Category Archives: SF

Balance

I’ve recently come to recognize the importance of balance. Whether it be work-life, going out vs. staying in for “me time,” or whatever your personal case may be, balance is key.

A while ago, I had noticed that life was a little off kilter…there wasn’t enough balance and things just weren’t right. I realized that when that happens, you just need to take some time to refocus on your goals and miraculously doors open for you.

Some ways that I work on balance include:

  • TRX – a sweat session not only works out your body and keeps you healthy, but it also is great for you mind! I cannot believe how happy exercising makes me – those endorphins are killer. Can’t wait to try SoulCycle and Cardio Barre.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast – I’ve heard it SO many times, but never truly understood the importance of breakfast until recently. There’s nothing like enjoying some cheesy eggs with green Tabasco sauce and your coffee in the morning before the day gets crazy and hectic.
  • Rising Early – I used to sleep in to late, however now my body automatically wakes up at 7am! I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse…but it’s nice to start your day early and carpe diem! While I’m on the topic of waking up…
  • Don’t reach for the phone the minute you open your eyes. Sleep is the only time that we are truly unplugged from our devices and you are probably going to spend the next 12 hours staring at your email/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, so take time to stretch and create intentions for the day.
  • Learn to say no. This one has taken me years to figure out. I was always the “yes” girl, up for anything and now I’m seeing that it’s okay to say no to event invites, parties, and dinners – and there’s nothing like a quiet night with your hot tea and a good book.
  • The world is not going to end if you don’t send this email/follow up with this person/etc. Yes, work and networking is important, but your sanity is also important.
  • Create Intentions – As I mentioned above, start each day with an intention in mind. What do you want to achieve? How do you want your day to play out? If you can dream it, you can do it

If you have any useful ways to maintain balance in your life, I’d love to hear it in the comments section!

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Filed under Soapbox, Turbulent Twenties

SF Chefs 2011 Recap [PHOTOS]

My, my how time flies! It seems like just yesterday I was stoked to see my favorite chefs and taste their delectable creations for SF Chefs 2011. Now that the week of seminars, tastings and parties is over, all we have are faint and distant memories. And oh yeah…pictures! See below for my awesome iPhone 4 shots. Someday I’ll get a better camera and stop subjecting you to the madness!

I only went to the Grand Tasting on Sunday and the Industry After Party at Jasper’s this year, but one thing that stood out at the Grand Tasting was PORK PORK PORK every which way, thanks to the National Pork Board (Pork: Be Inspired!). Some things that I didn’t manage to get a photo of (but still tasted outta this world) were the Pork Confit with Summer Fruit from Frances‘ Melissa Perello, ceviche two ways from La Mar and Absinthe’s Smoked German Sausage with potato-corn salad and a spicy onion marmalade. Oh and Munch from Burlingame had a tasty Buttermilk Panna Cotta and I managed to make out Chefs Gary Danko and Joanne Weir discussing BLTs. Without further adieu….

eVe. Watermelon, squid, cucumbers, cumin, dill blossoms

Scala's Bistro. Jen Biesty. Petrale Sole with heirloom tomato, saffron, artichoke and herbs

Nombe Izakaya. Sansho pepper pulled pork salad, toy box tomatoes, red frilly mustard, okura, taro chips, yuzu cream

Sons & Daughters. Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara. Agastache marshmallow foie

Bix. Bruce Hill. Opentop pork sandwich with fresh tomatoes

Driscoll's berries!

Cool desserts at Jasper's from Rose Rodriguez

And last but not least….

Dominique Crenn. Hottest female chef ever!

Hope you had fun at SF Chefs as well and see ya next year!

xo.

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Filed under Food, SF, Wine

flour + water

flour + water is by far one of San Francisco’s top Italian restaurants. Nestled on the corner of Harrison and 20th Streets in the Mission, F+W is doling out the goods — and it is a well known fact, as we all have heard the notorious story that Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself  was denied a table one fateful night.

