*Disclaimer: I am an employee of Kraft Heinz*
It’s hard to explain, but there’s just something magical about San Francisco. Everyone is super attractive and fit, the streets literally run vertically and are lined with beautiful, unique houses and all the while you’re right alongside the ocean and several majestic bridges. I was awestruck from the first time I ventured into the city, and the more time I spent there, the sadder I became that I’ll probably never be able to afford to live there (journalism major for the win).
The first magical thing about San Francisco is that we had three days off (as opposed to our usual two) which were much needed to do all of the necessary exploring. On our first day Conner, Jackie, Alex and I made our way into the city (via NUTmobile — a horrible mistake on San Fran’s narrow roads) and ventured to Chinatown — the largest one in existence outside of Asia. We ate some delicious pho and potstickers and toured a fortune cookie factory where the four of us split a bag of cookies with x-rated fortunes. After Chinatown we headed to the ocean to check out the wave organ, which is a sculpture in the bay that makes music when the waves hit it — I highly recommend checking this out if you’re ever in the Bay Area!
On our second day we traversed the city to hit many major spots such as Coit Tower and Lombard Street, but most of the day was spent at the Piers. My favorite things were the barking seals lounging and wrestling on Pier 39 (which reminded me of my brother Tony who had an obsession with seals as a kid), my fantastic bread bowl of clam chowder and Musée Mécanique, a creepy yet cool arcade with tons of old school games.
This day was particularly magical because Jackie met the love of her life, an Irishman named Joseph. While walking around shops on Fisherman’s Wharf, Alex, Jackie and I were starving and ready to head to lunch when Conner’s boujee self insisted that we first go into a bamboo clothing store. While in the store, I was personally distracted by the pillows (turns out bamboo is out-of-this-world comfortable…Conner was right), but Jackie started talking to the cute redheaded cashier. They hit it off right away and the rest of us peer pressured her into giving him her number before we left. They went on their first date that night (I lent her my favorite flannel so I’d like to take some credit for their love) and what followed was a story of star-crossed lovers that could inspire several best-selling Nicholas Sparks novels. In all seriousness though, the two of them still keep in contact and I am saving up for a wedding in Ireland in the near future. This was also how our group of west coast nuts and hot dogs (Jackie, Alex, Elise, Conner and I) became collectively known as Bamboujee — a play on bamboo, boujee, and a popular Migos song.
On our last day off, my lifelong dream of being a hot dog model was fulfilled. Jackie and Alex had to take promotional pictures with the Golden Gate bridge, and Conner and I tagged along to star in some of the photos. We were paid handsomely in the best hot dogs known to man: Oscar Mayer! Afterward we headed to Sutro Baths, an old bath house that burned down in 1966. The ruins of it were fun to explore and climb on and the whole site had beautiful views of the Bay.
The rest of our week was heavier on work than fun with one exception: Bread Mike. Elise met Bread Mike at one of our events and he invited our team to tour his bread factory, which sounds underwhelming but turned into one shell of an adventure. When we arrived after work, Bread Mike first took us to his self-made bar above the factory which he calls Fillmore Yeast. The bar was a huge music space filled with guitars, couches, a stage and awesome relics from Van Halen, Billy Joel and many more rock stars he’s met. The tour continued on to the actual factory which housed Bread Mike’s huge motorcycle and surfboard collections and finally a tutorial on how they make their world-class bread.
We left with five loaves of sourdough in hand (which we lived off of for the rest of the week) and an invite to see Bread Mike sing at a local bar that night. We went of course, and even though he primarily sang country music (not my usual cup of tea) we had a great time hanging out and chatting with locals who all adored him. I loved getting to meet Mike because I think the way he lives his life is fascinating. He has ridden across South America via motorcycle, competed in surfing competitions, owned a successful bar and met countless of his musical idols. If he has a desire to do something, he makes it happen, which I think is why he is so happy and willing to share what he has with others. My dream is definitely not to own a bread company, but I hope I can live my life similarly to Bread Mike and never stop trying new things.
On our last night in San Francisco, we reunited with our Hotdogger counterparts and went out for a delicious seafood meal right on the ocean. After dinner, the five of us walked down to the beach where we told stories, danced, chanted and made wishes on flowers before throwing them into the waves. I realize this sounds pretty weird, but as our week came to a close, I think we were all just feeling the magic of San Francisco (its beauty, unique culture and its ever-present fog which some locals call Carl) as well as grateful for this amazing job and the people it has brought into our lives. I feel like I say this a lot, but I LOVE my job, and The Golden City was definitely one of my favorite weeks to date.
Later Legume Lovers!