san francisco

a weekend in San Francisco


 Whenever people tell me they are going to visit San Francisco I ask where they are staying and they are almost always staying at some hotel in or near the Tenderloin. Don't do it! Stay anywhere else! San Francisco is a gorgeous city, but it's easy to get stuck in dirty areas or tourist traps (that being said, the Tenderloin definitely has some good bars and trending spots). If you're looking for amazing food, local favorites and a taste of the many neighborhoods in SF, check out these places instead:


Outerlands If you're looking for locally sourced American brunch in a cozy, rustic setting by the sea, and are ok with waiting a few hours for a seat, this place is perfect. I usually put my name down then take a stroll to Trouble Coffee, Mollusk and sit by the sea until my table comes up. 

Boogaloos This was my go-to brunch with a twist. I only ever get one thing: Desayuno Tipico. Two eggs over easy, black beans with salsa, grilled plantain cake topped with tamarind sour cream and corn tortillas. 

St. Francis Fountain Best classic diner with the perfect coffee pot coffee. Old school candy shop and ice cream parlor, too. 


Blue Bottle Best soy latte, ever. My favorite location is in Hayes Valley--take a stroll in the little park and grab a drink from their roll-up garage. 

Ritual No, they won't ice your latte. Don't even ask. But they will give you the best drip you've ever had. And you won't mind how much you paid for it. 

Four Barrel This is one of my favorite coffee shops not just for the coffee, but for the atmosphere. They also have affogatos

The Mill Their toast is AMAZING. Say yes say yes! 

Philz Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite everyday drip coffee. I always get the Tesora with medium sugar and medium cream. Stop by a panaderia on the way if you are going to the mission location. 


Caffe Sport If you are going to North Beach and want dinner, this is my favorite spot for seafood in a kitschy atmosphere. It's a little pricey but worth every penny. 

Zarzuela Looking for an affordable, authentic Spanish meal? In one of my favorite neighborhoods? Check this place out in Russian Hill. There's delicious ice cream across the street.

Pizzeria Delfina Best thin crust pizza. To work around the wait - either order take out and eat in Dolores Park or wait for a table to open up at 500 Club.  

Halu I LOVE RAMEN. SO MUCH. This place is not only delicious, but it is Beatles-themed. Last time I went they didn't have their bacon-wrapped mochi, the most amazing thing ever, so be sure to ask in case it's your lucky day!


The Phone Booth This is my favorite bar in San Francisco. It is often full of hipsters, so go on a weeknight if you can (I avoided on weekends). There is a pool table and a juke box. A great place to end a night. 

Hotel Biron Best place to meet someone for a glass of wine and some good conversation. It feels very European and is kind of hidden.

Trick Dog Your friends will think you are pretentious, but that's ok because their cocktails are fantastic. Dinner is good here too...I still dream about their kale salad. 

El Rio The best for outdoor drinking, weekday karaoke (I think it's on Wednesdays) and shuffleboard. 

The Homestead Excellent low key high brow place! They have peanuts and old fashions. 

Local Edition If you are downtown, stop in for some 20s paper boy style and delicious cocktails. 


Painted Bird There was a time in my life when I only shopped at this place. It was wonderful. They have a nice range of affordable pieces for your eclectic closet -- thrift and vintage. 

Little Paper Planes Filled with gorgeous, handcrafted goods and their new house-made clothing line. I love everything in this store. 

Acrimony Sleek, Minimal, Fun -- pieces for men and women that will elevate your wardrobe. 

Mill Mercantile Well made clothes in Americana style or Japanese interpreted Americana. 


Bikram Yoga Hot yoga in the mission. A nice, friendly studio where you will feel comfortable sweating buckets. 

Urban Flow Great if you are a bit more advanced or want to push yourself to the next level. 

Yoga to the People Donation based with a mission location that looks over the city. Go for the candlelight practice. 

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

I met Joe in San Francisco years ago. He's a really informed creative that doesn't settle-something I've always admired and that continues to inspire me. 

His most recent project, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco," just brought me to tears as I was waiting for my iced carmel macchiato at the corner of 13th and U St NW here in DC. I rarely go to Starbucks, but today I woke up in a funk and needed something to remind me of who I was, am and can be. This drink from this place is my comfort food. I grew up in the suburbs. 

Joe did not. He grew up in Bernal Heights in the whirl of a city stuck between nostalgia and chaos, culture and convenience. He's a unicorn--a person that grows up in the city and stays to create something meaningful about it. 

I think his parents had a huge part of framing his outlook on life, culture and art, but I also think he's gone above and beyond to maintain the ties he made as a kid, when curiosity was the main objective. When art was the foundational layer of life and profit had no meaning. 

Produced by Rolla Selbak and writen/directed by Joe, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco," features Jimmie Fails, Joe's childhood friend, who dreams of buying back the home his grandfather built in the Fillmore. This film, to me, demonstrates the power to share a voice, a vision and a city. A city we glorify all over the world, in which only some have the courage and tenacity to create, and few have the talent to capture a unique perspective in an artistic and powerful way.  We all know what's going on in cities across America, this film tells one story that is worth being on the silver screen. A small attempt to drown out main-stream sensational media, but a really, really important one. 

"Now living in the city’s last, dwindling black neighborhood with his (Jimmie's) oddball best friend, Prentice, they search for belonging in the rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind." (IndieWire)

Watch their Kickstarter film pitch and the concept teaser below.