The Summer Pasta Menu couldn’t be more representative of this time of year — when it actually feels like summer! So hurry up and get your bootay in there to try Chef Thomas McNaughton’s hand made, perfectly al dente pasta. This stuff is seriously outta this world and we would expect nothing less from Chef, having held sous positions at both Gary Danko and Quince. I didn’t get a chance to try any of the Neopolitan style pizzas straight outta the Italian wood-fired oven but I’ve heard great things, so if you have an opportunity to try some of these pies, do!

cured duck with summer squash, blossoms, pine nut and basil

crispy pork trotter with cherries, pistachio, wild arugula & saba - so tasty

eggplant & smoked mozzarella triangoli with squash blossoms - delicate, yet the flavors complemented perfectly

orecchiette with goat sugo, broccoli di ciccio & rosemary. talk about goat-y goodness!

rigatoni verde with pork polpettine, taggiasca olives & chili. by far my favorite dish of the night - so rich and decadent, yet somehow finished every last bite

dense little pasta pockets filled with roasted pork, caramelized onion and parmesan cheese

rabbit confit & loin with artichokes, carrot, mint, preserved lemon & olive relish - bring on the protein! this dish was fun and inventive

The restaurants keep half of the tables open for reservations and half open for walk-ins, so either get there early or consult OpenTable. It’s also fun to stand in the bar/door area with a glass of wine in hand, giving each table the evil eye and betting with your dining companion on which will be the first to pay the bill and vacate the premises.

Another cool addition is the Dough Room, which by day moonlights as a prep kitchen and by night morphs into a great pace for parties of 8 to 10 with either an 8 course tasting menu option or a family style menu option.

They first Monday of every month are Guest DJ Nights (heeeyyy-o) so if you feel like listenin’ to some smooth beats while indulging, stop in on Semptember 5th when Thao Nguyen of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down makes an appearance. Your taste buds will be happy and your eardrums buzzin’ — heck, you might even get up and get your groove on!

Warning: Flour + Water may cause massive amount of delicious food consumption and you most likely will need a digestif after dinner (Fernet anyone?!), but the carbo loading is definitely worth an extra cardio sesh in the morning.

flour + water. 2401 Harrison Street. 415.826.7000.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, San Francisco, SF, Wine

You Are What You Eat

I often times write about food and my restaurant encounters, but I certainly don’t consider myself a food blogger [per se]. That being said, I realize that I am very fortunate for the experiences that I get as a twenty-something. But ask me to open my refrigerator? Your findings would consist of a tub of hummus, some salad greens, a bottle of white wine, string cheese and a bunch of condiments. It may be extremely slightly embarrassing, but that’s just how it is for me! I don’t have anyone to cook for and we (being my roommates and myself) each do our own thing in regards to grocery shopping.

I recently stumbled upon a website where photographer Mark Menjivar traveled around the US, asking people to do exactly what I described above — open their refrigerator door for a stranger. One person compared it to ” asking someone to pose nude for the camera”. As you click through You Are What You Eat, each photo is labeled with the individual’s occupation, city in which they reside in, the number of people living in the household and some random fact about their personal life. When you study the photos and read the captions, you can’t help but begin to formulate an image in your head of this person. One that I found particularly amusing was a refrigerator with 4 cartons of milk for a 1-person household with the caption: ” Is not very good at small talk.” So, an introverted fanatical milk-drinking New York gallery owner? It would appear that he really likes his cream cheese as well — there’s 3 large tubs of Philadelphia!

Take a peek and see what conclusions you make about these people based on what resides in their fridge — it’s part of a larger topic on our country’s food issues. I found it pretty interesting!

xo.

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Filed under Soapbox, twenty-somethings

San Francisco City Tour

Recently I had some family in town and in true form, we took San Francisco by storm! This is one of the things I love about this city — there is so many things to do, sometimes it is hard to fit it all in a short time! As a local, it’s also really fun to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy San Francisco through the eyes of a tourist.

