A Culinary Experience Filled with Selfies on the Titanic? Sounds about Right.

IMG_1537To preclude any explanation of the quizzical title for this post, I would like to say (write) a huge THANK YOU to Liam Miller, who coordinated all of our fun “extracurricular” activities during the trip. Read to the end, and you’ll find out why I thought these events were so important to the group.

Our Villanova in the Valley trip didn’t just consist of visiting the hottest tech companies and venture capital firms in  Silicon Valley. With Liam Miller as our student leader (and expert on all things California) and II Luscri as the program director, we were guaranteed pedal-to-the-metal experience that included a fantastic culinary education and a scenic ferry boat ride under the Golden Gate Bridge. Not to mention a perfect rendition of Titanic’s famous scene.

On Thursday morning we drove to Pier 39 for a ferry cruise, which began with an education in sea lion culture. As we were pulling out of the warf, about fifty sea lions greeted us by holding up their V’s and singing the Villanova fight song—-curious, I know, but that’s what happened. If you don’t believe me, check out our Flickr page for proof: http://www.flickr.com/photos/villanovaice/with/11895923354/

Of course, the ferry ride was full of picture taking and only A COUPLE selfies. Actually, I hope Snapchat houses their data at Equinix’s data centers because we probably flooded their servers to the point of non-operation. See if you can find the evidence of some selfies on the Flickr page.

IMG_1467We floated under the Golden Gate Bridge and coasted around the island of Alcatraz, all while enjoying the beautiful San Francisco skyline. It really is a mesmerizing place where civilization fuses neatly with the hills of the natural coastal geography. Some areas of San Francisco literally look like a sea of buildings and houses, frozen in a snapshot of undulating waves yet still unleashing the inherent energy of such a design. Just as the waves are never still, the city never rests—a natural consequence for such a hub of innovation and creativity. 

In addition to seeing the larger landscape of San Francisco from the ferry, we also experienced a culinary edification. Our first night in California was spent at a hole-in-the-wall family Mexican restaurant called Magda Luna in Burlingame. This was one of those restaurants that you would eat at even if you hated Mexican food. It was that good. They even had a chips & salsa bar where you could help yourself to freshly baked chips and a number of different salsas and avocado-based sauces. The restaurant also had an air of easy intimacy that was perfect for getting to know our fellow valleyers on the first night.

IMG_1417The dinner at Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Milbrae was also a very memorable experience. In solidarity with the thousands of risk-taking entrepreneurs in the Valley, every single one of us tried duck tongue. We’ll see if next year’s group will be able to meet our high standard of culinary adventurism. We also ventured into the world of jellyfish, which was surprisingly tasty. The ball is in your court, class of 2015.

Other notable experiences included eating lunch at one of Google’s cafeterias and enjoying delicious seafood at Capurro’s on the Fisherman’s Warf. Liam sure was excited.

We also had lunch at the famous In-n-Out burger restaurant, which was my first In-n-Out experience. Later that night we sat down with a couple of Villanova grads for dinner at Nola Restaurant & Bar, a quirky and eclectic Cajun restaurant that had the best  southern BBQ tacos I have ever tasted. We networked with the alumni and discussed big ideas over a spread of authentic New Orlean’s cuisine. Thank you to the three graduates who spent the time with us that evening.

IMG_1454For me, the fun things we did on the side (exploring different foods and the San Francisco coastline) was equally as educating as the site visits. As aspiring entrepreneurs and creative connoisseurs, we realized that we needed to be bold and adventurous in every aspect of our lives. Exploring food and different environments is not only a perfect avenue for that kind of implementation, but I think it is also a way to discover yourself. As we move through our college years and beyond, it is important to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to know more about ourselves. It’s difficult to know what you want in life when you have only a foggy glimpse of the person you already are.