East Bay Bites

Bites, as in a good way, as in bites of food. As I scroll through my cell phone of 10,000+ photos on my phone, I am seeing majority of the photos are of food. I have enough to share some bites in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. I hope this post helps put the East Bay on the map, entices San Francisco residents to make the trip across the Bay Bridge worthwhile and maybe to California in general. Enjoy!

THE CUPCAKE SHOPPE
Located in Downtown Hayward, my first experience with this shop located next to The Turf Club and Domino’s Pizza, was for mini cupcakes to be brought to a party. I was in awe by what they had and sadly I didn’t get to enjoy any of the mini cupcakes. Recently, my roommate has brought me cupcakes from there on two occasions. I tagged her in an Instagram post and she surprised me with limited edition Chicken and Waffles cupcakes. I have been craving fried chicken since my trip to the South in August 2018.

Another time, my roommate bought two cupcakes in addition to a set she was going to bring to her staff. One was made with champagne and the other one was a margarita cupcake. I preferred the pink champagne. What girl wouldn’t?

HAWAIIAN POKE
This is the spot for my roommate and I when we want poke. I have also signed up for their rewards program so I get free drinks and discounts when I come in. Today, I got a lilikoi drink for free. I don’t mind the text message offerings as they’re not sent very often. Located in San Leandro next to a 24 Hour Fitness, you order at the counter, customize your bowl and be on your way. I have had their bowls several times but recently ordered their sushiritto and it was something you can customize in terms of their sauces, not its contents. It was also strange that they added avocado to the sushiritto but told Kim and other guests that they had no avocado for their bowls. That’s a strange. But, the bowl is still very good and is quite filling.

SONS OF LIBERTY ALEHOUSE
SOLA has made an appearance on my blog quite a few times. It is one of my favorite places to go for a beer and to sit outside. My roommate and I have been several times, have brought Bevo, met other locals and enjoyed their beer. On our most recent trip, I enjoyed a flight of beer, we shared the pretzel balls, Kim had the fish tacos and I had the chicken fried sandwich. Keyword: fried chicken. Sadly, I didn’t keep the photo of the sandwich but the beer options are great and the pretzel balls and sauce were hard, but good. They are only available on the weekends so we were finally able to try them. Come to watch the Warriors game or visit for fundraising event, such as one they had for Nobody’s Perfekt Dogs.

TELEFERIC BARCELONA
In Walnut Creek, this is a great spot to go on a nice day. Sit inside or on the deck and see all that happens downtown. Order delicious cocktails, Spanish wine or tapas. On our way back from Napa, we avoided the rush hour traffic and stopped here to take a break. Brussel sprouts, a kale salad and cocktails were a must. If you’re like my buddy, Stan, you can request your cocktail without all the fluff. Be sure to check out their happy hour menu as well.

SLOW HAND BBQ
In Martinez and after a 10K run on Mare Island, beer and BBQ is needed. With my running buddy and BBQ caterer, Nelly, we were ready to eat. I had a platter of ribs and the many sides including pimento cheese and crostinis, cole slaw and mac n cheese of course! If you ran before lunch, you will definitely be replenishing all the calories you’ve burned and more. Sit inside, watch TV or dine out to their patio. Apparently there is another location you can get your hands sticky at in Pleasant Hill, the next city over.

Related posts:
Puesto! Cousin Time.
Pizza, Beer & More in the East Bay

Norwegian Live Training

Norwegian Cruise Line hosted a series of speedway events at K1 Speed Track in many different cities. I was lucky to have been invited and participated in the one at the Dublin, California location. Norwegian‘s three new ships have outdoor, multi-level race tracks. Imagine racing in the middle of the sea!

Dining area. Event space.

The evening started out with checking in and getting in line to race. The last time I was on a course like this was in Livermore, California may eight years ago and they used gas. I felt very sick and I had to have my boyfriend at the time pull over while on the way home. I needed fresh air. At this event, the carts are battery operated.

