Eat SF : Exploring the Mission with Avital Tours [giveaway]

Giveaway!, Hungry Suki, Life in SF

Disclosure: I was invited to check out the Mission District Food Tour with Avital Tours. No compensation was received for attending, and all opinions on this blog are my own.

One of the things I enjoy doing the most in San Francisco is stepping into the shoes of a visitor. Maintaining a fresh perspective of the city I grew up in is what keeps the relationship strong between us.

Avital Tours - Mission District

Very recently, I was approached by Avital Tours to check out one of their food tours, specifically the one in the Mission. They take pride in not being a typical tour company – they consider themselves “a culinary experience company who provides a behind-the-scenes snapshot of a famous San Francisco neighborhood by telling its story through its people and great food (and drink, of course!).”

The Mission edition of Avital Tours meets at the Women’s Building and hits up four restaurants in three hours. That gives you two spots for appetizers and drinks, one for your entree, and a final stop for your dessert. Tours run Tuesday, Saturday (mid-day and afternoon), and Sunday, so plenty of options to choose from.

Avital Tours - Mission DistrictOur tour guide, Corinne

We joined in for a tour on a Tuesday evening after work. Corinne, our guide, met us at the Women’s Building, gave us a quick intro and then led us down the street and around the corner to our first restaurant on the Mission District tour: Mission Cheese.

Avital Tours - Mission Cheese

I don’t think I could have hidden my excitement for our stop at Mission Cheese. I’d been wanting to go for so long and just never got around to it. I was glad my first experience was with Avital Tours!


Quesa de Mano and Bleu Mont Cheddar paired with Magnolia Blue Bell Bitter

Sarah of Mission Cheese graciously answered any questions we had in the time that we were there. My question for her was about the smallest producer of cheese that she sourced from. Super cool to get the inside scoop from her directly!

Our second appetizer and drinks stop was a place I’d been to a few times before: Hog & Rocks. While we didn’t get to chat with owner Scott Youkilis, we learned about how the restaurant came to be.


A Blood Orange Collins to go with our plate of Washington Miagi oyster, Greci & Folzanni Prosciutto, pita, and house-made pickles

In addition to the food stops, we made a few mural stops as well. Corinne gave us some background information, as well as fun facts. It kept the walk from restaurant to restaurant entertaining.


Giants mural outside of Hog and Rocks

Our entree stop was Tacolicious, which up until that point in time, I’d had no desire to check out. It was probably the cheesy name. Silly to have a barrier to entry like that, but I’d have to say that because of the tour, I definitely wouldn’t mind swinging by again.


Tacos – Shot-and-a-Beer Braised Chicken [left] and Pacific Cod [right]

Before hitting up our final stop for dessert, we took a little shopping/sampling break at Bi-Rite Market. While I’m familiar with parts of the market’s story, it was nice to get a more detailed version.

And as one might have guessed where this was all leading – the salted caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery across the street!


Bi-Rite Creamery’s famous Salted Caramel ice cream

The beauty of these tours is that Avital Tours has an ongoing relationship with each of their partners, and what you experience on each tour is a really personal experience. So even though I am revealing the restaurants and what we ate on the tour, you won’t really know what the tour was really like without going on one yourself. Here’s your chance:

Avital Tours – Giveaway

We have teamed up with Avital Tours to give away two tickets to their Mission District food tour! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When was the last time you were a tourist in your own city/town?

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Currently – v.04 {2015}

Being Suki

Loving that I took care of my taxes early on, so Wednesday was no big deal. It can be a stressful time of year for people because 1) they’re doing something with a deadline and 2) it might mean having to PAY taxes.

Loathing is such a strong word. Nothing bugs me to that degree these days. Instead, here is a photo of me with a spread of desserts at a friend’s birthday party!

Currently - desserts

Watching Band of Brothers. Ryan’s a World War II history buff, and while we are in Belgium, we plan on going to The Ardennes, specifically Bastogne. I may have mentioned this in my last Currently post. The plan is to hire a guide to take us to the various sights. We found a gentleman who grew up in the area, speaks English and charges a reasonable rate for a full-day guide. While Ryan is re-watching the mini series, I am watching it for the first time. It’s quite engaging, and I actually find myself connecting with the characters. Usually war movies aren’t my jam.

Have you seen Band of Brothers?

Feeling sore, but content. On Sunday, through ClassPass, I took an Intro to Parkour class at Athletic Playground in the East Bay. Since I’m not familiar with parkour and how to move optimally, I worked out and probably overworked muscles I didn’t even realize I had.

Planning on having a blast this weekend with Trail Mavens. We’re kayaking to camp, which means my shoulders and arms had better recover! I’ve been on a few Trail Mavens trips in the past year, but if you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s this awesome outdoor adventure company for women. The trips are generally based in California, but women from all over participate. Its purpose is to empower women with skills and opportunities to adventure in the great outdoors.

Currently - Trail Mavens
Hiking with my Trail Mavens buddies

Working on learning Javascript. I tackled the HTML and CSS modules on Codeacademy and am slowly getting through the Javascript one. I mentioned in my last Currently post that I had a few career development ideas brewing, and coding was one of them. Rather than let it stew for longer, I started taking action.

Wishing for excellent weather in Belgium next week! The lows are in the upper 40s, but temperatures do reach low 70 at one point.

Looking forward to Belgium, obviously! Also, Ryan and I going to the Marina and the Diamonds show tonight. I don’t go to many shows, but I didn’t want to miss while she was in town. WOO!

Currently - Fresca
Fresca watching the sun set

What are you currently up to?

