West coast best coast road trip 6

CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR!

I LOVE going to the state fair, although, usually I am not able to make it down to Sacramento to check it out due to work, but since I was on holiday at the right time, I decided it best to show Rob a beautiful cross section of Californian life and take him to Cal Expo!

The California State Fair has so many amazing things going on… it has carnival games, rides, giant cows, a comic book exhibit, booths about all the counties in California, and TONS of fair food! and, so many face-in-holes…which, if you know me at all, you know I love a good face-in-hole opportunity!

Lets star with the Arts and Crafts section of the fair…

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HOW AMAZING IS THIS MONA LISA FAIR FACE IN HOLE?!?!?!? I saw it and fell in love instantly, its so incredible. Im so glad Rob was such a good sport and let me stop and take pictures with all of the cut outs at the fair!

We looked at some really great art from californian artists, met a really cool print maker called Jesus Cruz and I bought a few cards from him. One with a pig and chickens on it for my sister and one with skeletons and a cactus on it for me…they are so cool!

Next we went to find out first State Fair snack…

DIPPIN DOTS! the ice cream of the future. Rob had never had it, I don’t know if he’s sold…but he still ate them all!

Photo 15-08-2013 10 08 21We walked around the exhibition halls for a while, looking at the high school student work, we saw a bunch of stuff from the students my old art teacher has, they were so incredible! And the buildings were air conditioned, thank god!

Photo 15-08-2013 10 02 07I also fell in love with this neon sign a little bit…i love neon signs!! AH!

we couldn’t figure out how to get into the cantina…so we went to get MORE FOOD!

Photo 15-08-2013 10 08 59DEEP FRY ALL THE THINGS!

I love fair food…it makes me feel horrible, and I usually puke after I eat it, but DAMN its good

Photo 15-08-2013 10 08 37hahaha,  come on…that is hilarious!

next stop…LIVE STOCK PARADE!!!

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I feel you goat, I fall asleep eating all the time!Photo 15-08-2013 10 13 25

these cows are seriously big. and seriously cute!!

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pet pet pet! these goaties are so cute!!!Photo 15-08-2013 10 11 06

goat love! Photo 15-08-2013 10 10 42

heeheehee! GOATS!Photo 15-08-2013 10 10 03this cow is HELLA pregnant (I had to teach Rob what hella meant)

I was devastated to find out that the long horn cows weren’t there yet, i love those guys so much! they are so badass!! but they weren’t getting there until later in the week 😦

next stop…the Sci-Fi and Comic Book exhibit!!!

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aww Jabba ❤

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giant iron man! so cool!!

this exhibit was so cool! I love comic books and star wars and all that sort of nerdy stuff, so I was in heaven in this place! It was my own mini Comic Con since I couldn’t get to San Diego for the Con this year!

We finished up our California State Fair adventure by looking at the exhibit about all of the counties in California. I started crying at the Humboldt County section, I miss that place so bad! Even though I will be back in the loving embrace of the redwood curtain in just a few short days, it still hurts my heart to not be there now!

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Rob also fell in love with this “vintage PT Cruiser”

He is so embarrassing some times, I had to explain to him what this car was and that it wasn’t a PT Cruiser. I don’t know why he likes PT Cruisers so much, but he’s obsessed with them!

Rob also talked me into doing a little test drive of an enormous Chevy truck before leaving Cal Expo, he wanted to drive it himself, but he doesn’t have a license, so he needed me to do it for him, the car salesmen gave him a lot of grief about it, but we didn’t care because we got free teeshirts and free air-conditioned seats in the car!!

Although it was horribly hot and there was no long horn cattle, we had a great day celebrating California and all its deep fried treats! I can’t wait until the fair next year!!!

West coast best coast road trip 5

Sacramento/Granite Bay!!

