Category Archives: Family Ties

San Francisco City Tour

Recently I had some family in town and in true form, we took San Francisco by storm! This is one of the things I love about this city — there is so many things to do, sometimes it is hard to fit it all in a short time! As a local, it’s also really fun to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy San Francisco through the eyes of a tourist.

Day 1 began with the Tour de Ferry Building. We arrived at the busiest time, but that was quite alright given that we were all in the spirit to eat. After strolling by all of the produce outdoors, we entered through Sur La Table and made our first purchase: El Porteno Empanadas. We ordered the Fugazzeta (aged cheddar, onions, oregano) which I found tasty but not too exciting, and the Champinones (local organic mushrooms by Far West Fungi, shallots, parmesan cheese, crème fraiche) which was delicious, earthy and much more complex.

El Porteno Empanadas Stand

As we wandered along, some stopped for vegetarian spring rolls and the interestingly-flavored ICIO Water.

ICIO Water - blood orange tarragon and black currant blueberry

I, however, had my heart set on Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick. I’m a lover of all things cheese, so naturally I went for the gold: Burrata with seasonal vegetables and herbs served atop arugula with crostini and dressed with McEvoy Olive Oil. Drool. My aunt and cousin went for the grilled cheese of the day — that sandwich was very good as well.

Cowgirl Creamery's Milkshed Map

Then we hopped on the F-line and took it down to the start of our San Francisco hop-on hop-off city tour in Fisherman’s Wharf. The tour took us to all of the popular neighborhoods (Golden Gate Park, The Haight, Civic Center, SoMa, Union Square, Chinatown) and I was quite surprised by how many “fun facts” I learned about San Francisco.


San Francisco's breathtaking architecture

I’ve included some of them below just for funsies!

  • The Spreckels mansion is the largest house city in San Francisco – yes we all know that Miss Danielle Steel now resides in that [not so] humble abode
  • The term “Sugar Daddy” was first coined by Alma Spreckels when speaking of her husband, Adoph Spreckles, the sugar baron
  • Any house painted three or more colors is considered a “Painted Lady”
  • That is actually real gold on the City Hall dome!
  • Alma is also the model for the monument in Union Square honoring naval hero Admiral Dewey and the assassinated president William McKinley
  • Twelve faceless statues sit atop 580 California called the “Corporate Goddesses”. These faceless statues are there to remind those in the banking industry to “be honest, even when you think no one is watching”.
  • Denim was invented in San Francisco during the Gold Rush because miners needed durable clothes to wear
  • The Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is designed to look like a baby piano from the outside – if you look closely you can see the white keys, black keys and strings inside.

City Hall

The "Corporate Goddesses"

Day 2 began with a stroll through the North Beach Festival – fairs and festivals are a really great opportunity for visitors and natives alike to get out in the sunshine, check out local vendors and people watch.

North Beach Festival from above

Street art at the festival

After we had our fill at the North Beach Festival, we hightailed it through Chinatown, down into Union Square and hopped on MUNI underground because we all had one track minds — we wanted to devour some sandwiches from Ike’s Place! Once our sandwiches were ready after a brief wait (Tom Brady with vegan breaded chicken, garlic and herb sauce, mushrooms, avocado and cheddar for me), we trekked over to Dolores Park. At the park everyone was happy to give their little feet a break at the park and enjoy the local flavor! We all know what I think about Ike’s (see Ike’s Place, Dolores Park & Bi-Rite Creamery) so no need to get into detail on how delicious they were.

After we were finished, we made our way back the hotel room to enjoy a glass of wine and some good family time before everyone had to part ways. It was amazing how much ground one can cover in a single weekend in San Francisco — also, important to note that I figured out what a walking drill sergeant I can be. So when I say “oh it’s just a couple blocks”, it really is 5-10 blocks. In my defense, San Francisco is such a walking city — you hardly even notice the distance you’ve gone when you walk by yourself! However even I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed putting my feel up for a rest, sipping red wine and surveying the rooftops from the balcony. This was the perfect way to play tour guide and show my relatives San Francisco’s best!

B.R. Cohn and Ghirardelli Chocolate - nice pairing.

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Filed under Family Ties, Neighborhoods, San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf, Weekend Warrior

Yosemite National Park

Vacation alert! Looking for a quick fix to get away and recharge your batteries? Located just a short 4 hour drive from San Francisco, Yosemite National Park is the perfect vacation — get in touch with your inner naturalist!

Entering Yosemite

I think an ideal time to go there is in April, right before high season starts. There will be some snow but it’s just warm enough to enjoy hiking and frolicking among the Giant Sequoias. Another helpful tip is to avoid the long holiday weekends like Memorial Day, as it can get so crowded that they turn people away at the park gate.

Unfortunately, when I recently made a trip to Yosemite with my family I was not able to hike Half Dome but I hear that it is amazing! Permits are required to hike Half Dome seven days a week — click here for details. We did, however, trek around the park, relax at our cabin, and have an all around silly good time.

Half Dome

If you can afford it the Ahwahnee Hotel is a beautiful place to stay and also rates aren’t too bad at the Wawona Hotel. Or even rough it out in a campsite! Either way, the great outdoors is a perfect break from The City. You’ll hear birds chirping, spot deer and breath in the crisp, clean air.

Giant Sequoia Tree

I posted all the pictures in my Flickr set. Check ’em out!

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Filed under Family Ties, Vacation, Weekend Warrior

Turkey Day

It’s that time of year that everyone is doing their Thanksgiving round-ups. How’s your inbox lookin’? I know mine is full to the brim with eblasts about fun happenings, events and promotions.

