b and i loving spending an afternoon in the park.
we try to go at least once a week. it is a great place to enjoy the weather and beauty that is all around us. i love reading, lounging, picnicking and flying kites in the park. we even hosted b’s birthday in the park a couple months ago where we set up a picnic and croquet court. when you don’t have a ton of room in your apartment, a park is the next best economical option to host any type of gathering.
emily and i decided to showcase our favorite parks for this #cityweekly. be sure to check out her blog for the best parks in the dc area. and do take advantage of these next couple months in the park because winter and cool temperatures could be here before you know it!
golden gate park(san francisco) – did you know golden gate park is actually larger than central park? i had no idea there were so many sub areas until b took me on a segway tour of the park. sure, we looked like complete nerds with our vests and helmets but, it was a great way to see the entire park and learn the history all within 3 hours. my favorite areas were shakespeare’s garden, stowe lake where you can rent boats or feed the ducks and hippie hill. golden gate park is so vast and diverse. whether you are looking to lounge in the sun with jazz music echoing through the tunnels, partake in traditional japanese tea , dine with a view of the bay or broaden your horizons by attending the de young museum or academy of sciences. there really is something for everyone. golden gate park can be a little overwhelming because there is no way you can truly get a feel of the whole park in one day but, that is part of the reason i love it. i love that we find something new or learn something new every time we visit. don’t forget to grab a soft-serve cone from twirl and dip while you are there!
willow street frank bramhall park (willow glen, san jose) – the trees in this park are unreal. i have never seen so many different types in one place. there are cork oak, cedar, redwoods and red maple to name a few. the trees paired with the rolling hills (that they make into an amphitheater for various festivals) make this park a stunner. willow street frank bramhall also provides tennis courts, basketball courts, a baseball diamond and onsite bathrooms. do note it is fairly busy and parking may be hard to come by on a sunny afternoon.
cooper park(mountain view): cooper park may be our favorite close to home park. it is located in a lovely neighborhood on the border of mountain view and los altos. cooper park is spacious and offers plenty of room to spread out, a playground, tennis courts, many trees and a baseball diamond. we especially love this park because it is quiet and tucked away. b and i stumbled upon the park accidentally when we saw some beautiful homes from the main road and wanted to further investigate the neighborhood. often times b and i will walk around a ritzy neighborhood and fawn over each house. we imagine what life might be like for the current residents. this activity usually leads us to amazing parks!
washington park(burlingame) – any park with a rose garden will be at the top of my list. washington park is a lovely space with easy to reserve picnic areas (i hate having to go through the city to reserve), two separate play grounds depending on age, a bocce ball court and large trees lining the perimeter. it is quite dreamy and only a couple blocks from the train station and downtown area. i only wish it were a little bit bigger.
cornelis bol park(palo alto) – this is another lush and beautiful park tucked away from the buzzing streets of el camino street in palo alto. i love this park for the walking trail around the perimeter. it is a great way to unwind and clear your thoughts. one thing that makes this park unique is there are donkeys to feed and pet near the fence. it’s like your own free petting zoo! don’t worry it is still very clean and fresh smelling;)
what do you think makes a great park? what are your favorite parks in your area?
check here and here for more silicon valley and dc gems!
palm springs is the most perfect desert town located two hours south east of la. its’ mid century modern architecture makes my heart swoon. there are a great variety of upscale and cheap eateries as well as many hikes for you to explore the mountains. i have loved this city since i was little. we visited it every summer for about 5 years and always right around my birthday. i can vividly remember the water slides, unlimited root beer (to stay hydrated of course) and cool ac when you first step into your hotel room. we used to stay at the westin (primarily for the kid friendly water slide and day camp), but this year decided on the marriott (both are located in palm desert, which is a short 15 min drive from the heart of palm springs). palm springs will always hold a special place in my heart.
