Adventures in the city by the bay

11 Apr

Lately work has been taking me to different cities, some of which I visited for the first time.  When going to a new city I enjoy meeting the people, seeing the sights and experiencing different things.  Exploring and getting a feel for a new city is something that feeds my curious and adventurous spirit. Last weekend I found myself in San Francisco for a quick work trip.  Although that was my second time to the city, this trip allowed me more free time.

Before heading up, I did a bit of research and marked a few things I wanted to do.  When my trip was complete, I ended up doing one thing to feed each of my interests; nature, fitness, education and of course, food!

Here are some of my new, interesting and delicious discoveries in the great city of San Francisco!

Nature

Fort Mason was my home base for this trip.  What a wonderful place to wake up in the morning!  Actually built on a sand dune, Fort Mason was owned and operated as a military outpost for over 200 years.  It is now a historical landmark and national park.  Lower Fort Mason houses events, exhibits, concerts and galleries while the upper area offers a rolling green lawn, perfect for picnics, and a spectacular view of the bay.

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Golden Gate Park is over 3 miles long and about a half mile wide.  Built to be a refuge from the busy city, this park is home to many attractions such as the Academy of Sciences, De Young Museum and Conservatory of flowers.  Located near the middle of the park is the Japanese tea garden.  This five acre garden contains native Japanese plants, koi ponds and a zen garden.  Also in the garden is a tea house.  Here you can enjoy a cup of traditional Japanese tea in the peaceful garden setting.  It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco!

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Fitness 

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge was named one of the seven wonders of the modern world.  Opened in 1937, this impressive bridge spans 1.2 miles with towers extending over 700 feet into the sky.  It is one of the most recognizable structures in the world and is the most popular attraction in San Francisco.

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Being a recreational runner, I bring my running shoes with me wherever I go. Running is a great way to explore an area while getting some cardio and those endorphins kicking at the same time.  I have made so many wonderful discoveries, both at home and on the road, while out on a run.  After learning that I would be going to San Francisco, I knew that I had to run the Golden Gate Bridge!

Since I was staying nearby at Fort Mason, I decided to make the walk over.  This three mile walk takes you along the marina, passes through Chrissy Field and finally up to the bridge.  After getting up to the bridge, I began my run.   Being so far up from the water with the wind whipping over me was so fun and invigorating.  This definitely goes down as one of my most favorite runs and one thing I can check off my bucket list!

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Education 

During my time in the city, there was a special exhibit at the Asian Art Museum titled, Yoga: The Art of Transformation.  This interesting exhibit goes back to the ancient beginnings of yoga practice and explores three different themes; yoga relating to the body, power and science.  Each theme is displayed in a separate gallery, breaking it up and making the impressive collection more manageable.  The darkened lighting in the galleries created a relaxing and informative experience.  In conjunction with the exhibit, they hold events such as workshops, lectures and kids events.  This exhibit will run until May 25, 2014 and is a must visit if you are going to be in town.

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Visit the exhibit page for more information on Yoga: The Art of Transformation.

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Food 

Another great thing about traveling to a different place is being able to try different foods and cuisines.  When I go to a new place, I like to find a plant based restaurant in the area.  Seeing each person’s take on vegan and vegetarian cuisine is interesting and often inspiring.  Several ideas I’ve had have been inspired by a meal I had someplace else first.

After doing a little bit of Yelp investigating and sorting through the many vegan restaurant options that San Francisco has to offer, I decided on Millennium, a gourmet vegetarian restaurant in the heart of the city.  Located in the Tenderloin district, this restaurant has an upscale aesthetic but a relaxed atmosphere.

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It was a busy Friday night but with no reservation and after a short ten minute wait, they were able to accommodate me at the bar.  The bartender was friendly, attentive and helpful when it was time to order giving me his personal recommendations.  Their menu contains both small plates and entrees with influences from around the world.  Having so many interesting menu options can make it hard to decide.  After consulting with the bartender and a few other diners, here is what I decided on:

Herb marinated olives

A delicious beginning to the meal

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Sopes Verdes

pumpkin seed-habanero sauce, cashew sour cream, popped amaranth,
nopales, pickled onion & grapefruit salad

The flavors of the ingredients combined beautifully to create a complex but not overwelming dish.

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Crusted king trumpet mushrooms

Arborio rice & sesame dredge, cabbage & carrot salad with lime vinaigrette,
toasted red lentil chaat, methi-sweet soy Manchurian dipping sauce

The light dusting of arborio rice get these mushrooms crispy enough without making them too heavy and masking the flavor of the mushrooms.  A tasty dish that would be a great starter for a group and appeal to everyone’s tastebuds.

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I would definitely recommend Millennium to anyone visiting San Francisco.  The unique ingredient and flavor combinations are unlike anything I’ve had before.  The chefs here certainly tap into their creativity to create one of a kind dishes.  The food here is so delicious that the meat eaters in your party may completely forget that it’s vegetarian!

Millennium restaurant

580 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 345-3900

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Well, that is pretty much my San Francisco trip in a nutshell.  Stay tuned for more of my great adventures and remember to never stop exploring!

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