anyone who knows me, knows my love for the bay area… oakland to be precise. i lived in oakland from 2008-2010 and have wanted to move back since the day i left. why do i love oakland? i never felt more at home anywhere else. i’ve driven across the united states a few times. up and down the east coast plenty. i just fell in love with oakland. the vegan options are plentiful, people in oakland are PROUD of their community, there mom & pop businesses EVERYWHERE, the oakland whole foods, lake merritt, mountain view cemetery, hella bike friendly, intelligent humans abundant, anything goes, the vibe, etc etc. i guess you have to go there to see for yourself.
anyway, the past few years i’ve decided i want to celebrate my birthday by traveling. last year i went to LA. this year i decided to head back to the bay to book some photo sessions for my clients & friends and eat my way through my favorite city!
the afternoon i arrived was also my friend’s birthday (the friend i stayed with). we went to encuentro to celebrate her 37th! this was my first time here and it was INCREDIBLE. every single dish was delicious! quesadita – cabbage wedge salad – yellow split pea dal – ice cream sundae OMG it was so good! amazing first night in my favorite city!
so luckily for me, my friend marcella lives walking distance to timeless. what is timeless you say? it is only the best coffee shop ever. vegan bakery items, breakfast and dairy free lattes. i am obsessed with them. i bought an aeropress and some ground espresso so i could make coffee every day during my vegancation. the first morning i splurged and also purchased a twinkie and an almond milk latte. YUMMMMMMMMM!
when i left oakland the vegan scene was EXPLODING. cinnaholic (vegan cinnabun bun bakery) opened in berkeley the week i left, souley vegan began offering brunch and hella vegan eats started having pop ups. after 5 years of following them on instagram and facebook, i FINALLY got to try hella vegan eats!!!! one sunday every month the soma streat food park throws “very vegan sunday” with vegan food trucks galore! i was in absolute vegan heaven. in south florida i’m lucky if one food truck has a vegan option. it’s so frustrating! san francisco, i LOVE you!
after brunch marcella and i walked over to rainbow grocery – a very veggie friendly grocery store. i got a few fun things to take home with me. yes, grocery shopping on vacation. pathetic? perhaps. things i can’t buy in florida. 😦
we walked around the mission for “sunday streets” on valencia. valencia is closed to vehicles and open to pedestrians and cyclists. how awesome! we walked and walked and then hopped on bart back to oakland. what a fun day! 🙂
since we had a pretty big brunch we decided to be healthy for dinner. i can honestly say that potala was my favorite meal during my ten days in oakland. the menu is no frills. there are five or six items on a white board and you order medium or large. they serve water and hot tea. the food is tibetan and macrobiotic.
i need to start cooking meals like this on the regular. i’m obsessed. i wish polata had a cookbook!
monday…day 02…i decided to venture into berkeley and check out republic of v. an all vegan grocery store. SOUTH FLORIDA NEEEEEEEEEEEDS this so bad! i did some shopping and grabbed a bahn mi sammie from S&M vegan. yummmmmmmmmy! 🙂 i am in love with this vegan grocery store. every city needs one!
that night i went to dinner with a friend from high school who happens to live in the area. he’s vegetarian and suggested herbivore, which of course i love so YESSSS! 🙂
what else would you expect me to order? i started with soup because, well, mother nature is trying to freeze me to death! soy chicken schwarma was my dinner choice of course.
it’s always been my favorite at herbivore. i miss this place! great company, great conversation and an awesome dinner. le sigh.
day 03 marcella had off from work so we went hiking. ventured over to marin to hike the steep ravine / matt davis trail off stinson beach. we started out by taking some yoga pictures on the beach. when i say beach, please do not think warm and toasty…nope it was FRIGID and so windy. 😦 wah! i forgot how cold the bay was.
