June 28, 2017

A Wedding Weekend in San Francisco

Right before we went to Dublin, one of my girlfriends sent me a message asking if I would be up for going to San Francisco with her for a wedding in two weeks.

Umm obviously. 

That's one benefit of behind able to hop on a plane at a moment's notice...if you need a plus 1 to a wedding, I'm your girl. Plus, I love San Francisco.

So exactly two weeks after I landed in Dublin, I set my alarm for 3 am and made my way to SFO. I was ecstatic to learn that the wedding we were going to was an Indian wedding, which I've always wanted to go to! We landed in SF on Friday morning and headed straight to our Air BnB in Inner Sunset. We both had some work to do so after we checked in, we went to a coffee shop to wrap up work for the day and then set off to explore. 

We started in the Mission with tacos at La Taqueria (OMG hard tacos stuffed into a soft taco...amazing!) and wandered in and out if the thrift shops in the Mission for awhile.

We made our way to the Embarcadero to meet up with my sister's family for dinner at Pier 23. My sister was out of town but I still had a blast! I had a Pimm's Cup (my favorite!) and the crab cakes, which were amazing! It was a perfect evening to be on the water and soak up the perfect summer day.

We went back to our Air BnB to freshen up and then headed to the Tonga Room for drinks. The Tonga Room is an SF institution...a tiki bar/club with pretty great live music and summery cocktails, we had a great time there until we both started yawning because we had both been up for over 24 hours!

Our Air BnB had the comfiest bed I have ever slept in and the minute I crawled into it, I was out! 

Saturday morning, we woke up and headed to brunch in the neighborhood and then took a long walk down to Ocean Beach. It felt so good to take my shoes off and put my feet in the sand!

The real reason we went to Ocean Beach though?


Until this trip, I had a take-them-or-leave-them approach to corgis. Sure they were cute but I wasn't in love. I didn't realize just how cute they were though until I was surrounded by hundreds of them on a beach in San Francisco!

Look at these little guys!

We left the beach, and it was time to get wedding ready! I was so excited to wear the salwar kameez I had custom-made when I was in India, and we spent a lot if time trying to figure out how to wrap my friend's sari, which made me a little happy I was wearing the Indian version of a pantsuit! Not only was it easy to put on, I was also wildly comfortable all night!

The wedding was at the Presidio and kicked off with the baraat, the groom's procession on horseback to the bride, with lots of pit stops for dancing!

Look at all those colors!
The Hindu ceremony was absolutely beautiful and was followed by a cocktail hour, a Christian ceremony, and a reception, complete with Indian food, incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and tons of dancing!

I had so much fun at the wedding and was so happy to be invited!

Sunday was our last day in SF, and we took the day to head to Napa with my friend Steph. We visited two wineries, Mumm (my favorite!), Failla, and Robert Sinskey (my second favorite), and tasting room in Yountville.

Sparkling wine at Mumm

We had lunch in St. Helena (Cook Tavern, amazing food!), stopped at Bouchon for macarons, and then made our way straight to the airport to catch the red-eye home! It was a whirlwind trip that I'm still recovering from but it was so worth it! I love weddings and I love last minute vacations even more.

What's the last spontaneous adventure you've gone on?

Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?

June 12, 2017

36(ish) Hours in Dublin, Ireland

With everything that's been going on lately, I desperately needed to get away so last weekend, The Pilot and I made our way to Dublin.

We had both been to Ireland separately 10 years ago. He to Dublin and me, on a backpacking trip along the coast. I had been in Dublin for about three hours on my last trip so never got the chance to see the city. We landed at about 9 am after a quick flight across the pond.

We had booked an Air B&B the night before at the Jameson Distillery, which turned out to be a great location! We were pretty tired from the flight, so we took a 2-hour nap as soon as we checked in and then headed out for some lunch. We have a lot of friends who have been to Dublin in the last few weeks and all of them highly recommended Queen of Tarts in Temple Bar.

Their recommendations did not disappoint and, after indulging in a delicious lunch and out-of-this-world desserts, we made our way through the city to start exploring.

The whole purpose of this trip was to take my mind off of things so we had no agenda and just wandered the city. We found a free walking tour of Dublin's Northside which wasn't great but gave us the chance to check out Georgian Dublin, which was nice. After the tour, we did some shopping along O'Connell Street and wandered around Temple Bar.

We were anxious to have our first pints of Guinness in Dublin and made our way to The Brazen Head which claims to be Dublin's oldest pub, and while packed with tourists, it was a great place to listen to live music in a mellow environment (despite the crowd) while enjoying a few pints.

After a few hours at the pub, we called it a night and were up bright and early the next morning (thanks, jetlag!). It didn't hurt that we woke up to this incredibly European view!

Our first stop of the day (and the most organized thing we did) was to stop at the Guinness Storehouse.

I had no idea what to expect but this place blew me away. I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill brewery tour but boy was I wrong. Everything about this place is impeccable, from the display of the four ingredients that go into beer to the absolutely fascinating video of how those famous Guinness barrels were made, to the pour-your-own pint demonstration, and finally, the 360-view rooftop bar. I thought we would spend at most an hour at the Storehouse, but we ended up being there for over three hours!

After enjoying our perfectly poured pints and mulling over how it is that Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland, we left and made our way to Temple Bar, exploring a few of Dublin's key sites along the way: Dublin Castle, Dublinia and Christ Church, and St. Patrick's, before settling in for lunch at Gallagher's Boxty House. We both had hearty, traditional Irish stew with soda bread and some locally, craft brewed Jack Smyth beer flights, which is brewed only for the restaurant. The food and beer were delicious and we left with very full bellies after a morning full of Guinness and some hearty Irish food!

After lunch, we wandered around Temple Bar crossing back and forth across the Liffey wandering in and out of little shops. We found an adorable book store where we picked up the Galic translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone!

Eventually, we made our way to Trinity College where I fell in love with Trinity College and never wanted to leave. Seriously, books on books on books on books, I was in heaven!

We left Trinity and made our way to Grafton Street for some shopping and stumbled on Avoca, an adorable shop with a cafe upstairs. It had started raining so we decided to pop upstairs for a tea break but, of course, we couldn't resist the dessert menu! I had sticky toffee pudding with the most decadent rum raisin ice cream and The Pilot had a fudge brownie.

When we left the store, the rain had calmed down (it basically rained on and off the whole day which is pretty typically Irish but it gave us some nice opportunities to take breaks in little, hidden places we might otherwise not have found) and we made our way to St. Stephen's Green. We wandered the grounds of the green for awhile and then did some more wandering around the area before hunting for a place to eat.

At the Guinness Storehouse, I learned that Guinness is the perfect pairing with oysters so I was on a mission to find a place with oysters. We settled on The Bank on College Green, a gorgeous bar with a fantastic food menu and yes, Guinness and oysters. We grabbed some seats at the bar and indulged in way too much Guinness, never enough oysters, fish and chips, Bailey's on the rocks, and orange creme brulee for dessert.

Whoever said that the food in Ireland is terrible is sadly mistaken. Everything we ate was Irish. Everything we ate was delicious. With that meal serving as the perfect cap on our trip to Dublin, we stumbled back to our Air B&B and into bed before an early morning wake up call and a flight back home.

We operated on a no-carb-left-behind trip to Dublin and spent more time eating than anything else, but we walked most of the city and spent some time unplugged and together, which was exactly what we needed. I don't think this will be our last trip to Dublin either. I would have loved to have visited the Jameson and Teeling distilleries, but hey, there's always next time!

What do you think? Have you been to Dublin?

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