Participants were able to race more than once but the buffet of pizza, sliders, chicken tenders and salad were offered. I had a good time racing and I came in third in my group and was the fastest female. Being a race car driver would be a fun job, on top of being a Travel Agent.

During the presentation, they showed us the new features of the new cruise ships and how to attract different demographics.

Norwegian Joy has been their prime marketing focus. It has a wrap around lounge which would be nice for those in Alaska wanting to stay warm. There are three main dining room and has elevated menus as they have merged with Oceania and Regent.

Activities available will be the race track for a minimal charge, say around $15. There is a height requirement to ride. There is lazer tag and the Galaxy Pavillion where you can create and virtually ride the roller coaster you created.

Millennials like to stay connected. Free wifi minutes is an offer to choose from when you book during certain promotions. This group care about the environment, culture and local experiences. Studies show (How Travel Agencies Avoided Extinction and Became a Luxury Service – Vox 9/21/18) millennials also trust the experts. Call me!

Sixty-two percent of active families are said to choose their vacation based on the ship. They want the bells and whistles the ship offers. Also, cruise ships are best for vacations with multi-generation family travelers. There is something for every body, children can be save in one place and everyone comes together for dinner every night. Babyboomers are active explorers. They prefer luxury and pampering.

One thing that resonates with this Hawaii Certified Travel Agent is that they mentioned the Pride of America cruise ship that tours the Hawaiian islands. It has been voited the best itinerary for 13 years and you can add on overnighters in Maui and Kaua’i to give you more time. Add on extra days before as well. This will give you time to visit the island of Lanai as well, something I have been personally wanting to do.

If your time is flexible, consider making it more of a package deal and add air to your reservation. Flights may be booked 6 months out, they will be direct and not too much of an inconvenience. Costs will most likely vary between $99 – $299 depending on your departure and destination. Unfortunately, no business class is available and your preferred airline is not guaranteed. However, with booking your flight thru the cruise line, you will be guaranteed to make your cruise ship, either at the original departure or at another port, depending on circumstances.

For you solo travelers, Norwegian also has studios. No more double occupancy requirements. The cost is slightly higher than one person but at least it’s available.

Offers galore! Every cruise line has a special offer to book. Norwegian has a Free at Sea. A reservation of a Studio or Inside stateroom allows one free offer such as Free Unlimited Beverages, Free Shore Excursion Credits, Free Speciality Dining, Free WiFi and on some sailings, friends and family sale free.

For fun, the marketing materials included these facts on Alaska. Consider Alaska to be your next cruise!

Denali is the highest peak in North America, towering at 20,320 feet.
The weight of one humpback whale is equal to the weight of 8 African elephants.
5% of Alaska (29,000 square miles) is covered by glaciers.
As part of the biodiversity program, Norwegian is proud to partner with the Alaska Raport Center in Sitka, Alaska.

In response to how Norwegian is different and their commitment to the environment, see a list HERE of how they are making a difference.

LIKE my Facebook page.

Let’s Hike – Lake Chabot

With a new job taking over majority of my weekends when I’m not traveling, this One Busy Bee had to squeeze in my June hike on a Friday morning. My route to this new job keeps me off the busy streets of Downtown Hayward and I pass signs for Greenbelt Trails. A customer of mine confirmed that there were many trails in Hayward to hike. I had no idea! However, my attempt to start this trail didn’t begin. The lack of cars parked near the entrance and the mountain lion territory warning sign deterred me from even beginning.

I was running out of time as I typically start work at 10:30 AM, though I was working from home today. I decided to head to a park I was familiar with, the Lake Chabot Marina. I parked on the street and later found out state parks entrance fees were free today. No big deal. I quickly looked at the map and made a loop along the lake, onto the Cameron Trail, Ten Hills and then down to McGregor.

It made me sad to be there. The last time I was there was with Bevo, my late Boston Terrier. He passed in December. We were there in August 2018 when Bevo and I were helping Kim with her training miles for her second Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Walk. It made me miss him even more. I saw smiles on dogs’ faces that walked by and they were lucky to be out on a beautiful day with their owners. I am glad Bevo had these experiences as well. He deserved them.