7:00pm dinner at trio (downtown palm springs) – trio’s diverse menu and trendy atmosphere left me knowing i had picked the perfect place for my birthday dinner (two birthday groups and a bachelorette party surrounding us also knew it was the place to celebrate). their slogan is “where palm springs eats” and i can completely see why. the water misters surrounding the building and posh decor even made eating in 100 degree sound desirable. trio even decorated our table with confetti in honor of my birthday. that combined with bread upon arrival instantly won them a couple extra brownie points. although trio may not seem like the most kid friendly place, the wait staff would tell you otherwise. our waiter was sure to keep the bread coming and brought my nephew’s entree with the starter salads. my sister was very thankful and impressed with how attentive he was to kids’ needs.
we ordered coconut shrimp, beet salad, tomato salad, lamb shank, seared ahi and red snapper. every entree was superb. my family could not stop complimenting each of their dishes. we were very full and thought about skipping dessert but, just as we were about to tell our waiter, he brought out a giant strawberry cupcake. it was a great ending to a divine meal.
8:30pm walk around downtown (downtown palm springs) – this is the best time of day in palm springs, when the sun is setting and temperatures lower to the 80s. It is a delight to roam s. palm canyon drive with the warm breeze in your hair. trio is located about half a mile north of the downtown area so you may want to drive down to the center and explore from there. there are many furniture stores, galleries (including palm springs art museum), restaurants, souvenir and dessert shops to peruse. It is a quaint street and not much is offered once you stray a block off of palm canyon drive. do take a gander at the plaza theater where the fabulous follies’ show used to take place. it is a everlasting piece of history in palm springs.
9:30pm grab a shake at great shakes- now that you have walked off a little of your dinner you must try a shake at great shakes. their shop is located in the heart of s.palm canyon dr. i love the variety and richness of the shakes. great shakes uses homemade ice-cream, mini donuts, fudge, whipped cream and marshmallows when constructing each respective shake. i had to try the s’more shake. look at those perfectly browned marshmallows! yummmmm
9:30am shopping at just fabulous (palm springs) – head to north palm canyon dr. for fabulous shopping at just fabulous. it is a charming shop with books, cards, calendars, stationary, music and art work. it would be easy to lose your self for hours in the unique treasures just fabulous has in stock.
10:30am brunch at norma’s (parker palm springs) – oh my goodness, words cannot even begin to describe how fabulous brunch is at norma’s, but i will try! norma’s is located inside the iconic parker palm springs (you know the hotel that was designed by jonathon adler?). from the moment i stepped through the large orange doors i knew why this hotel was so beloved (by celebrities and locals alike — the pool security told me richard gere comes to stay often). norma’s is located in the back corner of the lobby. its’ bright colors and mod decor made my hear skip a beat. then came the menu. oh that menu was so expansive. every item made my mouth water. we decided to try the donuts, very berry brioche french toast, waz-za, artychocked benedict and a custom omelette. everything was cooked to perfection. i especially loved the lemon curd that topped the donut holes and artychocked benedict. norma’s serves a classic benedict in the heart of the artichoke. how smart is that? you may remember my obsession with perfectly poached eggs and norma’s didn’t disappoint.
12:00pm walk the grounds of parker palm springs – you must walk the grounds of the parker palm springs while you are there. their lemonade stand, bocce ball courts and croquet set up is delightful. we walked around the hotel with my sister and parents who couldn’t get enough of the architecture and colors. we all plan to stay there the next time we are in palm springs. every corner you turn has another picturesque scene.
1:00pm relax by the pool – and now it is time to bask in the pool during the hottest portion of the day. there is really no other way to enjoy the city at this time. we brought floaties and good books and plopped down at the pool for a couple hours. this is the perfect way to digest the heavy brunch and prepare your pallet for what is to come. side note… i am now halfway through a hundred summers and it is hard to put it down. it is a light story about love, friendship and life decisions. i can’t wait to give you a review once i finish!
