My 31st birthday came so quickly this year and with us in full-on baby mode, we just sort of neglected planning anything in advance. I was perfectly content with just laying low and grabbing a nice dinner somewhere over the weekend. Lucky for us, Airbnb launched something new called Airbnb Experiences and reached out to me a week prior about joining them on one of their experiences. I admittedly knew nothing about this launch, so I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of fun things there were to do in and around the city through Airbnb. The one that stuck out to me immediately was a full day spent learning about (and eating) pasta called “Perfect Pasta” with host Dario from Baia Pasta. Yes, please!
The day started off by meeting our intimate group of 8 by the info booth at the CUESA Ferry Building Farmers’ Market. Our host Dario, the owner and mastermind behind Baia Pasta, is insanely passionate about what he does and it’s inspiring to hear him talk about pasta. We all introduced ourselves and walked over to get coffee at Highwire Coffee while we watched the complimentary cooking demo. I must’ve walked by these demos a dozen times before, but it was great to sit down and enjoy it for the first time with an amazing cup of latte.
We spent the remainder of our time at the farmers’ market picking out things to snack on before lunch and ingredients for our lunch that Dario was going to prepare for us. He showed us his favorite vendors who were also all friends of his from his time spent selling his pasta at the farmers’ market. We got to snack on plenty of delicious things as well and I immediately regretted not bringing any cash along to pick up things for myself. Once we were done, we packed up everything and headed on the ferry to make our way over to Baia Pasta at Jack London Square in Oakland. It was a gorgeous and warm day for my first ferry trip ever across the Bay—seriously!
At Baia, we really got a in-depth crash course into pasta making and the history (and future) of Baia Pasta. Dario ended up cooking up a pasta dish with sausage and spring garlic purchased from the farmers’ market. It was the simplest dish and insanely delicious. No joke, we made the dish TWICE this week already since meeting Dario. I think we’ve become pasta snobs and that’s actually quite alright with me.
A huge thank you to Airbnb and Dario at Baia Pasta for such an amazing experience!
If you’ve never tried Zola Coconut, you’re seriously missing out on one of the tastiest drinks out there. On top of the original and pulp flavors, they also carry chocolate and coffee flavors as well. (And yes, they’re as delicious as they sound.) You can imagine my joy when Zola approached me about doing some fun recipes with their açaí and flavored coconut water.
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with some crazy recipe, I really wanted to share recipes I use all the time, and incorporate Zola’s tasty drinks.
Chocolate Banana Breakfast Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 8oz Zola chocolate coconut water
- 2oz vanilla almond milk (can use soy/dairy)
- 1tsp chia seeds
- 1tbsp peanut butter
- 1tsp protein powder (as needed)
The first recipe up is a new take on an old favorite of mine and it turned out delicious. It’s perfect for a morning treat because it’s got heavier ingredients and you can even add protein powder to really give you the morning boost. It’s perfect to fill up one 12oz mason jar or just double up if you’re making it for two. Simply blend all of the ingredients above (omit or add as you please) and top with your favorite toppings. I’m a big fan of toppings that show the ingredients used, so in this case I used fresh banana, toasted coconut flakes and Zola’s chocolate covered bananas.
Mango and Chia Açaí Fruit Bowls
- 12oz Mango/Chia Açaí juice from Zola
- 4oz fresh coconut water (save the coconuts for bowls)
- 5oz frozen organic mixed berries (1/2 package; can sub fresh, but will need to add ice)
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
- 1 frozen banana
- Your favorite toppings
The coconut bowls are clearly just for show, but if you have them available, why the heck not? The Zola brand açaí juice already has amazing flavor and tons of good for you benefits, so they make a great base for your bowls. I like to add frozen berries and banana to help bind everything together and toss in some fresh spinach just to add more greens. You can substitute with any other leafy greens or omit, it’s totally to your liking. For the toppings, I used berries, toasted coconut and granola. Again, feel free to use what you love or have on hand.
