Category Archives: Silicon Valley

Best Activities To Do With Kids in the Bay Area

not being a parent myself, it took me a little while to research the best activities to do with my nieces when they came to visit. it was a whole different world to me. but after doing a few google searches and talking with my friends who do have kids, i found some pretty great options and wanted to share my finds with you!

Best Activities to do with Kids in the Bay Area

1. children’s creativity museum in san jose – this option is geared more towards older kids but your littlest ones will love it just the same. so much to see, experience and learn!

2. slide ranch (just past san francisco) – great outdoor ranch for picnicking, hiking, exploring and interacting with animals. “slide ranch connects children with nature.” and what kid doesn’t love nature? i think my nieces would live outside if we let them.

3. berry / apple picking at gizdich ranch in watsonville – this is a great activity for any age. b and i went apple picking just the two of us and thoroughly enjoyed it but going with a little one can make it extra special. our little niece was so excited by every strawberry she picked. she  would cheer and talk about how yummy they are. see those jazz hands below? she did that every time. she kills me.
this could technically count for two activities because eating the berries is a heavenly experience in and of itself. never have i ever tasted such amazing strawberries in my life (and for very reasonable prices — $1.75/pound).
oh and don’t forget to let your kids enjoy the play area behind the cafe while you enjoy a piece of the best pie on earth. heck, buy a whole pie and bring the experience home. that is what i did. $11 for a whole pie? yes please. i can vouch for two berry and olalliberry.

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4. san francisco or oakland zoo – i think i go to the zoo every time i visit my nieces and nephews. kids dig the zoo. so why not add these two to your list?

5.  vasona park in los gatos – definitely one of my new favorite parks! this park has it all. steam engine train to tour the property? check. boating in the lake? check. fishing in said lake? check. bbq grills? check. large open meadows to frolick? check. walking path to get your cardio on? check.

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6. san jose municipal rose garden – the roses are in bloom now so walking the garden is simply breathtaking. i am not sure how long their blooming season lasts but it is def worth a trip to see it. i loved all the different colors of roses as well as the fountain and rose archway. beautiful beautiful garden in wonderful neighborhood of san jose (the homes surrounding the garden are eye candy as well). great big lawn behind the rose garden is good for frisbee, croquet, picnicking or letting your little ones run free. another bonus — no entrance fee!

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7. shoreline park in mountain view - another great and active park to check out. shoreline offers boat rentals to take out on the lake as well as bike rentals to explore the land. don’t forget your kite — this place always seems to be a little windy and they have a designated kite flying area. who knew such a thing existed?

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8. happy hollow park & zoo – zoo + park in one! are you sensing a theme here?  i have learned kids really like being outside and animals.

9. deer hollow farm – hike + petting zoo. this is a quick one mile hike to a historic 10 acre farm. sounds pretty cool, right? farm tours are only open the third saturday of each month so plan ahead!

what are your favorite kid friendly activities in the bay area? do tell!


you know those weekends you never want to see end?
okay, let’s be honest that is probably every weekend
but this weekend was even harder to see come to a close.
it was b’s birthday weekend.

april 26 will forever be my favorite day of the year because i get to celebrate my love.
i get giddy just thinking about how much i love b and how grateful i am he was born.
so in order to do his big day justice, we of course had to celebrate all weekend long.

friday evening we checked out a local mexican restaurant – tia juana. neither of us was floored by tia juana but it had fairly good mexican food and free chips and salsa. i have had my eye on this place for a while so at least i can now check it off my food bucket list!
we then spent the night in watching survivor. any one else a survivor fan? b and i usually get really into it but this season i am so disgusted with a lot of the contestants. frankly i am not rooting for anyone (was rooting for joe but now he is off).

saturday morning i snuck out of bed to get b his favorite breakfast – sausage mcmuffin, hashbrown and chocolate chocolate donuts.
confession. i ate three donuts for breakfast that morning. maple leaf’s donuts are too good to pass up.
side note… i have been on this diet where i cut out carbs, dairy and processed sugar throughout the week and then eat whatever i want on the weekends. i just felt like all i was eating at work was dairy and carbs and this seemed like a great way to get back on track.
all i could think of when i saw these heavenly donuts was “it’s the freakin weekend. baby i am about to have me some carbs.”
r. kelly anyone? HA

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following our lazy morning with breakfast in bed, i headed to the city since it was one of my dear friend’s birthday as well. we ended up celebrating with lunch at rotunda. rotunda is stunning and the ambiance is so classy. i would love to return for tea time!

