Peace, Friendship, and Fusion Food | SF 2017

Last time on SF 2017, I waited in line for pastries before experiencing a wide spectrum of feels at the beautiful Walt Disney Family Museum. Time to pull myself together and get ready for dinner and fun with friends.


When I emerged from the Walt Disney Family Museum, I entered the still-gorgeous day in the Presidio. I rushed through the latter part of the museum, fearing that there was still a lot left and I’d be late for dinner, but I left earlier than I planned, so I walked back out to Crissy Field to revisit one of my favorite spots from when I visited Christine back in September.

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If I ever moved to SF (don’t get your hopes up, Christine!), Crissy Field would be a big part of it. I don’t know that I ever feel as calm and at peace with myself and the world as I do when I’m sitting at Crissy Field. I wasted a good chunk of Christine’s afternoon getting lost in how tranquil I felt the last time I visited, and I had to set an alarm to make sure I didn’t lose track of time this time around.

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I didn’t see any dogs for a long while this time around, and I got pretty worried until I saw this doggo frolicking in the water. And all peace was restored to the world, or at least to mine.

Finally, I did tear myself away from the beach to head back to the hotel to drop off the pastries I managed to stop myself from eating to give to Ben and get ready to eat dinner with one of my very oldest friends, Connie.

Lemme talk to you guys about Connie. I met Connie when I moved in the middle of the 3rd grade and she lived a block away from me the whole time I lived in that house in New Jersey. We were both Chinese-American, rode the same bus, and in the same grade. We were even about the same height and had similar haircuts for almost all of the rest of elementary school. Needless to say, this meant that I got used to people calling me “Connie” pretty quickly. We spent a lot of time together because we were neighbors, and when both my parents were working, my brother and I would spend afternoons after school with Connie and her brother, watching TV, playing video games, and playing outside. She was one of the closest friends I had while I was living in that town, and I never appreciated her enough for it because I think I spent a lot of time being jealous of her – consciously or not – for being all the things I wasn’t while still being good or better at the things I was good at.

Then I moved to Maryland, and after college, she started working for Yelp in Manhattan. I visited her while she was there a few times, and this year she got promoted and, with that promotion, moved to San Francisco. She had actually only moved for a few weeks when I visited, so I believe I am officially the first person to have visited her since her big move across the country. I’m so proud of her for making this big move and for everything that it means, and I’m glad I was able to see her!

I met up with Connie at Yelp HQ! If you don’t know, I was actually on Yelp’s payroll as a brand ambassador, so it was nice to finally see the place where my paychecks come from! They were actually having their demo day for a recent hackathon, so I’m excited to see which ideas actually get used. It was really nice for me to talk to the Yelp devs as both a Yelper and as a developer, so I could ask technical questions and ask about how some of the designs actually made Yelp a better product.

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Afterwards, we got dinner at HRD, which was specifically recommended to me by the Yelp DC Community Manager, Kimberly, as a spot that I would love. I am not going to ignore a recommendation like that, so off we went! We were so surprised by HRD that we nearly walked past it. Because Kimberly is a classy lady of fine tastes, I think I was expecting it to be a fancier sit-down place, but HRD is a super casual eatery that let me know Kimberly knows me better than I thought: I care about the yumminess of the food most at the end of the day! I was also apprehensive because a lot of fusion food in DC falls very flat and has made me wary of fusion food in general, but HRD totally nails it.

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Bulgogi beef tacos
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Grilled short rib rice bowl

Then we went off to get bubble tea before calling it a night. I’m so glad that Connie and I have remained friends for almost 2 decades now. It’s crazy to think about it that way, because it certainly doesn’t feel like that long, but when we consider how old we were when we first rode the bus together… it has been a looooong time. And I am so grateful for all of it.

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While I planned on spending the rest of the evening drinking my bubble tea, maybe tracking down some macaron ice cream, and just general lazing about in the hotel, Ben invited me to join him while he was eating dinner with one of his coworkers and another friend. I was real full and had to sit in the hotel room just staring at the TV for about 20 minutes before I got up to leave. (The TV was off, mind you. I just stared at the blank television for 20 minutes. I didn’t pass out. I just… stared…)

Somehow, Ben’s old coworker tried to get us to go clubbing with him (that’s the last thing we did with him before he moved out west…), but I was literally yawning as they pregamed in his apartment and just was not able to hang. That time difference is no joke!


Do you still spend time with friends from elementary school? I am still in touch with a handful, but I wonder if I’ll ever see friends from my first elementary school again, the ones I made before I moved and met Connie! That would be pretty wild. (I’ve friended a few on Facebook and they say I look the same. That’s good, right? Because I moved when I was 7.)

What are your favorite casual eats in SF? I complain often about DC’s good food being unaffordable, but then I find myself being recommended higher-end places when I travel to other cities, which was part of what made visiting HRD so refreshing. What are some unpretentious places you like to eat in SF, or any other city for that matter?

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