Marin Headlands Day Hike

Let me preface by saying this is my favorite Bay Area hike SO FAR. I plan to go on many more adventures, but this hike is worth documenting, noting and sharing. 

Depending on your schedule and if you are driving or taking the bus sort of dictates where you start. Ideally, I'd recommend starting at Battery Spencer, making your way down to Kirby Cove and back up to Conzelman Road all the way to Point Bonita Lighthouse (4.4 miles according to Google). Now the only reason I recommend doing it this way is because Point Bonita Lighthouse doesn't open until 12:30pm. Keep in mind that PBL is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30pm. I like to start my hikes early, so it made sense for me to start at Battery Spencer/Kirby Cove and end at PBL. Now, if you have already seen PBL and don't need to go inside the gate/see it again or you are a late hiker, starting at PBL and ending at Battery Spencer is an option, which was the route we took when doing this hike for the first time. Once you see PBL, you don't really need to see it again do you? There are already tons of other beautiful sights around you that the idea of trying to make it to PBL with a 3-hour window in mind is crazy annoying.

I'm going to share my route of starting at Kirby Cove and ending at PBL. Please feel free to do the complete opposite ;)

1. Start at Battery Spencer to get some pictures of the GGB, of course.  

Battery Spencer view. 

Battery Spencer view. 

2. From Battery Spencer, head down to Kirby Cove to get some more pictures of the GGB. You might also be lucky enough to swing on the infamous swing if it hasn't been cut down already. 

On the way to Kirby Cove. 

On the way to Kirby Cove. 

Hikers Club. 

Hikers Club. 

Kirby Cove. 

Kirby Cove. 

GGB at Kirby Cove. 

GGB at Kirby Cove. 

Kirby Cove. No swing so this tree will do. 

Kirby Cove. No swing so this tree will do. 

3. Make sure to check out your surroundings before leaving each spot; you never know what you'll find. Most places I visit that I have seen on IG aren't what I've expected or are too crowded with people that have the same idea in mind. I'm usually more impressed with other sights found off the beaten path.

4. Head back up to Conzelman Road and take it all the way until you hit Field Road. Make sure to stop along the way to take in those views! For instance, Headlands Lookout is one of my favorite spots to stop and snap a few pictures. Take a left at Field Road until you come to PBL. PBL is free and like I mentioned, only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30. We ended up going on Memorial Day which was probably the worst idea ever. There were a lot of people there and we had to wait in line to cross the bridge over to the lighthouse. Once we crossed, there really wasn't much space and we were out of there within 30 minutes. My favorite part about PBL was capturing it from afar, but it was nice to experience and see IRL.

Headlands Lookout.

Headlands Lookout.

Battery Rathbone McIndoe. 

Battery Rathbone McIndoe. 

Entrance to PBL.

Entrance to PBL.

Across the bridge at PBL in one of the buildings. 

Across the bridge at PBL in one of the buildings. 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

5. Wander off. Head back up Field Road and take a left at Mendell Road to check out Battery Mendell. This is where I really enjoyed our hike. It was much more quiet and there were so many flowers blooming everywhere. Battery Mendell was pretty neat too (try prying one of the doors open, maybe you'll get lucky). Heading back up Field Road or Conzelman Road, you'll find two more Batteries: Battery Wallace and Battery Wallace 2. If you have time there are tons more to explore that I am leaving out, but that's for another time. For instance: Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley Beach, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach. 

Battery Mendell. 

Battery Mendell. 

Blending in.

Blending in.

California summer. 

California summer. 

We hiked down Rodeo Lagoon Vista Point for this shot. 

We hiked down Rodeo Lagoon Vista Point for this shot. 

Tyler looking fly. 

Tyler looking fly. 

An old Mercedes on Conzelman Road. 

An old Mercedes on Conzelman Road. 

6. Head up the trail to catch the 76x back to the city. You deserve a warm bath and a full glass of wine after the day you just had, so go make it happen. 

Until next time, 

Halee

Sun Basket Review

Sun Basket, an organic food delivery service based in the Bay area, reached out to have me review their product. I haven't blogged, let alone reviewed a product, in such a long time so I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to commit to. 

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After doing my research I learned a lot about Sun Basket and was very impressed: 

  • Sun Basket is a certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time (currently over 99% of their produce is organic).
  • Organic ingredients are clearly labeled on delivery.
  • They work exclusively with ranchers and farmers who raise their animals responsibly and sustainably. 
  • All of their seafood is wild-caught, never farmed.
  • All of their fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a leading authority in sustainable seafood.
  • Their meal plans are dietitian-approved like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more, which make healthy eating easy.
  • Their packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable.
  • Sun Basket works with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and shops to offer the best ingredients each week. 
  • The executive chef/owner of Sun Basket, Justine Kelly, spent time at Slanted Door restaurant. She also was mentioned in Gourmet Magazine and had an appearance on Iron Chef.