My route today was 4.13 miles in 1.25 hours. This was my fastest 3-5 mile hike due to my Runkeeper app. July’s hike should be something similar but who knows!

Golf, anyone?
And the climb begins.
The view of Castro Valley and the Bay.

Related posts:
Let’s Hike – Paths in Santa Cruz
Let’s Hike – Coyote Hills
Let’s Hike – Briones and Bonehead

OBB Weekly – 6-25-19

Summer is here! In the east bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s already warm before you leave for your commute to work. Posts of families going on vacation, summer weddings, bar-b-ques and cocktails by the pool and efforts to get that summer body are aplenty. What does summer mean to you? Do you have traditions you do around this time of year? What do you look forward to?

TRAVEL

This summer, my clients have visited Phuket, Thailand, the Maldives, Walt Disney World, and even Indiana for work. I was just in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, will be heading to Las Vegas, Nevada, London and possibly a cross country road trip to Maryland. It’s warm and my credit cards with travel benefits are ready.

Happy client is headed to Walt Disney World
Get these bands when you stay on property at Walt Disney World.
Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Casa Dorada, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

What vacation plans do you have?
Which credit cards do you have to help you travel?

EVENT PLANNING

It has been one year since Susie and Frankie got married at Stable Cafe in San Francisco, California. I am wishing my friend, Bride and Groom and their adorable daughter, Sophia, another amazing year together.

Have the gown but still need assistance with your wedding? LIKE my page here.

Flares Bridal, Walnut Creek, California

#WEREHUNGRYTOO

My condo complex doesn’t allow barbecue sets to be on our balconies so I don’t have a lot of experience grilling and will be without again this summer. The most memorable dining experience in regards to BBQ is International Smoke in San Francisco. It has been some time since I have been and will need to go back. I also have to try my friend’s BBQ. He does catering now. Follow my friend, Nelly! For now, I enjoy the grilled chicken on top of my salad at The Dormy House at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward.

Follow him on Instagram

MOTIVATION

How many scales have you gone thru? I am in complete denial of what my scale showed me on Sunday’s weigh-in. There was absolutely no way I gained more than I did in two weeks on my Princess Cruise to New Zealand and weigh more than I think I ever have. There is just no way. I just don’t look it or feel it. I’m giving my scale a pass and will revisit the issue next Sunday before a 10K race on Mare Island.

Ok, if that weight gain is legit, it should be a motivator and clearly I’m still at it. I’ll prove you wrong, Scale! As a matter of fact, I’m on the bike right now at the gym as I write this and will log another six miles walking around the restaurant for my second job. Because I’m One Busy Bee.

Follow on Instagram and view my stories of some gym sessions or doing what I can to work out at home on busy days. It counts.

I did 6.2 miles that day.

Until next week! Thanks for reading!

Up in the Hayward Hills

Interested in moving to the San Francisco Bay Area? Prepare to pay quite a bit! I have friends and family moving out of California because it is very expensive. I am fortunate to call it home.

This is in the Hayward Hills at the gated Stonebrae community. If you’re a golfer, the TPC Stonebrae Golf Course is nearby. Come see me at three Members’ Only Lounge. Homes start at nearly $1 million. Ask for Lety at the property. Happy shopping!

As a kid, I used to tour model homes with my father and sister. I would run around the beautiful homes like it was Christmas morning and pretend as to which bedroom would be mine. Funny, I was considering getting my real estate license when I was looking at a career change. I obviously went with Becoming a Certified Travel Agent instead. Perhaps one day…

OBB Weekly – 6/4/19

Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Hello, June! May just flew by, didn’t it? It was an eventful month, hopefully for you too. Change is inevitable. Seasons change, people change, menus change and aspirations change. How do you deal with change? Do you welcome it? Struggle with it? I imagine it’s a process. Everyone has their own way and go about dealing with change at their own pace. Regardless, we survived whatever it was to be at this very moment. I thank you for choosing to spend it on my blog.

