San Francisco was a blur – we had less than 24 hours in SF before we needed to head into Sonoma for a happenstance meeting with my friend from high school (that’s some small world shit right there). We were determined to get the most out of our limited time. In 24 hours we managed to walk over 12 miles, gaze at the seals on pier 39, grab a burger at In-N-Out, sip on Irish coffees at the Buena Visa, walk through the markets in Chinatown, find the Painted Ladies, bar hop through Nob Hill, and take in the stunning views at Lands End park. Caution: if you drink an Irish Coffee on an empty stomach, you might actually get a little buzzed.
Once in Sonoma and Kenwood, I realized how incredible this trip must be for winos. I’m a beer person myself, so while I can, and did, appreciate the incredible views, lush greens, and the varied landscapes, I could only imagine how epic this would be if I loved wine.
I did, however, get to enjoy a fresh-from-the-tap Pliny the Elder at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, plus a boozy dark sour beer, that I can’t remember the name of. I was really impressed with how much there was to do beyond wine tastings.
On our third morning we went to brunch at The Fremont Diner. The chicken and waffles are infinitely the best thing on the menu. I got the eggs benedict, and if I hadn’t tried the chicken and waffles, I would have been in eggs benny heaven. One bite is all it takes — and trust me, I’ve had my fair share of chicken and waffles. This one stands out because it’s Nashville HOT chicken. Spicy but not over-the-top.
Not only was The Fremont Diner delivering incredible food, but the space itself was unique and comforting. When you first arrive at the diner, you’re greeted by the smell of fresh biscuits, and a larger crowd. It’s worth the wait. In the meantime you can take photos in a photobooth, check out their merchandise (I am a sucker and bought two diner mugs), and enjoy drinks from a food truck style trailer in the back of the patio area – serving beer and wine. Everything here will visually appeal to your secret (or not so secret) love of all things reclaimed and vintage and dare I say it, hipster. In the best way possible, of course.
To balance things out, on our fourth day we went hiking on Bald Mountain at the Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. To make it to the top, you’re going to sweat, lose your breath, and wonder if it’s worth the work to get to the top. We passed a group of older women coming down from the peak and looked at each other like HUH? I realize now that we hustled up the mountain, apparently for no good reason. I think we wanted the work to be over sooner rather than later. Afterwards we treated ourselves to lunch and beers at Palooza. The food was OK – nothing to write home about, but the patio was welcoming and they offered a good variety of craft beer.
Overall, we plan to come back again.
p.s. Got Bill to play bananagrams at the airport!