Category Archives: Travel

Favorite Eats in Rome

Rome Food 6_Fotor_CollageGli Angeletti – lasagna with salmon, penne with chili, tomato, garlic, parsley, and chicken meatball soupRome Food 1_Fotor_CollageRistorante Il MiraggioRome Food 2_Fotor_CollageAndrea Ristorante – noodles with crab (delicious!), beef ragu, fish, dessertsRome Food 3_Fotor_CollageLa Tavernaccia – fettuccine & meatballs, lasagna, margherita pizza with prosciuttoRome Food 7_Fotor_CollageOsteria da Fortunata – strozzapreti-carbonara, vegetable (cherry tomatoes & green beans), sciavatelli-amatriciana. I love how there’s a lady there making fresh pasta for everyone to see. The pasta is amazing!Rome Food 5_Fotor_CollageLa Botticella – oxtail roman style, grilled lamb chops, noodles pasta with garlic, oil, and spicy peppersRome Food 12_Fotor_CollagePizza Rustica Birreria, Forno Campo de’Fiori (flower & anchovy pizza, prosciutto pizza), Antico Forno Roscioli (pesto mozzarella tomato pizza, prosciutto pizza)Rome Food 4_Fotor_CollagePicNic Villa Borghese (affogato, latte macchiato)Rome Food 11_Fotor_CollageTazza d’Oro (cappuccino, granita di caffe con panna), Tazza  d’Oro (caffe orzo, cappuccino), Oratorio Bistro (americano, cappuccino), Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe (grand monocello, cappuccino)Rome Food 15_Fotor_CollageGelateria del Teatro (lavender & peach, four chocolate), Punto Gelato (dark chocolate with caramel praline almond, dark cherry), Fatamorgana, Gelateria del Teatro (garden sage & raspberry, mango)Rome Food_Fotor_Collage_FotorMy home cooked Italian night dinner: basil tomato tartlets with mushroom truffles, squid ink pasta, orecchiette pugliesi con come di rapa, mille-crepe tiramisu

Visiting Rome for the first time, the one thing I didn’t expect was falling in love with the food! Almost everything we ate there was delicious. I still dream about the food there and try creating my version of Italian food. It’s not as good as being in Italy but it’ll do for now.

My top 3 favorite restaurants:

  • La Botticella (everything we had here was delicious! pasta, oxtail roman style, lamp chops. there’s lots of bars nearby so it’s a great place to grab a bite and then go to a bar to drink.) 
    Via Tor Millina 32
    00186 Rome, Italy
  • Osteria da Fortunata (homemade fresh pasta – so good! there’s a lady there that makes pasta in the middle of the restaurant. it’s also close to a square for you to hang out after you’re done with your meal.)
    Via del Pellegrino 11
    00186 Rome, Italy
  • La Tavernaccia (thanks Esther for the recommendation! they don’t have an english menu so bring a translator or ask the server to help you translate the menu, which is what we did. the only downside to this restaurant is that it’s hard to get to. we had to call a cab to come here. it’s in a quiet neighborhood so there’s not much to do after you finish a meal except go home. you can ask them to call you a cab once you’re done with your meal.)
    Via Giovanni da Castelbolognese 63
    00153 Rome, Italy

Favorite pizza spots:

Favorite coffee spots:

Favorite gelato spots:

  • Gelateria Del Teatro (i love it so much i came here twice!)
    Via dei Coronari 65
    00186 Rome, Italy
  • Punto Gelato (a local gave us this recommendation)
    Via dei Pettinari 43
    00186 Rome, Italy

Have you been to Rome? What’s your favorite restaurants there?

Linking up with Tuesday Travels at Bonnie, Cynthia, Yalanda, and Courtney.

