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Monday, December 05, 2005

Bay Area Trip (Day 4)

SATURDAY, Day 4, started off with a drive to Sausalito (minus my brother who stayed behind to do some studying). The drive was about an hour long and was pretty uneventful if not for the beautiful view of the bay and our momentous crossing of the Golden Gate bridge.

Sausalito is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is truly a beautiful place, wonderful views, perfect weather, and filled with small art galleries, craft stores, boutiques and souvenir shops. There are a number of fine dining restaurants and small cafes. The paths are lined with cottage-style homes (with a very New England fishing village feel). I used to daydream about getting married in Sausalito. I pictured a small intimate wedding in a little chapel overlooking the water, surrounded by tall Redwood trees and sloping hillsides. The reception would start with cocktails by the Sausalito marina overlooking a magnificent sunset, followed by a lovely candlelight dinner at “The Inn Above Tide”, a nearby four-star hotel that despite being quite modern I have always found quite charming.

Of course, when I moved to LA in 2002 and was in the midst of planning my wedding in 2004, I had so many things to take care of and so many people to accommodate that my dream wedding in Sausalito was next to impossible. I did have a lovely wedding in Long Beach though – but that’s another story.

Anyway, when we arrived in Sausalito, we strolled around the marina and visited The Inn Above Tide. It was a very cold day despite the bright sunshine. We had brunch at The Winship Restaurant. After chowder, salad and sandwiches, we explored the little city and visited a number of boutiques. We visited art galleries and antique stores. We browsed thru tourist shops selling local items perfect for souvenirs. Mom stopped by a glass store and bought glass garlands. And my hubby and I bought a bag of saltwater taffy for friends. We looked inside crafts stores and marveled at the artistry of local craftsmen and artists. Of all the shops, our favorite was this delightful little store called The Christmas Shop. True to its name it sold all things Christmas from exquisite ornaments to elaborate wreaths and Christmas trees. It was really filled with such beautiful pieces. I ended up buying a little gold stand and several crystal ornaments (santas and snowmen) to adorn my living room table. Of course, my mom selected several ornaments as well.

Our last stop before leaving was Lappert’s Ice Cream Shop. If you have never tried Lappert’s Ice Cream, you are truly missing a wonderful gastronomical experience. Lappert’s is Hawaiian ice cream, truly rich and decadent that comes in delicious tropical flavors – like mango, guava, Kona coffee, macadamia nut and more. Of course they have the standard favorites like chocolate, strawberry, and others as well. My hubby and I shared three scoops of Kona coffee, Hawaiian dark chocolate and peanut butter. My folks shared three scoops of blueberry, strawberry and banana. As I mentioned earlier, it was a cold day and the wind from the bay really kept us all bundled up, but we still managed to finish our ice cream to the last bite.

We then took the scenic route (a.k.a. “got lost”) to Berkeley where I gave my dad the grand tour starting with my very first apartment – my first home away from home, it was as old and grungy as when I first lived there – but I loved it. My mom, who had been there before, said it best when she jokingly called it “as ugi as ever”. We drove by some of the places where I used to hang out, cruised by the buildings where I had my classes, walked thru the park (farmer’s market) where I bought my produce every Saturday morning, and visited some notable Berkeley landmarks. My brother met us shortly before we went to mass at St. Joseph the Worker – same place I went to mass every week I lived in Berkeley.

After mass, the weather had turned very cold and my dad wanted a place that served hot noodle soup. I thought of this small noodle house called Long Life Noodle on Shattuck Street where my friends and I had very good Asian noodle bowls on strictly student budgets. But turns out the place didn’t have a very long life of its own as we found it had already closed down. We then decided to drive to the nearby Ranch 99 complex in the outskirts of Berkeley where we had a really good hotpot (do it yourself place where you either grill your own food or cook it in hot soup)) dinner at Coriya HotPot Restaurant.


jol said...

Your memory is really tops! I don't recall seeing you take down notes as we go along our trip but your narration is so very detailed. Sausalito and Berkeley are two beautiful cities and highly recommended for travellers.

jml said...

I totally agree. Some places are just are just blessed with great natural beauty and charm. Sausalito is definitely worth a visit. Berkeley will always be special because I associate it with wonderful memories of my visit with you and the great time we had.