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and i don’t think b missed me too much while i was gone considering he treated himself to a massage.

b’s celebration continued with dinner at los altos grill.
this place was happening! i strongly recommend making reservations as there were many people waiting and hovering over the bar seats. we had a reservation and still waited about 10 minutes! it is a lovely bbq esque style restaurant with juicy rotisserie chickens, delectable bbq salmon, potato salad inspired deviled eggs and sweet banana creme pie.
the only thing that turned me off was they charged us for a dessert even though we mentioned it was b’s birthday. not a huge deal though.

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waiting time = selfie time ;)

b prefers very mellow weekends so that is what i was hoping to give him. i promised him i would not throw a party for him this year even though it took me all my will power not to.
the mellowness continued with german pancakes on sunday morning, church and a hike at gray whale cove (located between pacifica and half moon bay).
i strongly recommend this hike! it is about 2 miles round trip (quick) but every step of the way gets prettier and prettier. we were lucky to go on a clear day so the views were unreal.

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the weekend ended with a sunday feast and homemade chocolate cake. smitten kitchen recipes are always winners.

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b was making fun of me the other day for never really wheeling / using our bar car to serve him so i decided to bring the cake to him and make him eat his words.

how was your weekend?

Silicon Valley Hot Spot – Sushirrito

sushi + burrito form = sushirrito.
it is the best concoction and now my favorite form of a burrito.
and i know you may be thinking well actually this idea was invented a long time ago by the japanese. it is called a hand roll, duh emily. although i do think this is a valid point, sushirrito is extremely different than your typical hand roll because of the mix of ingredients.
sushirittio adds hints of latin flavor to each burrito whether it be through guacamole or different spices.


my personal favorite?
geisha’s kiss. it has  tuna, tamago, piquillo peppers, yuzu tobiko, lotus chips, namasu cucumber, butter lettuce & guacamole.
see what i mean? definitely not your typical sushi entree.


not a raw fish consumer but still like the idea?
try the sumo crunch or salmon samba.
the sumo crunch has shrimp tempura + imitation crab while the salmon samba includes cooked salmon + asparagus tempura. seriously everything on the menu is quite tasty so you can’t go wrong.

one more tip, order to go so you can add your own soy sauce. sushirrito does not offer soy sauce and charges a hefty price for any additional sauce. that is its’ one flaw. they don’t do well with customizing orders. the soy sauce on the sumo crunch burrito really completes it. trust me.

since i work on university ave in palo alto i can honestly say that i have tried most every restaurant in the area and sushirrito definitely makes my top 5 list.

what are you favorite palo alto restaurants?

Guide to Silicon Valley: The Stanford Theatre

i have been walking by the stanford theatre for close to a year now and always stopped to notice how cute and classy it is but had never stepped inside for a show. last weekend, we decided to change that.

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the stanford theatre (located in downtown palo alto) is a historic theatre  that plays classic movies every thursday through sunday. when you step inside, you almost feel like you are in a time warp. there are old movie posters displayed around the walls, you can hear the faint sounds of the organist playing prior to the show and the prices for popcorn and soda are far cheaper than any new release cinema (we are talking $5 for popcorn and two sodas). it is a trip in the best possible way. i mean have you ever seen such a lovely theatre? i sure haven’t.

Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto plays all the classics

there is seating available in the balcony as well as on the main floor. we chose the balcony because it didn’t seem like the seats below were stadium seating so you may be looking in between peoples’ heads to get a good glimpse of the show. tickets go on sale only twenty minutes before the show starts and i suggest getting there right at that time because the seats fill up quickly and you must leave time to listen to the amazing organist. apparently, an organist would play prior to the show in the olden days. i wish they had kept this tradition alive at all cinemas!

b was worried that the picture quality would be poor since these were older films but to our surprise it was pretty darn good. we loved watching cary grant and grace kelly on the big screen. i love that era of movies. b and i both felt like acting was different back then and we liked the humor better than what is now in movies. we will be sure to return again soon because we enjoyed the stanford theatre more than a new release cinema. not to mention that tickets were only $7/person!

oh and one more thing, stanford theathre accepts cash only so come prepared.

what are your favorite old movies?
one of mine is charade with audrey hepburn so i hope they show that in the stanford theatre soon!