The Famous Painted Ladies aka Postcard Row

Painted Ladies 1Painted Ladies 3Painted Ladies 4Painted Ladies 5

I was super excited when two of my out-of-town friends, Esther and Sophia, were visiting San Francisco. It’s a funny story of how we all met. Esther and I are both from Atlanta. We knew of each other but were never friends until I was moving to Boston. I asked a couple of people if anyone was interested in taking a road trip to Boston and Esther was the only person who said yes. This road trip was our make it or break relationship and thankfully it made us friends. Esther first met Sophia at her wedding in Texas. Esther was one of Sophia’s wedding photographer and they kept in touch even after the wedding. Sophia and I were both moving to Boston in 2008. Since I didn’t know anyone in Boston, Esther introduced us to each other. Ever since then, we’ve all been really good friends. We even call ourselves S.H.E., which is also known as a Taiwanese girl group. It’s been tough for all of us to meet up since we all live in different states. The last time we met up was a year ago at my wedding.

One of the places they wanted to check out was the “Full House” (Full House was an American sitcom based in San Francisco). Esther led the way and it was about a 30 minute from where we were. Once we were there it was really nice, as you can see from the pictures 🙂

I started doing some research and found out these weren’t the Full House’s house, which made us disappointed. But then we realized they were part of the opening credit for Full House, which made the walk worth it! I also found out these houses were actually called “painted ladies”, which is a term used in American architecture for any Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings that are painted in three or more colors to embellish or enhance their architectural details.

These “painted ladies” we visited are one of the best known since they’ve appeared in about 70 movies, TV shows, and ads. They are also known as “Postcard Row”.

Tips on visiting

  • The exact address for these painted ladies are 710-720 Steiner Street. It’s right across from Alamo Square Park so it’s nice to bring a blanket to just hang out at the park.
  • If you want to visit the actually Full House’s house, the address is 1709 Broderick. It’s about 1.1 miles away from the Painted Ladies houses. Note – you can just view the house from the outside since it’s a private residence.
  • The closest Muni train stop is N line. Get off at Duboce St / Noe St / Duboce Park stop. From this stop, it’s about a 12 minute walk to 710 Steiner Street. On the way there, you should stop by Haight Street, which has a lot of unique shops and restaurants.

What’s your favorite local tourist spot?

Linking up with Travel Tuesday at BonnieCamilaJessi, and Amy and Local Adventurer at Esther and Jacob.

Tips on Visiting Barcelona

Barcelona Trip 1Gaudi’s canopy inside Sagrada FamiliaBarcelona Trip 2Casa Mila was under construction when we were visiting.Barcelona Trip 3We were able to sneak a peak inside the Casa Mila through the gift shop.Barcelona Trip 14Casa BatlloBarcelona Trip 6Casa AmatllerBarcelona Trip 7La RamblaBarcelona Trip 13Random bubble shop I found on the side street of La RamblaBarcelona Trip 8Impromptu decision to attend a flamenco dance show.Barcelona Trip 10Our hotel was by the Torre Agbar, which reminded us of a lighted egg.Barcelona Trip 11Visiting the Jewish Quarter.Barcelona Trip 9Column of the Temple of AugustusBarcelona Trip 12My husband really liked this huge vending machine inside the metro.

Below was my original itinerary:

Day 1:

  • 09:05 – Arrive in Barcelona
  • 10:00 – Arrive at hotel
  • 10:30 – Breakfast
  • 11:00 – Sagrada Familia
  • 12:15 – Avinguda Diagonal
  • 13:00 – Lunch
  • 14:00 – Casa Mila
  • 14:30 – Casa Batllo
  • 15:00 – Casa Amatller
  • 15:30 – Casa Lleo Morera
  • 16:00 – Placa de Catalunya
  • 18:00 – La Rambla
  • 19:00 – Carrer de la Portaferrissa
  • 20:00 – Dinner

Day 2:

  • 08:00 – Breakfast
  • 09:30 – La Boqueria
  • 10:30 – Placa Reial
  • 11:00 – Plalu Guell
  • 11:45 – Columbus Monument
  • 12:30 – Lunch
  • 14:00 – Barcelona Cathedral
  • 15:00 – Placa del Rei
  • 16:00 – The Portal de I’Angel
  • 20:00 – Dinner at Bodega 1900

Day 3:

  • 8:00 – Breakfast
  • 9:00 – Badalona Beach

Like all great plans, nothing everything goes according to plan, which isn’t a bad thing 🙂 I probably didn’t need to add time to the itinerary but just have a list of places I wanted to check out for each day. I realized it’s best to have a couple of things you HAVE TO visit and then the rest can be optional so you don’t wear yourself out or stress out about having to be on the move to go to the next location.