TRAVEL

Comment below if you agree, but there’s nothing like the sound of the ocean on the beach to help me escape and deal with my problems. I have escaped to Santa Cruz to sit on the sand of Seabright Beach after a fight with my then boyfriend. While in Maui, I make sure I touch the water one more time before returning home to remind me that I will be back someday and all that I’m working for is to do this as often as possible. I also have video of me sitting on a dock in Venice, Italy hearing the water beat against the wood below me. It was going to be a honeymoon destination but after two visits, it still has yet to be, but that’s OK. Not everyone can say they’ve been to the City of Bridges. A change of scenery, can help you escape the situation temporarily, give you a moment to think and hopefully realize that there is beauty and good in this world. This Travel Agent would be happy to help you with your escape.

Katie & Jeremy – Kauai, Hawai’i
Maui, Hawai’i

EVENT PLANNING

One significant change in a person’s life is getting married. I love working with couples wanting to get married near the water like at Pacific Star Winery in Fort Bragg, California or The Beach House in Koloa, Hawaii. Honeymoons to Venice, Italy would be incredible romantic. My recent honeymoon clients will be heading off to Phuket, Thailand and the Maldives. Feel free to ask me to plan your trip.

Happy Travel Agent client!

Or, I would be happy to set you up with a fantastic photographer in Kauai and do a Trash The Dress photo shoot when you finalize your divorce like I did.

Kauai, Hawai’i

FOOD

Unfortunately, my favorite pizza and salad from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California is now off the menu. Bijou, also located in Hayward, is now called Playt. The menu is different and now has a seafood ravioli made with large won ton wrappers. In Menlo Park, the Menlo Grill & Bar is now called the Menlo Tavern. The menu has changed and it’s not bad! Get cocktails from my Cugino, Ron, and get salads, sliders on Hawaiian rolls and dessert. Tell Ron Bernadette sent you and comment below on what you think of the new menu.

New appetizer
Crisp a la mode
My Cugino, Ron, the Bartender

MOTIVATION

It has been a couple of months since I switched this blog from Blogger to WordPress. I have been averaging 16 posts per month and my hits have increased by 40%. My goal is to continue this growth, this positive change. The point of blogging often was to get my photos on my phone down from 11,000. As I continue to travel and eat out, my phone says very little progress has been made. Videos have been uploaded to my YouTube channel, photos have been uploaded on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and I have randomly deleted photos that are not needed. Make the best of your June, set some goals and let me know how I can help. I’m a great ReTweeter for supporters. You never know who is going to share what I post! Do you know Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block? Have you been to the Silverado Resort and Spa? Or Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz?

Danny has 191,000 followers
@napavalleyluxury has 8,745 followers
@thepennyicecreamery has 3,817 followers

Pizza, Beer & More in the East Bay

It’s always good when you have great options to dine at in your own town. As a Blogger and Travel Agent, I should do a better job of highlighting some local spots in Hayward and neighboring towns. My friend runs the E’vill Eye News blog for another East Bay city called Emeryville. Do check out his blog when you have a sec! But stick with me for a second. Here are some great spots.

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery

Located downtown Hayward across the street from the theatre, it is said to be the oldest brewery in the country. This is walking distance from my house so this is usually a go to spot. Sit outside on their heated patio or inside at a table or at the bar top. Parking is available on the street, in the lot behind the building or the parking structure behind the movie theatre. I always get the sausage, apple and pesto pizza. It is delicious! For beer, get a flight of house beers or their seasonal ones. Try their Orange Blossom Cream Ale or the Pumpkin Ale or Oatmeal Stout. So many options!

Russell City Distillery

If you like Buffalo Bill’s, next door visit the Russell City Distillery tasting room. They off vodka cocktails and sells bottles of their liquors including vodka, rum and tequila. The tasting room isn’t big but they can open their rolling door to allow some outdoor space. It is dog friendly as well.