A Day at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park

last weekend, b’s parents came to visit. they have come a few times before but always with b’s siblings so it was fun to hang out with just them and be on a double date the whole weekend. b’s parents have been to san francisco a number of times but had never been to golden gate park. b and i love golden gate park and knew they had to see it (remember it is on my top 5 parks in the bay area?). golden gate park is so vast and has such an assortment of activities it was hard deciding what to show them. stow lake kept coming into my mind every time i started to plan the weekend so that is exactly what we did.

it was a blustery day in the city when we arrived but there was no turning back now. i think the overcast weather actually helped it be less crowded and easy to find a parking space (score).
we arrived in the afternoon and headed to the stow lake boathouse where we decided on a large peddle boat that would hold 4-6 people. the peddle boat cost $34/ hour but really one hour is all you need. the boathouse also offers electric boats and row boats (last time b and i rented a row boat he did all the work so he insisted we get everyone involved with a peddle boat). the peddle boats are rather slow and don’t pick up speed even if you peddle as fast as you can. it was a calming pace though and allowed us to really take in all the scenery. i really wish i had brought my nice camera but was a little skeptical bringing it on a boat.

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the lake is one large loop with many beautiful bridges that you get to pass under. there were also a plethora of geese, ducks and seagulls so bring some bread to feed them. b’s mom had come prepared with a granola bar, which entertained us for a good 30 min. the geese would eat right out of your palms. b was in heaven. the ducks were less adventurous though so we had to throw them their food.

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after we finished boating, we decided to stay in the park and grab some soft serve ice cream. i had heard wonderful things about twirl and dip and knew we had to try it (we were about to try it many months ago but realized they only accept cash and we were out of luck so this time we came prepared). twirl and dip is known for their frozen yogurt dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with salt. it was really tasty but a little hard to eat since the hardened chocolate on top is quite thick (granted i had it in a cone so a cup might have worked better). i would say it is worth the mess though. the salt sprinkled on the rich chocolate was delectable. twirl and dip also offers different types of sundaes that all looked tasty as well. b’s dad had a sundae and loved every bite. next time we go i will be sure to try a sundae.

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after our sweet treat, we thought it would be fun to explore the rose gardens (also located in the park). unfortunately, the road to the garden was blocked off and we tried a few different routes with no luck. it was a bit of a bummer but i will just keep it on my bay area must see/do list.

what are your favorite things to do in golden gate park?

linked to : local adventurer

#cityweekly – Best Pizza in Silicon Valley

#cityweekly is back. my apologies, for the random hiatus. emily and i have both been busy and then my blog was being reconstructed but it is all water on the bridge now. we are back and giving you the best of the best from coast to coast.

i recently read delancey, which is a great story about a recently married couple who opens up a pizza cafe together. the author goes into detail of the research process involved with opening up  a restaurant and how her husband went near and far to sample the best pizza around the country. she also talked about what her husband thinks makes a pizza highly rated. do you think it is the dough or cheese or sauce? he claims the dough. this got me on a pizza kick.

so this week we are talking best pizza in silicon valley and dc. i love pizza however, don’t eat it a lot because of the calories. but sometimes all your body wants is the comfort of fresh dough and melted cheese. sometimes there are days when calories should be thrown to the wayside.

below are my picks for the best pizza in silicon valley. don’t forget to check out emily’s blog for the best pizza in dc!

pizza list

delfina (locations in sf, burlingame and palo alto) – i have eaten delfina at  the burlingame location and palo alto location. both experiences were wonderful. i love this place. i love their menu. i love their staff. i love their decor. and i love their pizza. you can taste the freshness of their cheese and toppings in every bite. i have tried the margherita and prosciutto pie and really loved both for different reasons. i have also tried delfina’s chicken salad nicoise which is a great entree if you are not in the pizza mood. it was incredibly flavorful and filling. i would also recommend ordering an appetizer of burrata. oh my goodness their burrata is to die for and i crave it every day. the bread on the side of burrata is perfectly toasted and delfina soaks it in olive oil before serving. yummmm




blue line pizza (locations in mountain view, campbell, burlingame, san carlos and daly city) – another great pizza shop with multiple locations for all to enjoy! blue line offers both deep dish and thin crust style pizzas but be warned the deep dish takes a little longer to cook. some people claim it is the best deep dish in the bay area though so it may be worth your wait depending on your crust preference. their deep dish is a corn meal crust if that sways you. i really enjoyed the white pie and pesto chicken!

