Travel TBT: Sutro Baths + San Francisco Brunch

I was up in Northern California for two week’s this month for Ashley’s wedding and my birthday. I didn’t feel particularly inspired to throw myself a big celebration for my 29th; my only wish was to do a little hike outdoors and have a great brunch. Here’s how the day went:

Sutro Baths

After some research into hikes near San Francisco, I ended up choosing more of a scenic walk because I wanted to be able to go straight to brunch after without changing. Priorities, haha. I have done the “Lands End” hike around the northern coast of San Francisco before, but never went down to the Sutro Baths. You get to the baths with a quick downhill walk and a series of stairs. What you end up seeing are the ruins of what used to be a public bath facility, which is actually very cool to imagine (you can read about the history here). This is by no means a hike, but a great little scenic walk… shall we say, for the gram?

Brunch at Aina

After scouring a few foodie websites (my go-to are Infatuation and Thrillist) and asking an old co-worker from my days at Tasting Table, I landed on brunch at Aina in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. They do not take reservations, so we went straight from our walk to put our names in. We arrived at around 11am on Saturday and were told the wait would be about an hour…not too terrible for a new restaurant! We took a quick little walk of the neighborhood and got a snack of fresh beignets to-go at Just For You Cafe on the next block over. The beignets ended up being VERY good. Plus, what is more in theme with celebrating your birthday than having dessert before brunch?! Aina called us about an hour and 10 minutes after we put our name down.

Service was super friendly and the food was AMAZING. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly had Hawaiian food, but this place makes me want to eat it constantly. The flavors were absolutely incredible. We shared the (homemade) spam bao to start, which I was scared of. However, do not be scared of the word spam, this musubi was INCREDIBLE. We also had the kalbi loco moco (their most popular dish), trout and smoked mushroom entrees. All 3 were fantastic! We drank their white wine and red wine lemonades, both were very tasty.


All around, an excellent birthday morning.


The Best Split Pea Soup Recipe

Now that it’s finally starting to feel like Fall around here, it’s time to pull out one of my favorite soup recipes of all time. Even if you’re not a very confident chef (like me), you can knock this recipe out of the park because it is THAT easy. I’m not even sure this technically qualifies as cooking, but no one but you needs to know and that’s all that matters! I recently had family from Croatia visiting and I made this soup and my cousin’s husband declared that I am now officially allowed to get married because I know how to cook like a real wife should. LOL. As long as my fiancé is fine with eating Split Pea Soup once a week I guess he’s right. 😉

What You’ll Need



1lb dried split peas – rinsed

2 ham shanks

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 stalks celery – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Pepper to taste

6 cups low sodium chicken broth


Add ingredients to crockpot in order listed above and cook on high for 5 hours. Take out ham hocks to remove meat from the bone and cut into small pieces. Add meat back to soup, stir, and serve!

***The ham hocks are naturally high in sodium so I never add any extra salt to the recipe, but feel free to add to your taste. My fiancé loves to add red pepper flakes so that’s another idea!



xo, Ashley