So I’m cruising down the PCH through Malibu on my way to Santa Monica and I discover something exciting as I’m looking to satisfy my coffee craving – Santa Monica has a Philz Coffee! I first visited this amazing coffee house in San Francisco a couple years ago. If you don’t know anything about Philz, they custom make your coffee right in front of you. The Mint Mojito Iced Coffee has to be one of the best coffee drinks I have ever had! This particular shop opened in 2014 and was buzzing with activity when I walked in. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd just east of 3rd Street Promenade. I purchased my drink and a bag of beans and the manager was nice enough to give me my drink on the house. I savored that drink all the way back to AZ and it didn’t disappoint. Come to Arizona Philz!
I was introduced to a killer coffee shop this morning on my way to church in Castro. My friend that I’m visiting says this place is the best coffee she has ever had. Phil Jaber founded Philz Coffee in 2003. He spent years experimenting with various coffee beans from around the world to create over 30 different unique blends. He converted his corner grocery store into his first coffeeshop and now has locations all over the San Francisco area. Each drink is custom made in front of you and finished off with their signature mint leave. One thing is unique is that they don’t do lattes or cappuccinos. I ordered their very popular Mint Mojito Iced Coffee and it was everything my friend said it was – amazing! Seriously, if you are in the SF area, make sure you stop in for this “cup of love”.
While on our way to Napa Valley, we stopped in at a place called Downtown Joe’s Brewery & Restaurant. It is an American style grill and brewery. Once called Willit’s Brewery, this building has been serving beers to the Napa area for years. Now Joe and Nancye Peatmen are continuing the tradition with good food and beer and live entertainment weekly. You can tell this is a hot spot for locals as the staff was very friendly and welcoming to us. We ended up ordering some appetizers – Garlic Fries, Nachos & Spinach Dip. It was a quick snack before heading off to sample some fine wines in Napa.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — John Muir
Muir Woods was has been a National Monument since 1908. We continued our fun day trip in the Bay area by driving to Muir Woods. It is located north of San Francisco just off the Pacific Coast. This is a popular tourist attraction because of the old-growth coastal redwoods (closely related to the Sierra Nevada sequoia trees) that grow within the park’s 554 acres. Being close to the Pacific gives it a foggy wet environment which promotes vigorous plant life. The tallest tree in Muir Woods is 258 feet with most of them being around 500 to 800 years old. We spent the day walking through the shading path and taking photos of all the different types of plant life. I really enjoyed my time here and how relaxing it was.
While hanging out in Sausalito, we found a Starbucks nearby to satisfy our caffeine fix. The line was a little long, but they are located right next to the shore where you get great views of San Francisco. I order a coffee and a blueberry danish. We grabbed our order to go and went outside to enjoy the nice breeze.
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge is the beautiful town of Sausalito. It is unique in that it combines a steep hillside with the shoreline. We enjoyed the views of San Francisco and Alcatraz from the shore and watched the boats come in. It was the perfect spot to stop and grab lunch before heading out for our fun day trip.
Probably the most recognizable sight in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. This three mile long suspension bridge is the most photographed bridge in the world. It has been showcased in many movies over the years. The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 and was designed by Joseph Strauss. It was built to be a route between San Francisco and what is now Marin County (they used ferries previously). It offers spectacular views of the city of San Francisco and Alcatraz Island. The color of the bridge is officially an orange vermillion called international orange and was chosen to complement the natural surroundings. It is made of steel and incorporates some Art Deco elements. The first time I visited San Francisco, I took a dinner cruise that passed under the bridge. Today was my first time crossing the bridge in a vehicle. We stopped on an overpass and took in the beautiful sights. It is a magnificent bridge and I enjoyed photographing it.
I spent Valentine’s Day evening with my good friend Candace. I’m staying with her here in Foster City and she has taken me all over San Francisco. Tonight we were feeling sushi and she took me to a place she love’s – Kobe Japanese Cuisine & Bar. The sushi here is amazing! Kobe is located in the Edgewater Place shopping center next to beautiful Central Lake. We ordered a Spicy Tuna Roll, Ring of Fire Roll, Ribeye Roll and the amazing Volcano Roll. What a great dinner to cap off a fun day!
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is 55 acres within Golden Gate Park and consists of over 8,000 different flowers from all over the world. Because of the Bay area’s mild temperatures and wet and dry summers, it provides a climate for many of these unique plants to grow. The botanical garden is dedicated to the conservation of many of these rare flowers. It’s a beautiful park and of course my favorite are the magnificent Magnolias – a pretty flower that is found in China. I was happy to be here during blooming season.
The Japanese Tea Garden is a popular attraction in Golden Gate Park. Originally created for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the site originally spanned about one acre and showcased a Japanese style garden. Today it features an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds, a zen garden and cherry blossom trees that bloom in March and April.