California Dreaming Part 1

California Dreaming Part 1

So I turned 41 a little bit over a week ago. Apart from my Hawaii trip last year, I usually spend my birthday overseas, usually in a country I have never been before. With COVID putting a damper on international travel, I decided to go on a camping and hiking trip to the West Coast.

I went with a good friend, Aileen, who usually spends her birthday overseas as well. We decided to go to Yosemite National Park as both of us have never been and planned to summit Half Dome on my birthday.

We flew out of Fort Lauderdale via Jetblue on Saturday, September 5th, non-stop to San Francisco. I love Jetblue because they have the most legroom, give you free snacks, and awesome inflight entertainment options. I even watched parts of the incredibly exciting Serena Williams v. Sloan Stephens match at the US Open.


The California wildfires were so extensive that you could actually see the smoke clouds from the plane!

We arrived in SFO the afternoon. Picked up our car and got upgraded by this lovely Filipina “Tita” and got this beauty…

First order of business was to eat some Asian food. Given the paucity of Asian food selections in South Florida, we were the most excited about this! On the recommendation of my friend Siri, our first stop was the Osmanthus Dim Sum Lounge. Amazingness abound! I had the incomparable baked BBQ beef buns, the beef patty (the name does not do this beauty justice), Singapore style noodles, the buddha dumplings, and an assortment of other deliciousness. They also have an extensive selection of whiskeys. Aileen partook in an impromptu tasting and was very impressed. Afterwards, we went to Little Swan bakery and bought some stuff to go.

We also walked around the North Beach/Telegraph Hill neighborhood which was so charming and full of life. We stumbled upon this incredible vintage-inspired store called Al’s Attire. Found this amazing “Fight the Virus” limited edition jacket that features Wonder Woman on the back. The superhero panel is made from unlicensed fabric from 1975 and is truly one of a kind.

We planned to go to Muir Woods but it was closed that day so we ended up heading to Stinson Beach, a place I last visited in 2012. It was still as magical as ever! You drive up and down these winding roads and you are greeted by cliffs overlooking the Pacific.

Check out the green orb in this photo!

After the most beautiful sunset, we then drove west to our Napa Valley base of operations, the Calistoga Inn.

More California Dreamin’ in Part 2!