Then, Help fund this project

It's not just about giving money to someone to make a movie, but helping to bring a universal concept to life. 

if you read one thing about the google buses, read this

post by Megan Wilson Read this behind-the-scenes email exchange posted by Megan Wilson between Mission Local and artists Rigo 23, John Jota Leaños, Isis Rodriguez, and Jet Martinez regarding the google bus contest. Pretty good idea of what is going on...

Rigo 23 Exchange with Lydia

worth reading the whole exchange here--lots going on: internet. public. privacy. meta. capitalism. art. future definitions of these words. Thanks Megan Wilson for posting. Please don't spam these artists' inboxes, just read their words.

Cat Forever: New Art by Primo Pitino at Alley Cat Books -- San Francisco

Primo Pitino Artwork at Alley Cat Books - Etxe I always loved running into Primo--and dancing to his record spinning--and seeing his posters all over town. I first met him at a NYE do-over party at 3435 Cesar Chavez and have been following his work ever since. I wanted to do a Betabrand piece of clothing inspired by his artwork, but it never got through development. Who wants to wear these CATS?! I do!

Primo Pitino Artwork 3

If you are in San Francisco, go check it out before it is too late--Cat Forever: New Art by Primo Pitino. If you aren't in SF, check out this 360 degree view by Han Lee (made with app bubbli). Alley Cat books has this sweet gallery space where they feature local artists such as DJ/Artist Primo Pitino. And when they don't have art shows, they have a ping pong table up. So no excuses to not check out my favorite book store on my favorite block on my old favorite place to live. Ah, I miss 24th Street. But, not as much as I love where I am now. And since I've discovered Harrar Coffee, I've solved the Philz problem. Now I need to find an 'Oldies Night' and '2 Men Will Move You'...oh Primo nothing can replace you! Thanks for making SF so fun and don't ever change. If you move, move to DC.

Primo Pitino Artwork 2 - Etxe

Cat Forever: New Art by Primo Pitino Alley Cat Books 3036 24th Street San Francisco 94110

The best parties in the city (if you actually like dancing):

Oldies Night at the Knockout -- First Friday of the month 2 Men Will Move You at Amnesia -- Second Saturday of the month

Gift Local for a Local: San Francisco, Bay Area

Local Gift Guide San Francisco Alright, it is holiday season. Which means everyone is making their gift guides. I personally think the best gift is time spent with the people you love--but here's a gift guide I spent time making for you.

Everything on this list is made by local designers, found in local stores, and/or made in SF/Oakland. Obviously buying local is better, but there is the question of where to buy. Online? In store? Direct from designer? The fact is, buying direct from the designer gives the designer the biggest cut (then there's the issue of who is actually doing the labor, so I'll just assume every designer is either making it herself or paying fair wages).

On the other hand, it is extremely community-building to actually go into your local store and buy the gift. Most designers are pricing their direct-to-consumer similar to the retail price, so everyone still basically gets the same kind of cut, but you are also supporting the local shop owner's business. Also, when you buy through the local store, the shop owner knows people want that designer's work, which means more exposure and more likely the store owner will buy product wholesale and not just sell on consignment. So, your choice.

I had a freak out moment yesterday when the jacket I wanted to buy from the small gift store across the street from my house said Made in China. After much deliberation, putting it on hold, looking around for similar things at local stores, and coming back, I bought it knowing at least some of my money will go to the local shop and designer. It's hard to vote with your money, but we have to do it. There are few well-made, locally made, fairly paid labor-made, clothing companies with interesting garments for women in SF...but that's another story. Which is why there are no clothes on the list--also, no one wants to gift the wrong size and it's worse receiving the wrong size.

Alright, enough economics and chit chat, here are the goods:

Now, where to buy is also a choice.

1. Nail polish is important. How can you show up on New Year's Eve not wearing Floss Gloss' Selena Corpus Crystalina? Buy it at Curator (which also does made well-made, interesting clothing, so shop for yourself, too). $8

2 & 3. These Flotsam & Jetsam Studs in sterling silver and this Snake Band in 18K yellow gold by Sarah Swell are just amazing. $300, $675

4. Ooops--made in England...but for the (succulent) plant lovers out there, this Nickel Mister is perfect. Buy it at Paxton Gate. $30

5. This Horizontal Bar Necklace by Pretty Little Thing Jewelry will go with anything in her wardrobe, and she'll know you have good taste! $68

6. Everyone needs a Carissa Potter San Francisco Map. Done. $20

7. What's better than one issue of ZYZZYVA? A year subscription! $40

8. I don't care if you ride the Google bus, hate the Google bus, or don't know what the Google bus is (which probably means you don't live in San Francisco), Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas by Rebecca Solnit is gold. She also just came out with Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. Buy both at Adobe Books. $27

9. The Weekend Almanac is perfect for cozy winter weekends. Buy at Press Works on Paper. $15

10. Who would not be ecstatic to open this on Christmas day? This Tango in the Night necklace by Megan Stacy of Salty Fox right here, in the city. $298

11. This is the kind of perfume you can give without anyone thinking you thought they were stinky. Bourbon All-Natural Perfume by  L'Aromatica Perfume. $30

12. The San Francisco Mini Wallet is the only way to carry that darn Clipper Card. Or your ID. Or your Sidewalk Juice frequent juice drinker card. Buy at The Parish Trust. Yes, this is my thing--and love it. If you keep buying them, I can make more in different colors/hides! $80

13. Just make sure her ears are pierced before you wrap these gorgeous Aurora earrings by Marisa Haskell. $98