很棒呢!
    看到妳的文,
    讓我又蠢蠢欲動想去Ferrybuilding了.

  3. jenjapan March 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    Crystal:

    We’ll go there on your next trip to SF.

    Min:

    Thanks for letting me know that you’ve posted new info (I’ll post my comment about that topic on your blog).

    As for our family outing, yes, I think I need to just relax, step out and see. Someone once told me that it’s one thing to have a cute baby but another to have a “charismatic” child (one who even strangers seem to like) – so far, it looks like Noah might be of the 2nd type (like your 小查) so hopefully this will make it easier for us to take him out!

    That said, this time we chose the Ferry Building because of the outside seating. We have yet to try dining at a nice in-door place (I really want to go to Zuni!). Do you have any tips for fine dining with young children?

    This was actually the first time we tried Back-A-Yard but I think my husband liked it more, especially the thing called the “Corn Festival.” I thought it was just okay – maybe my expectations were too high?

    Similarly, I was a little disappointed with the Blue Bottle Cafe. As a cafe it was nice (well-designed interior, airy space, friendly service) especially for a Friday afternoon but I was sad that my latte didn’t have the micro foam that I LOVE so much. The previous times (at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market and the Kiosk in Hayes Valley) were made by the same barista (tall blond lady) and the lattes were AMAZING. But this time it was just good. My husband, the coffee snob (he roasts his own beans) enjoyed his espresso but he too wasn’t wowed by the taste. We didn’t order the “famous” coffee made by their new syphon pot (there was a NY Times article about the machinery so many people go to the cafe for it.) Still, we enjoyed our visit. The Miette cake and creme fraiche made it a really nice afternoon break. I hope you get to visit the Cafe someday. I’d be curious to see how you like it!

  4. Min March 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    上好餐廳的話,
    其實Baby時期還不錯,
    因為若沒意外,
    他大多在睡覺,
    再大一些就得坐得住才成.
    老實說,
    只要孩子不會太愛哭鬧頑劣的話,
    我覺得應該無大礙,
    只是要有心理準備,
    孩子哭鬧哄不停時,
    得輪流帶出場外安撫,
    甚至落慌而逃:)
    其實別說是稍好點的餐廳了,
    我記得有回小查在紐澤西的Diner莫名哭不停歇,
    最後也只好抱出餐廳以免影響其他食客.
    唯一我比較會小心的是,
    避免米其林二星級以上餐廳,
    不過我猜他們應該也會謝絕吧!
    倒是沒有真的詢問過,
    若是一般的Fine dinning我覺得還好耶!
    記得帶一歲左右的小查上DC一家法國餐廳,
    我先詢問後確認對方不介意,
    整場小查都很安靜,
    只是他坐的地方,
    麵包屑掉了一桌一地,
    後來餐廳服務人員還很是稱讚了小查一番呢!
    我們最後是多給了些小費.
    不太清楚從小訓練有沒有關係,
    總之我從來不覺得有因為小孩而在用餐上有所犧牲,
    (可能因為也不常吃米其林餐廳吧, 呵呵)
    倒是出外住宿上比較多.
    很多高級的B&B都不歡迎小孩.
    妳可能要視Noah情況來見機行事,
    不過這裡除了冬天外,
    都可以坐戶外,
    所以選擇又多一些啦!

    Back-a-yard在一年半以前,
    我們連續去了幾次,
    也不是每次都水準齊一,
    平均還不錯就是,
    不過妳圖片的樣子看來,
    感覺和過去不太一樣呢!
    我覺得他們的問題是,
    澱粉和肉類比例太重,
    每次吃完都覺得有點沈鈍,
    但他的Jerk料理,
    我覺得風味真的是不錯.

    其實我倒不驚訝,
    妳對藍瓶子有點小失望,
    因為網路上開始有些正反面的評價,
    紐約時報的報導也看到了,
    不過正面還是多的,
    只是照妳形容起來的那杯拿鐵情況來看,
    似乎有點太離譜.
    雖然不同人泡水準有差,
    但是好像落差也不該太大.
    老實說,
    不管是什麼店,
    一兩次驚豔稍容易,
    但是能夠維持次次滿意真不簡單,
    尤其是在愈來愈有名氣之後.
    我發現他們之前堅守的原則也略為鬆動了.
    所以我也學會了調整,
    只要誤差率不要太離譜,
    十次有八九次都不錯就足矣!

  5. jenjapan March 20, 2008 at 5:39 am #

    Min:

    Thanks for the advice/feedback on eating out with children. Unfortunately, Noah doesn’t sleep much when we eat out but most of the time he behaves pretty well, as long as there’s something for him to look at or if someone plays with him (usually a single or DINK friend). Tonight we ate at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot with him and had a very difficult time because the restaurant was too warm. So we had to take turns holding him and at one point even took him to the lobby area where it’s cooler. So in the future, I will stick to places with outdoor seating or have lunch instead of dinner since it’s usually more “casual.” It’s too soon to tell if Noah will have good manners once he’s able to sit on his own but I’m glad to hear that you didn’t have to miss out much.

    As for Blue Bottle – even though the latte was a little disappointing (probably because I had such high expectations?), we had a good time overall so I would definitely go back. That said, the Ferry Building is still my favorite place so I’ll have to try my next latte at the Blue Bottle kiosk at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

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