How to Have Fun

A story featuring Son & Garden, a Farmhouse Kitchen Restaurant.


I dedicate this story to Peet and Biw, our kind servers at Son & Garden in San Francisco. I also dedicate this to every reader of Kwento by Nica. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for waiting for me to write a good story. Enjoy this one. It's my kwento, my story, about having fun.

~ ~ ~

It all started with a bike ride around our town in Half Moon Bay. Hiro and I visited a neighbor, Pierre, who was selling flowers from his home garden. After choosing two pots of Dahlias and Chrysanthemums, we rode our bicycles home following a favorite trail. 

In the middle of our ride is my favorite place to stop, a junction where time feels still and the path curves towards the sun. Every time I'm here, I look at what's before me and feel the embrace of what I see.

I wish everyone can see this, I thought to myself and called out to Hiro. I pulled out out my cellphone to take a photo. 

After our ride pause Hiro and I reached home. We parked our bicycles in the garage and Hiro showed me his latest masterpiece: a new filing system /slash/ drawer on his garage cart. It was made from an old printer box and attached were finely hand-carved wooden handles he made himself. 

"WOW," I said while sliding the drawer in and out. "This is probably one of the nicest cart-with-drawers ever made." 

"I think so too," we laughed because that printer box took so much space in our garage for months. It's fate was to be beautifully sliced and turned into a fine drawer on Hiro's cart.

"What do you want to eat for dinner?" I asked Hiro. It was 6 o'clock and we had no dinner plans.

"I want to eat something fun." Hiro said while arranging stuff on his cart.

Hiro's mood excited me. There's a place I've been wanting to try.

"Okay, LET'S GO! I know a place that's fun!" 

I searched for the restaurant I had in mind on the internet and made a dinner reservation for two at 8:00pm. After a quick shower I changed to evening clothes.

"You look nice... What should I wear?" Hiro's eyebrows caved. He does this every time I wear one of my dresses. I chose a pink collared dress with pleats. It made me feel like a fine lady from the early '90s.

"Wear something fun!"

And with that answer Hiro styled himself handsomely. He chose a green waxed cotton jacket paired with black corduroy pants. He looked like a fine gentleman from the 2020's.

"Where are we going?" Hiro asked as he took the driver seat.

"It's a surprise! I'll navigate us there. It's somewhere in Hayes Valley." In classic Nica-fashion, I kept the destination a mystery for an extra-wow experience.

The place I made reservations at was Son & Garden, a New American restaurant styled by creative people who by the looks of the menu and interior, were excited to offer something new and different. This restaurant has been around... I'm most certain I'm late to "discover" it as a happening place (as a child I was late to trends) but I stand in the belief that nothing is late rather the best moments come at the perfect timing.

Hiro and I parked on Eddy St. and after reaching Polk, we turned a right. I opened a door took me inside a place I've only seen on social media feeds. The hue was pink and walls were covered in flowers. I dressed to match the restaurant's everyday occasion and the hostess offered us a table by the window. 

"I feel so bad!"

"Why?" Hiro asked.

"This place looks so nice but your view is the window," while I had the pleasure of viewing the whim and fancy of Son & Garden's vibe, Hiro looked out to the gray of the darkening street outside. 

"It's okay," Hiro smiled to comfort me.

I asked my husband if he wanted to switch seats once in a while. He considered that.

After asking for our beverage orders, our server pointed at a flowery nook at the corner of the restaurant. From where we were, it looked like an indoor veranda where a bride and groom would sit on their wedding night. Our server invited us to sit at that table and gestured us to walk on over.

"WOWWWWW," my mouth opened as we slid onto the circular booth outlined with flowers. The lights were even more pink and we had a wide view of the restaurant together.

"Whuat is this?!" Hiro looked up examining the pink light.

"They wanted us to sit here! How cool is that!" Maybe Peet or Biw saw my face when I saw Hiro's gray view outside. It was nice of them to move us to a new table if they noticed that.

"Mylove, this is so fun," Hiro eyes widened.

When Hiro said that I knew we came to Son & Garden at the right time.

Dinner was fabulous. From what I observed on the internet, guests frequented the restaurant for brunch most often. Dinner seemed more of a happening time because it was quiet and the venue felt more romantic than cutesy-fun. My cocktail had a floating rubber ducky on top. We ordered bone marrow, truffle fries, and a homey-tasting beef dish with a fried egg on top. For the main, we enjoyed a "Game Hen" which was a small roasted bird with real flames fuming on the plate. For dessert, a lava cake with a sky-like cotton candy, flower petals, and watercress arrived.

"This watercress is actually good with the cotton candy," 

"Who knew it would paired well, huh?" I asked outwardly, but I knew— the team of Son & Garden knew. I could tell they were not boring people.

When dinner was over, the restaurant staff sat at the tables next to us busy with end-of-day paper work. Before leaving our server asked if we could write a nice comment on the internet about our dinner experience. I said, yes of course, we had a wonderful time. I will even write a full story about it.