now i’m not going to lie. i’ve gained 20lbs in the last year from lack of exercise. no more bike, no more time for the gym, hurt wrist, vertigo – the list of excuses goes on and on. this is my first hike since last year. first day of exercise in what seems like forever. this hike was HARDDDDDDDD. maybe i’m a wimp or just out of practice but between my 35lb camera bag and my lack of movement lately this hike nearly killed me! i complained a lot…. stopped for breaks more than i’d like to admit….but i loved the fact that i made it to the top. i saw the beautiful views marcella (my now evil personal trainer whom i hate- he he he – i kid) kept promising. this trail was spectacular!
i haven’t finished editing the hiking photos yet. you can see those on my steph lynn photo facebook page someday! 😉
on the way home from our exhausting hike, we stopped at flacos for taco tuesday. this is the first meal and possibly the first restaurant in the bay area that i was NOT impressed with.
they didn’t get my order right (first problem). and the food just wasn’t that impressive. ech. no big deal. i’ll just never go back. there are so many other amazing places to eat and support. flacos seems to have a pretty good following so good for them. i’ll pass.
day 04 ~ wednesday… stacey came to visit. we met when i lived in oakland all those years ago and we’ve been pals ever since. lucky for me she is a flight attendant and gets to visit whenever her heart desires and schedule allows. woohoo – we ate all the foods! stacey hadn’t been to timeless yet (she moved to salt lake city – chicago and now lives in denver) so we started our morning there!
we ventured around oakland for a bit. whole foods for old times sake. stared at the donuts. bought one. ate one. BAD STEPHIE! 😦 stacey enjoys listening to me eat my vegan donuts. 😉 for lunch we went to souley vegan – hands down our favorite. yum yum yum yum and more yum!
mkay. if you are lucky enough to try this amazing eatery – please do yourself a favor and ORDER THE JALAPENO POPPERS (creole pop’uns on the menu). oh my goodness they were incredible.
stacey and i got to explore oakland a bit more and then i had to take her back to the airport to head home. sad face. we had such a fun day in our favorite city.
day five ~ happy birthday to meeeeeeee! 05/14 i turned 36. (yuck) i don’t want to talk about it. the weather report called for rain so i stayed in marcella’s apartment all day, editing some client work.
for my birthday dinner we ventured into san francisco to try the fancy new sushi joint! shizen was pretty good but they have to work out the kinks. they got my order wrong so i didn’t actually get to try the rolls i ordered. 😦 they were pretty busy and i didn’t want to bother anyone so i said nothing.
i’m not sure that i’d go back to shizen again. i might go to cha ya vegetarian over shizen. the restaurant was beautiful and the rolls sounded delicious but the execution… not so much.
day 06 ~ friday: had a photo shoot scheduled in walnut creek so i swung by the new veggie grill for some lunch before my session!
i’m pretty sure i had ethiopian for dinner on friday night. and somehow perhaps starvation, i FORGOT to take a photo of our meal. 😦 craziness. AND i had my real camera. imagine that. so please enjoy this photo of my friend andrew, with whom i shared a lovely meal with.
saturday morning i had plans to go to brunch at pepples donut farm (my favorite) but unfortunately they were not open. 😦 i was pretty disappointed. i joined marcella for her yoga class in the cemetery which was awesome! afterward i ran some errands and got some work done. i was pretty tired from yoga (and all of the walking i was doing on the daily).
andrew and i made dinner plans again for saturday night. i wanted potala again. it was THAT good. 🙂
after dinner we drove over to treasure island to inhale the beauty of the bay bridge and view of san francisco. it was fuh-reeeeeezing! 😦 so cold. but so beautiful.
le sigh. sunday. my last day in the bay. marcella and i started with brunch at souley vegan!!!! i’ve always wanted to try their brunch and was SUPER happy we were able to swing it! 🙂
had another photo session… ran more errands… packed my suitcase… and we went for one last dinner. marcella chose gather. BEAUTIFUL restaurant. food was okay but most of the vegan options had mushrooms or olives which i abhor.
my trip to the bay was a complete success! vegancation accomplished. i am completely depressed to head back to south florida. the vegan options down here are completely lacking. ugh. someday i’ll move back to the bay. until then. vegancations it is.
next vegancations will include: philly, austin, portland, costa rica and omaha (modern love yo!) until next time… ❤