Being a Consultant and San Mateo County, CA

Beautiful views along PCH

One of the perks and also possible downfalls of being a consultant is that you travel. Sometimes, you travel a lot. To cool places, to weird “why does anyone live here” places. Maybe travel there every week for a year. Or get on a 12 hour flight for a 1 hour meeting. Most of the time you’ll get to eat extremely good food for free, stay at nice hotels (or not so nice, if your project doesn’t have budget… shout out to Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown…), and get to know your coworkers real well. You’ll build up points and miles so that your vacations are free. Any good consultant to consultant conversation involves what status loyalty you have with airlines, hotels (#SPGrulez), car rentals, credit cards, etc. ALL ABOUT DEM POINTS YO. It’s the “sexy” part of being a consultant but for most people, it’ll wear off after a while. You’ll get exhausted. Sometimes, you’ll be in a really cool city but you’ll only see the airport, the hotel, and the client site. Sometimes your weekends are cut really short. I had one project where I was traveling to Omaha, Nebraska for 2 months… leaving my house for my flight at 11AM on a Sunday and returning to my door step at 10PM on a Friday night. But all in all, I enjoy the travel still – I definitely have my job to thank for taking me to places I may have never gone to. My favorite trip so far was a one week trip to London, where I had my first business class experience (woooo flat beds!), got to stay in the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, had a drink at the Shard, and eat the best Indian food I ever had (yelp review for Dishoom here). It’s also a lot better when you have an awesome team to travel with… I got lucky that I almost always had awesome travel companions or I traveled solo so I was able to do cool things.

My most recent business trip (I’m writing this on a flight to Tampa right now, so it doesn’t count yet!) was to Palo Alto, California / San Mateo County area for a client workshop. I arrived on a Thursday morning and left on the redeye Friday night. I had to work a good chunk of the time, but got some time after work to catch up with friends in downtown San Mateo and Fremont, and also drive along the Pacific Coast Highway by myself! The drive is so beautiful that I didn’t even mind the traffic. While it was a short trip, I wanted to share the meals and sights I got to check out! I didn’t go into San Francisco proper since I already been there (read about my trip in SF here) and didn’t want to deal with the traffic, but San Mateo County has some good eats!

Details after the jump, but here’s my short list:

Hotel: Sheraton Palo Alto (wouldn’t stay here again on own dime)

Lunch/Dinner: Crawfish Fusion, Pancho Villa Taqueria, Poolside Grille (in Sheraton), Amber India, Ajisen Ramen

Dessert: Bambu Desserts & Drinks

Read More »

Los Angeles, California USA (August 2015)

Santa Monica Beach

I’ve lived in New York all my life and I didn’t think I would be able to live anywhere else. Until I visited LA. Well, I still prefer NYC > LA, buuuuuut if I ever had to leave NYC, I would head to LA fer sure. Mainly because there is beach, weather is mostly awesome, food is so delicious, AYCE KBBQ is like $15, and I would try to attend all the show tapings. The traffic is meh but so is NYC’s. What was interesting is that I’m usually a typical Noo Yawker in sense of being very fast-paced, efficient, on-a-schedule, and everything is urgent and at first, the lax culture in LA really made me uncomfortable. I didn’t like the pace at all. But after a few days, I loved the chill, beachy vibes.. I could get used to this!

We spent a total of 5 days in LA. LA is huge and you WILL need to drive everywhere, unless you plan on spending a lot of money on Ubers. Parking is pretty cheap compared to NYC though. We could have crammed everything we wanted to do in maybe 3 days, but I’m glad we took the time to enjoy each point. PLUS, I had way too much food I wanted to try. I’ll do this post a little differently than my SF one, but will of course still give a run down of what we did. I split the trip into East LA and West LA.

Super long post, but here’s a quick run down:

Day 1 (Arrival from PCH drive ~1:30PM) – East LA

Day 2 – East LA

Day 3 – East LA

Day 4 – West LA

  • Lunch at Golden Deli (Vietnamese)
  • Stroll Little Tokyo Shopping Center
  • Stroll Old Chinatown
  • Eat dinner at Sushi Show (AYCE Sushi… As a sushi lover, BEST AYCE sushi place I ever encountered)

Day 5 – East LA

Read More »

Pacific Coast Highway, California USA (August 2015)

Amazing views only along the PCH Highway 1.

The PCH drive was like living through a series of those Sample Pictures that comes with Window builds. Incredibly scenic and breath-taking views.

We rented a car in San Francisco and went south for Los Angeles (and kept the car throughout our LA trip and returned it at LAX). We split up the trip into 2 days (moreso, 1.5 days) and definitely could’ve sprung for extra stops along the route. We worried that it was going to be really cloudy (and it was for the beginning, but even with cloud, the experience was filled with incredible sights. I thought sitting in a car for 8 hours was going to be boring, but it’s not at all. From one amazing sight to the next, I was always in awe and excited. I’ll post which major stops I made, but my main takeaway would be – TAKE YOUR TIME. Do not rush through the drive. Stop often (in safe areas, of course) and take a moment to breathe it all in. Oh, and bring snacks and drinks for the ride.

Read More »

San Francisco, California USA (August 2015)

The famous Golden Gate Bridge

I’m still figuring out how much or little details I should provide, so please bare with me! As always, feel free to reach out to me or drop a comment. I always love California. I can not imagine myself living in San Francisco (sooooo expensive to live in), but definitely loved visiting. This was my second time and certainly not my last!

P.S. THANK YOU SQUARM for helping me track/remember all the places I went!

Here’s the short list, before going into details:

AccommodationsSheraton Fisherman’s Wharf
Must Eats: In N Out, Delicious Dim Sum, Mee Mee Bakery, Hollywood Cafe
Good Eats: Fog Harbor Fish House, Darren’s Cafe, Bi-Rite Creamery
Okay Eats: Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace, Cool Tea Bar, 3 Potato 4, Tartine Bakery, Taqueria Cancun

Read More »

Eternal Love for California

I just got back from my San Francisco / Pacific Coast Highway (US Route 1) / Los Angeles vacation yesterday. While a bit jetlagged and dreading to return to reality, I figured I’ll hold on a little bit longer to this vacation mentality by writing about my journey/itinerary while I was there. Plus, a few of my friends said they wanted to do the same thing so hopefully this helps them plan their trips. This segment will be in separate posts by location and I’ll link to all of them in this post as I complete writing them.


Travel Preparation

San Franciso

Pacific Coast Highway Drive

Los Angeles

Why I Was So Excited for This Trip

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to go to California. Maybe it was all that Hollister/PacSun brainwashing but I always thought Cali was the most raddest place (right after NYC, of course). So much Cali brainwashing. The OC, The Hills, Laguna Beach (yes – my TV selection was fabulous). I’ve been in LA when I was like 8, but all I remember was Legoland being awesome and then a lot of family time not doing touristy things. I’ve been to SF two years ago but only for a brief time with my family (in which they chose to only eat Chinese food and not go to as many places I wanted to). So this was my third chance to do it right! Plus, my traveling companion – the boyfriend, had never been to California.

Read More »