I tried to prepare Rob for a real summer heat that was to greet us when we arrived in Sacramento, but there is really now way to prepare someone for 100+ degree heat, who has lived in a country that hasn’t seen 80 degrees in…EVER! I had the air conditioning in the car on full blast, but it barely made a difference.

Rob got a warm, and by warm I mean 110+ degrees, welcome from The Girls (my mom’s three dogs) when he arrived at the house in Granite Bay!! Penny, Winnie, and Dixie fell in love instantly and they wouldn’t leave him alone. Penny is the white lab below, she is such a big love bug!
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Basically… the few days we spent in sacramento was a non-stop eating fest! Rob had a whole lot of firsts while in Sacramento…

FIRST AMERICAN DENNYS GRAND SLAM!

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order is in…

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the food has arrived!Photo 15-08-2013 10 16 11

ROB SLAMS! Photo 15-08-2013 10 15 59

and Claire gets SLAMMED! 😦 nearly finished…but i failed!

We drove around a lot, went to the mall so Rob could get some proper summer clothes, visited some of my favorite places

including…

HONEY TREAT!!!

the best frozen yogurt in the entire universe!

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if you are EVER in california, i don’t even care if you are in LA or SF or way up north, you MUST come to Roseville and eat at Honey Treat Frozen Yogurt. It is hands down, the most amazing frozen treat in the universe. I am a dessert/sweet treat connoisseur, so I know what I’m talking about. Honey Treat is one of the only reasons why I still go back to the Sacramento area. truth!
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look at them…they are so cute and beautiful! Photo 15-08-2013 10 01 49

even these Pip and Winnie dopplegangers like Honey Treat!
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the first bite of heaven! Rob became a fan of Honey Treat almost instantly. Im so glad he did, otherwise i would have to kill him as it is my favorite place in the Sacramento area. It’s always my first stop when Im on my way home, no matter what the weather is like! even in the depths of winter, i need my honey treat! 😀
 
next stop…CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!!
Okay, if you know me at all, you know that I am addicted to burritos, and living in a county that doesn’t have a Chipotle and/or any decent burrito joints (that i have found yet) I knew I would be itching when I got back to california. And, as I am the greatest host in the world, I knew I needed to get Rob his first Chipotle experience taken care of as soon as possible.
chipotle
 
As you can tell from the pictures… he loves it! This was the first of many chipotles over our two week road trip.
now that we’re back in scotland we have been trying every single burrito place we can find, we have found a few decent substitutes, but nothing as good as Chipotle. I Facebook them ALL the time begging them to open a store in Edinburgh. (the have 6 in London!)
 
 
P.s. before you get on my case about how Chipotle isn’t authentic or whatever… I know Chipotle isn’t very authentic mexican food, and I know that there are numerous restaurants, taco trucks, and burrito stands that have really great mexican food, I am not saying that they aren’t good, they are amazing!  I love all burritos, regardless of where they are from. Chipotle just has a certain something something that I just can’t get anywhere else, and that’s why I love it, not because it is the be all and end all of burritos, but because it holds a special place in my heart and it’s easier to get to than my other favorite place that is 7 hours away in Arcata.
 
 
Although we were only in Sacramento for a few days, Rob and I had such a great time swimming, playing with the dogs, going to the giant Galleria mall, and going to the California State Fair (stay tuned for the fair!)

West coast best coast road trip 4

 

Fairfield, California

I always consider Fairfield a city that you just drive by. To be perfectly honest, there really isn’t much there, save for auto malls. But to a first time visiter to the United States, Fairfield actually might be kind of cool! It is home to The Jelly Belly factory after all, and what do we love more than Jelly Bellies?? VERY FEW THINGS!

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Although we didn’t partake in the factory tour (the store was overwhelmed by summer camp children), we had an awesome time exploring the gift shop, taking advantage of the sample bar, and the free fudge samples in the back! we even bought ourselves about 10 pounds worth of BellyFlops.