I will be scadaddling off to Southern California for some time with loved ones. But those not fortunate enough to have your Aunt and Mama cookin’ for you (gee I’m such a lucky girl!), 7×7 Magazine has the SF Turkey Bible for you to pray to. It’s alright — go ahead and kneel at the altar now!

Click here for “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Getting Your Turkey (in SF)”.

And click here for “The (SF) Thanksgiving Pie Bible”.

Although nothin’ beats a good ole fashioned home cooked meal, these goodies sure look tasty. Enjoy!

Gobble gobble.

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Filed under Family Ties, Thanksgiving, Turkey Day, Vacation

Grad Weekend (Part Deux)

I know I said I would write about the 2nd chapter of graduation like, A WEEK ago, but here ya go.

The view from McCormick & Kuletos

So the food at McCormick & Kuleto’s wasactually really good. Calamari to start, then I had the Halibut wrapped in a crispy feuille de brick crepe with Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Mousse, a wild huckleberry sauce and leek blanquette. yum. Oh and a Exotic Mushroom Sauté — how exotic of me.

Mine and Aunt Terri's mini dessert

The views were AH-mazing. Watched the sunset, and had some good old family fun. After polishing off 2 bottles of Champs and 4 bottles of wine (oopsies) we headed over to the Ghrardelli Shop for some dee-ssert. Peanut butter chocolate square for me, giant coffee ice cream cone for Uncle Mike-y!

When we got back to the hotel Cousin Kai and I caught a cab to meet up with some girls at Medjool. They didn’t stay for long, but Cousin Kai and I had a great time. The views from the rooftop simply cannot be beat! In true SF form, I took him to The End Up — let’s just say we came, we saw, and we…left.

Me and Cousin Kai

Next morning we were up early to see off the Aunties and Gramma (well at least everyone else was up early, not me).  We drove to Union Square to catch the Cable Car. In true Hamik form, Uncle Tom pissed the operator off so much that he almost kicked him off; who knew you weren’t allowed to stand during the ride? Hehe, just kidding.

The view from the top.

In true tourist form, we went back to Fisherman’s Wharf. It wasn’t long ’til we were hungry. We hit up the outdoor food carts, where the food was so-so. The crab cake was the best thing out there!

Don't get crabby with me!

The real gem was Salty’s Fishwitch.  Fresh haddock lightly breaded with tangy coleslaw on a soft bun.

I Recommend!

We took the cable car back and –bam!– it was time for Kai, Judy, and Tom to take off! Another weekend well spent.


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Filed under Family Ties, SF

Family in da House

This weekend the Fam-Bam officially took San Francisco by storm. It all started Friday at about 1 o’clock. Mom picked up Aunt Terri, Aunt Dede, and Gramma Tess, then Uncle Tom, Aunt Judy, and Cousin Kai from SFO. Mikey and Angel rolled up sometime after. It was like a horse race–The Hamiks/Dunns checked into their rooms, and then we were off! First stop: Coit Tower.

Freezing up there!

Next Stop? Fisherman’s Wharf and Boudin Bakery for some eats!

The Clam Chowder in a bread bowl was a popular choice–after all, The City by The Bay is the sourdough capital of the world (or something like that). Unfortunately it wasn’t clammy enough for Uncle Tom, so next time the order will be “Clam Chowder, heavy on the clam”. At least the sun was out but it was was frickin’ freezing! Thank God we had a couple mini bottles of wine to warm ourselves from the inside. Next stop? The Golden Gate Bridge!

Where's Aunt Dede?

At this point, we are all freezing our booties off, but all in the name of a good picture, right?

Good 'ole Ging-Ging

Then it was off to the Palace of Fine Arts!

Where we did a little goofing around:

I learned you need to *bend* the knees when landing.

Fast forward to Saturday, of which graduation took up almost the entire day. Can I just say, it honestly seemed as if NO ONE knew what they were doing (at the ceremony, that is). I’m just glad I didn’t miss out; note to self: set clocks ahead for certain family members. Later on we had dinner at McCormick & Kuleto’s, and boy did we have a blast! Thank you again for everyone’s cards, contributions, and well wishes =)

I think this is enough for one day! Will recap more tomorrow, y’all!


P.S. I’d like to shamelessly plug That Takes The Cake at 2271 Union Street. Today at work I tried the Red Velvet, Keylime-o-licious and impeach my hunger-yum! These things were addicting and sinful! Check em out at


Filed under Family Ties, SF

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time, a boy and a girl lived 6 houses down from each other on a street named Jumilla Avenue. The girl was the middle of 3 sisters; the boy was one of 6 brothers and one sister. These kids grew up together, along with the entire block, and experienced love, loss, triumph, and failure. This little girl was very popular and was the object of many boys’ affections, and grew into a young woman.

There was one boy in particular who turned out to be a special one. He was an altar boy and attended catholic school. Although at times he seemed a bit goofy with his large hands, this boy grew into a fine young man who captured the young woman’s heart soon after she was in a terrible motorcycle crash. As the story goes, they fell in love, were married, and had a beautiful son and daughter.

In case you couldn’t tell, this is the (very much) abridged version of how my mother and father met and I came to be. They brought together 2 families, The Dunns and The Hamiks, and as I listened to stories of their mischief this past weekend I gained insight into the people they were, and still are. I’m sure everyone believes their family is slightly crazy–they wouldn’t be our family if they weren’t.  But I want to truly thank my family from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t have done it without you!

If there is one thing I have learned this weekend is that no matter how crazy your family may seem (at times), you’ve got to love them because they are all you’ve got.


P.S. Will do a weekend recap mañana.


Filed under Family Ties