August ended up being a pretty busy month for having visitors around. Maybe it’s just a natural reaction to the fall season when we all need to get that one last vacation in. Having just gone on vacation last month, and having some travel plans coming up, it’s nice to take some time to just stay home. Luckily for us, staying around the Bay always feels like a pseudo vacation when we have company.
I think in the matter of one month we had about 8 visitors! Some have never been here, some used to live here, and some haven’t been here to visit in a couple years. Whichever the case, I was glad to have all of them around to catch up with.
Whenever a visitor comes around, we try to take them out to some of our favorite places to eat or drink, so I wanted to share some of those spots in this post. I wish I had taken more photos while they were all around, but hopefully we see them again soon and can do this again.
Rachael and Kurt were our first visitors of the month, and we had lunch at a pop-up restaurant in Oakland called, Abura-Ya. Looking like a small bar from the street, and known for their tasty fried chicken, they did not disappoint. There isn’t a huge menu of options, but they have chicken and rice plates, vegan/vegetarian options, and a bunch of beverages (everything from beers to sparkling jello sake). It was all delicious and a really chill lunchtime location, and we all got a kick out of my little Evie sitting at the bar.
Chicago friends, Matt and Leah, waited for my husband Peabe to finish up at work over a cold beer. The crowd here can be hit or miss, but the open courtyard seating on a sunny day makes it all worth it. Not a big fan of their food, but Evie did get a scoop of ice cream to keep her content as we waited.
Photo from the Drake’s website
Beers put us in the perfect mood for some grilled sausages, and Rosamunde always hits the spot. All-natural ingredients, no antibiotics, not hormones, nitrate-free, but I think the best part of going here is trying all the various sausages. Rabit, lamb, venison, or just play it safe with a regular beef dog wrapped in a piece of bacon.
Photo from the Rosamunde’s website
Because ice cream should be after every meal, really. I’m not a big fan of ube (Filipino purple sweet potato) ice cream, but I swear this is the best ube ice cream around. They have some awesome flavors like jasmine milk tea and banana oreo, but the best thing about this place is definitely the warmed up cookie and ice cream sandwiches. Try the “cookies n cream” cookie, seriously.
Midnight snacks for Matt, Leah, Peabe and I? Our local taco truck and arguably the best one in Oakland. I didn’t know I loved tacos until I came here. Seriously this is the ONE place that I miss when we leave town. Perfect for late night drinking… or anytime really. So many memories here with visitors, we’ve been taking friends and family to this truck for 8 years now.
Photo from visitoakland.org and featured photo from insomniac.com
With Sherri and Matt in SF, we decided to go to one of our go-to ramen joints. I don’t think I’ve seen Sherri since she photographed my wedding a couple years back. I am not going to link this one because frankly, I think we are going to stop bringing people here. I am not sure if it came under new management or not, but the last 3 times here were disappointing. 2 of the 3 times I ordered my regular tsukamen which didn’t seem to have changed, but this time I ordered a regular ramen and saw a difference. It’s a shame, they used to be really good and never really had a line to wait in. Catching up with Sherri and Matt made it totally worth it. Check out these family snaps she took for us and check out her page: http://www.sherrijphotography.com
If you are looking to check out ramen in SF, another place I would recommend is Orenchi Beyond
Photos by Sherri J Photography
Neighborhood favorite, arguably the best pizza in Oakland, and owned and ran by one of the most genuine people, who also happens to have roots back in Illinois. When our friend and old neighbor, Prashanth, came back for a quick visit in the old stomping grounds, there was really no question as to where we were going to meet. Then again when Fabian (one of my best men) came in as a surprise we did not hesitate to do it twice in a week. Haddon Hill Cafe and Leaning Tower Pizza was really the catalyst that introduced us to our neighbors and connected us with new friends. Hanging out for pizza and beers on a random weekday night or chatting over some coffee on a Sunday morning has become ritual. Their mushroom special pizza is basically one of our food groups at this point, but we have not been disappointed by any of the pies. I think we’ve celebrated so many holidays and birthdays at this spot and with these people that it’s almost an extension of family and home.
Isaac and “the baby” as photographed by Sue Amar
A staple for some good Mexican food in Berkeley, some of my oldest and closest friends from the Bay Area meet here to catch up with each other and fill our bellies. Fabian was actually the common denominator in this group of friends and we were all bummed when he left Oakland a couple years back. Imagine our surprise when she shows up unannounced to crash our dinner! Flour chips are the table favorite, and I highly recommend the chili verde. We ate, drank, got surprised, and hung out with the newest member of the crew, Baby G.