As a culmination of my summer I visited the Bay Area for a weekend. I didn’t particularly deserve it and it wasn’t particularly productive, but it made me happy, as visits to my hometown always do.
My very first meal was the legendary In N Out. I’m a dramatic person so I say this a lot, but I ACTUALLY almost started crying as I sat down and took my first bite.
It was a really emotional day. I had In N Out, and then I stared out across the Bay, sipping Blue Bottle Coffee. Sigh.
For dinner, I met my friend David for what I still believe to be the best Indian food in the nation: Amber India. The specific dish? The Butter Chicken. I consider anybody who feeds me that family.
After almost crying, my friend David and I visited my friend Sooji in Napa where we indulged ourselves in all the wine and food the valley had to offer. She works at a lab where all the wineries send in samples and grapes for testing, so she had an “industry in,” which gave us discounts on bottles and tastings.
We had lunch at Thomas Keller’s Addendum, a very casual spot with some of the best fried chicken. Feels a little random to be enjoying fried chicken in Napa Valley, but I truly believe some of the best food is when the most simple dishes are perfected.
Our last meal in Napa was at Don Giovanni. When I was younger, my family and I would visit Don Giovanni every time we went to Napa, which was frequently. Although it would have been nice to visit again with my family, it was special to visit as a young adult with my friends. It’s a wonderful Italian restaurant that is understated but timeless. EVERYTHING IS DELICIOUS SO YOU CAN’T GO WRONG.
From Napa, we crossed the Bay back to San Francisco, and then to the South Bay, my hood, my hometown, my roots. I was able to hit all of my go-to spots.
The first was Osteria, a classic Tuscan restaurant. It’s simply iconic. My parents went even while I was in my momma’s belly (maybe even before?). I think this is the first food I ever consumed as a conscious being with a heartbeat. How could I not crave it? And since then, I ALWAYS get the Caesar Salad and green pasta (it has a fancier name but that’s what I call it). Not to be a snob, but also to be a snob, consider yourself very special if I take you there.
There used to be a old Italian server (maybe he’s still there now?) who would come up to me and kiss my hand every time, but I would always yank my hand back and hug my stuffed Barney because I thought kissing was gross and only my purple dinosaur could understand. Not too much has changed -__-
Fraiche froyo with homemade mochi. There’s really no point in going if you don’t get the homemade mochi
The best chai ever aka Tiger Spice Chai from Coupa Cafe
This one isn’t actually a go-to as it is a newer restaurant that popped up with the tech boom, but it’s still good. It just doesn’t have the prestige of being lumped in my go-to set. It can earn that spot in time.
I’ll always have an incredibly strong connection to the Bay Area and what is now Silicon Valley. The level of comfort I feel there is unparalleled. I was born and raised there, lived there for eighteen years and since then have stayed east. I wonder when I’ll find myself back west because I don’t feel like I ever fully moved on from the California sunshine. With the fall approaching, my thoughts are swimming, and who knows, maybe I’ll find myself swimming in the Pacific again soon…