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Eat Eureka : Brick & Fire Bistro

Around California, Restaurants

On our way back to the Bay Area from a long weekend in Portland and after bumbling through the redwoods of northern Northern California, we stopped in Eureka for dinner. It would have to last us until we reached our final destination aka home, so we did a quick search for food on the handy dandy device we call a mobile phone and pulled up to Brick & Fire Bistro.

Brick & Fire Bistro

Even now, the menu makes my mouth water. It screams local with the California-based seafood and mushrooms scattered about the dishes. We would have ordered the entire menu if we could have stuffed it all into our faces. Alas, we were just two grumbling stomachs, not thrice as many.

Brick & Fire Bistro
Calamari

From their menu, “…not your plain old Calamari appetizer!” And these were indeed not what we’ve seen served elsewhere. They took a whole Monterey Bay calamari and stuffed it with prawns, leeks, and fresh bread crumbs. They then lightly grilled and served it with a roasted golden pepper coulis with fried capers sprinkled on top.

Brick & Fire Bistro Brick & Fire Bistro
Olive oil cured fresh smelts & Ryan showing us how to tackle them!

These little white local surf fish were salted and cured in-house and packed in extra virgin oil with garlic, herbs and lemon. When the smelt arrived with grilled crostini, pickled fennel and onions, and an olive and caper tapenade, we knew we’d made the right choice in ordering them!

Brick & Fire BistroChopped Caesar

When anchovies are included, I almost always order a Caesar because that’s how it’s done right. And yes, this one also had an over-easy organic fried egg on top.

And those were just the starters! We rounded out our meal with a pizza, some veggies, and dessert.

Brick & Fire Bistro
Basil Oregano Parmesan Crust with roasted peach coulis, house-cured pancetta, caramelized onions, Humboldt Fog goat cheese, pecorino romano & truffle creme fraiche

Brick & Fire Bistro
Brick roasted green beans & baby peppers

Brick & Fire Bistro

It was an absolutely delightful meal, and it would hold us over for at least a portion of the five hour drive home. I can’t help it – even seated, I metabolize quickly.

Since we arrived on the early side (the restaurant opens for dinner at 5), we were able to grab a table without a wait. For future reference, it wouldn’t hurt to make reservations. At least that’s what their website tells us!

Brick & Fire Bistro on Urbanspoon

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See Copenhagen : Canal Tours Copenhagen

Travel

We arrived in Copenhagen on a Friday afternoon. It wasn’t until the following Monday that we found ourselves along the water. It’s a considerably long time given the city’s locale on the water. It would be like visiting San Francisco without ever seeing the bay or ocean! Once we hit the water, we were no strangers to it the rest of the trip.

Based on our research of things to do in Copenhagen, we found that Mondays require a bit more planning as a tourist. Plenty of sights are taking the day off, so it’s a good time to schedule a canal tour with Canal Tours Copenhagen. They run daily and frequently enough.

Canal Tours Copenhagen
Danish Parliament at Christiansborg Palace from the canal

The canal tour takes you from the narrow canal by Christiansborg Palace to the much wider one with other famous sites, like Amalienborg Palace, the Little Mermaid and the Opera House to the canals in Christianshavn and then back again.

Canal Tours Copenhagen
Copenhagen Opera House in the distance

Canal Tours Copenhagen
Modern Danish architecture from the water

Canal Tours Copenhagen
The Royal Cast Collection with a copy of Michelangelo’s David out front

Canal Tours Copenhagen

Canal Tours Copenhagen
Holmen Naval Station

Canal Tours Copenhagen
Amalienborg Palace, with the Marble Church (Frederiks Kirke) behind it

While couldn’t have gone on the water without passing by the famous Little Mermaid statue, I didn’t include a photo from the canal tour in this recap post. It would only show the statue with the hordes of people crowded around it for photos. Plus, she’s facing the shore, so it was really just the back of her that we saw from the boat.

Canal Tours Copenhagen

Canal Tours Copenhagen

The tour lasts approximately an hour long, and we were back at our starting point in no time. The tour is conducted in Danish and English, with a possible third language in the mix depending on who’s on the boat at the time.

Canal Tours Copenhagen

Canal Tours Copenhagen

Canal Tours Copenhagen is one of 72 museums and attractions included on the Copenhagen Card. With 24-, 48-, 72-, and 120-hour cards to choose from, the Copenhagen Card also covers all transport by train, bus, harbor bus and metro in the entire Copenhagen region, including from/to the airport.

We were provided Copenhagen Cards by the lovely folks at Visit Copenhagen to help us explore all that Copenhagen has to offer. All opinions expressed are my own!

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March 2015 in Pictures

Creativity Strikes!

Happy last day of March! I’m no longer using the #365infocus project hashtag, but I’m trying to maintain a photo per day average. In March, I ended up with 27 out of 31 photos. It’s a little odd to be doing a recap post right after a “Currently” one, but that’s just how the chips fell.

Here’s March 2015:

March 2015 in Pictures

There was a lightning storm at the beginning of the month. Not normal, but when has the weather these days been normal?

There’s all this talk about California running out of water, and it’s scary. We do all that we can to conserve water in our household, but it’s not enough.

If I had to pick a type of food to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be sashimi. We went to our sushi spot Kani Kosen (terrible website, terrific food) in Pacifica and the following day, we gorged on more at Umami (better website, fancier food) in the Marina.

I’ve been digging candles these days. I like the lighter/cleaner scents and find them to be quite relaxing, especially lit in a room that we’ve just cleared up.

My latest find in the candle world: Brave Made. The maker is a neighbor. The candles have unique scents, like Basic Bitch, Hunting Lodge, and Smokin’ Leather to name a few.

How was your March? If you had to pick a type of food to eat for the rest of your life (with no consequences to health), what would it be?

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