Last weekend, my husband and I spent our first day and night away from the kids since my surgery last July. My surgery traumatized my four year old so badly that he had refused to spend anytime away from Neil or me. We have made several attempts over the last few months to leave for short periods of time with little success. This time, I bought the 400 count pack of water balloons from Costco and had a pep talk and sent him over to Grandma and Grandpa’s hoping it would go smoothly. Our destination of choice, Ghirardelli Square.
Situated across the street from the iconic aquatic park and beach in San Francisco, Ghirardelli Square is quite a fun place to spend the entire day. Growing up, I only knew Ghirardelli for their amazing chocolate and ice cream. However, Ghirardelli Square is so much more than that. Whether you are a local that lives down the street, or from the East Bay like me or even a visitor from out of the area, there is something there for everyone. For us, Ghirardelli Square was only a 40 min drive into San Francisco and they have parking on site. Take the route along the piers, it’s definitely worth it.
We started off our day having lunch at The Pub. We initially sat at a booth with a spectacular ocean view. However, we decided to move closer to the bar to watch our favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. We ordered jalepeno poppers, chips and dip and their almost ‘world famous’ Tommy Tots. I must say they were all delicious. My favorite was definitely the poppers. We washed them down with Bloody Mary’s and ordered our main course. Neil and I are both avid grillers and smoke meat on our grill weekly. We love trying BBQ at different restaurants and so we chose brisket and pulled pork. The restaurant serves comfort food with a southern flair and everything we had was tasty. I also want to say how friendly the staff was who waited on us. Our server as well as the manager was very attentive and made sure we were happy guests. What a great way to start our day at Ghirardelli!
After lunch, we did a little shopping(well I did the shopping) at a cute women’s clothing store Gigi+Rose that happens to be right next door to The Pub. The shop is light, airy and features a dramatic spiral staircase. Not only do they carry clothing, but also various accessories as well as trinkets and books. You can even build your own terrarium; which I think is the best idea ever! After perusing the store, I found a lovely Goorin Bros. hat that I just couldn’t bear to leave without as well as a new coffee mug. I love that it has the perfect mix of name brands like Free People and newer independent designers to compliment each other. They have definitely earned me as a customer and I can’t wait to stop in next time we are in the area.
After a little window shopping, we made our way over to Bluxome St. Winery. Yes, a winery! Ghirardelli Square actually has two wineries on site. Both equally amazing and I’ll talk more about Wattle Creek below. Bluxome has a gorgeous tasting room decorated in rustic wood and brick and a patio overlooking the bay. This building used to be the first woolen mill in California which opened in 1858 which I found very interesting. We started inside for our wine tasting flight and took our last glass of wine out on their patio to sit and relax. Can you name another winery that has views like this of the bay and this weather? It really was one of our favorite parts of the day thus far and the wine was delicious.
Next to Bluxome is a fun jewelry store called Mashka’s. Everything inside is handmade, gorgeous and truly one of a kind. Next time, we will definitely have to spend more time there. They had these beautiful sterling silver bangles that open up like a pea pod to beads or stones. Absolutely stunning!
We also came across a fantastic card shop called Lola of North Beach. Here you will find not only cards, but books, games, shopping bags and even baby items. Sarah, the manager was delightful and she showed us their newly designed bag. I also picked up a new iced coffee tumbler. (Hello, my name is April, and I am an iced coffee-aholic! My husband bought me an espresso machine to use at home and so now, instead of driving over to Starbucks everyday, I make my own iced vanilla lattes and just buy cups!) We also purchased a cute number nine sparkler to use for our wedding anniversary coming up. I could have spent hours in here!
Once we finished up shopping, we found another winery called Wattle Creek. I loved walking in and being hit immediately with this fun, sexy vibe. They have velvet curtains, purple lighting and white lacquer bars. Rhinestone necklaces and big funky bangles among other statement jewelry by JCB can be found there. I think it’s amazing that I can do a wine tasting flight and shop while doing so! I must say, our sommelier, Jesse, made our time there fun and entertaining. He started us off with champagne, so of course, that immediately won me over. After sipping on wine and chatting a bit, he pulled out an AMAZING sparkling sirrah. I have never been a huge red wine drinker but this is all changing after tasting Wattle Creek’s sparkling sirrah! After pouring me a second tasting, we purchased a bottle to take home with us to drink on our anniversary. It truly is a delicious wine and for this reason, I will for sure need to make it back out here and stock our wine bar with it. It’s that good!
Hungry as can be, we walked around the square and found this fabulous California-Italian restaurant, Waxman’s. You immediately feel right at home here. I loved the old wooden artwork and brick walls that surrounded us yet it still felt very elegant and classy. They have a full bar and brought us the most delicious and colorful drinks to start; along with the bruschetta. I had an aperol spritz while my husband had an old-fashioned as well as a dark and stormy. We ordered the gnocchi dish and hands down, its the best gnocchi I have ever had! It literally melts in your mouth and comes adorned with edible flowers. I could have licked the plate clean but I refrained from doing so. For our main course, my husband ordered their signature chicken dish while I ordered the cioppino. My cioppino came with a large crab cake on top. Both were spectacular and we decided to share with each other so we could taste both. I honestly don’t know how we managed, but we ordered two desserts as well. My husband enjoyed the polenta biscuit with mascarpone cream, strawberries and lemon curd while I had the peach crostata with brown butter semifreddo and caramel. Neil and I were so impressed with the food and drinks that I can’t wait to go back. All of their carefully picked ingredients come from California and they have been recognized as one of the top 25 restaurants in the San Francisco area on Gayot. It truly is a gem in Ghirardelli Square.
Full from dinner, we decided to take a stroll on the beach that is literally across the street from Ghirardelli Square and watched a beautiful sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge. We talked about how fun the day had been and how much we needed it after this past year being so difficult. As much as we love our children, taking time to just be the two of us is really important. I am so glad we decided on Ghirardelli Square for our day together. We plan to come back and explore the many other stores we didn’t have time to check out in the near future and maybe even grab some of that delicious chocolate and ice cream everyone raves about. Speaking of chocolate, Ghirardelli is having their annual chocolate festival on September 9th and 10th. I know I am going, are you?
Dress | Loveshackfancy (sold out)
Shoes | Jack Rogers
Earrings | Anthropologie
Before I switch gears and focus on other holidays (you know I love to celebrate…
Happy New Year! 2017 has come and gone and as I sit here and reflect…
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