Day 1 began with the Tour de Ferry Building. We arrived at the busiest time, but that was quite alright given that we were all in the spirit to eat. After strolling by all of the produce outdoors, we entered through Sur La Table and made our first purchase: El Porteno Empanadas. We ordered the Fugazzeta (aged cheddar, onions, oregano) which I found tasty but not too exciting, and the Champinones (local organic mushrooms by Far West Fungi, shallots, parmesan cheese, crème fraiche) which was delicious, earthy and much more complex.

El Porteno Empanadas Stand

As we wandered along, some stopped for vegetarian spring rolls and the interestingly-flavored ICIO Water.

ICIO Water - blood orange tarragon and black currant blueberry

I, however, had my heart set on Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick. I’m a lover of all things cheese, so naturally I went for the gold: Burrata with seasonal vegetables and herbs served atop arugula with crostini and dressed with McEvoy Olive Oil. Drool. My aunt and cousin went for the grilled cheese of the day — that sandwich was very good as well.

Cowgirl Creamery's Milkshed Map

Then we hopped on the F-line and took it down to the start of our San Francisco hop-on hop-off city tour in Fisherman’s Wharf. The tour took us to all of the popular neighborhoods (Golden Gate Park, The Haight, Civic Center, SoMa, Union Square, Chinatown) and I was quite surprised by how many “fun facts” I learned about San Francisco.

Chinatown

San Francisco's breathtaking architecture

I’ve included some of them below just for funsies!

  • The Spreckels mansion is the largest house city in San Francisco – yes we all know that Miss Danielle Steel now resides in that [not so] humble abode
  • The term “Sugar Daddy” was first coined by Alma Spreckels when speaking of her husband, Adoph Spreckles, the sugar baron
  • Any house painted three or more colors is considered a “Painted Lady”
  • That is actually real gold on the City Hall dome!
  • Alma is also the model for the monument in Union Square honoring naval hero Admiral Dewey and the assassinated president William McKinley
  • Twelve faceless statues sit atop 580 California called the “Corporate Goddesses”. These faceless statues are there to remind those in the banking industry to “be honest, even when you think no one is watching”.
  • Denim was invented in San Francisco during the Gold Rush because miners needed durable clothes to wear
  • The Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is designed to look like a baby piano from the outside – if you look closely you can see the white keys, black keys and strings inside.

City Hall

The "Corporate Goddesses"

Day 2 began with a stroll through the North Beach Festival – fairs and festivals are a really great opportunity for visitors and natives alike to get out in the sunshine, check out local vendors and people watch.

North Beach Festival from above

Street art at the festival

After we had our fill at the North Beach Festival, we hightailed it through Chinatown, down into Union Square and hopped on MUNI underground because we all had one track minds — we wanted to devour some sandwiches from Ike’s Place! Once our sandwiches were ready after a brief wait (Tom Brady with vegan breaded chicken, garlic and herb sauce, mushrooms, avocado and cheddar for me), we trekked over to Dolores Park. At the park everyone was happy to give their little feet a break at the park and enjoy the local flavor! We all know what I think about Ike’s (see Ike’s Place, Dolores Park & Bi-Rite Creamery) so no need to get into detail on how delicious they were.

After we were finished, we made our way back the hotel room to enjoy a glass of wine and some good family time before everyone had to part ways. It was amazing how much ground one can cover in a single weekend in San Francisco — also, important to note that I figured out what a walking drill sergeant I can be. So when I say “oh it’s just a couple blocks”, it really is 5-10 blocks. In my defense, San Francisco is such a walking city — you hardly even notice the distance you’ve gone when you walk by yourself! However even I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed putting my feel up for a rest, sipping red wine and surveying the rooftops from the balcony. This was the perfect way to play tour guide and show my relatives San Francisco’s best!

B.R. Cohn and Ghirardelli Chocolate - nice pairing.