6614cb6f-66a7-4d4b-81c1-76ebb002b0e5so many flavors!! my excitement levels are out of control!!! We were pleased to find out that Jelly Bellies are vegetarian friendly and don’t contain any animal products, HORAY!!! now the only reason Rob and I will be getting sick is if we eat an entire bag of belly flops…which we may or may not have done. X_X

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The lovely Jelly Belly people gave us these awesome hats, even though we didn’t go on the tour (next time, i promise) and we got to pose with one of the three Jelly Belly Mobiles!Photo 15-08-2013 09 59 22CHECK OUT ALL OUR SWAG!! jelly belly hoooraaaay!!

After the jelly belly factory is was back in the car, once again, and onwards to SACRAMENTO!!!!

 

 

 

West Coast Best Coast Road Trip 3

San Francisco continued…

Golden Gate Bridge/ Crissy Field

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized and iconic landmarks of California, so obviously, if you are a good tourist, you’ll go visit the bridge, possibly walk across it, and then take your photo in front of it, all before the fog rolls in. It is difficult to find parking at the bridge, so be patient and bring a small car.

a757e730-ab57-4249-9908-c4736af1b226I don’t think I could possibly make a normal face if I tried. but then again, neither can Rob, so it kind of works itself out.

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Rob was excited to find a thistle in San Francisco. The Thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland.  Photo 15-08-2013 09 43 36

we also met this one footed seagull, I got very excited about it!Photo 15-08-2013 09 43 48These guys caught a shark off the pier, I told them they probably should put it back as leopard sharks are bottom feeders and there is an insane amount of pollution and nasty shit in the SF Bay water, but they decided to ignore me and the numerous signs that say what you should and shouldn’t eat from the bay and take it home. Gross!

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is undergoing construction to expand their building, so while the main building is closed they have set up numerous exhibits around the city, it’s SFMoMA On The Go!! Down at Crissy Field there is a beautiful selection of Mark Di Suvero sculptures. It’s free to go down, walk around, and even touch them! There are also FREE SFMoMA guided tours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 25th of 2014! There is also FREE mobile guided tours provided by SFMoMa if you aren’t able to make the guided tours.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the SF MoMA and I try and make a stop there every time I visit the city. They have a truly stunning collection of work and it changes all the time, so every visit will be different. Plus they have one of the best art book stores that I have ever seen in a museum. I think everyone should plan a trip to the SFMoMA, even if you don’t have art lovers in your group, its a unique and wonderful experience, plus if the weather is unfavorable, they have a gorgeous cafe on the top floor that sells cakes that are created in the style of some modern art! (please be aware that the SFMoMA building will be under construction until 2016, so this magical cafe might not be available for some time…but trust me, San Francisco is in no short supply of tasty cafes)

If you would like to learn more about their expansion, please visit the SFMoMA website and watch the video they have created that talks about the expansion and what all the museum will have to offer after it is completed. It is VERY very exciting! I even got teary eyed when watching the video because I am so excited about everything the museum will offer the world.

After a long day of exploring the city, it was time to pick up my sister from work and go get our thai food on! We went to this lovely restaurant right around the corner from my sisters house called Chai Yo. The restaurant is on Polk Street, which is known for it’s delicious food and Bob’s Doughnuts! Obviously, my sister and I needed a post thai food doughnut, so we walked up a few blocks and enjoyed the sights and smells of Bob’s…

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the giant doughnut!!! Although this baby is 6 times the size of a regular doughnuts, it is not 6 times as good…i recommend getting a few regular sized doughnuts to enjoy rather than this beast. It’s a nice novelty gift, but if you want the true Bob’s experience, get a sampling of all their other delicious doughnut treats.

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you can never go wrong with choco sprinks!
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they are so beautiful!!!

Photo 15-08-2013 09 53 37look at those perfectly golden babies…mmmmmmmm!!!! I was in heaven!

