All posts tagged “travel

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Aina

Aina took SF by storm at the beginning of the year as it seemingly appeared out of thin air. Located in the Dogpatch, Aina serves modern Hawaiian cuisine for brunch and dinner. Their brunch, which can be followed at @ainabrunch, is what put this small eatery on the SF food map.

The space is small, so be prepared to wait – I went on a Friday around 11AM and still waited over an hour. However, the restaurant is bright and hip, lined with wood and small plants, and the fun attire of the staff – Hawaiian shirts – adds to the tropical charm of Aina.

Their two most well known (aka most Instagrammed) dishes are the Malasadas, Portuguese doughnuts filled with guava custard, and the Kalbi Loco Moco, pictured below.

The food was incredibly flavorful and full of beautiful colors. The meat was tender and the eggs were cooked to perfection. I ordered the Kalua Pork Belly, which came with two poached eggs on rice and asparagus.

The highlight of our meal, since we picked a savory appetizer over the Malasadas, was the Breakfast Potatoes, which had aioli and furikake drizzled on them. The potatoes were perfect for breakfast and had a great mixture of sweet from the aioli with tang and spice from the furikake.

Aina was great, although it was a bit on the pricier side (for small portions) and the wait was longer than I had anticipated. I can’t imagine how long the wait would be on the weekends, but it’s definitely worth the visit if you are able to go early or have a lot of time to brunch!

900 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

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Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle may be hands down one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Of course, it’s on the other side of the world and incredibly busy! Perched on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, 2 floors up from the popular Sushi Samba, Duck & Waffle has the most amazing food and one of the best views in all of London.

The only reservation I could get for the week that I would be in London was a 3:30PM brunch on a random weekday. While it wasn’t packed inside, it was still bustling with people from all over the world enjoying their late-time brunch as we were, or transitioning to the late lunch menu.

As a sucker for all things brunch, we stuck to the classics – the Duck & Waffle and the Smoked Scottish Salmon flatbread.

The Duck & Waffle blew Chicken & Waffles out of the water (and I LOVE Chicken & Waffles. But I love duck more). The Duck & Waffle, the namesake of the restaurant, was a crispy leg confit and fried duck egg on top of a Belgian waffle with a mustard maple syrup on the side. While incredibly flavorful and filling, I could definitely eat 6 of these in one sitting. I could see why this is the favorite dish of the restaurant: the meat was tender and rich, with perfectly runny yolk and a fluffy Belgian waffle. The mustard maple syrup flawlessly tied the sweet and savory flavors of the dish together.

The Smoked Scottish Salmon flatbread was another mind-blowing favorite for me, as I’m addicted to all things smoked salmon. The flatbread was light, with the perfect amount of creamy shmear, and topped with pickled cucumber and sprigs of dill. I could have eaten 6 of these as well. With the Duck & Waffle.

The third dish on the table is the Puy Lentils, ordered by my vegetarian friend that doesn’t understand brunch (sorry Becca 😘 ). However, I’m glad she did because it was delicious! Although I wouldn’t order 6 of these (I’d be too full from the other two x 6), the combination of spinach, sweet onion, yogurt, miso, and nasturtiums (I had to google that, it’s the little edible flowers) was a sweet and savory surprise that went perfectly with the house bread (which looks almost like a flatbread too).

The brunch, however, would not have been complete without this view!

Duck & Waffle overlooks ‘The City,’ aka London’s Financial District, with the giant Gherkin (a pickle shaped building) right next to it, and a view of Tower Bridge, Tower of London, the Thames, and St Paul’s Cathedral on the opposite side. It was absolutely incredible and slightly terrifying at the same time, knowing we were casually sipping wine and eating a 3:30 brunch 40 floors high.

I would definitely recommend, or more like order you to book a meal at Duck & Waffle, if not for the delicious food at least for the amazing view!

Heron Tower
110 Bishopsgate
London EC2N 4AY
United Kingdom

PS. Dress well 😉

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Stumptown

On my trip to Portland, I had one place that I HAD to go to. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, while it is served in many cafes and sold in grocery stores, doesn’t actually have it’s own cafe in San Francisco. As this is my favorite coffee brewer,… Read More