San Jose

Spontaneous Road Trip: Day 3

Day 3 was our last day of our Spontaneous Road Trip and we maximized every minute of it pretty well! For breakfast, we went over to Stacks’ in Campbell, California. This cute breakfast joint is located in the old town area of Campbell. It almost has a thousand reviews with 3.5 stars according to Yelp.

This restaurant had an old school feel to it where the ambiance and the customer service felt homey. Instead of sitting in a booth, we sat on those stools and felt pretty hip.

Note to everyone: I wasn’t going to bring this up but felt obligated to. Please don’t judge our outfits. We wore the same outfit two days in a row because we were so comfortable in them. Thanks Gap for making hip and comfortable clothes!

Kat and I decided to share a plate since we weren’t too hungry but knew we just had to eat something before the long drive back down to sunny SoCal. We got a huge plate of an omelette with a bagel and hash brown on the side. I don’t know how one person can eat all of that but I suggest that you share this meal with a friend!

The omelette definitely satisfied us for the morning and couldn’t have asked for a better breakfast! So afterwards, we took PCH to head back home. We wanted a scenic route but we mainly wanted to see Pfieffer Beach which is known for this beauty:


Look at the sunlight beaming through the doorway! How beautiful is that? Thanks Aaron for telling me about this before the road trip! Unfortunately, we missed the exit for this! We lost reception several times on PCH and forgot to pay attention closely for this beach. Oh well, there’s always next time!

On our way down, I took over the wheel since Kat drove majority of the time on our road trip. I love driving and singing in the car so I didn’t mind the long drive!


After one or two hours of driving, we had to pull over because we saw a field that we just had to take a picture of.


This just reminded me of Lion King. I felt like I was in a safari and it was just me and the animal kingdom.


I won’t forget this selfie picture we took together because it was our first of many times of pulling over to the side of the road to take some awesome pictures.

This was our second time pulling over when we saw this beach that was so bare yet so beautiful!


The sand was abnormally really rough and we saw people with metal detectors walking over all the beach hence those footprints. I was surprised that people still used those because the last time I saw someone using one was when I watched Save By The Bell back in the 90’s.

Ok, at this point I’ll be sharing a bunch of pictures we took when we pulled over on PCH.


In the picture above, I felt like we were in Hawaii because the colors of the water were so vibrant!

When we were closer to sunny SoCal, we called a few friends last minute to see if we could stop by their place. Luckily, we were able to visit Sarah! She gave us a tour of her place, fed us with some fruits and desserts! Her place was such a good resting point physically and mentally! She always has words of encouragement than can easily lift people up! Kat and I agree that stopping by her place was a perfect way to conclude our trip!

Thanks Sarah for always sharing your love! By the way, it was nice meeting Nemo in person!

After Sarah’s place, we made one last stop, home! It was a bittersweet moment when we went our own ways! It’s always nice to be back home but I was sad that our adventure had to come to an end!

Huge thanks to Kat for EVERYTHING. Literally! I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you for being spontaneous with me during this whole road trip. I know I’ve said this many times to you in person but I am so very thankful that we went on this trip together because of all those photography moments we shared. I’m so glad we went to the V3 Conference together in June where we both learned how to make good pictures. We were finally able to apply what we’ve learned into practical use during this trip! Thank you for appreciating the art of photography and taking such artistic pictures of me and of our trip. You really have an eye for photography. I can’t wait for our next road trip once you’re on break from medical school or even our next photography session! Thank you again for making this road trip so memorable!

Spontaneous Road Trip: Day 2

We slept in pretty late the next day like up until 10AM. This was considered pretty late for us but we needed our full rest to recover from the day before. We began Yelping places to eat for breakfast. We found one nearby called Rose Donuts and Cafe in San Jose. It’s a popular donut shop that currently has 4.5 stars with almost 400 reviews. They’re known for making ginormous sized donuts! No joke!

Kat and I saw these two girls sharing one of those huge donuts. The ironic part about them eating was that they were in their workout clothes. I’m not sure if they were charging themselves up with a big donut before working out or if they were rewarding themselves with a donut after a good work out. I wish I had taken a picture of them eating in their gym clothes but I didn’t want to seem like a creeper.

We shared one of the popular items on the menu which was the breakfast burrito with a side of salsa. With one bite, we were quickly satisfied by the whole breakfast burrito experience. The hot eggs and meat really hit the spot.

Even though I was pretty full from the burrito, I had to pick up a donut just because I was born with a sweet tooth. I was pretty curious if there was anything special about the donuts here. I got a chocolate twist for a little less than a dollar! I was a little surprised how it was cheaper by 10 or 20 cents compared to Orange County! The donut shop near my house charges $1.10 for any twists! In addition to the affordable donut from Rose Donuts and Cafe, it was good! There was more fluff, bread, and chocolate on the donut than my usual experience from my neighborhood donut shop. There was a lot of bread and chocolate that I couldn’t eat it anymore after a few bites. I had to save it for later.

Anyways, enough about donuts! Actually, one more thing about donuts. If you didn’t know, I love donuts. I’m pretty passionate about them. It’s not even funny. Feel free to check out all my posts where I’ve mentioned Donuts!

After breakfast, we drove an hour up north to go to San Francisco! We parked in the underground structure of Union Square where we paid $5.50 for one hour! Only between the hours of noon and 3PM, they charge you $5.50 an hour! Ridiculous, huh? Luckily, Kat and I only spent one hour in San Francisco so we didn’t have to pay more than $5.50. San Francisco wasn’t exciting as we were expecting it to be. There wasn’t much to do in Union Square other than shop and shop some more. I recommend that you check out Union Square between November and December at night when all the holiday decorations are up.

We walked across the street to Macy’s and went to the top floor to take pictures of Union Square. It was nice to see Union Square in a panoramic view with all the fancy stores spread out.

Then we walked around the block and decided to ride the Cable Car for fun. The line for it was pretty long and we felt like we were wasting our time just standing there. So Kat started researching pretty quickly on what we should do instead. She found a place with street art and we agreed upon it immediately. We jumped out of the line and took some fake pictures on the cable car as if we had been on it.

Like I mentioned before, Union Square is a lot more entertaining during the holidays. There are a bunch of stores in the area but you can check them out at the mall by your house. One store you might want to check out since it’s only located only in several cities across the nation is Uniqlo. It’s a popular affordable clothing store that originated from Japan.

We drove over to the Mission District for some street art. Right when we got there, we learned something new thanks to smart phones and Google. We parked at a broken meter but we weren’t sure if it was legal to park there or not. So we looked it up online and it said that we were allowed to park there for free! The time limit of parking there is dependent on whatever it says in the meter originally. Basically, unlimited time.

As we were walking around, we found Philz Coffee, a popular coffee shop in Northern California that everyone raves about. They’re known for their popular Mint Mojito Iced Coffee.

Note to everyone: Talk to the barista behind the counter first to order your drink. Then go to the cashier to pay. There are signs to help direct you through this process of ordering. I was not paying attention at all to the signs. I was just so excited to be there that I paid first and then ordered. It was a little embarrassing. Also, keep in mind that your cold drink will be in a paper cup! Not in a clear plastic cup! When I got my drink, I completely forgot that they were all about that paper cup. I gave the barista a confused look saying that he must have made the wrong drink. He looked back at me weird and then I realized he was innocent.

I got my drink and sat down with Kat at a table. I had a sip of my Mint Mojito Iced Coffee and fell in love with it! The mint was somewhat subtle and was integrated so smoothly with the coffee itself. There was a creamy, sweet, and obviously a minty taste to it. There was a lot of flavors going on when I drank it but they all worked together really well!

As we were relaxing at the table, the people next to us said out loud, “Hey Phil!” I somehow knew it was Phil, the founder of Philz Coffee. I did a double take at Phil and it sure was him! He looked at me weird because I did this whole double take action, but he continued his conversation with his friends. At some point, I was tweeting Philz Coffee that Phil was sitting next to me. They tweeted back saying I should take a picture with him. Encouraged by their response, I had to interrupt his conversation with his friends to take a picture with him. So we did! He was so friendly about it!

He noticed that Kat wasn’t drinking anything so he went behind the counter and made one for her! We kept telling him that he didn’t have to but he just went at it! He made a Mint Mojito Iced Coffee out of love for Kat! We were both drinking and we started talking to him. We actually talked to him for awhile, probably 30 minutes long. It was so inspiring to hear his stories of how he came about with the business and the future prospects of it. This man had so much knowledge and experience about business that I’m sure he has inspired so many others.

After talking to him, this is how we felt.

We really couldn’t believe that we had a full on conversation with Phil from Philz Coffee!