When we passed by a flamenco box office, we just decided to buy tickets and check it out. One of the best decision we made on the trip! It was a lot more fun then I thought. There was so much emotion and passion from the dancers, singers, and band. Plus that’s where I met another tourist who gave us a great recommendation on a seafood paella restaurant.

We didn’t make it to Plalu Guell or Badalona Beach but I’m ok with that since we went to the main places I wanted to visit. This will just give us more reason to go back to Barcelona again 🙂

One of my favorite part of this trip was checking out new neighborhoods and walking around. I love to get lost in a city and feel like I’m part of it.

Tips on Visiting Barcelona:

  • Barcelona is pretty spread out so I would recommend riding the metro. It’s really convenient to get around the city. Each ride is 2,15 EURO. You should consider the multi-day travel card (2, 3, 4, or 5 days) or a 10-trip travel card. We bought each ride separately and when we calculated the cost at the end of the trip, we realized it was cheaper to buy a 2-day multi-day travel card or the 10-trip travel card. 
  • If Sagrada Familia is one of your must see attraction in Barcelona, buy tickets ahead of time!
  • Check out a flamenco show if you haven’t been. It’s a great experience to be immense in the Spanish culture.
  • There are a lot of fresh juices in La Boqueria when you first enter the market. Don’t buy from any of those stalls in the front since they’re the most expensive (about 2 EURO). Luckily we walked around and noticed that towards the middle and back, the juices were cheaper there (1 EURO).
  • Go to the top of the Columbus Monument for a great view of La Rambla. Cost 4,50 EURO.

Have you visited Barcelona? Do you have any tips?

Linking up with Travel Tuesday at BonnieCamilaJessi, and Amy.

First Visit to Golden Gate Park as a Local Resident

When one of my friend invited me to Golden Gate Park, I mentioned that I haven’t been since moving to SF and she was shocked. I guess one of the reason is that there isn’t a convenient public transportation that takes you directly there and I hate driving in the city so I never saw the reason to go. When my friend mentioned she’ll drive, of course I jumped on the opportunity to go!

Golden Gate park is a large urban public park that is about 1,017 acres, shaped like a rectangle. Apparently it’s the 5th most visited city park in the United States. There’s a lot of sites to visit and things to do so be prepare when you go!

We ended up visiting De Young Fine Art Museum (only the observation deck), Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Garden, and the Rose Garden. The only place I didn’t think was worth visiting was the Japanese Tea Garden since it was smaller than I was expecting. It was also the only place we paid an admission fee so that could be another reason. I guess I just had higher expectation on the Japanese Tea Garden since we had to pay to get in too. The observation deck in the De Young Fine Art Museum was really cool since they had this aerial map view of San Francisco. I enjoyed visiting the Rose Garden to smell all the different scent the roses emitted. I didn’t realized how different each rose’s scent can be. My favorite scent was the English Rose.

Golden Gate Park 1View from the observation deck in De Young Fine Art MuseumGolden Gate Park 2Golden Gate Park 4Japanese Tea GardenGolden Gate Park 5Golden Gate Park 7Botanical GardenGolden Gate Park 10Rose GardenGolden Gate Park 9Golden Gate Park 11Golden Gate Park 12

Tips on visiting the attractions below:

De Young Fine Art Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
Free admission first Tuesday of the month otherwise it’s $10 per adult. If you buy tickets in advance online, you save $1.
If you’re not interested in the fine art museum but would like a view of San Francisco, go inside the museum to the right of the ticket booth and there is an elevator. Take the elevator to the top and you get a great 360 view of San Francisco and it’s free! 
Japanese Tea Garden
Free admission if you enter before 10AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday otherwise it is $8 per adult.
Show your ID if you are a local resident and you get $2 off.
Botanical Garden
Free admission second Tuesday of every month otherwise it is $7 per adult.
Show your ID if you are a local resident and your admission is free!
Rose Garden
Free admission!

Do you have a favorite local park you go to?

Linking up with Local Adventurer at Esther and Jacob.

Local Adventurer