bibo’s (san jose)  – bibo’s is ny quality pizza! the slices are large. crust is crisp and thin so you can fold it in half.  the owner is from new york. what more could you ask for?  bibo’s has also perfected the sauce to cheese ratio to give you maximum flavor. i would recommend checking out bibo’s when you want a simpler pizza with 3 toppings or less. it is a smaller place so i always opt for pick up.

terun pizza (palo alto) – terun creates neapolitan style pizzas just the way i like it. all their toppings are fresh and high quality. i am actually devouring the san daniele pizza as i type this. that is how much i love this place. the prosciutto and large shavings of parmesan cheese covered the whole pizza. i also love the hint of truffle oil i tasted in the crust. terun is the place you go if you want to feel like you are in northern italy again. viva l’italia.



pizzetta 211 (sf) – according to delancey, this is one of the top 3 pizza places in the bay area and i would have to agree! pizzetta offers tasty thin crust pizza with farm to table toppings. they switch up the menu weekly to ensure all the ingredients in the pizza are in season. pizzetta is also very creative with their toppings and offer a variety like I have never seen at most pizza places. farm egg and asparagus on a pizza? yes please.

and of course if you are in the city there is also tony’s, which is the most famous of them all. i have heard amazing things but am sorry to say i have not had the opportunity to go so did not include it in my post. it is on my list though so will let you know what i think when i go!

what do you thinks makes an award winning pizza?
what are you favorite pizza spots in your city?

linked to : local adventurer

Guide to Silicon Valley: Hakone Garden

last weekend, b surprised me with an afternoon date at hakone garden. hakone garden is the oldest japanese garden in the western hemisphere. the original construction of the gardens began in 1917. isabel stine had just returned from a year long voyage in japan and had all the inspiration she needed to make a breathtaking and authentic japanese garden. hakone garden is 18 acres and can be seen within a hour.

i loved the peace and tranquility i felt immediately upon entering the garden. there were less than 15 people there when we arrived and all that could be heard was the crashing of the waterfall and birds chirping.

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one of my favorite spots, besides the lake, was the bamboo garden.  the bamboo garden at hakone garden is said to represent the close friendship with saratoga’s sister city, muko-shi, japan (a suburb southwest of kyoto). i love how much thought is put into the symbolism of each aspect of a japanese garden. every plant, stone, bridge is placed in a certain spot for a specific reason and not just to “look pretty”.

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there was a wedding reception being set up as we were leaving the garden. the bride wore a beautiful traditional japanese kimono. all her family and bridesmaids were also in kimonos. it was stunning. makes me want to head to kyoto!


don’t forget to pick up some fish food at the hakone gift shop (also where you purchase entry tickets) so you are able to feed the koi and turtles! this was b’s favorite part.



b loves pizza. like if calories weren’t an issue eat it 3 times a week love it. along with french fries.
i am a fan  as well but i prefer homemade styled pizzas with fresh and diverse toppings. something a little edgier than your typical pepperoni pizza.

one of the problems with pizza is it always seems to take a little longer to cook. sure you can pick up a slice at costco for a couple dollars with relatively no wait time, but most other pizzerias (including chains like domino’s or papa johns) seem to take 15+ minutes. which is usually okay but when i am hungry, i get HANGRY.  and b wants me fed as soon as possible.

we were driving back from an afternoon in oakland and i was getting HANGRY. b decided we needed to get off the freeway and find something quick! side note.. i am a picky eater so that combined with HANGRY is no bueno. we ended up exiting the freeway in fremont where we stumbled upon blaze fast fire’d pizza.
hearing “fast” in the name and it not looking like fast food instantly drew us in.


blaze fast fire’d pizza is a chipotle style assemble line but with pizza. you can either customize your pizza completely or pick from their menu and add additional toppings at no charge! b and i decided to try their bbq chicken pizza and art lover. both were created by the staff right in front of our eyes and fire’d up in their wood burning oven as we paid. the pizza was ready to eat 5 min later.

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i loved everything about each pizza. their crust is perfectly thin and flavorful. the cheeses were creamy and fresh. sauce to cheese ratio was ideal. all vegetables were crisp and ripened.

and guess what the best part is? blaze fire’d up pizza has locations all across the united states. so whether you live in florida, new york, ohio, california or kentucky there may be a blaze near you!

what are your favorite pizza toppings?

linked to: Treat Yo Self

The Silicon Valley : Off the Grid // Moveable Feast

There are a plethora of food trucks in the Bay Area. So many that there are two different companies that gather the food trucks together in one area for all to enjoy through lunch and dinner. I think this is such a great concept — I mean what is better than 5+ food trucks to choose from (especially if you are in a group and all your taste buds are wanting something different).

