San Francisco – A Photo Essay

So… I will be travelling back to Jakarta in just a few days and the road trip component of my trip has ended. It became increasingly difficult to blog from the road especially as we camped so much in the latter part of the trip but I am inspired to try to blog about the rest of the destinations I went to especially as Maija, a friend who travelled with us for two weeks has already done so. Here’s her post on San Francisco.

I was beyond excited to go to San Francisco and not only so I could meet Colleen. San Francisco has for a long time known to be a place of progressive and alternative thinking so it comes as no surprise that it is one of the most vegan friendly places on the planet. There is so much amazing veg stuff happening here.  So many restaurants, cafes and animal rights activists doing amazing things. It was here that we met my brother Jack who was flying in from Brisbane to join us for the rest of the trip. My younger and I have a really good relationship. He is also vegan and became so when I gave him an MP3 player with Colleen’s podcasts on.  Because Jack is very open-minded and is just downright awesome he listened and became vegan pretty much overnight. I felt (and still feel) very lucky to share a trip like this with my brother. Not many people have the opportunity to do this. 🙂 I love the fact that his heart was so open to the suffering of the voiceless and that he was prepared to make changes to his lifestyle.

We were also joined by the lovely Maija who joined us fairly last minute on the trip. We’ve known Maija since our Hanoi days and we even lived across the road from each other in Bangkok too. Although not vegan, she seemed happy enough to indulge our restaurant and food obsessions with us or at least did so without complaining. It has to be said though, I don’t think it was too much of a hardship. Maija loves food as much as we do! 🙂 Phew…

We arrived in San Francisco having spent a night in the Redwoods in the late morning. We stopped to take in our first foggy view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Arriving in San Francisco – The Golden Gate Bridge from the other side. Nice socks and sandals. It was cold! No-one told me it would get cold in summer!

Before heading out to the airport to pick up Jack we headed over to Cafe Gratitude in Berkley. It’s a bit of an institution in California focussing on innovative and delicious raw and cooked food. Both Seb and I love beautiful raw food although this time I had the polenta with mushrooms which was uh-mazing. I would recommend it for sure although like all raw places it is a touch more expensive. You are  always paying for lots of expensive nuts and seeds and considerable labour expenses. I had the ‘I Am Cool’ smoothie.

Lunch at Cafe Gratitude

This was our dessert. Raw cheesecake of the day.

We then headed over to Cinnaholic to pick up cinnamon rolls for Jack and ahem… try one for ourselves. I asked Seb if he thought they were better than my cinnamon rolls. He said yes without a moments hesitation. I had to agree with him.

Cinnaholic. These guys need to be in every city in the world.

We then headed to the airport to pick up Jack. So amazing to see him. It’s Joopy!!! In San Francisco! How did that happen?

Jack joins us all the way from Brisbane.

We headed back to Berkeley for dinner. While I love Australia I have to say that the amount of stuff for veg heads in Australia absolutely pales in comparison to what is available in Vancouver and the Western US. Australia really needs to get its act together. Jack LOVES his food and seems to have empty legs with the amount he can put away.

He has a sweet tooth so he had to go and buy 2 more cinnamon rolls before having dinner at Wholefoods. I know you are probably thinking that we are making too much of a fuss over cinnamon rolls. To that I say ‘you haven’t tasted these cinnamon rolls. You are not qualified to comment’.

Back to Cinnaholic. Left – maple raspberry Right cookie dough

Abundance at Wholefoods – vegan ice creams

We then drove up to Vacaville, about 2 hours towards Orland so the next day we would be nearer Farm Sanctuary. We drove back to meet Maija at our hotel in Pacific Heights. It was so awesome to see her. We’d not seen Maija since we went our separate ways last year. Maija to NYC and us to Jakarta. Maija is one of the easiest people to be around ever and I know that we will always be crossing paths with each other.  Here is Maija’s gorgeous self! 🙂

Maija arrives. Here we are at Gracias Madre

We headed to Gracias Madre a vegan Mexican restaurant in Mission Street. We didn’t make a reservation and the place was packed. We ordered take away to have at the hotel. I had my first ever tamales. I was a little unhappy that we couldn’t get a table but filled with hope that a vegan restaurant could be sooooo busy given that there was a 90 minute wait to get a table.

Eating in our hotel room

The following day we explored San Francisco mostly by foot because we are hardcore! 🙂 We walked from our hotel to Lombard Street to see the world’s most crooked street.

Seb at the top of the world’s most crooked street.

Brother at sister at the foot of the street.

Mayday mayday! Reenacting submarine life in WW2

It was with some reluctance that I agreed when Seb said he wanted to go to visit the submarine USS Pampanito however, I was wrong to think it would be boring. I am not in to wars and I have to admit it was fascinating. The audio tour was fantastic and included stories by the actual sailors themselves and gave such a vivid picture in our minds as we walked around the sub. I left with a new found respect for the people that worked and operated these incredible machines such a long time ago.

I have no idea why Seb was picking me up here. I do know that it was probably because we were being stupid.

Submarine love!


Right next door was an old fashioned coin operated arcade. It was full of the most bizarre things. We were mystified by this ‘real life’ opium den.

Seb managed to persuade me to play whack-a-fluffy object as I prefer to call it. I was good at it too.

Not very vegan but fun.

We got tickets!

Heading to Alcatraz

With some luck we managed to get tickets for Alcatraz. Normally it sells out at least a week in advance. It was awesome but cold. The audio tour was fantastic. It was narrated by inmates and officers of ‘The Rock’. Totally recommended. The island is also a protected habitat for seabirds. See the gull chicks?


Baby gulls


Herbivore in Berkley.

We had dinner at Herbivore in Berkeley. Total comfort food.

The next day we walked down for our bus tour (part of the combined ticket we had to buy to get tickets for Alcatraz) We went on the old trams up and down the steep streets. I was told off by the driver for putting my feet on the seats. Before we got on though, we stumbled across this most beautiful park. We headed over to the bridge where we took some obligatory photos and walked across the bridge.

San Fran was totally awesome! I have to admit I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about whether I could settle down and live in the places we visit. Seb knew this is what I was thinking if I said ‘MAKE IT HAPPEN!’ in an especially loud and demanding tone. This was code for please hurry up and make a gazillion dollars so I can be a lady of leisure right here. I did this with most of the destinations on this trip. Such a stunning country.

Hmmm…… Why do I always want to live in places that are so expensive to live? San Fran. I will be back.

Enchanting public gardens

Maija and I at the bridge

Golden gate bridge

One of the pylons


Enchiladas with Tempeh

I’d never made Enchiladas before. They are actually amazingly easy and Seb and I enjoyed 2 helpings of them. We still have Daiya cheese left from Seb’s return from Canada we had tempeh and burritos in the freezer too. So incredibly delicious and amazing. It was accompanied with guac and homemade sour cream. I think I pulled this together in about 45 mins.


Dinner at Los Cabos – Mexican Food.

We finally went here after our Thai class with some friends. It wasn’t so cheap (300thb per main dish), but they had a huge vegetarian menu (although you had to ask for it). Seb and I had burritos and salsa dips. Delicious…

The setting was so lovely, and the gorgeous old fashioned teak house (the former French ambassador’s residence) had a beautiful deck to enjoy the balmy Bangkok nights we have been experiencing recently.

View The Places I Talk About in my Blog. in a larger map