Norm’s Place

In downtown Danville, you have many options. Auburn Lounge is a relatively new bar and lounge and they are often closed for private events. Revel Kitchen & Bar is a good spot with a nice bar, tasty salads and an outdoor patio. Across the street is Norm’s. A popular bar for sporting events like the Warriors games. Have Kara pour you your usual of Jameson whiskey with one or two rocks and order the tuna appetizer. It’s basically a deep fried sushi roll. And it was tasty.

Sons of Liberty Alehouse

What we call SOLA. Isn’t it hard not to think of Jax Teller and Sons of Anarchy? This is one of my favorite spots to go to even it means I have to jump on the highway to get to San Leandro. You can make reservations via Yelp, be prepared for a busy parking lot but it’s a great spot for beer and snacks.

Come out to the East Bay and check out what we have to offer!

Related posts:
Who Knew About San Leandro?
Puesto! Cousin Time
National Beer Day 2019

‘Favorites’ Photo Dump

This One Busy Bee is still working on cleaning up her phone of over 11,000 photos. That many photos have been collected in a year and a half. To do a photo dump on the blog real quick, I am taking photos I have saved as ‘Favorites’ on my phone for some particular reason and placing them here so I can delete them. Oh, it will be so freeing! Thanks for enduring this unstructured post but full of travel.

Fiji – Troprica Island Resort and Travel Agent friends on a FAM trip. – Feb. 2019

In September 2017, three girlfriends and I had September birthdays. We went to Paris together. And we brought some friends. I invited my friend that I call Papichulo and Lisa brought her boyfriend, Branden. I believe it was the day before, Branden proposed to Lisa at the Temple of Love at Versailles. We were lucky enough to witness it. This photo was taken on our last night in Paris together but in the region of Champagne. See the wineries in the background. There are also photos of us doing yoga in dresses. Good times.

This is aboard the Oosterdam by Holland America Cruise Line. It is a bar with great view. I have worked on blog posts in this area with a glass of La Marca prosecco. I have many other posts during that cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Please check them out if you’re curios about real experiences on an HAL cruise ship.

Red Donkey is my favorite beer when I was in Santorini. Papichulo and I tried all the different beers they had to offer and this was my favorite. I liked it so much I bought a large t-shirt that I ended up turning into a muscle tan for my gym sessions. I never buy t-shirts. It must mean I realllly liked that beer.

I used to work at a law firm down the street from Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café in Emeryville, California. This is their breakfast special. I don’t believe I have been there since as they raised the price of this special and the dressing for their Asian salad changed as well. There is also a location in downtown Oakland. It’s pretty convenient when you’re partying or just finished a concert at the Paramount Theater.

Hello, Mighty Leaf tea.

At the Press Club, go downstairs from Market Street in San Francisco across from the Marriott that they call “the jukebox” and find a wine bar with a lounge-y feel. It is used as common workspace during the day and serves up great wine and bites.

During a trip to Southern California for my first Travel Agent seminar, my then soon-to-be roommate and I went to Universal Studios. I have never been and am a California native. We did the typical ride thru movie and television sets and experienced their ‘earthquake’ simulation at an underground BART platform. I was really excited to go thru The Desperate Housewives set.

On this trip, I realized that I cannot do the simulated rides. I even felt a little sick on the Despicable Me ride! It was absolutely confirmed while on the Harry Potter ride. It was a coaster and simulations. I read one book in the series and I almost didn’t make it off the ride without getting sick. I actually had to close my eyes and tell myself it was almost over multiple times. HAD I liked them, I know this would have been an awesome ride. I can see why people like it. Unfortunately, it’s just not for me.

I’ll end this post with a picture of my Papa Bear and I at the 2018 Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival. I do have the most amazing father, and not just because he lives on Maui! There are so many reasons but mainly he just accepts who I am and is actually happy that I am living life to the fullest. I love my Papa Bear.

I need to do more than just these photos but at least I can now take them off my phone and have them live on the world wide web forever!