3:30pm juice break at fresh juice bar - maybe my vacations revolve too much around food but, i can’t help it. i feel like a big part of experiencing a new city is indulging in the food ( as well as the sights). but around this point in the afternoon when i am completely exhausted from the heat, i need a little pick me up. fresh juice bar was the perfect place. it is located in the downtown area of palm desert (many shops such as kate spade and jcrew were located nearby if you are in the shopping mood. cabazon outlets are another great place to shop, which are about 30 min from palm desert). fresh juice bar puts a lot of emphasis on pitaya instead of acai in their bowls. supposedly it has a lot more health benefits. i tried the pitaya tropical bowl and was a little disappointed. i felt like it is was less flavorful than the acai bowls i am used to. next time i will stick to what i know and love. my parents tried their juices — zinger and immunity rocket. both were quite tasty and fresh. it was the perfect boost to get us through the second half of the day.
8:00pm dinner at fresh agave mexican bar & grill – b actually picked out this place and i think my whole family was praising his choice by the end of the meal. sometimes the heart (and the stomach) just want some good old fashioned mexican food. we called two minutes before leaving the hotel to tell them that we had a big party with two high chairs. to our surprise, the table was already set upon our arrival. the service just kept getting better from there. chips and salsa were immediately brought to the table, which was hard not to devour. upon request (and an added fee) your server will make homemade guacamole right in front of you. that is how you know you are in a great mexican restaurant. the menu was extensive with authentic and americanized mexican cuisine. i chose a beef tostada and b decided on flautas de pollo. the portions were large and all entrees were served with rice and beans. some of the best beans i have had might i add. we held off on dessert this time around ( i know a rarity) because we still had more mississippi mud cake back at the hotel. and nothing can beat that.
9:30am palm springs aerial tramway- confession… we did not head to the tramway this time because we were there for so short and we had two kids with us that don’t love the car. it is about 40 min each way from palm desert. i do hear it is spectacular though and hope we are able to experience it the next time we are in the area. for those of you who don’t know what this is, people board a tram for steep 10 minute ride to take in the views of chino canyon. you are at an elevation of 8,516 ft by the end of the ride and are able to take in some pretty spectacular views. there are some great hikes at the top as well as camping grounds near by. the first tram ride begins at 10am and costs about $24/person. i also hear it is a must see/do because you escape the heat for a little while. have any of you guys ever ridden the tram? is it worth it?
12:00pm grab a date shake for the road at hadley’s orchard - our last stop in palm springs was hadley’s orchard. hadley’s is famous for their date shakes. i have had about 3 date shakes in my life but trust me when i say it is famous for a reason. the chunks of dates that come slurping through my straw were perfect. it is a very sweet and refershing date shake. i loved having a little piece of palm springs with me for part of the drive home (very long drive so i needed some relief).
there were a few places i did not have a chance to check out (mainly because they were on summer break) that i hope to experience next time: cheeky’s(downtown palm springs) – for brunch las casuelas terraza (palm springs) – for lunch, try to sit outside crave(downtown palm springs) – dessert bar that offers happy hour.. need i say more? copley’s(palm springs) – this was my first choice for my birthday dinner, but glad we ended up with trio workshop kitchen + bar- would be a fun dinner spot (didn’t look kid friendly)
and if you are chomping at the bit to go to palm springs now, don’t forget to check out my packing guide for more palm springs advice!
what are you favorite things to do, eat and see in palm springs?
I am so excited to share with you a collaboration I have been working on
with a dear friend and fellow blogger.
Emily, of Twenty – Somethings , and I were in a couple classes together while attending the University of Utah. We instantly hit it off and have kept in touch ever since. We both enjoy discovering new things in our respective cities and thought it would be fun to work together on city guides.
We hope each week to bring you top 5 eateries, things to do, must sees, where to shop and more of Silicon Valley and Washington DC. This way we have you covered from coast to coast!
And what better way to start this series off than with the top 5 must eat brunch spots? Brunch is something Emily and I (yes, we even have the same name — so in sync) are very passionate about so we searched high and low for the best of the best. Trust us, you will not want to miss any of these great restaurants in either city!