The following day I sat at my desk excited to write about our dinner. This would be my first kwento, my first story, featuring a local restaurant so I wanted to make sure it was fun and inviting. I sat for two days thinking of what to say. I drew out the title and wrote, How to Have Fun.

It's perfect, I thought. As I typed our dinner's story on my screen something new popped up on my social media feed. On May 24th, a shooter killed children at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. All of a sudden, the story in my mind vanished.

As a writer, I am taught and trained to write and push out stories that are timely and relevant. Ever since the shooting, I watched my friends on social media share their fear of doing anything: "You can't go anywhere anymore," "those were little children," "what about gun control." The disasters kept on coming and coming. Newsfeeds of the shooting in Brooklyn, Tulsa, Chattanooga, and other swarmed me.

Nica, there is no way you're writing a story about glitter cocktails and gold foil sprinkles on truffle fries right now, I said to myself as I changed to my day clothes the following morning. I was bummed because I wanted to write about our dinner. It didn't feel right because families were grieving. People were digesting what was happening.

NO, Nica. We need the Son & Garden story right now. In the middle of my changing, half-in the hole of my pants, I felt my heart beat and froze with one leg dangling. Every story told right now is about fear. If you don't write this story all there is to know is fear.

And that's when I looked up to the ceiling and had my oh-shit moment.

What you're going up against is fear, Nica. It's either they read Kwento by Nica or another story that makes people see only the gray of what is actually a colorful life. 
Inhale, exhale.

Now comes the part where I tell you how this story would read if I was afraid:

If I was fearful of being on my bicycle next to a freeway then I would have missed picking Dahlias and Chrysanthemums or even met Pierre. Had I been afraid of falling on bumpy coastal trails, I would have no oasis, no favorite spot, no image to show you where a corner of the earth feels like a heavenly embrace.
If I allowed fear to guide me, there would be nothing to read. Kwento by Nica would not exist. It's too scary to be seen and tell stories. 

So, how to have fun is simple: all you have to do is want fun to happen. Be fearless of thoughts, people, and possibilities that will come your way. No one has said this yet (maybe) but having fun is for the brave. 

If fear lurks, remember to have fun. Dress nice, find an oasis, and transform your time into something colorful and delicious. Remember: where there is fun fear is absent ;)

Thank you for reading my kwento. For yourself and all of us— have fun everyday.


- Nica C.T.

Writer and Voice of Kwento by Nica

For more stories, find Nica on Instagram here.



If you liked this story, please leave a message for Nica and fellow readers on the comment box below. Tell your version on how to have fun or share your favorite menu item from Son & Garden.


  • Paulina

    “And this is the part where I tell you what this story would be like if I was afraid: had I been scared of riding my bicycle next to a freeway, Highway 1, then I would have not picked Dahlias and Chrysanthemums or even met Pierre. If I had feared falling on bumpy coastal trails, I would have no oasis, no favorite spot, no image to show you where the earth feels like a heavenly embrace.

    If I had let fear guide me, I would have failed. I would have avoided this story all together or never created Kwento by Nica in the first place."

    Absolutely powerful writing, Nica! Exactly what I needed! Thank you for reminding me about how I can be brave. Wish we had Son & Garden here in Manila. Thanks, too, for transporting us to such a good space (on many different levels!) through this post.

  • tidow

    It’s written “in classic Nica fashion” !
    Fun times…
    Look forward to reading the next fun adventure.
    Wish I could be part of it !

  • Isa


    I felt like I crossed a time-lapse threshold into Nica and Hiro world! One of my favorite details was how your clothing each referenced a time period; as if you were both playing dress-up. Thank you for this playful and life-romantic piece. I can’t wait to read more of your writing.

  • Sophia

    Great story! I can’t believe you got a little ducky in your drink!? How fun.

    On my search for my oasis

  • Alex

    Nica, your stories always touch my heart! This was so wonderful and I can’t wait to share with my friends <3

  • Garyan

    You and Hiro are the most vibrant colors, Nica. Your writing eminates so much love and voracius appetite for life. Thank you for reminding all those who have the pleasure of reading your kwentos not only a glimpse into your magical lives, but how to experience it ourselves

  • Alex

    When the world is doom and gloom we need to make the best of our situation, not forget about our own needs and write our own damn stories! Love the perspective and love the kwento

  • ell

    “having fun is for the brave”

    thank you, nica. i, too, am teary from your kwento. thank you for a brave lesson about facing a world that feels brimming with fear and hurt. to every sun embrace, wooden handle, and the blooming flowers amidst it all~


  • Tina

    Nica, you were right. This was an excellent evening read as I’m winding down from today.

    Like many have said, it’s such a treat to read one of your stories again! Whenever I read your writings, it feels like we are right there with you & Hiro. You’re both so fun & you are such a gifted storyteller. Thank you for being brave & fighting against the fear! Can’t wait to read more from you!

  • TC

    I’m wiping my tears as I write this. Nica, with every story you write, I can hear your voice in my head. It’s like you’re there for me and understand me. I cry because I can think of many ways of how fear has gotten in the way of things. Thank you for sharing your story…I’m feel inspired and brave. <3

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