BernNCourt Return

Isn’t it amazing that you can go months without seeing a friend but yet you both put the effort in to see each other? If you don’t have those kind of friendships, get yourself at least one! Even if she or he is 10 years younger than you.

Barcelona, Spain –
January 2018

Courtney and I have been friends since she started working for me at my restaurant around my birthday. I’d say she was my birthday present because we instantly connected, had so many laughs and traveled quite a bit together. She has watched my Bevo, she stays at my pad when I’m traveling and I completely trust her. Did I mention she’s fun?

Snapchat fun at La Pepita – Barcelona, Spain – January 2018

Well, now my Court Court is super busy with going back to school, working full time and commuting. I definitely have done that. Plus, I partied. It’s the life of One Busy Bee. I haven’t seen her since my birthday in September. We finally got together eight months later. She even agreed to meet up an hour away from her home just to return home before she headed another hour+ to work. I am so appreciative of that.

We met up at the Tri Valley Bistro in Pleasanton, California. It was available on OpenTable and it looked cute. It had some intimate tables outside but I knew we needed a bit more space between us and our dining neighbors. We opted for a table for two inside.

Pleasanton, California – May 2019

What do we always do? Order a bottle of bubbles. I had the seafood frittata and she had the eggs benedict and she wanted to crème brulee. I wasn’t planning on eating half of it but I did. And I felt like I finished more than half the bottle. What happened to my Court Court? She turned into a dedicated student.

Cheers

We got caught up on each others’ lives, shared more laughs, silliness, stories and where we are traveling next. She is going back to Paris, as am I, but at different times. She likes art. I can’t spend my entire vacation in a museum. Unfortunately, we don’t have any plans of traveling together anytime soon but perhaps when she’s not so crazy busy ‘adulting.’ Regardless, I’ll still be here whenever she needs me and I know she would do the same for me. Love my Court Court.

#BernNCourt
Rome, Italy – Day 2 of 12
Florence, Italy – Day 6
Venice, Italy – Day 7
Milan, Italy – Day 9
Happy Birthday, Court Court

La Familia Sagrada, Barcelona, Spain – January 2018

Happy Mother’s Day!

Before tuning into the Mother of Dragons’ fire gracing my Samsung television tonight, I spent the day with my best friend and my niece and nephew. I cooked lunch for her and the kids and went out for some ice cream after watching a few movies at the house. Christy works for the community and has these two kids. As I just purchased a car, I couldn’t spoil her as I normally do. She named me “The Best Boyfriend Ever.” When you treat someone the way their boyfriend should, it’s just fitting. Plus, she deserves it. She works really hard.

I made roasted chicken with a brown sugar bourbon seasoning, sauteed tomatoes and spinach and added the potato au gratin I made on Friday. Arya wanted to help cook too! She helped me make the Kraft Alphabet Mac n Cheese. What fun.

Teaching her how to measure water and doing math at the same time.
We should have our own YouTube channel. I’ll need a full make-up crew please!
Unable to reach the second shelf, even in Minnie Mouse heels.

Christy liked her meal and Arya and Nate enjoyed the M&C. What more could you ask for?

Chef Arya
Gamer and Tostitos-eatin’ Nate

After the adults caught up on each others’ lives while the kids watched a few animated films and built forts in the living room, we needed dessert. Thanks to Yelp, we went to Milk & Cookie Bar at the Castro Valley Public Market. It’s nice to see cool spots like this open up in the East Bay. And it’s cheaper than Cold Stone.

Had to send this to my roommate, Kim. She’s a S’mores freak!
All different!
Black Unicorn (cake batter) ice cream in a glazed donut, rainbow sprinkles and my favorite cereal, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Mint ice cream and jelly beans
Milkshakes so thick you can’t use a straw

It’s always good to spend time with my Little Loves and this girl. Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard-working mothers out there, to those that have to play both mother and father and to those fathers taking care of their baby’s momma.

Good times at the water park in Fremont, California. The dessert did not help to get bikini ready.