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Filed under Family Ties, Neighborhoods, San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf, Weekend Warrior

Fifth Floor Restaurant

Fifth Floor Restaurant is one of those San Francisco classics located in Hotel Palomar downtown. Sometimes hotel restaurants can get a bad wrap, but definitely NOT in San Francisco and at this at this Michelin-starred resto, especially with its classy yet contemporary space. The [chef] torch has been passed from George Morrone to Laurent Gras, Melissa Perello (who has since opened Frances) to Laurent Manrique, then Jennie Lorenzo and now Executive Chef David Bazirgan has stepped up to helm the kitchen. And that he does, with fabulously creative dishes. Did I mention he was voted Eater’s Hottest Chef in America?

I recently met The Dapper Diner here in the lounge area, which is a great spot to converge with friends, co-workers, or even a date. You can order off the dining room menu and still chat with the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders. Did I mention these bartenders know their stuff? Yep — order any one of the delicious concoctions from the list or have them whip up a cocktail at their whimsy. On this particular occasion I was introduced to Fernet-Branca, the so-called “Bartender’s Handshake” (it’s a San Francisco thing).

Fernet – it’ll put hair on your chest

We started with a Smoked Salmon Amuse Bouche, which was a perfect way to set the tone for a fabulous dinner. Then we had two salads: the Asparagus and Hearts of Palm Salad with speck, sorrel, aleppo pepper, pink lemon vinaigrette and Roasted Baby Beet Salad with compressed strawberries.

Salmon Amuse Bouche
Asparagus and Hearts of Palm Salad
Beet Salad

Then we moved on to the real reason for our visit — the soft shell crab. We had the Soft Shell Po’boy and the Deconstructed Soft Shell Crab. It was absolutely divine! Chef Baz paid us a visit and brought out a Wagyu Beef dish as well as a Lamb Kidney dish. I wish I had written down all of the details of these dishes, but feel free to draw conclusions and drool over the photos! I won’t try to butcher the work of an artist.

Soft Shell Po’Boy
More Soft Shell Crab
Lamb Kidney Dish
Wagyu Beef Dish

Conclusion: Baz sure knows his stuff and is continuing the tradition of top chefs at Fifth Floor Restaurant! I can’t wait to stop back in.

xo.

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Filed under Restaurants, San Francisco, SF, Things to do in sf, Weekend Warrior

San Francisco Ride The Ducks

Recently myself and a few co-workers were invited to participate in an event showcasing San Francisco’s Ride The Ducks and Classic Cable Car. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to become a tourist in your own town, so I gladly jumped at the opportunity to “ride the duck”.

We all met in Union Square where our white amphibious chariot vehicle was waiting patiently. While boarding, we were handed the namesake quackers, our name tags, and a bag of nuts. “Why nuts?” you ask. I did too – apparently it was because the San Francisco Giants were playing a home game. After some light safety talk, we were off in our duck boat, quackers in mouth, quacking along to the music. It was quite the scene! I never really realized how many people look at you oddly from the sidewalk when they hear that strange sound combined with blaring music, but it was so much fun to laugh and giggle along with everyone else. After all, you can’t always take yourself too seriously!

Us with the quackers

We quacked on over to the Embarcadero and “dove” head first into the water behind AT&T Park. I can’t believe how close you come to the Pacific Ocean! After some cruising around the bay and photo opportunities, we waddled our way back onto shore and boarded the Classic Cable Car for a ride over to the event venue The Box SF. (Fun fact: did you know that the Classic Cable Cars were made by the same company that built the legendary Cable Cars, which are still in use?)

Classic Cable Car

At The Box SF, we were greeted with refreshing cocktails by the mobile mixologists at Tonic, along with delicious noshes and nibbles from Choice Catering, Organic Chef Catering, and Blue Heron Catering.  The evening could not be complete without the Glass Coat Photobooth — and they would be a fun addition to any event with wacky props and silly friends.

This was an awesome, well executed event and I would highly recommend experiencing your own city the way a tourist would. Not only do you get out of your comfort zone, but it makes for fun stories and it’s a great way to meet new, interesting people!

Click here for the full Flickr album of my photos.

xo.

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Filed under Culture, San Francisco, Social Butterfly, The Giants, Things to do in sf, Viator