Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Galeotti | project: CLEAN FOOD

Who flies 2,572 miles and 6 hours for the weekend? Well, apparently I did. And all for the sake of life enjoyment. I didn't need a better reason. And naturally, I ended up eating great food, staring at great art (as seen above), and soaking up the sweetness in the air and in the people of San Francisco. I landed in Pacific Heights (courtesy of Airbnb): a very lovely and residential area dominated by grand homes, great coffee, eclectic foods, beautiful families, great boutique shopping, and enough power workouts and yoga to keep your body tight. And if the workout classes are not enough for you, you can always brave walking up and down the rolling hills embedded in the city streets. The temperature was always quite cool this time of the year. It's definitely autumn, but it was so nice. Some days I went out without a jacket, and some days I did. In this way, it did remind of me of New York during the Fall. But there was something about SanFran that I immediately fell in love with. Maybe it was the yoga. Maybe it was the chill vibe. Maybe it was the subtle, but notably chic energy of the people. Maybe it was the arty scene. Or maybe because it reminded me of "a New York City", yet outside of New York City. Whatever it was, it called my name and demanded the energy of exploration into this amazing city. I was ready to travel deeper. Much deeper.

There was so much to take in: one day it was healthy smoothies and yoga. Another day it was hiking, craft coffee, and museums. And another day, it was the usual cool city things like the new SFMOMA, shopping, and chic Italian restaurants (my fave!). But here are a couple of the key moments that really moved me in this little weekend jaunt.

The Art Scene
photo from Instagram of Katie G.
Before I talk about the museums, let's talk about SanFran's Mission District. It literally reminded me of a scene out of New York City's very own Williamsburg in Brooklyn circa 2003. Craft Coffee shops. Weird cash only bookshops with books on everything from Bukowski to Osho. And of course the random Mexican burrito / taco restaurant (also cash only) that has a line out the door and around the corner of students, nomads, and tourists dressed as if they they just rolled out of bed (and might I add, very delicious). The neighborhood itself vibed between the levels of sketchy and unsafe, to up and coming and trendy. And in between all of this, there were these alleyways filled with graffiti art that reminded me of Shamans, the mystical Mayan people, and the beauty of Mexican and Central American culture. You know what I mean? Skulls. Flowers. Happy Children playing with butterflies and plants. Birds. Flying spirits. And not so surprisingly, the unseen hardship of the neighborhood. All these things were evident in their graffiti art. Which means that the Mission District has and is currently moving through a transformational period of leaving behind the old and embracing the new. We felt out of place with our Starbucks cups filled with lightly steamed soy milk Americanos' from Union street. However, there was an energy there that was quite astonishing. The alleyways were filled with art, but so were the sidewalks and storefronts. There was also a taste of art in the people: the way they walked, talked and moved about the areas. It was, for lack of better words, cool.

As for the usual suspects: Gerhard Richter, Lee Krasner, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali. You will find these and many more at the beautiful and grand SFMOMA. A must see. The restaurant on the first level of the museum. Super chic and cool, and relevant. The menu is ever evolving, and shares recipes from around the world from various chefs of various backgrounds. There are slew of other off-beat random museums in SanFran that are also worth a visit as well: De Young, Asian Art, Jewish Museum. All worth checking out. But if you want to see how and why art comes to be. Meaning how and why art is created. Go to the Mission District. It's the art before the canvas. Before the wire is turned. Before the clay is molded.

The Restaurant & Cafe Hop
photo credit: Naseema Khan
We canvassed Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights and found some amazing restaurants ranging from authentic Indian cuisine to a super fun and real-deal Pizzeria (Pizzeria Delfina, if you're interested). We also found our way to a super chic area just outside of Chinatown and a little north of the Financial District on Pacific Avenue. Another amazing Italian eatery called Cotogna. Chef Michael Tusk traveled through Europe apprenticing in Michelin-starred restaurants specializing in French and Italian foods: and 20 years later he created one of his greatest restaurants in Cotogna. We knew as soon as we tasted the pasta that this guy knew what he was doing, and had spent time around some good tuscan cooking. We've been to a lot of Italian places, but this place was easily in the top 5. Beautiful crowd, beautiful restaurant, and truly authentic food? A unicorn these days.

photo credit: EaterSF
In the day time, we found ourselves checking out some great vegan and vegetarian-esque places: again in the Heights'. Smoothies, juices, mixed green salads with homemade dressings, and all the things you'd find in an amazingly scrumptious cafe. And amidst all this, you'll find your American Bistro style hot-spots, unique sandwich places, and a good staple Thai food restaurant that every neighborhood in America, um, DESERVES. Oh, and you don't want Starbucks? There are quite a few crafty coffee places and cafes that equate the Starbucks feel, and in many scenarios even trump them. Case in point: B. Patisserie. An eclectic menu of modern French-styled pastries along with American flavors and local influences. And just so you know, we waited 25 minutes for two croissants and two coffees. Why, you may ask? Because the line for ordering was out the door and towards the end of the block of California street on a gorgeous Sunday morning (right around the hour of your Sunday paper pick-up and read). So, you get the picture, right? And the best part of it all, is that people were eager to wait. And they were also eager to spend. Many families easily bought 4-5 baked goods at a time: and more in some scenarios. It seemed as if B. Patisserie was a part of their lifestyle on this quiet 'California Street'. All freshly baked. Super friendly staff. And very VERY orderly. We were happy to wait for this experience. It felt like we were waiting for a ride in an amusement part. Talk about genius retailing! We loved it.

The food. The art. And that sweet SanFran air. A place for lovers, and lovers of life. Get there as soon as you can. Oh yea. And btw,  if you can. Try and see the Golden Gate Bridge on a not so foggy day.

I wasn't so lucky. 
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