Opinion, Places

The Love List: Where to Eat in San Francisco

A few weeks ago, I shared my five top picks for places to drink in San Francisco. And because a woman cannot survive on drink alone, I figured it was high time to list my favorite San Fran eateries. Ranging from special occasion places down to hole-in-the-wall nooks, these are five of the many fantastic places I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing during my time here.

Full disclosure: speaking as a vegetarian for nearly 20 years, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want to learn about where to get the best steak in town. But if you’re looking for veggie-friendly places or just somewhere with a great view, I hope you enjoy my list below!

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Greens

With an unparalleled view of the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge and vegetarian fare sourced from farms in Marin, Greens is the quintessential San Francisco experience. Where else can you watch seals play beneath you while you munch on beans and tomatoes that were growing across the bay only the day before?  Special enough for an occasion dinner yet relaxed enough to casually stop by, Greens never fails to deliver a fantastic meal that’s gourmet yet refreshingly unpretentious.

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Off the Grid

Why settle for one restaurant when you can sample food from dozens? Off the Grid is one of several food truck parties that happens in several locations throughout the city. I love the Fort Mason edition for its spectacular backdrop (it’s next door to Greens) and how well the sea air compliments the varied fare. Popular trucks Chairman Bao and Curry Up Now always draw crowds, but you’ll also find some little-known gems serving everything from Peruvian cuisine to cupcakes with flavors like green tea tiramisu.

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House of Nanking

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do lines. No, it’s not that I think I’m too special for lines; I just have the patience of a sleepy two-year-old and would rather try somewhere new instead of waiting around on the sidewalk. But despite its intimidating line, House of Nanking is worth the wait. Perched on the three-way border of Chinatown, North Beach, and the Financial District, it’s the perfect place to go before a night out on the town. I love the Green Lettuce Wraps with sauteed zucchini, tofu, and peas flavored with the most decadent peppery sauce known to humankind.

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Sunflower Restaurant

Sunflower is the type of restaurant that’s easy to miss. Perched on the corner of Valencia and 16th in the Mission District, it’s surrounded by dozens of trendy restaurants and bars with flashier signs and fancier menus. But for those in the know, Sunflower delivers fantastic Vietnamese food in a no-fuss atmosphere at prices that leave room for an after-dinner martini at Blondie’s next door. It’s one of the only places in the city that boasts a flavorful vegetarian noodle soup that’s truly vegetarian, and I swear that their garlic noodles are not of this earth. You also can’t beat a giant glass of house wine for $4.

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Jackson Fillmore Trattoria

I’ll say it- I generally don’t like Italian food. I was turned off it by the red-sauce-and-heavy-mozzarella dishes that dominate midwestern Italian menus, but my view completely shifted after visiting the Jackson Fillmore. It’s been open in the same location since before I was born, and the cozy interior boasts no more than a dozen tables that are always packed full. The food is simple but nuanced and authentic, and the chefs are always happy to whip up something special. It feels like you’ve been transported somewhere quieter and slightly more glamorous, where the wine flows freely and you’re never in a rush. It’s one of the pricier picks on my list, but it’s my go-to for a special occasion or guests in town.

I hope you enjoyed my picks! Did I name any of your favorites? Which should I have included? Let me know in the comments below@!

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Places

Go Bare in Public (with bareMinerals, that is!)

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I’ve loved fashion since high school, but I’ve been a beauty fiend ever since I can remember. During my teen years, a host of skin issues prompted me to cake on layers upon layers of foundation and powder like a bad cliche. The result was unnatural and heavy, and I certainly wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m much happier with my skin and makeup routine now, but those misbegotten years left me with a serious phobia of powder foundation.

However, when bareMinerals invited me to try a makeunder (yes, under!), it sounded like something right up my alley. Hailing from San Francisco (woot woot!), bareMinerals part of the bareEscentulas family, carrying on the mission statement that makeup and skincare should enhance natural beauty and boost confidence. They describe bareMinerals makeup as a form of skincare and “so pure you could sleep in it,” which certainly had me intrigued. My liquid foundation served me nicely, but I couldn’t wait to take it off at the end of the day.

So, I found myself at the Go Bare event sponsored by bareMinerals and held just outside the beautiful Ferry Building on the Embarcardero. It’s one of my favorite areas in the city- that no-man’s-land between the bustling Financial District and the grey-green water of the bay. The fading light of the day was the perfect backdrop for the pop-up stand, where makeup artists subtly transformed women into a more radiant version of themselves.

Liliana, my fabulous makeup artist, gave me a fresh, natural look with serious staying power. The secret involves moisturizing and applying a primer first and being sure to choose the right brush for the coverage you want. Liliana applied a light layer of  their Original foundation followed by concealer, later warming my face with bronzer and blush. For the lips, I couldn’t resist going bold with a lipstick called “Risk It All” (love the playful names!) for a bold pop of pink that just so happened to match the decor. Coincidence?

I was lucky enough to take home some goodies to try myself, and I can say I’m officially hooked. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a little 5-minute makeup tutorial I came up with, and I’m so excited about it that I’m even posting a no-makeup face shot for comparison.
Courage, Sarah. Courage.

Many thanks to the fantastic folks at bareMinerals for making this all possible!

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My friend Mathilda accompanied me for her own makeunder- doesn’t she look fantastic? I love how they played up her adorable freckles!

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My Outfits, Places

The Haberdash

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When I hear the words “fashion show,” I think of otherwordly models clad in avant-garde items that are tough to pull off outside of a runway. But when The Bold Italic hosts a fashion show, it’s an entirely different story. Last week, TBI’s Haberdash took over the Great American Music Hall, boasting a fashion show, photobooth, and a performance by Brooklyn folk band Woods. Emceed by the inimitable Broke-Ass Stuart, the evening felt more super-cool-best-friend’s-house-party than highfalutin soiree. It was fashion without the pretense, which is about as good as it gets.

Local boutiques and designers collaborated to create the runway looks, featuring pieces from Welcome Stranger, Elder and Pine, SomNoir, Motley Goods, Artful Gentlemen, Mollusk Surf Shop, Justin Jamison, Thread Council, and TOKYOBay. The ensembles were fashion-forward but relaxed, creating a feel that audience members described as “very attainable” and “so San Francisco.” As far as the models were concerned, they could have been plucked out of the queue outside Blue Bottle or Zeitgeist, albeit with more uniformly trimmed facial hair.

Haberdash captured that elusive San Francisco cool, a magical hybrid of fantastic culture and art mixed with a healthy dose of friendliness and clean salt air. For ever jumpsuit-clad fashionista in attendance, there were just as many guys rocking their 501’s and yesterday’s t-shirt. Despite the recent trend of live-streaming NYFW and top designers releasing collections with Target, fashion can still feel intimidating and unapproachable. But when you take some great, solid clothes and add in some San Francisco attitude, fashion suddenly seems a lot more friendly.

On my end, I waffled a bit about what to wear to the event. I love androgynous fashion, but I didn’t want to go full-on menswear (which was a good choice, considering how many beautiful men in attendance would have shown me up!). I finally decided to dress up my favorite boyfriend jeans (get it? BOYfriend? I crack myself up) by wearing them with my wedding heels and a fun Rag & Bone top I found at Nordstrom Rack (score!). I love the flirty little cutouts in the back that peek open when I move, although several men in attendance that evening called them “gills.” I suppose you can’t win them all…

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