Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Trip to the East Bay

In mid-May 2012 when the twins were nearly 2 ½ we decided to visit our old stomping grounds in the East Bay. For lunch we met up with newly married Heidi (a bridesmaid from our wedding) and her husband John at Burma Superstar in Temescal.

We start our day in the East Bay with lunch at Burma Superstar.

James collects chopsticks.

Newlyweds Heidi and John

Afterwards we visited Colby Park, a little park near our old apartment in Rockridge. The twins were thrilled that there were lots of toys and sand toys laying around to play with. Hoping the twins would nap, we then took them on a long walk in the stroller down College Avenue all the way to Broadway, but there were no takers.

Julia at Colby Park

We planned to ride the Tilden Park steam trains but we ran out of time since James spotted the Rockridge BART escalators. They rode them six times, each time with James dragging me by the hand to start another trip. James was so excited and he narrated the action each time: "Moving! Moving! Escalator moving! Up!" I can't imagine the steam trains beating that. The fun was capped with Daddy running up the down escalator and down the up one. The twins were delighted.

James saw the BART escalators and wanted to ride them again and again and again.

Daddy and Julia again share the same expression.

"Yes! Daddy and Julia made it to the top!"

James drags Mommy onto the escalator.

Next we stopped at Tara’s for ice cream. We sat outside and James loved running up for bites but strangely Julia was uninterested.

We decided to walk to Elmwood, a half mile away, with the babies out of the stroller. It was slow going. Our final stop was at Shen Hua for dinner. Unfortunately with no naps they weren’t in the best of moods at the restaurant. Not surprisingly they fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Julia and James help Daddy push the stroller to Elmwood.

Some are happier to eat at Shen Hua than others.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Trip to San Francisco

Not counting the newborn photos taken a few weeks after they were born, James and Julia had never been to San Francisco. So at the end of January 2012 when they were 2 years and 1 month, Mark and I made a day of it. I packed a lot of toys and musical instruments for the car ride because I didn’t want them to be bored when it was dark.

First stop was Anzu, a restaurant in Union Square. Anzu was participating in Dine About Town, a promotion wherein upscale San Francisco restaurants offer discounted prix fixe meals. But first we had to park and in doing so we discovered that James HATED being inside a parking garage, and next we had to take an elevator and James HATED that too. (When we returned to the car, I waited with the twins outside the garage to avoid further trauma.) For the record, after lunch James also HATED getting going inside a public restroom for a diaper change. Judging from what he HATES, I’m thinking he has a bit of claustrophobia.

James and Julia see San Francisco for the first time, at Market & 5th.

There was an elevator to get to the restaurant (oh no, not again) but we decided escalators and stairs were a far superior option. And the babies loved crawling up the staircase. I just pretended not to think about them eating with their hands after that.

Julia and James wait in the lobby of the Hotel Nikko, home to Anzu.

Anzu, a swanky Asian fusion Sushi bar, was easily the nicest restaurant the twins had been to, and they were model diners! They loved the house bread and decorating the coloring book of San Francisco Anzu provided. I ordered them the $5 mac and cheese off the kid’s menu for them, and I ordered the truffled mac and cheese off the prix fixe menu for myself and we got the same exact thing! Portion size and everything! I wasn’t sure if I should be outraged that I paid so much for mine or excited that theirs was so cheap. (Note to self: Anzu’s kid’s menu is AWESOME. Can I convince Mark to look 12 on our next visit?) As it turns out, James and Julia preferred the cold Trader Joe’s mac and cheese I brought along, but I got some pretty sweet leftovers.

The babies enjoy fine dining at Anzu.

Julia daintily eats bread above her San Francisco coloring book.

James and his Truffle Mac N Cheese

The twins love the bubble sculpture at Anzu. Hope they don't mind toddlers pounding on it.

James talks to Ghost James.

We took a long long walk all the way from Union Square to the Mission Creek drawbridge by AT+T Park, hoping the twins would nap. In the end, only Julia did. James was literally on the edge of his seat in the stroller, not wanting to miss a thing.

Next we visited Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Playground. The playground is pretty chaotic with tons of kids running up steep ramps and swishing down long flume-like covered slides. The twins stuck to the water area and were content playing there with sand toys. They also experimented with hitting the pipes to play different musical notes and ran with us up some of the lower ramps.

Julia and James play with their sand toys in the water.


Julia plays the pipes.

Afterwards we had a quick dinner at Frontera Fresco, Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless’s fast casual restaurant in Macy’s Cellar, with James quickly getting cranky due to not having a nap. Not surprisingly, he slept on the way home.

And that’s the end of the our first big toddler day trip. And any day trip you can walk away from (with your eardrums intact) is a good toddler day trip.