All of these details about Sun Basket (+ many more) made me say "let's do this". I received my first week's meals this past week and will receive my second batch next week. Each box included 3 meals, of my choosing, to prepare. I chose Lemongrass Tofu, Salmon and Quinoa Bowls and Tomato-Coconut Shrimp this week. Out of the three, my favorite were the Lemongrass Tofu + Tomato-Coconut Shrimp. 

Lemongrass Tofu

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

This meal was so flavorful and fun to make! The process was simple enough for anyone to execute, whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or not. Starting with the rice, you let that cook for a good 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, you are able to prepare and cook everything else. This made things almost effortless.

What was inside (serves 2): 

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  • Black Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hodo Soy firm tofu
  • Onion 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sun Basket Lemongrass paste (lemongrass, EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, ground turmeric)
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Sun Basket stir-fry blend (gluten-free tamari, sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger)

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

This meal, like Lemongrass Tofu, was bursting with the right amount of flavors that both Paul and I pleasantly enjoyed. The broccoli rice was a nice addition to an already healthy-ish meal. This is one I will gladly recreate again and am looking forward to the results. 

What's inside (serves 2):

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  • Broccoli rice
  • Wild gulf shrimp
  • Red chile flakes
  • Onion
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Baby spinach
  • Shaved coconut

Things to know about Sun Basket:

  • Pricing does seem to be a bit steep; $11.99 per serving. Considering all of the local organic ingredients they use, it may be worth this price, especially if you don't have all the time in the world to go grocery shopping. The fact that they provide the exact measurements of what you need in each dish is convenient and makes things incredibly easy. (easy seems to be the constant word here). 
  • You can choose 2, 3, or 4 meals per week (depending on your menu plan) and can mix & match them (making some vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, etc.) within your meal plan (classic/family).
  • You can skip a delivery or cancel your plan at any time. 
  • Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, & parts of NM.
  • Your pantry should include olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground pepper. They occasionally call for wine or butter as an optional recipe item. You'll need basic pots and pans, a knife, and basic utensils.

I really enjoyed the first week's meal plan and am excited to try next week's! Check back in to see my thoughts when I review Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs, Bucatini Pomodoro and Saigon Noodles with Braised Tofu. 

 

Cheers, Halee

All Things San Francisco

Where do I even start?! San Francisco is full of so many places to eat, drink, visit, and explore. Here is a little guide I've put together from when we visited recently for nearly 5 days. We tried to hit up every spot on our list possible, and even though there were a few places we couldn't make, I think we did a pretty good job. 

1. Golden Gate Bridge

See the Golden Gate Bridge, somehow, some way. Whether you drive over it or see it from the distance, it is worth seeing. 

2. Explore the Different Neighborhoods

There are SO many areas and neighborhoods in SF that are worth exploring. The homes are full of unique characteristics and details, and some are super vibrant and colorful. It was hard NOT to take a picture of every house we walked past. Some areas we walked through that I recommend are, The Castro, The Mission, Hayes Valley, Dolores Heights, Fillmore District, Presidio Heights, Japantown, Chinatown, Western Addition, Marina District, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Potrero Hill. Basically all of San Francisco, ha!

3. Clarion Alley

If you're a fan of murals and street art, Clarion Alley is a must see. The alley is maintained by the Clarion Alley Mural Project, who support over 500 artists, receive 200, 000 visitors annually, and have created over 700 murals since 1992. The organization also collaborates with many community neighbors and partners, and work in support of social, economic, and environmental justice. It is located between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets.

4. Twin Peaks

If you are looking for a stunning view directly in the center of San Francisco, Twin Peaks is for you. You can hike up or drive/uber. We decided to uber since we were running low on time, but we walked all the way down and back to our airbnb. I recommend walking part of the way so you can walk through Dolores Heights/The Castro (depending on which way you're headed), or Noe Valley, Cole Valley, or Vista Del Monte.

5. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is full of so many things to do and see. We decided not to do everything within the park because we probably would have spent loads of money, but I would advise choosing a few things that sound appealing and doing them. One thing that I had to see (and was free) was the Bison Paddock. You can learn more about the history of this part of the park here. We visited the Conservatory of Flowers, which is also located in the park. And, we walked the entire park until it ends at the beach. 

6. Conservatory of Flowers

Within Golden Gate Park, the COF is a must see if you are a fan of plants and flowers. TIP: It's also a nice place to warm up if it's cold outside.

7. Go to the beach

You might as well! If you are already in Golden Gate Park and heading towards the Bison Paddock, Ocean beach isn't much further. Once you get to Ocean beach, Sutro Baths is nearby as well. Just get your pen out to mark a ton of things off your list!