So after that craziness happened, we were able to finally start walking around! Here are some pictures we took during our adventure in Mission District. Major photo credit to Kat for all of her creativity in taking these awesome pictures!
Talking behind someone's back.

It just made sense to point up. It just did.

It just made sense to point up. It just did.

 

We could’ve stayed in the area so much longer because we were having so much fun just taking pictures but we had to head back to San Jose for dinner with Stacy. We ate Pluto’s for some salad! Oh man, Kat and I were craving some greens in us! This place did the job. You can make your own customized salad here but you can also order sandwiches. It was so nice to eat something healthy for dinner! Thanks Stacy for joining us for dinner!

(Please ignore the fries by our salad. Don’t judge. Thank you.)

Santana Row is a nice fancy outdoorsy shopping center with more of the high end stores and restaurants. It reminds me a little bit of The Grove or The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles. It was good to just walk around Santana Row after eating those curly garlic fries and them sweet potato fries. (Don’t judge us!)

I’m not sure why but I like this picture that Kat took of me and Stacy talking to each other in front of Madewell. It’s a picture of two tall Asian girls talking to each other.

After a long day of walking around San Francisco and in Santana Row, we were ready to head back to Stacy’s place for some sleep. We had to rest up for a long drive back home the next day!

Oregon Trail – First and Last Day in Oregon

Next morning, we Yelped places to eat in Portland. We went to downtown Portland which was similar to San Francisco and LA with the one way streets and the difficulty of finding parking spots. Yelped suggested us to go to Mother’s Bistro since it had 4 stars with more than 700 reviews. The restaurant was very homey, service was prompt and friendly, and of course the food was scrumptious! I ordered a brisket,  melted cheese sandwich called Mother’s Reuben. Dasom was craving french toast so she got Crunchy French Toast. Dasom’s french toast was different from any other French toast that I’ve ever tried. It had cornflakes on top of the french toast which actually added more flavor and texture to it than normal French Toast.

We asked our waitress if she had any suggestions of what we should do around the area. She said to drive down several blocks and make a right turn into a shopping area. We took her suggestion and was on our way to go shopping after we ate. Somehow we missed the turn and just kept driving straight. As we kept driving straight, we saw a sign that said, “Puttick’s Mansion,” and immediately followed the sign. We were just curious about this masion.

My Mother’s Reuben. Yummy in the tummy indeed!

We asked our waitress if she had any suggestions of what we should do around the area. She said to drive down several blocks and make a right turn into a shopping area. We took her suggestion and was on our way to go shopping after we ate. We missed the turn and just kept driving straight. We saw a sign that said “Puttick’s Mansion,” and immediately followed the sign. We were just curious to see this mansion.

Driving straight to Puttick’s Mansion after missing the turn. Nature is everywhere!

We got to the top of this hill where Puttick’s Mansion was and found out that it was closed! Closed for renovation purposes. As we were leaving the main entrance, we saw some kind of construction/janitor type of worker by the mansion. We decided to talk to him and ask him what Puttick’s Mansion was all about. First he introduced himself as Fernando who worked for the city of Portland. He briefly shared that Mr. Puttick was a wealthy man who owned Portland’s main newspaper company. He was so wealthy that he bought a mansion and then died years later. Then his mansion turned into a museum. The end! After sharing that with us, we talked some more and we learned that Fernando is originally from South Central LA! What a small world!

Dasom in front of Puttick’s Mansion.

He decided to move to Oregon because he didn’t want his kids to grow up in an unhealthy environment even though he was not part of any gangs in LA. In addition to that, he said that Oregon is just a lot cheaper to live compared to California. It was definitely fun talking to him because he just had so much to share. He told us that we came to Portland at the wrong time because of the weather. He said to come back in the spring time when the weather and view is beautiful to experience. After talking to him, we decided to walk around the mansion in the rain!

Nature at its best by Puttick’s Mansion. *No Instagram filter implemented*

Cloudy day in Portland.

Afterwards, we went shopping! We had to take advantage of the “no sales tax” in Oregon. We found the shopping center that the waitress told us about. The center had stores like Gap, Levis, a store like Buffalo Exchange, Urban Outfitters, etc. At Urban Outfitters, there was an employee there and we found out that she’s originally from Long Beach! Small world again! She too moved because it was cheaper and loved the nature in Portland. Dasom and I took minor advantage of the “no sales tax” because there wasn’t much to buy.  We both just bought a belt from Gap on sale and with no sales tax. Little double whammy!