If there is one thing that you can learn from this blog, it is that I love eating and I love doughnuts more! So, if we are to ever go on a road trip together, leave your diets at the door! Some people boast about how they can drink you under the table…but boast about how many doughnuts I can eat…and it’s a lot! One of my goals in life is to eat a doughnut is every single state… I have quite a few taken care of, but, there is still probably about 80-85% of the states that haven’t contributed to my obsession/addiction.

If you want to help me reach my goal of 50* Doughnuts 50 States, please contact me so we can make arrangements for my next voyage!!

*If I’m being 100% honest…I’m going to eat way more than 50 doughnuts…in California alone I know of at least 5 doughnut shops that I already know and love and will need to hit up when I embark on my cross country doughnut fest.

West coast best coast road trip 2

San Francisco Continued…

Golden Gate Park!

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We went to Golden Gate Park for a little walk around before hitting Haight Street. Golden Gate Park is absolutely enormous. It has lovely attractions within the park itself. The carousel is my favorite, and very cheap to go on (Adults $2, Children $1).  Rob wouldn’t let me ride on it, but I observed it longingly from a distance. Golden Gate Park also has the Academy of Sciences which is a beautiful and eco friendly museum with a lot of different exhibits and hands on fun for the kids. It is a little pricey to get in to, but you can easily spend hours and hours there learning about our world. Also, they do have a couple of free weekends posted on their website, so if your trip to San Francisco falls on one of those weekends, you are in luck! Check out their website for more information. Another popular part of the park is the Japanese Tea Garden. It is a stunning environment to relax and drink tea in any day of the year. I would live in the gardens if I could!

On top of all of the above mentioned attractions, there are also REAL buffalo that live in the park, the De Young Museum, Strawberry Hill (an island inside the park known for it’s waterfall, wildlife, and hiking trails), and…if you are extra adventurous and have no shame…SEGWAY TOURS!!! With over 1000 acres to explore, it could take you your entire trip to San Francisco to explore the whole thing, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me!  For more information about the park and the exciting attractions and events, visit their website.

After our little adventure in Golden Gate Park, we walked up Haight Street for one reason, and one reason only…Amoeba Records.

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Amoeba is the worlds LARGEST independent record store. With three locations, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Hollywood, you can easily find yourself getting lost in its rows and rows and rows of records, CD’s, DVD’s and music memorabilia. Amoeba is a GIANT warehouse type shop that has more music than anyone could listen to in their entire lives. The staff may look a bit cool, and you may be frightened to talk to them in fear of their judgement raining down upon you, or maybe that’s just me…but they can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. I recommend going in with a list of things you might want, because going in to browse is impossible. Their are often live events, DJ’s, record signings, etc going on in store, so check out their website to see if your favorite band will be stopping by anytime soon. It’s a really incredible experience to go in there, for any music lovers out there, it is definitely definitely DEFINITELY worth making the trip to Haight Street to check it out.

Other than that..Haight street is a bit over priced, crowded, and not very fun. There are a lot of “hippies” and “vintage” stores, but mostly I try and avoid it otherwise. If you’re in the area it might be worth driving down the street, but really, there are much cooler and less creepy/sad/dirty/methy places to go in the city.

That being said…I did stumble across this store called Loved to Death, which was full of skulls, taxidermy, and curiosities. I fell in love with everything in the shop and if I was rich, I would have bought every single piece… Especially the shadow box art they had displayed in their special secret upstairs area…I wasn’t allowed pictures, but I can link you to their website so you can have a look for yourself… But basically they were beautifully decorated shadowboxes that featured bird headed humanoids in fancy clothing… also there was a lot of bird feet, which were totally gross and amazing. I highly recommend checking them out if you like taxidermy or curiosities. P.S. if I have any blog stalkers out there…one of these pieces would be an AMAZING gift to give me. 😀

We were getting a bit hungry and found Happy Doughnuts. It was finally time for Rob to experience his FIRST (but certainly not last) American Doughnut!!!

