Living in the P-N-Dub my whole life, I have been relentlessly persecuted for being an Oakland Raiders fan. I grew up being a die hard since day one, given no other option by my father (Okay, if you know my dad you know forcing one of us children to do ANYTHING is not even factual). I can’t think of another team that embodies my spirit more: The underdog, a little rough around the edges, “Just Win Baby”, bad ass as fuck, might stab you…
So when my boyfriend told me to keep some dates available for a father/daughter weekend in October, I nearly cried when I found out he bought my dad and I tickets to see the Raiders play the Chargers in Oakland, and had already booked our flights. All that was left was to procure the accommodations and mentally prepare myself for food-ventures.
The best part of all this is my dad had NO idea. Not where we were going, how we were getting there, or what we were doing. Turns out he was up at 3:00am panicking in curiousity the night before, but I am pretty sure he would say it was worth it. He may have reconsidered bringing a tiny knife and a half pint of fireball in his bag that led to him being frisked (twice) if he had the chance.
Before arriving at our Airbnb, we swung through an area a few blocks up to find our first meal of the day. In the lower hills of Oakland, we found our first goldmine: Park Burger. Amazing local burgers and fresh made buns, hand cut fries, homemade pickles, and craft beers on tap. AND CUCUMBER WATER on spigot – so fucking fresh.
After settling in to our adorable apartment for the weekend, we navigated our way to the nearest BART station – and if you have ever had the pleasure of riding this method of public transit, you know the smell is something you can’t forget… urine, the smell is urine. (Side note: if you haven’t used Airbnb to travel DO IT NOW. You get to interact with some amazing people with the same love of traveling, and get awesome cozy places to stay at a fraction of the cost.)
We arrived in San Francisco and immediately started walking towards Fisherman’s Warf. Luckily I have the sense of direction of an eight year old, so what transpired next was some type of magical quest studded with many expletives. Yes I used the navigation on my phone, yes I still yelled “What the fuck” multiple times and had to turn around after walking the wrong way for numerous city blocks. Luckily my dad has fun doing anything, so that was the most important part.
Just about the time I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, we found it. Fisherman’s Warf with crowds lining the street for Fleet Week. We were lucky enough to catch a show by the Blue Angels as we meandered from pier to pier. A beautiful 78 degree day on the bay… There are worse things. We made one last stop in the Ferry Building after walking through the indoor market – Mijita. Margaritas on the rocks, homemade thick tortilla chips and salsa, and a perfect breeze outside on the pier to share with my dad. Starting the adventure weekend with one of my favorite dudes on the planet, who more than deserves a vacay and a marg.
The second day was filled with shopping through SF, and “the best sandwich I have ever had”. After stopping at Lefty O’Douls for a beer that knocked me and by 5′ frame on my ass, it was clear there was only one thing left to do: China Town and Dim Sum. China town like the rest of San Francisco and Oakland, smells a bit of urine. It’s loud and confusing, seemingly forever uphill, but alas has some amazing food. I couldn’t even tell you the name of the restaurant we ended up stopping in, but honestly if I did you probably still wouldn’t find it.
Marzano – oh, ohhhh Marzano. Neapolitan style pizza, antipasti, and a list of beautiful wines from Sonoma and Napa Valley. Another great restaurant located in Oakland that blew my mind. They feature a very italian menu that after ordering off of it prompted my dad to tell me how proud he was of me for being brave and adventurous – can’t beat that. We split a pizza (okay I probably ate 2/3) and walked back to the apartment. YES WALKED. Okay okay, I know Oakland gets a bad rep – but if you play your cards right you find some amazing and endearing neighborhoods filled with proud locals and incredible food. (Thanks, Yelp.)
FINALLY THE DAY! The day I convinced my dad we were going to take BART to the coliseum to find Raider gear, and a pub near by. LOL – a pub near by the coliseum in DT Oak-town? (I’m not THAT brave and adventurous, father.) Blindly following my plan, we made it all the way to the concrete bridge leading us into the stadium before he realized we had tickets to the game. The entrance couldn’t look more like you are marching into a prison lined with chain link fence and barbed wire at the top. Represent, Raider Nation.
We got our overly expensive beers (fuck it, you have to) and made our way to our section where we kept passing security one after another until we took our seats two rows from the field. I could literally smell Janikowski warming up that glorious leg. (Is that gross?) You know that moment where you make someone so surprised and happy you fear they may actually pass out or shit their pants? That was my dad. Culminating our trip for his birthday with front row tickets to OUR TEAM. Surrounded by other crazies. I highly recommend being really really brave and experiencing a game at O.co Coliseum. Wear black.
I always figured that when I became a “successful adult” I would have adventures – but I can’t describe the feeling of getting to take someone on one of their ultimate adventures. Cheers to good boyfriends, and happy dads – am I right? My 20,000 steps per day probably burned off the amount of tequila and stadium hotdogs I took in, but there is NOTHING that can take away these incredible memories.
San Fran and Oakland, you have my heart.
WALK EVERYWHERE. Your iPhone as a built in pedometer. Enjoy all the city has to offer by eating your way through the town with no remorse. Take no prisoners – try all the food carts!