- Popsicle molds
- Leftover açaí bowl mix
This one is a super easy one—just use your leftover açaí bowl mix from the previous recipe and add it to popsicle molds. Easy peasy! They’re great as a snack (especially in the Summer) but also to use as the “ice” for future smoothies whenever you need it.
I had the opportunity to be invited to an intimate chef’s tasting menu at 1601 Bar & Kitchen a while ago, and it’s still a meal I wish I can relive over and over again. It was my first time having Sri Lankan cuisine, so I really had no expectations of it, only pure excitement. After the first dish, I immediately started questioning why it took me so long to try Sri Lankan cuisine.
The exquisite tasting consisted of 15 dishes with wine pairing including the opportunity to watch Chef Brian Fernando make a traditional egg hopper. It was such a treat to be able to see it first-hand and then head to our seat to taste it moments after making it. It’s evident in his dishes how his heritage plays a role and it’s a cool thing when you instantly start thinking of a dish as ‘comfort food’ despite never having it before.
1601 offers both à la carte and the tasting menu, which I certainly recommend going with.
1601 Bar & Kitchen / 1601 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
I love sharing places in San Francisco on my blog, but I’ve also got a lot of love for the East Bay, so I’m committed to sharing more gems from the other side of the Bay. I’m starting off with a tour of one of my new favorite East Bay spots- Grand Fare Market in Oakland, owned by wife and husband duo Freya and Doug.
The market had its second grand opening at the beginning of August and it’s been packed ever since. Through the front doors of the royal blue exterior, the market, complete with a deli and coffee shop, is bright and so inviting to the neighborhood. Tucked in the corner past the coffee shop is Brother and Sisters, the most darling flower shop adorably named after the owners’ son and two daughters. It’s a tiny little thing and flowers are pouring out from every space possible.
There’s so much to love about this place, but my favorite has to be the spacious patio adorned with string lights hanging from every tree top. Every seat cushion is replaced with a faux fur throw and the marble table tops are Instagram gold. During our morning at the market, we saw countless regulars catching up with their friends over a cup of coffee and it’s easy to see this has quickly become a neighborhood favorite.
Grand Fare Market / 3265 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610
You guys, last month I hit the freaking Instagram jackpot. You see, I entered a contest held by W&P Design on their account for a free pair of pineapple tumblers and flowers from Bouqs. I’ve been a huge fan of Bouqs for years, and use them to send flowers to everyone I know, but I’ve never received one for me. And need I really say more about gold pineapple tumblers? I’ve been lusting after them for quite some time, but kept holding off on taking the plunge for whatever reason. Now I know it’s because of Instagram fate– true story, it’s a real thing.
I scoured the Bouqs’ site for the most tropical bouquet I could find and well, it’s hard not to go with the one called ‘Tropical Love.’ It’s as vibrant as the photos on their site and more beautiful than I could have imagined. If you’ve never used the Bouqs before, I highly recommend it. You can use my link to get a free Bouqs ($40 value) to send!
As for the oh-so fun tumblers, I wanted to make a drink worth of its pineapple shaped wonderfulness. I knew immediately to start my search at Craft and Cocktails, and lo and behold Ashley’s recipe for a Jalapeño Piña Colada. Make sure you head there for this amazing recipe! So follow along below for my tropical shoot complete with the tastiest cocktail.
The amazing folks over at W&P Design are also graciously offering one of their pineapple tumblers to my followers on Instagram. If you’re not following yet, what are you waiting for?! Giveaway starts Wednesday at 9am!
I had the pleasure of attending Ashley of Craft & Cocktail‘s Bar Crawl with Lo-Fi Apertifs last month and was introduced to some of the tastiest cocktails in the city. Three locations in the Mission, and all three serving up insanely delicious cocktails featuring Lo-Fi.
