Back in … red. Sunburn red.

Well, I’m back! In California, that is. It’s a little surreal, I’m not going to lie. I don’t think it hit me that I was leaving for the summer until I was touching down in San Francisco and suddenly realized whoa! I’m back in the States! … how and when did this happen?

It’s been pretty much go go go since I got here. I’m remembering how much I enjoy San Francisco, as I’ve been here for the last few days with a friend of mine. It’s really like Vancouver’s outgoing, hippier, more free-spirited older sister. Friday night we had dinner at this awesome Vietnamese restaurant called Tin a block away from our hotel – like a lot of food in San Francisco, it was delicious.

I had to struggle pretty hard though on Saturday morning, as we got up at the god-awful early time of 4:45 to take a day trip to Yosemite. I’ve never been before, so I was excited to go, but I really am the worst morning person ever. I feel bad for all those who had to deal with me, so this is my public apology to them. The early morning start definitely resulted in me passing out several times in the car, which I also felt bad about. It’s a three to four hour drive to the park though so the early start was necessary – we got there at around 10 something. I didn’t realize Yosemite was so big! I was imagining more of a hiking kind of day, but because the park was so huge in reality it was more of a drive-stop-drive-stop kind of trip. The diversity in the park was amazing. We went from mountains to forests to lakes to waterfalls (with a lot of driving).

I think my favourite part was a lake that we found where the water was so still that everything looked like a mirror. It was so beautiful.

I’m glad we went, but it was a very, very long day – we didn’t get back until 1:30 in the morning. I also got a wicked sunburn, as my poor skin hasn’t been in proper sunshine since last August and then was hit with a full dose of 25 degree weather. I’ve managed to imprint my tanktop straps into my poor shoulders.

Today, my friend and I went for breakfast at Dottie’s, this little diner in Soma. There was a bit of a lineup but it was delicious! I had pear-cranberry french toast with pecans. Nom.

I had to run some errands, and as we were getting my phone set up the guy at the counter mentioned there was a street fair happening a few blocks down. It was called the “How Weird” street fair, and it was…very weird. But fun. A lot of … interesting outfits.

We also checked out Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower and Chinatown. Coit Tower was a new one for me – it was a little disappointing that there were windows at the top (as opposed to open air) but it was still pretty neat to get a view of the city.

I also had a stroke of serendipity. Last summer I went to an Italian restaurant with my family that I loved, and as we were walking around I was trying to remember the name of it so that we could go. I was drawing a complete blank, though, and I finally accepted that I’d have to ask my mom later about it. But as we were heading towards Chinatown, something about the street caught my attention. Specifically, this weird intersection triggered something in my brain. I started looking frantically around – and lo and behold, the restaurant that I had been wracking my brain for was right there! What are the chances? We went, I had gnocchi, and was extremely happy. It’s called Franchino, by the way.

Now, if my shoulders will let me get comfortable, it’s time for bed, because we’re dim-summing it up tomorrow morning!

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Breakfast (ice cream) of champions

I really can’t believe how fast time is going by. I was booking a hotel tonight for San Francisco and I realized that I’m leaving in less than two weeks. I feel like I’m in one of those shows where they speed up the time and the characters begin to talk in extremely fast high-pitched mouse voices. All around me things are starting to rev up and I’m like “Wait! Hold up! My little legs can’t go that fast!” On the bright side, my outreach event on Saturday went smoothly without a hitch – 71 girls and all was well! I was exhausted by the end of the day but all that hard work planning paid off. Now it’s just a few more meetings and some wrap-up and I am done my school commitments until September!

I can’t deny though that I did a happy dance with the hotel that I just booked. It’s very swanky. (I’ve always wanted to use that word). Before I start at Google, I’m spending a few days in SF with a friend I haven’t seen in two years. We met at a Google thing a few years back and have kept in touch ever since, but he lives in Atlanta and I live in Van so our postal codes don’t exactly match up. I was really beginning to doubt that I’d ever see him again, so I’m really happy that we’ll be able to hang out before I immerse myself in Googley-ness. I think with booking the hotel, though, it started to hit me that I’m actually leaving again for the summer, and I got super conflicted about it. Don’t get me wrong – I know it’ll be amazing, just as it was last time, and I’m going to have a great time. But being out there does mean that I miss out on people who are here, people that I’d rather not miss out on. I suppose you can’t have it all. This would all be solved with a person-sized suitcase, I swear.

To stave off any melancholy, my friend came over yesterday and we had an adventure in ice-cream making. Specifically, we made french-toast-chocolate-bacon ice cream. Yes, you heard me right. We were trying to think of a snappy name for it, but the best we could come up was breakfast of champions ice cream, which really doesn’t capture it well. It was very interesting to see how different people reacted to it though; my friend and I loved it, my dad and sister were indifferent, my mom and boyfriend were very undecided. It’s definitely interesting.

French Toast Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream (adapted from various sources, including David Lebovitz)

Chocolate Bacon

  • Bar of your favourite chocolate – we used dark and added some chocolate chips in
  • 6 pieces bacon

Ice Cream

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 3/4 cup half and half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

1. To make the bacon: Cook the bacon in a frying pan and cool on a sheet with a paper towel. Melt the chocolate in a bowl.

2. Dip the cooled bacon into the chocolate until it’s coated. Try not to make the chocolate too thick, or the bacon taste won’t be that strong. Butter wax paper on a cookie sheet and place the chocolate bacon onto it. Stick in the fridge until hard, and then chop into little pieces.

3. To make the ice cream: melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and half of the half and half. Pour the remaining half and half into a bowl in an ice bath and put a mesh strainer on top (you’ll need it later).

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Pour in brown sugar mixture, whisking as you pour, and then pour it all back into the saucepan.

5. Cook over low to medium heat until it’s thick enough to coat your spatula. It’s okay if it’s still runny. Strain into the half and half in the ice bath, stirring constantly, until the whole thing is cool. (This part was a little strange if your custard gets a little too thick. We just took a spoon and pressed it through the strainer). Add vanilla, rum and cinnamon. It looks a little strange. That’s okay.

6. Freeze in your ice cream maker; when it’s done stir in chocolate bacon and drool.