A Semi-Regular Mix of Written and Video Documentation of My Travels

CA Day 6 - Burritos, Bridges, and Buds

Today was a pretty relaxed day hopping around the Bay Area with my band friends, which made for pretty perfect Saturday. Things started in SF as Garrett and I got some coffee at local chain Ritual Coffee Roasters, which was one of the original craft coffee roasters in San Francisco. It was a pretty classic coffee shop, sleek designs and strong roasty flavors, but the coffee was great and they deserve some credit for riding the trend first.

After snagging some morning joe, we made our way to funky Berkeley, counter-culture college town for the ages. We met up with our friends Aaron and Emily for lunch at place called Sushinista, so we could partake in one of the most beautiful things to come out of the Bay Area: the sushi burrito! Sushinista isn’t the first place to create this magnificent fusion, but they do a hell of a job with it. The sushirito is definitely more sushi than burrito in terms of content, consisting of rice, meat, and toppings wrapped up in nori and stretched to the length of a burrito and it’s really a pretty perfect formula. I went with salmon as my meat, with avocado and sesame seeds as my toppings, and while I may have underestimated just how weak my wasabi tolerance is, everything was so fresh and delicious. To make things even better, Emily had the fantastic idea to take everything to go so we that we could have a makeshift picnic in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, a really lovely city park, unsurprisingly near the civic center right in the middle of the city. Between the perfect weather, good friends, and sushi burrito it was pretty much a perfect lunch.


After lunch, we strolled around Berkeley and ended up at a French Bakery called Au Coquelet, where I got some more coffee. We also all split something called a Chocolate Insanity Cake, because the real insane thing would have been not to. Unfortunately, the cake did not last long enough to get a photo opportunity which is a testament to just how good it was. Fortunately some other not insane person online also photographed this decadent desert:


After the cake and coffee, we all drove down to Oakland, where Emily and Aaron lived. We met up with another friend of ours, Gianina, at a place called Cookiebar Creamery, a beautiful place that specialized in cookies, ice cream, and combining the two in homemade ice cream sandwiches. There’s nothing not to to love about it, and it’s very cute to match the sweetness of its wares. The chocolate insanity had satisfied my pastry craving, so I stuck to the ice cream. They had a lot of funky flavors that I hadn’t seen before like Vietnamese Coffee and Ube (a Philippine sweet yam, like taro), and they were all super tasty, but the Vanilla was rich and home made with real vanilla beans mixed in so I had to stick to my classic guns. (if you can’t tell by now, most of this day consists of just eating really good things with friends, but if that’s how I could spend everyday, I’d be pretty darn happy even if it made for a more boring blog).


To work off the ice cream, we spent a lovely afternoon walking around Oakland and taking in the sights. We walked along the perfectly clear Glen Echo Creek, took in the wildly avant-garde glass architecture of a contemporary church called the Cathedral of Christ the Light that was unfortunately closed for the nights, and marveled at the stunning art-decode facade of the famous Paramount Theater.

At this point, we stopped for one more coffee for me because everyone else was much less chemically dependent on the stuff than I was. We went to Farley’s East which is a hip Uptown shop, that has neat hang out vibe, good coffee, and some really wacky art on the walls which was obviously my favorite part.


Near Aaron and Emily’s apartment, we saw a dispensary that made fascinating use of our old alma mater’s logo. We decided to poke around inside, because I’d never been to one before. Some have opened up on the East Coast now, but at the time they were still pretty much only a west coast institution, so I feel like it would be dishonest to the spirit of seeing the country to not check it out. I’ve never really been much of a drug guy, which people are sometimes surprised by given my goofiness, but that’s au natural baby. My overarching impression from actually seeing what legal pot selling looks like was just how much wildly safer it is compared to just buying stuff from some random guy. Everything was very carefully portioned and labeled, with little details about what you could expect and what they’d recommend using different strands for. I really appreciated that kind of transparency, and I think knowing exactly what you’re getting is so much more likely to prevent a bad experience. It was a lot more like a pharmacy than a bar, and the vibe was very much more that they were there to help you deal with pain and stress rather than to get you messed up, which I thought was cool. I think there are some real risks with legalization, mainly in terms of people driving while high and edibles looking just like candy and snacks a little kid might want to eat by accident, but I think overall the safety element, the medical element, and the reduction of unnecessary incarcerations lead me to feeling like overall it’s a good step for society to be moving more towards full legalization.


From there, we brought our bay hopping and made our way back to SF to see our friends Zoë and Jair. Garrett and I took a slightly longer than necessary route, partly so that we could avoid traffic, but mostly so that I could say I got to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. I’d been seeing it from a distance the past couple days, but getting to see it up close totally lived up to the hype as it cut pretty striking orange figure in dusky sky:


We made it to Zoë and Jair’s place, and with all our friends assembled we made our way to Shanghai Dumpling King for a veritable feast of sharable treats. We had veggie, shrimp, and pork dumplings of the steamed and fried variety, as well as some glorious steamed buns. Naturally though as tasty as our feast was, the real highlight was just getting to see all these people in the same room in again, catching up and sharing laughs in between bites.


After dinner, we went back to my friends’ apartment and had drinks and watched silly videos until it hurt to laugh any more. Then we did the very California thing of going out to sit on the beach and look at the stars. It was pretty perfect.

From there, Garrett and I planned on driving back to his place but we couldn’t find my car. We chalked it up to the drinks, and figured if we were too drunk to find the car we were definitely too drunk to drive it, so we ubered home. Of course what actually happened we didn’t figure out until the morning. Dun dun dun… (I wasn’t expecting to get to do a cliffhanger post but here we are)

Favorite Random Sightings: Mr. Pickle; Sweet belly; Hella History (leaning into the regional vernacular); OctoberFeast 

Regional Observations: There were signs on the highway telling you to buckle up when you drive with the phrase “Suck it up, buttercup” which I thought was both hilarious and a little unprofessional

Albums Listened To: Songs in the Key of Springfield by Various Artists (a fantastic collection of classic musical moments from the first 10 years of the Simpsons); Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen (the first album I ever got of his); Songs of Shame by Woods (just Military Madness); Sons of Rogues Gallery (more pirate songs!)

People’s Favorite Jokes:

Didn’t get any today so here’s one from the internet:

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."
Then a voice from the back of the room piped up: "Yeah, right."

Songs of the Day:

One of Conan O’Brien’s crowning achievements

I love how out of nowhere this song is on an otherwise pretty somber album

This one’s always in my head

Joseph PalanaComment