Silicon Valley stretches from San Francisco to San Jose.
I guess I could have technically picked one city but, when you live in the South Bay you tend to not stick to just one since everything is so close together and you want to see it all. For my picks, I searched the whole valley to bring you the best brunch spots. I tried to spread them out across the peninsula so anywhere you are living or visiting has a brunch spot near you.
Let’s begin. Shall we?
1. Zazie(Cole Valley, SF) : My sister, N, actually recommended Zazie to me about a year ago. She was coming into town (currently resides in Texas) with her husband to celebrate their anniversary in Napa and was scheduled to stay a day in the city. N is the biggest foodie of my whole family so when she recommends something I know it will blow my mind. We met up at Zazie for brunch and even though it was a little while ago I still remember the taste of every dish we had. I have never had such a perfectly poached egg in my life. All their dishes are not only creatively planned but executed to perfection. The menu offers many different variations of poached eggs, which was refreshing because most places just stick to eggs benedict. We each chose a different type of poached egg and were convinced ours was the very best. You must also try their gingerbread pancakes. I am usually not a big fan of gingerbread but these pancakes were heavenly. Pancakes are topped with lemon curd to get the perfect balance of both flavors. This is by far my favorite brunch spot out of anywhere in the world! N would totally agree so you know you need to check it out ASAP! Do come early … We arrived a half hour before it opened to put our name on the list and we still had to wait a little bit once the restaurant opened. The wait time can be lengthy.
2. The Table(Willow Glen, San Jose) : The Table is a newer restaurant located in the quaint city of Willow Glen. The ambiance and service are top notch and the menu diverse (all 3 factors make for a great restaurant in my book). I would recommend the sugar dusted ricotta beignets, pork belly sandwich and fried chicken with cheddar cheese biscuit. The Table only purchases from local farmers and ranchers, which they believe makes their food more flavorful. I would have to agree with this philosophy!
3. Pastis (Palo Alto) : Pastis is a French bistro located a couple miles south of downtown Palo Alto. This charming bistro is the perfect way to start your morning and transport you back to the streets of Paris. The menu is authentic and offers many different options which, sometimes makes it hard to choose just one thing! I would recommend le parisien (nutella topped french toast), croque monsieur, bread pudding and any omelette. Bon appetit!
4. Toosties at the Stanford Barn(Stanford, Palo Alto) : This endearing Italian style brick building may make your heart skip a beat. Sometimes it is all about location, location , location with brunch but good thing Toosties is just as appetizing to the eyes as it is to the stomach! I seriously could have stayed here gazing at the fields for hours and would have loved to try everything on the menu. I would recommend the housemade ricotta pancakes (very different than any pancake I have ever had at brunch), breakfast panino and the grilled nutella sandwich. The menu could be considered limited, but sometimes the basics is all I need. Do try to sit outside because it the best way to experience Toosties!
5. Town (San Carlos) : My old boss kept on telling me that I had to try this place. He often went for dinner, but when I saw that they had a brunch menu it solidified my need to check it out. I have never had brunch at a steak restaurant. Have you? It is something you must try. Perfectly seasoned steak and a side of eggs to start off my day? Don’t mind if I do. Do try the farmhouse chicken and waffles, steakhouse benedict and banana hazelnut chocolate stuffed french toast. The service is efficient and courteous. Mmmmm I am getting hungry just thinking about being back here.
I can’t forget to mention the cute artist that allowed us to use her work on our header. Isn’t it darling? Her name is Sara Selby and she creates the most adorable city prints. I had been lusting after every city print in her shop so I was so glad when she happily agreed to provide her prints for our use.
How cute would a collage of these prints on one wall of a nursery be? You would sure give your child wanderlust early on!
Be sure to check out Emily’s blog Twenty – Somethings for details on all her brunch picks! And don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of #cityweekly