Off the Grid and Moveable Feast bring the most popular food trucks together for lunch and dinner in a different city everyday. Their schedule can be featured online so you are able to plan when a gathering near you is taking place. I have been multiple times to both events — they really are one in the same. The slight difference is seating. Most of the events are taking place in parking lots as to have enough space for the trucks. Off the Grid offers fold up chairs to sit on while Moveable Feast throws out some buckets and calls it a day. Many food trucks participate in both events so you do see overlap when meandering through the trucks.

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I usually walk through the whole lot and then decide from there. I have had my fair share of ups and downs while exploring these food trucks and wanted to share my finds:

KoJa Kitchen - My friend and I both tried the KoJa Korean BBQ Beef. The portion is on the smaller side for the price but, it was delicious. A KoJa is meat sandwiched between two crispy rice buns. The flavor of the korean bbq beef left me wanting more and the rice buns were unlike anything I have ever tried. I would definitely come back here again and try the Kamikaze fries, which everyone in line could not stop raving about!

Treatbot - I, of course, have to have something sweet to finish off any given meal so I couldn’t wait to try this cute Treatbot truck. There are about 5 flavors that are rotated daily. I opted for the classic “milk and cookies”. Although the cart is insta worthy (see pic below), I would have to say the ice cream was very ordinary.  It tasted very store bought and for $5 was not worth it. I will not be returning unless anyone tells me that I had the worst flavor and there is so much more to love about Treatbot.

The Chairman -  I had the steamed pork bun at The Chairman. Again, a little small for the price but, still very delicious. I probably could have eaten three. The sweet flavoring was perfect with the steamed bun. The sandwich is also topped with pickled Daikon to balance the sweet taste. I will be back!

El Sur -  El Sur serves authentic empanadas. This was my first time trying an empanada and sadly it may be my last. Many people raved about this calzone style entree, but I don’t think it was my cup of tea. It was very mediocre in my mind. Maybe I am missing something?

Blendid - This was the first food truck I saw when arriving at Off the Grid in Menlo Park and so I knew it would be my dessert. Blendid serves dessert inspired organic shakes. As of now, there are 4 flavors to choose from ( Mango Sticky Rice, Banana Creme Pie, Strawberry Shortcake and S’mores). I was deciding between Mango Sticky Rice and S’mores but decided in the end on S’mores. I am a sucker for anything s’mores inspired. However, in this instance I wish I would have gone with the Mango Sticky Rice. S’mores was not as rich and flavorful as I was hoping for. It was okay though and it does make me want to come back once more to try another. The owner told me that Mango Sticky Rice is probably the most popular and Strawberry Short Cake is her favorite.

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Special thanks to Matthew Leng for taking all the pretty photos while I explored Off the Grid!

What are you favorite food trucks?

Psycho Donuts

I knew I had to treat myself after conquering my fears but couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted. And then it came to me… PSYCHO DONUTS.


Psycho Donuts is a legend around the south bay. I have been told by many different people that I need to try it and so try it I did. It also seemed like the perfect reward.
Psycho Donuts has two locations — one in San Jose and the other in the quaint town of Campbell.
We knew we had arrived when the decor resembled that of an insane asylum and the line was out the door. The workers were even dressed as nurses. It was kind of a trip but in the best possible way.  Since the line was so long we had a lot of time to decide on which flavors to choose. Psycho’s donuts are very diverse and offers lots of different flavor combinations.  The donuts are about 3 times the price of any normal donut shop but they are unique and it is experience so it didn’t turn us away.

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We decided on three. I was hoping to try the s’mores donut but, unfortunately, it was already sold out (guess we can assume it is a good one!). So we went with cereal killer, that one and chocolate turtle.

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I couldn’t get over all the different names. So clever! There is even a Michael Jackson donut with powder sugar dusting a chocolate donut. Too good.  And those drinks? It really is all in the details.

All in all the donuts were good. Nothing blew my mind but, the experience of it all was fun and unique. It is very tiny inside so there is not many places to sit but I think most people order their donuts to go.
I also hear Psycho Donuts offers a new invention called, “The Danolli”. It is a cross between a donut and a canolli. Sounds like something I may have to get there early for!

What are you favorite donut flavors?

Linked to: Treat Yo Self