Photo 15-08-2013 09 30 49He went with the classic maple old fashioned doughnut and fell in love. I don’t blame him, old fashioned doughnuts are quality treats, definitely one of my favorites..but who am I kidding..I love all doughnuts (except filled ones…i’ll pass on those)

The doughnuts paired nicely with a cup of tea and people watching.

Our day was filled with exciting adventures and the skill avoidance of terrifying drug addicts and overall really, really perfect. I pride myself on being an excellent guide in California, giving my guests a little bit of a history lesson and sharing stories of weird run ins I have had with the locals, I like to think I did a good job in San Francisco.

WEST COAST BEST COAST ROADTRIP 1

San Francisco, Day 1

Ocean Beach

5b2ff332-a0ae-4e99-ab78-d232b0663fd2We started our first day in San Francisco by going to Ocean Beach. This was Rob’s first time at seeing the Pacific Ocean! It was amazing to see his cute little face light up when we finally arrived at Ocean Beach. Although it was foggy and cold and grey, it was still such a beautiful way to spend the morning. If you have ever been to San Francisco, you know how the fog can be, especially in the summer.

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

-Mark Twain

The weather didn’t really bother us much, as we are quite accustomed to cold summers in Scotland.

We walked around the beach for a few hours and played with some weird  sea kelp that had been washed up on the beach.

Photo 15-08-2013 09 35 35Rob had never seen anything like it. and I do have to admit, it is really weird to come across.Photo 15-08-2013 09 35 21

There was also hundreds of beautiful sand dollars that were washed up on the shore. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what a sand dollar is, like what sort of creatures live in it or if it’s more like a shell fish type thing. Does anyone know?! I would love to find out more!

After a few hours at the beach, we walked up Noriega Street and found this lovely little cafe my sister recommended. Her and her boyfriend go surfing at Ocean Beach fairly often and they always stop by Devil’s Teeth for a post-surf warm up coffee and snack.

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This was a seriously good grilled cheese. Never underestimate the power of a good grilled cheese.

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Now we are warm and happy and full of yummy cookies and snacks!

BONUS! Look how beautiful and cute their succulents are! I love them!

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bonus bonus! Check out this INCREDIBLE mural on Noriega Street… I wish I took a picture of the rest of it… there was sunbathing bacon, sexy ice cream cones… it is true artistic genius here people. Photo 15-08-2013 09 36 37Stay tuned to read all about Rob and Claire’s adventure to Amoeba Music, the Golden Gate Bridge, and much much more!

Welcome to America!

Photo 15-08-2013 09 29 37This was Rob’s first visit to America!! He arrived in San Francisco on a lovely Monday afternoon, we went to my grandma’s house for a shower, nap, and snack before heading into the city to have dinner at my sister’s house. Although he doesn’t look very thrilled to be here in this picture, I promise you HE was the most excited.

After a short drive from South San Francisco to the lovely Lower Nob Hill area, we arrived at my sisters apartment to be greeted by a Willow Pillow Puppy (the greyhound) and Zoe (the dachshund), along with some of my sisters friends who were over for dinner.

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54f8d74ce90711e29a9022000aa82198_7Photo of Willow courtesy of emilyvoigtlander’s instagram feed

For dinner, Emily made Enchiladas Suizas. If you like cooking or if you like eating, this recipe (and many others) can be found on her blog! Although the recipe calls for chicken enchiladas, she so lovingly made Rob and me some vegetarian ones that had only cheese. They are unbelievably good. It was Rob’s first experience with proper Californian Mexican food, and it was an overall success! He still raves about the corn salsa and has been trying to bribe his mother and I to make him some since we have been back in Edinburgh.

enchiladas-suizas-15Picture courtesy of The Answer is Always Pork and Emily.

Although Rob’s first day in America was really only half a day, it was still full of excitement, yummy food, family, fun, dogs…really, what more can you ask for?!