San Francisco, CA

Picnic In The Park – Stow Lake Boathouse

It occurs to me that friends or family visiting has been almost the only time for us to get away from our computers recently… hmmm…not good! I promise this is going to change soon! Han is a busy man like always. I have been cooking up a storm at home not only for our daily needs but also for my new little project. I am having so much fun cooking! More on this later.

So who’s visiting this time, where did we go and what did we do?

Hayden, one of Han’s business partners and his lovely family stopped by San Francisco for 3 days from Mexico on their 6-week trip during the second week of July. We went to Golden Gate Park and Muir Woods. They came to our place and we had a wonderful time at dinner…

Hayden’s family in Golden Gate Park with a squirrel 

Hayden's family in GGP

Shawn, a friend who I met in Shanghai 3 years ago through homie Lyman, was in town for last week from Hongkong to visit family and friends. He’s also on a 6-week trip to multiple places. We went to Golden Gate Park for a picnic. He came to our place with his cousin Jessica, her bf Chris and Lyman and we had a wonderful time at dinner…

 Shawn at the picnic in Golden Gate Park

Shawn in GGP

Did you notice the big overlap here? No, it’s not our place. It’s Golden Gate Park! I told you that we are totally going back to the park at my first visit because it’s just impossible to do everything at the park in one day. Every time we go back, there are always new stuff to see and new things to do. I will have more updates on this. If you ever come to San Francisco, make sure you arrange a day for visiting the park.  If you have bunch of friends or family in San Francisco, a picnic in the park is a great way to bring everyone together.

Stow Lake Boathouse Picnic Area

There are 10 major picnic areas and many small ones spread out through the park. They are reservable for family celebrations, parties and friend gatherings, etc.

Golden Gate Park Picnic Areas (Map from Golden Gate Park official site. Click below image to visit the site for more information.)

Golden Gate Park Picnic Area

The one we we went to for Shawn is Stow Lake Boathouse picnic area.  Stow Lake is located right in the middle of Golden Gate Park between John F. Kennedy Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Even though Stow Lake is a manmade lake, it’s one of the best attractions in the park due to it’s gorgeous view, floating or paddling activities and the picnic area which offers 8 picnic tables and 2 BBQ grills. Visit this site to see how you can make reservations for your parties.

Picnic tables

A few tips:

  • The Boathouse is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week. You can rent a boat to go around the lake. Available vessels include row boats, electric boats and pedal boats.
  • Bathrooms are next to the Boathouse.
  • Beer and wine are fine at the picnic but no kegs or hard liquors.
  • Don’t forget to bring your cameras. Experiencing special moments at the spot is great but recording the moments for later by taking photos is worthwhile too.
  • Play some music to enrich the ambience.

Getting Around

There are multiple public lines available in the city which can drop you at different places around the park or even inside the park. When we visited Golden Gate Park at the first time, we took MUNI Line N and got off at 19th Avenue to get access to the park from the south side. Since the Stow Lake Boathouse picnic area is closer to the north side of the park, there’s a MUNI bus station called Fulton St & 12th Ave which is located 10-minute walk away from the picnic area. Going to Golden Gate Park from downtown via public transportation? Bus No.5 could be one of your options.

From Downtown to Stow Lake

The Picnic

All right then! Let me take you into the actual picnic and introduce some really cool people to you…

Shawn was the key reason for the picnic. Because of his short-time stay in SF after 4 years, he wanted to spend as much time as possible with his family and friends here. Oh did I mention he is a fantastic film maker? Well, he likes to say that he shoots movies for fun with his partners in HK at his leisure time. From other’s perspective, however, the stuff he makes is freaking epic! Before his trip to SF, he and his partners made a short film based on the real-life news about Edward Snowden. The film went viral shortly after release and quickly caught some international spotlights including San Francisco where he was invited to Micro Film Festival. If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, go watch it now! It will BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY! I am serious!

Another important person I must mention here is Shawn’s cousin Jessica, a super sweet girl who organized the whole thing. If it hadn’t been for her, the picnic wouldn’t have happened! Anyone knows Jessica also knows that she is an incredibly talented baker! It’s hard not to notice the cupcakes at the picnic right? She made them. They were ridiculously delicious and cute looking!

Jessica and her bf Chris eating…

Chris and Jessica

Like I mentioned, a picnic in the park is a fantastic way to gather family, friends, kids and dogs. We always have good reasons behind these types of heart-warming events, the ones that make you feel like you are part of the family. I love how everyone is connected in the way it is and I am still amazed by the fact that we happened to be at one side of the world a few years ago and ended up seeing each other again in the other side of the world a few years later. The world is so big yet so small! I am so grateful…

Whenever there’s a gathering, there’s always some sort of eating involved. Always! Homemade dinners, desserts, picnics or meals at restaurants bring the people that you care about all together from their busy lives. We spend time together, talk together and eat together…

I can’t emphasize enough on how good the cupcakes were…


To me, I have a strong believe that food, especially homemade food has a power of forging connections. I love the feeling of devoting my passion and my love into the food that I make for my family and friends. I see how important it is as part of my life. This is why I am building up a new site called Gourmet PersuAsian which is about healthy, tasty, easy to make gourmet food that we can cook at home for our significant others and friends. It’s coming soon…

For the picnic, I made Mango Guacamole according to a recipe from A Cozy Kitchen. I enjoyed every single step of the process from picking the ingredients, to mashing the avocados, to folding everything into the guacamole and then to bringing it to the picnic to share with everyone…

For family, for friends, for life! Until next time…


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