They were oh so kind enough to gift each of us who attended our own bottle of Lo-Fi. I quickly had to scour their website and find some great recipes to try. The one that stuck out the most was the 18th St Cobbler using Lo-Fi Apertif’s dry vermouth. Scroll down below to see the list of ingredients and super easy instructions. Guaranteed to be the perfect Summer treat!
- 3 oz Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth
- 3 oz sparkling lemonade
- ½ oz muddled strawberries, syrup, or shrub (seasonal fruit is best)
Build in a Collins glass over crushed ice. Garnish with seasonal fruit.
This was SF’s first time hosting Swig N’ Swine (it’s called Pig N’ Punch everywhere else) and after this year, it’s only going to get bigger and bigger every year. Thrown on by the gentlemen at The Bon Vivants, SNS was fun party and fundraiser for KIPP San Francisco filled with music, punch and amazing eats. Some of SF’s top restaurants were there to serve up dishes all based around the almighty pig.
It’s hard to narrow down my favorite dish, but I was pretty swayed by Chef Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club’s spam katsu rice bowl. (Just writing that out is making me hungry again.) I can’t wait to see this fun event come back next year, but hopefully at a bigger space. I love SOMA StrEat Food Park, but this event was probably way more popular than anticipated and they’re going to need a much larger space next year.
Other restaurants include: Chef Thomas McNaughton of Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Aatxe, Cafe du Nord & Salumeria / Chef Justin Simoneaux of The Boxing Room / Chef Craig Stol of Delfina, Delfina Pizzarias, Locanda / Chef Joey Elenterio of Cadence
Big news! I’ve partnered with No Kid Hungry to help promote San Francisco’s Premier Culinary Benefit, the 9th Annual Taste of the Nation. It’s this Thursday at the City View at The Metreon starting at 6:30pm (5:30pm VIP) and tickets are still available. Plus, you can get 20% off your ticket using the code BLOGSF20.
Come sample good eats and hand-crafted cocktails from over 40 restaurants, all while helping an amazing cause. I’m super excited to see some of my favorite SF restaurants attend, but let’s be honest, I’m also super excited to try all the ones I haven’t had a chance to visit yet!
(Hog & Rocks, Bon Marche, Foreign Cinema, E&O Kitchen)
All ticket proceeds go toward helping fight childhood hunger in California and these organizations include: 18 Reasons, California Association of Food Banks, California Food Policy Advocates, and Children of Shelters.
Don’t think you’ll be able to make it? No worries! You can still donate to these great causes here.
See you Thursday!
Back on Feb. 27, I had the privilege of attending a private tour with some rad bloggers and Instagrammers at the TCHO Chocolate factory in Berkeley, CA. A real-life Willy Wonka tour, what could be better? They’ve since launched SIX new flavors and they are not to be missed. TCHO not only graciously provided so much good eats for us, they even gave us an awesome presentation on how they make their chocolates. I was blown away on how passionate they are about their and it’s evident in the quality of their chocolates. While TCHO isn’t doing public tours at their new location yet, be sure to check back on their website to be up to date.
TCHO Chocolates / 3100 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702
At every foodie event I’ve gone to, Liholiho Yacht Club gets recommended to me as the best meal they’ve had in a long time. So naturally when I was invited by photographer friend Melissa and her sister Fritzie, my immediate answer was “oh hell yeah.” We went around 3:45pm to wait for them to open at 5pm- we were a little overzealous. The time spent in line though ended up being so fun as we met a few new friends, including Jason, who eventually joined us as a 4th eater! We figured, more people, more food.
The meal was delicious and truly, one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time in San Francisco. The flavors and ingredients all lended so well to each dish, and there were precise moments where I was legitimately bummed I ran out of food. I’d say that’s a pretty good sign of a great meal.
Reservations on the weekends can be tough to come by, but just go get an early dinner! You never know who you might meet and invite to dinner.
Liholiho Yacht Club
871 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 | 415.440.5446
Mon-Thu: 5pm-10:30pm | Fri & Sat: 5pm-11pm