One set plan we had while we were in Oregon was to visit our friends! We have a friend named Aristotle who goes to a Catholic university in Mount Angel, Oregon. Our drive to Mount Angel was scenic and historical especially as we got closer to the university. Once we were in Mount Angel, we noticed that the community neighborhood was strong in Catholicism. We learned that the city was formed by saints therefore majority of the people there are Catholics. Aristotle gave us a tour of his campus and it reminded me of Harvard. Though I’ve never been to Harvard, I imagined Aristotle’s school to be the mini version of Harvard because it had the brick buildings with so much history to it.  Walking around his school was so peaceful and refreshing. Nothing is polluted nor are the buildings crammed, so it makes you want to do yoga or sit down and soak in the beauty of nature there. Random fact about his school is that if you’re a student there, you basically know all the students and staff because there’s less than one or two hundred students there! It’s definitely a close knit school. We were only there for a short period of time because he had to get going for a meeting at school.

Another friend we wanted to meet up with was Ylai (pronunciation: eee-ly). She goes to Oregon State University and was an hour or two away from Mount Angel. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to meet up with her because we got lost in the rain. Driving in Oregon with the rain is definitely challenging because their street signs are not quite visible. The lights there, they don’t really exist except your car headlights. We drove around for so long and decided to give up and pull over to a gas station. By this time, it was around 6 or 7PM, meaning dinner time. We got some hot water from a gas station and had cup of ramen again in the car. For dessert, we had Cuties from Costco. While we were having dinner, we were talking about what we should do next.

We were not planning to spend another night in Oregon because it was just not part of the unplanned trip. So we thought, let’s just go back to NorCal! Once were done eating, we changed into comfy clothes and had to get Starbucks for the long drive. I must tell you that, anytime we wanted Starbucks, it was nowhere to be found. Here in SoCal, there’s a Starbucks for every ten minute drive. Don’t take Starbucks for granted!

Anyway, we found a Starbucks at a Safeway market. FYI: Safeway is like their version of Ralph’s. We got there right on time when they were close to closing. We quickly ordered, got our drinks, and were finally on our way back for another 12 hour drive back to northern California!

What happens during the 12 hour drive? Oh, many things! You shall find out in the next post!

Oregon Trail – First stop, NorCal.

Note to reader: Oregon Trail post will have several posts due to lengthiness of story.

Last weekend’s crispy, cold wind and today’s heavy pouring rain all reminded me of my road trip to Oregon in January with my friend Dasom. Our main goal was actually to get to Canada but Dasom couldn’t find her passport. So we decided to drive up to Seatle, Washington. Unfortunately, the weather condition there was not looking too good because of a snowstorm. So then, we had to go for Plan C which was Oregon. The day we wanted to leave for Oregon, there was heavy rain which made us question our road trip. We thought to ourselves, “Ok, we still have to go somewhere at least! We’ve been talking about this road trip for so long!” We finally decided, “Let’s go to NorCal at least!”

We left Orange County on a Sunday at 4:30 in the morning and got to San Jose in the afternoon. Then we went to Emmanuel church for Sunday service and to meet up with some old friends (Connie and Sarah). After service, we went to Honey Berry which is a hang out spot in San Jose if you want a plain yet sweet bread called Rotti Bun. We also had some brick toast with chocolate drizzled all over!  At Honey Berry, my friends (Yesie, joined us too!) and I all caught up since we had not seen each other for the longest time. Since we had dessert first, we had to get dinner next. For dinner, we just went to a Korean food court. There, we laughed some more and simply had a good time of fellowship with each other.

We departed after dinner where Dasom and I went to another Sunday service at night and met up with more friends (Michelle).

While we were in NorCal, our friends were asking us, “What are you guys planning to do after this?” We told them, “Um…not sure.” They laughed because they thought we were joking but we really didn’t have a plan. We just wanted to go to Oregon at some point, hopefully.

Sunday night, we slept over at Yesie’s house. The next morning, we woke up with no one in the house! Yesie’s family was out at work, school, or doing errands. As Dasom and I were getting ready for the day, we talked about how it would take about 12 hours to get to Portland from San Jose. I said to Dasom, “So if it takes 12 hours to get to Portland then we would get there by midnight. If we want to get there by midnight, then we should leave….now!” Quickly, we started packing. Next thing you know we were on a 12 hour drive to Oregon!

TO BE CONTINUE…