California Revival

Leaving my dog, Ruby, with my mom was very difficult for me. Every night I wake up with the thought, "Why don't I feel Ruby at my feet right now?" When I see street dogs, I think of how wild she would get on walks. I wonder what she's doing right at that moment. If she misses me. I guess you could compare my feelings to those of parents when their child goes to college. 

Anyway, this one's supposed to be about California. I went to high school in Northern Cali, spending ample time in the San Francisco East Bay. While on my 10-day visit, I crashed at my mom's house in Dublin. My teenage years were not the happiest times of my life, so having to spend a lot of time in the city where it all happened was emotionally challenging for me. Fortunately, I got to spend a good amount of time with my brother and his girlfriend, went to see a musical with my mom, and even had a family reunion before I left. All the babies I've been stalking on Facebook finally came to life.

No matter how I try to deny it, some large part of me is still a California girl. Here's my SF Bay Area faves for anyone visiting:

  • Food: I've said it once and I'll say it again... California is a foodie's heaven. Fast food, organic, Asian, Latin, you name it!
    • In N' Out - Only available in The Golden State, this is the freshest fast food you can get! No, not like Subway. I don't even think this should be explained. Everything you need to know about ordering is here.
    • Gracias Madre, Mission District, San Francisco - Went here for the second time with my buddy, Andy (who lost a huge amount of weight, high five!). It's vegetarian/vegan Mexican food. Most memorable is the taco with a platano inside. OMG so good!
    • Ruchi, 3rd Street, San Francisco - Craving Indian for lunch? They've got a great lunch menu deal. Order at the back, sit a while with a cup of chai or lassi, and then enjoy. Authentic, organic, and fresh.
  • Shopping: Sure, it may not be a fashion capital, but there are some pretty sweet buys around.
    • Forever 21 - If your country or state doesn't have one of these, you better not miss out. This is fast fashion at it's finest! 
    • Macy's Shoe Department - The sale section is pure gold for any shoe addict.
    • Sephora - Not really loving your look today? Having a bad eyeliner day? Get a free 15-minute or less makeover from any of the employees there.
    • Ranch 99 - Asian groceries. Seaweed snacks, lychee drinks, shrimp chips, exotic fruits galore!
    • Target - Sure, it's all over the USA, but for foreigners this is absolute amazement. This store has everything you need. Travel supplies, a pharmacy, swimwear, loungewear, makeup, pet supplies, sports gear, groceries, and so much more!