Day 3, and my last full day in San Francisco with family.
My brother suggested that since we’ve seen most of the big famous sites within the city, perhaps it’s a nice day to be out of the city a bit to check out where he used to live, his office, and also the Palo Alto area where Stanford and Google campus are located (and many more big companies!). The original plan was to take it slow and perhaps swing by the bridge one more time for me to take photos and spend evening exploring Chinatown. However, after my brother’s girlfriend mentioned the newly opened San Francisco Premium Outlet that has awesome brands and better things compared to the mega Palm Springs Outlet, my brother decided to squeeze that into our schedule (hooray!). I mean… shopping is a girl’s best friend right? Even window shop is a lot of fun (at least to me :P)
Our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stop of the day were: San Mateo / Gong Cha / Office visit
Gongcha is a bubble tea / boba tea shop that originated from Taiwan. To be honest I have never heard of the brand when I was working in Taipei. The first time I’ve heard of it was when I saw my friend checked-in the place in Japan. I was never that ‘big’ on bubble tea when I was in Taiwan, but perhaps it’s link to ‘Taiwan,’ I always have terrible cravings when they are not easily accessible :O For example, I craved when I was in Tokyo and Charlotte, but do not crave as much when I am in Asia or California where it’s super easy to get bubble tea fix. Human nature? Perhaps. lol The beverages were good, but nothing extraordinary to share. I think I’d actually prefer Ten Ren more.
4th stop: Standford University
I was very excited to visit Stanford because it’s a famous school! Not to mention it’s likely to consider Stanford as the most prestigious school in the West Coast…? Anyways, the campus was big, but I would have to agree with my brother that there were only so many places at the main campus to take tourist-worthy photos. We didn’t spend a lot of time there – mainly to take photos, walked around the centre location a bit to get an idea of ‘Stanford’ and that was it. I have to say by this point maybe it’s because I am out of college for awhile, school sort of all look the same to me… But in my heart UCSB is always the best ❤ alma mater love!
5th stop: Google Campus
My parents weren’t all that keen on visiting google campus, but I’ve seen photos of the cute androids before so I was determined to go see them myself, and ideally, grab a few cute souvenirs from the gift shop if possible. My brother did not do enough homework / research *ehem* before the trip, so it actually took us awhile to find where the cute androids are at. Thanks to Google, it did not take us long to find the location 😀 I thought it was cute people can rent the bikes to bike around Google campus to see the different buildings and stuff. Notice the bikes were painted google colour as well 😉 How fun! I love all the androids I got to see that day, and took a bunch of photos with them along with my Rilakkuma. How can you not like the cute robots with sweets in their hand? hehe.
6th stop: San Francisco Premium Outlet
This was not part of the original schedule my brother proposed, but after his girlfriend told us all the good things she got from the outlet during July 4th sale, my mom and I were curious to check out especially after she said the products here are better than the Palm Spring Outlet.
If we go from downtown SF to the outlet would be quite a drive, but luckily since we were already away from the city in Palo Alto area, it was not as inconvenient to go there before we head back to the city. If you have extra time travelling to SF, I highly recommend to stop by this outlet. They have some pretty good stuff and brands. Even though it’s a bit out of the way, but I think at the right decision and right promotion going on, you’ll be able to get awesome things & sweet deal. That day we all got some stuff from the outlet. Rewards 😛
7th stop: Chinatown
Since I am a tourist, I gotta have that ‘been there done that’ attitude… so San Francisco Chinatown is still a must-visit on my list. The day before I actually had the opportunity to walk to a part of Chinatown with my brother in search for Starbucks, but tonight we are actually having legit Chinese dinner at Chinatown! The reason my brother decided to take us here is because President Obama had been to this restaurant a long time ago (haha you cannot meet the president but could have the opportunity to try something he had right?), and that he’s been here before and thought the food was good. I was very excited to try Z&Y because I am always up for good Chinese food…
basically none available in Charlotte. I am not sure if the restaurant takes reservation or not, but we had to wait in line for quite awhile. During the time, my brother suggested we can go to the famous Golden Gate Bakery to get some egg tarts to go since it’s right around the corner (only 5min walk) from Z&Y. I have heard of Golden Gate Bakery before and people’s praise on how delicious the egg tarts are. We arrived 15min before the bakery closed and managed to get the egg tarts… fresh out of oven! Originally we thought they ran out of the egg tarts right in front of us… NOOOO! but luckily they carried more out… We got some moon cakes and also a dozen egg tarts to go.
Perfect timing – just when we got the egg tarts I got a phone call from my brother that we are ready to be seated for dinner. 😉
Since it’s the last family dinner together in SF, we ordered a lot of delicious food to share. I am a foodie and spent a lot of time in Asia, and… I highly recommend Z&Y! Even though a lot of their menu are spicy items, they tasted great. I especially recommend the soup and beef burrito (Chinese style) they are SO delicious. I would love to return again to try other dishes… Sigh, if only Charlotte has this level of restaurant, I probably will become best friend with the owner (because I’d like to visit frequently :P)
We tried the egg tart back at hotel as late evening dessert while chatting with family. I am usually not a big fan of egg tarts, but these ones were amazing. The custard was creamy with that amazing fragrance, and the tart was soft and crispy fresh out of oven… It was the best way I could imagine to conclude a lovely Sunday evening with family at a wonderful hotel and a great city. I was told much later until I uploaded my photos that we were very lucky to get the egg tarts. Apparently the bakery closes pretty frequently and it’s common for people to make their way to the bakery to find out it’s not opened. Lucky us!
If you ask me, it is very difficult to decide which day was my favourite in San Francisco. They were all very different and I got to see a lot from an insider’s perspective this trip. However, I have to admit it’s Palo Alto that really made me want to move back to California / San Francisco area. I absolutely loved the atmosphere and the vibe there. The shopping centre area was lovely, the weather was awesome, and I love the feel of big company -high tech-and combination with academic environment that Palo Alto provides. It was also fun to run into Sunday fair / farmer’s market on the way to Stanford. I love how it still has my favourite Cali vibe, but the same time also some coolness that reminds me of Charlotte, specifically the NoDa area.
I am aware the job market is competitive nowadays and there are hundreds, if not thousands of people like me who would love to move to that area… I will continue to try my best and set that as one of the near future goals to complete 😉 Wait for me, beautiful NorCal!
Have you been to the places I mentioned / went in my post today? What was your impression? How about the food? Have you tried them before? Thoughts? I would love to hear your opinion. If you are a foodie, make sure to visit the Chinese restaurant and the bakery. Guaranteed you will not be disappointed. They were glorious 😀
I look forward to the day when I can relocate back to golden state California x
Have a great day ahead readers!