Everywhere you look, everywhere you go ...

The next morning in San Francisco, we walked from the hotel to Chinatown, the oldest and largest Chinatown in North America. During the 10-ish minute walk there, we passed by the Museum of Ice Cream. From reading reviews online, it isn't a museum in the traditional sense, more like pretty backdrops for Instagram pics. Whatever floats your boat.

Marking the entrance of Chinatown is the Dragon Gate.

Grant Avenue is the "main" street of Chinatown, and you'll find many of the tourist spots and souvenir shops concentrated along here.

Some of the buildings have Chinese-style architecture and are 3-4 stories tall with red lanterns hung across. We had just missed the Chinese New Year festivities which took place the weekend before.

We're that Asian house that passes out fortune cookies on Halloween, so a stop at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory was a no-brainer. It's a really popular tourist attraction off the main street in Ross Alley. It's quite small inside, so they limit the number of people coming in a time. You can watch the workers in an assembly line, filling and folding the fortune cookies coming off of the hot press. They also give you a free sample -- a flat, fortuneless cookie which you can also buy by the bag. A fun stop on your tour of Chinatown.

Another thing that amazed me about the Chinatown is the amount of street art around. There are murals on almost every blank space! This was one of my favourite spots, the Vinton Court steps. Each stair is painted a different colour with an iconic Chinese dish or delicacy. My version of stairway to heaven.

For our breakfast, we decided to get dim sum at Great Eastern Chinese Restaurant. While I was researching restaurants in Chinatown, it was actually quite hard to find a good one, believe it or not. A lot of restaurants were either American-Chinese or grossly unsanitary. Usually the unsanitary restaurants are your best bets for authentic Chinese food but we also didn't want to chance any foodborne illness while on vacation.

Luckily I happened upon this dim sum restaurant that Barack Obama had visited back in 2012. Well, if it's good enough for Obama, it's good enough for me!

Great Eastern utilizes a check-sheet menu, so no push carts here. They serve mainly dim sum classics, including shrimp dumplings ($4.90), rice noodle roll stuffed with shrimp ($5.20), and steamed chicken claws ($4.90).

Pan-fried turnip cake ($4.90) and eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste ($4.90).

Mushroom, pork and shrimp dumplings ($4.90) and deep fried pumpkin and egg yolk ball ($4.20).

Overall pretty average dim sum. It did the trick but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again.

Great Eastern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

After exploring the rest of Chinatown, we took an Uber over to Japantown!

San Francisco's Japantown consists of three indoor malls, as well as a pedestrian-only block. We spent a good chunk of time here, browsing through the shops. Don't forget to stop by Daiso while you're here!

In the same complex as the Daiso, we got a small taiyaki cone ($6.50), filled with black sesame soft serve and topped with chocolate and pocky sticks from Uji Time.

Uji Time is a Japanese dessert shop with two locations, the other located in Berkeley. They focus on soft serve, available in matcha, black sesame, or tofu. They also have seasonal flavours, which was strawberry rose at the time we visited. Definitely opt to get the taiyaki cone, a fish-shaped waffle cake filled with red bean. The taiyaki cone also comes with your choice of two toppings (azuki, kinako powder, matcha powder, pocky sticks, poppy seeds, sprinkles, or chocolate sticks).

The soft serve isn't super creamy and the taste of black sesame could definitely be a bit stronger, but it's a delicious treat to enjoy nonetheless. 

We also couldn't pass up visiting Belly Good Cafe & Crepes. If you want your crepe transformed into adorable animals using cookies, cereal, pretzels, and candy, you'll need to order a crepe with ice cream. The amount of crepe choices are overwhelming to say the least, and you can also create your own with different fillings, sauces, and toppings. We got the strawberry cheesecake with fresh strawberries, condensed milk, and strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

The first few bites were good, but the crepe gets soggy pretty fast! It's a smart idea to get the crepe on a plate instead of the cone.

Belly Good Cafe & Crepes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

You think we'd be tap out after two ice cream desserts, huh? As we were walking en route to our next destination, we made a quick pit stop at Boba Guys in Fillmore. There was a decent line when we went, as we probably just hit the after-school/work rush. The Fillmore location also is home to Sunday Bird, a Korean fried chicken popup that operates out the back of the shop.

Boba Guys was started by two friends who worked together in San Francisco. After their go-to boba shop closed down, they experimented with making their own in their kitchen. After opening one store, they now have seven in San Francisco alone and three in New York. What sets Boba Guys apart is their commitment to quality. They brew real tea leaves and use real fruits instead of powders. They also use organic milk and make their own housemade syrups.

I was intrigued by their strawberry matcha latte (16 oz, $5.00) which sounds like an odd combination but actually works! The flavours were balanced and the tapioca was probably the best tapioca I've had. I definitely get the hype about this place! Must try their black sesame latte next time!

As for our intended destination, this is it! It's a pretty hilly walk to get here but we needed to burn off all those dessert calories.

I grew up watching Full House religiously so I was geeking out. This is probably the main reason I wanted to go to San Francisco in the first place. In the show's opening credits, the Tanners are enjoying a picnic in Alamo Square, a park bordered by the Painted Ladies, a row of brightly painted Victorian homes.

Although the actual 'Full House' home is located a mile away, it's still an iconic place to visit for fans of the show.

After taking many photos of the Painted Ladies, we grabbed another Uber and headed for dinner. IPOT is an all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant located in Inner Sunset, a few blocks away from San Tung which we visited on our first night in San Francisco.

I heard about this place after watching Mike Chen's video on different AYCE hotpot buffets in San Francisco. IPOT was his favourite out of the four so naturally we chose to come here.

The price is $28.95 a person which is pretty fair or standard of most AYCE restaurants. If you pay by cash, you're also entitled to a free soft drink, milk tea, or plum juice.

Ordering is done via a laminated sheet and marker, and they bring out everything all at once. They even go so far as to setting up an easel beside your table with all the ingredients that don't fit onto it. Definitely a lot of selection! If you want your money's worth, forget balanced eating and just order all the meat!

They also make hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles, a thick, flat noodle ideal for soaking up the broth.  

Depending on where your table is, the coolest part about IPOT is their hotpot/grill contraption! You can have hot pot and Korean BBQ at the same time! We definitely need something like this in Edmonton!

I Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

After eating until we were ridiculously full, we headed back to the hotel. My mom and I dropped off our dad and headed out again for the night. What did we get up to? Visit Target and Trader Joes of course. Wild night.

- CT


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CT is a 20-something Edmontonian who started blogging as an excuse for taking pictures of her food.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf