Holy Matcha

MATCHA LOOKIN' AT?!

I got to escape my day-to-day stress of the city and ran away to San Diego for a much needed quick vacation. While I was in her hometown, Holly hosted part of my visit and introduced me to the best local spots in her hood. We've been talking about this trip for some time now, and though it's so overdue, we made it happen! Truly, I had the best time  seeing her in her element! Though a San Diego weekend guide is coming to the blog really soon, I couldn't help but talk about one of San Diego's most instaworthy hot spots.

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I already feel relaxed thinking back to the kind of day it was. Clear blue skies at the perfect temperature. I'm sure the San Diego locals never have to worry about what us San Franciscan's call "FOGUST". (Don't worry Karl the Fog, we still love ya!)

Holly, her mom and I went to visit North Park to finally experience Holy Matcha: a boutique cafe with millennial pink and tons of greenery styled to perfection.

Here's a three reasons why the hype is worth it.

Holy Matcha San Diego Travel Guide
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REASON #1: THE DECOR IS ABSOLUTE GOALS

As soon as you walk in, the tropical leaf wallpaper to the pink saloon style seats catch your eye. Sprinkle that in with a few gold art deco accents, a pink neon sign and hanging plants, and you've got Holy Matcha! The owners and designers of this place did not dissapoint.
They even go above and beyond to display fresh floral arrangements on their counter.

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REASON #2: THE EXPERIENCE IS WORTH IT

The playlist is on point with girl power anthems, the pink seats are soft and cozy, and the food is as good as it looks. For them, matcha is not only a drink, but it's an ingredient, a craft and a lifestyle. They really make sure to nurture an experience when you come in, down to the itty bitty details.

TIP ON WHEN TO VISIT: visit on a weekday to get the full experience without the rush.Holly assured that we went on a Monday to enjoy the experience at a slower pace. On weekends I've heard it's hard to enjoy the seats without feeling a little rushed.

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REASON #3 MAD LOVE FOR THE MATCHA MENU

Last but definitely not least. Talk about matcha madness on that menu! Not only did everything match the brand, but it tasted fantastic. I mean, look at it, it's hard not to call it picture perfect. Holly and I ordered as much as we could so we could try a little bit of everything. 

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The Avocado Toast

Back that hass up! You can't really go wrong with this pick. Holy Matcha's avocado toast is topped with chili flakes and pepper. To make it even a little more extra, the staff stencils matcha powder on the plate, just because. 

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The matcha soft serve

I scream, you scream, cause the ice cream is soooo good. You can't see it in this picture, but the matcha soft serve brings a modern touch to everyone's classic swirl flavors. Yup, this swirl soft serve is pink and green. 

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The Rose Lemonade and the Matcha Horchata

The rose lemonade was so refreshing, with hints of floral flavor. As for the matcha horchata, that's what won my heart, hands down. 

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If you're going to San Diego, do yourself a favor and hit this place up. I am so grateful to have shared this experience with one of favorite girls! Go with your gal pals, and don't be shy to take some pics to savor the memory. It's worth the experience, and the treats. Enjoy! :)

Modern Hawaiian Brunch at Aina

I can't stop raving about this place! It's been almost a week, and I'm still craving to go back. Over the weekend, Abbie invited me to brunch with her family for Aina's San Francisco Restaurant Week menu, and little did I know I'd come across one of San Francisco's best. A hidden gem to say the least!

Aina, a modern Hawaiian Eatery is located in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood. Its worth the trip and you've got to try this place to really understand how delicious it is. Each dish we ordered was packed with flavor, and had such a unique hawaiian twist to everyone's favorite brunch classics.

Aina's SF Restaurant Week special menu!

Aina's SF Restaurant Week special menu!

Everything we serve is from the land and rooted in what the land has given to us. We cook with the seasons and with love, using fine dining techniques and local ingredients from the Bay Area as well as specially imported ingredients from Hawai’i.
— Quoted from Aina's Philosophy

The Malsadas

portuguese style doughnuts, coconut sugar, filled with guava custard
(regular menu item)

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Breakfast Potatoes

kennebec potatoes, furikake, compound butter, sunomono, micro mustard greens

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Spam Musubi "Ssam Style"

Stone Valley Farms whole hog spam, boston bibb lettuce, kimchi, short grain rice, egg yolk furikake

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Auntie's Banana Bread

house made banana bread, papaya puree, kinako sabayon, sesame honeycomb and fried curry leaves

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Kalbi Loco Moco


slow braised kalbi short rib, smoked honshimeji mushroom jus, short grain rice, sunny side up eggs, hearts of palm pico de gallo, cilantro, pea tendrils
 

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Kalua Pork Belly

pork belly, slow poached eggs, short grain rice, sunshine kabocha squash purée, flowering kale, chicharron

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If you are looking for a new brunch place to try in San Francisco, this place is a must! From the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly to the gooey sweet malsadas, you are in for quite the treat.

Next time, I'm making sure I go back with an emptier stomach and promise to get my hands on their guava mimosas! YES! GUAVA MIMOSAS!

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Portland, Oregon | Food and Drink Guide

Oh man, I feel like I ate my way through the trip...but I expected nothing less.  Note, some bites were taken so quickly they didn't make into the pictures. Sorry, not very sorry for enjoying it in the moment! Before arriving, Tigran and I asked a lot of people we knew for suggestions. Here's a small list of some of the places we made it to, that were worth the visit!

Coffee at Stumptown

One of the Portland recommendations we were given time and time again. For me, I had a simple cold brew coffee. Yes, it was worth it, and yes, I was bouncing off walls.

 

Brunch at Screendoor Restaurant

Screendoor was the first restaurant we visited once settling in, and that started off our trip with a massive food coma that was absolutely worth it. I got bacon praline waffles. My sweet tooth didn't know how to handle all of it at once, so I took some back to the room for leftovers....and devoured them later that evening. 

Twisted Treats at Voo Doo Donuts

We had a lot of donut options while we were there. We were warned that Voo Doo Donuts would have a long line, but somewhere in between our bikes and bar hopping, we made our way for a late night visit and the line was practically non-existent. I loved voo doo's because the recipe reminded me of the good ol' small mom-and-pop bakeries with classic fluffy donuts, with an extreme and twisted makeover.

Romantic Dinner at Portland City Grill

An absolute must if you are going to Portland for a romantic getaway. Along with the 30-story view of the Portland cityscape, the delicious food is like american steakhouse meets asian fusion. I got the macadamia nut chicken dish, which came with sushi rice and a sweet passion fruit sauce. So unique in taste,  and I loved the sweet touch! (Yes, I have a massive sweet tooth, it might be obvious now).

....and of course, and a whiskey drink. An old fashioned to be exact, because why not? ;)

Casual Taqueria Lunch at Por Que No?

If you are a San Franciscan, Por Que No reminded me so much of one of my hometown favorites, the Taco Shop at Underdogs on Irving Street. It's a great place for a casual brunch or lunch!

I ordered my go-to favorite, just like back home...a crispy double layered carne asada taco, with chips with guacamole to top it off. One thing Por Que No had that Underdog's didn't...the cafe borracha drink. The cafe borracha is a spiked housemade horchata, shaken with ristretto cold-brewed coffee and haitian rum. Something I'm still missing about the trip!

Did I mention how cute the patio was in the middle of Portland's Missisisspi District?

Thanks for the delicious eats, Portland! My tastebuds thank you...but the few extra pounds of fluff can't agree as easily. :P