8. Sutro Baths

To learn more about Sutro Bath, click here.

9. Mission Dolores Park

All of the yes! Not going to Mission Dolores Park, especially on a sunny day, is basically sacrilege. It is another spot in the city that offers a great view. It's also a wonderful place to have a picnic, play tennis, basketball and/or soccer, play with your dog, relax, or even take a nap under the trees. 

10. Drink all the Coffee & Eat all the Pastries

The Mill

11. Eat a Burrito

There are plenty of burrito joints to go to, especially in the Mission. We ended up going to Pancho Villa and it ended up being the best damn burrito I can ever remember having. I also got watermelon agua frescas which went perfectly with the flavor of the burrito; match made in heaven I tell you!

12. Eat Oysters

Like burritos, there are plenty of places to get oysters. For instance Swan Depot, which has been around for over 100 years, and Hog Island Oyster Co. located in the Ferry Building, are two well known places. But, after doing some research, I knew I had to go to Leo's. It is probably the most beautifully decorated place we went, and the oysters were just as good. I tried hot oysters for the first time; flavors carbonara and hot wings. YAS. It was a little pricey but we did have some bubbles with our oysters (because why not?), and we had to the get the fries which were recommended by my friend Nanette :) 

13. Go to a Museum

San Francisco is a hub for tech, food, and art. There are plenty of museums to go to while visiting. For instance de Young, SFMOMA, California Academy of Sciences, AAMSF, and SO MANY MORE. We decided to go to SFMOMA. I have never been to a MOMA and heard this one was good. It is $25 each to enter, whereas de Young is $30 each. I did really want to go to  de Young but we decided to just pick one and spend more money on food ;) We also missed seeing Matisse by ONE day. Darn.

14. Bi-rite Creamery...

...is a must. There are actually a lot of ice cream shops in SF currently and I was bummed we only made it to one, but Bi-rite didn't disappoint. I got honey lavender and balsamic strawberry and it was seriously perfection. The two flavors went so well together. Some others that I'd like to visit in the future are Smitten, Salt a & Straw, and Humphry Slocombe

15. Eat a Nice Meal

There is SO much good food in San Francisco, including some Michelin star restaurants. If that is something that you're into, you should take advantage of it in SF. We dined at Saison (3 Michelin star, which I will talk about in my next post), Aster (1 Michelin star), and The Progress (1 Michelin star). There are a total of six 3-Michelin restaurants in SF giving them a total of 54 stars. New York has 75, so they aren't too far behind. Another Michelin restaurant (2 star) that we really want to go to is Atelier Crenn , which is Dominique Crenn's restaurant from Chef's Table.

The Progress

Aster

16. Eat Sushi

Find a sushi restaurant, sit at the bar, and order the "chef's choice". You'll thank me later ;) We ate at a place called Ebisu recommended to us by our friends Todd and Craig. We went for lunch and loved it. They do bento box lunch specials and I almost got one but I was feeling soup and sushi :)

17. Day trip to Oakland

We decided to see what all this Oakland fuss was about. The BART near/in the Mission all the way to DT Oakland only took about 20 minutes. We got off DT and grabbed a coffee nearby. We walked towards Uptown, where a couple places we wanted to check out were located. First stop was Homeroom for some mac n' cheese. I was basically in some kind of heaven. Homeroom has about 12 different mac options, but your can create your own mac as well (probably should have done that)! Paul wanted pizza, so we went to Slicer for a slice! Then we walked off the macaroni and pizza and made our way back to the DT area where Sweet Belly was. SB was by far my favorite part of Oakland. The ice cream/donut combo I got was only $5.50, which included ice cream, topping, donut, and drizzle. They also make the donuts on the spot so when you get it its piping hot! SO GOOD.    

18. Palace of Fine Arts

To learn more about the Palace of Fine Arts, click here. 

Lucasfilm is also located near the Palace of Fine Arts, so that was something we had to see (especially Paul). But how could we NOT take a picture of yoda??

If you're in the Marina District, find this house.

19. Pier 39

The one and only one reason you should ever go to Fisherman's Wharf is to see the sea lions (if you're into that sort of thing, like me). 

20. See the Damn Painted Ladies!

You have to, you just HAVE to. There are certain things you have to do and see while visiting SF and I personally think this is one of them, especially if you've never seen them before. 

Here is a video recap of our trip made by Paul!

And that concludes my "guide" to SF, and everything we were able to do in 4-5 days. I kind of feel like I am missing a thing or two but to be honest, it's a bit longer than I was expecting. Be on the lookout for my next post, where I will compare my meal at The French Laundry vs. Saison. Thanks for reading!

-Halee