Nor Cal got me like…

The Friday before New Years we made our way to Santa Rosa for a weekend away with Mike’s family. (You can read about our trip to Tahoe the week before here.) On the way up, we stopped at Philz to introduce Wendy and Andy to the famous Bay Area coffee chain. We ordered Philtered Souls (mine creamy, no sweet) and continued on to Alcatraz!

I was born and raised in the Bay Area and had yet to do a tour of the former federal prison. Unfortunately we thought our tour was scheduled for 12pm when it was actually scheduled for 1pm. With an extra hour to kill, we walked to the Ferry Building to explore the small stands and shops. I loveee the Ferry Building and really need to plan a food crawl there one day to sample all of the noshes! Knowing we had ~2.5 excursion ahead of us and we would be hungry soon, Mike and I spilt a mushroom empanada from El Porteño Empanadas. It was perfect.


After a short ferry ride, we were on the island and ready to start the self-guided tour. Being on Alcatraz was a tad creepy, really interesting, and …surreal. I kept thinking to myself how weird it was that I was standing where former convicted felons were. Overall it is worth it to do once (especially being a local!) but I wasn’t a big fan of the self-guided part and wished we had an actual tour guide to show us around.


(Of course the I mostly took pictures of the food related stuff there…)

Ah, that SF skyline… 

When we docked, we met Mike’s parents and little Ella at Pier 39. There is something so cute about seeing a toddler get excited about things. Ella loves seeing and pointing out dogs and birds. I couldn’t help but smile wide every time she found something new of interest.

As to be expected, it started cooling off significantly as the sun went down. We found a place called Fog City were we popped in for a quick happy hour. In retrospect, I wished we planed some more time in San Francisco (I’m biased but I sure do love that city!) however we had to continue up North to Santa Rosa for our final Airbnb stay of this vacation.

Once we arrived and unpacked, we headed to Belly for dinner. I ordered the truffle mac n cheese with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. It was good but I was starving and the portion was small… oh, well! More room for wine. 😉

New Year’s eve started with late morning coffee at My Friend Joe and bagels at Sonoma Valley Bagel. The best Cafè au lait (3/4 drip coffee with 1/4 steamed milk) and bagel sammy I’ve had in a while!

Look at that rooftop garden!

Our delayed breakfast pushed back our lunch at Amy’s Drive Thru to an early dinner but it was worth the wait! I love Amy’s Kitchen and their products; from their soups to frozen burritos and bowls. I am all about organic, natural ingredients being convenient and relatively affordable. Also, I have a personal tie to the company as my dad used to work there years ago. I can remember my sister and I running through Amy’s warehouse freezers when we were younger, trying to make it to the other side (and the exit) before absolutely freezing! (The things kids do for fun… amirite?)

I order a veggie burger wrapped in lettuce and the chili fries. SO GOOD! I also stole a few sips half of Mike’s coconut vanilla “milk”shake and it was equally amazing. Everyone else seemed satisfied with their orders as well. Delicious food, fair pricing, and a heavy emphasis on vegetables – what’s better?

Not the best picture but you get the idea..
Ella and Uncle Mikey coloring #swoon

We kept it casual for NYE and stayed in with a variety of apps, drinks, and games. The next morning, we went for a foot whole body massages and have declared it a new family tradition! We went to one of those places that advertise foot, head, neck and shoulder massages for $25 but they are actually full body rub downs (literally full body — my guy rubbed in inside of my ears). You keep your clothes on and we were all in a huge room together but it was devine. Such a good way to start the year!

After our massages we did a bit of shopping and then headed to The Russian River Brewing Company for lunch. We had this massive 16 beer taster before deciding on our beers and pizza. I ordered the Dribble Belt because it was deliciously hoppy but later found out that it was disappointedly only 4.5%. Weak. Although I was already a little tipsy from all of the samples so it was probably for the best.

Dutch Bros (emphasis on Bros….)

That evening was an early night for us all (we might have still been recovering from NYE). On Monday we woke up and packed up in preparation of heading back to San Jose. For breakfast we stopped to get a coffee at Dutch Bros. I’ve heard about this place for a while and have always wanted to try it. The thing is though, I hate adding artificial flavors to my coffee and it seemed like that is their specialty. So, the trip was a waste for me but it was free (since it was our first time there). I ordered an Irish cream latte with 1/2 pump of Irish cream and then ended up throwing more than half of it away because it was too sweet. Mer.

We also hit up Grateful Bagel where Mike and I spilt two bagel sandwiches. I’m not sure why but bagels were big players in the breakfast game during this vacation. (I would be lying if I said I didn’t also pop into Peet’s for an iced coffee to replace my thrown away overly sweet latte.)

Full and caffeinated, we were ready to tackle the drive home. It was nice to be back home and start adjusting back to a schedule. Mike’s family stayed in town for the rest of the week and, although we both had to go back to work, we had the chance to take them to a few of our favorite local eateries in the evenings.

Now we are into the new year and trying to detox from all of the indulgences! …That is, until Mike and I go to San Diego at the end of the month to celebrate our anniversary. Until then, I’ll be participating in the Wanderlust 21 day yoga challenge that started yesterday if you’re inclined to join.

Keep comin’ back for updates. 🙂

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