We were recently lucky enough to steal some time with our good friends Jake and Hannah Weidmann to show off a few of our favorite spaces in the city. During the latest Apple keynote, we found out our friend Jake was secretly working with Apple to create a calligraphy piece on the new iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil! Jake is an incredible artist. He is youngest of twelve Master Penman in the entire world. And he was at the Apple announcement in San Francisco showcasing his penmanship on the iPad.
We connected with Jake and his wife Hannah Wednesday and spent all Thursday and Friday together. Just enough time to give them a whirlwind tour around a handful of our favorite places and experiences in the city.
Ferry Building Farmers Market + Blue Bottle Coffee
After watching Chef’s Table (Netflix) and now reading Dan Barber’s The Third Plate, I’m more into farmers markets (and heirloom wheat) than ever! Last time I went to the Ferry Building farmer’s market I was overwhelmed (in a good way) by the sweet, minty, earthy aroma of the fresh basil. I had to buy it!*
Hannah had her mind set on the Ferry Building, mainly for the coffee, but the farmers market was a nice bonus. We were lucky to catch Blue Bottle at a down time and we took our cappuccino and latte across from the Ferry Building to Pier 1. I prefer the Pier 1 benches to the Ferry Building benches because they’re less crowded with a better view (which includes the Ferry Building).
*Side note: After my basil wilted, I learned I need to treat it like flowers, cut the stems and place it in water. I’m now happily adding basil to everything, salads, eggs, chicken, fish.
Location // Ferry Building, One Ferry Building San Francisco, CA 94111
I directed Hannah towards Chinatown for the afternoon. My top recommendations, The Wok Shop and Eastern Bakery. They happen to be located right next to each other on Stockton St. The Wok Shop is small and packed with (not surprisingly) woks and loads of kitchen gear. The first time Blaine and I wandered into the shop, we had no intention of purchasing anything and ended up with a brand new cast iron wok (so cool!) plus flax seed oil for coating. The Wok Shop staff is passionate and knowledgeable about wok cooking and has been educating customers since they opened in 1972. Eastern Bakery has been around since 1924. It’s a tiny hole in the wall shop and it gets crowded quick. I usually get several moon cakes and chocolate covered fortune cookies.
When in Chinatown, make sure to check out the streets other than Stockton, which is the main tourist street. I enjoy strolling down Washington because it’s less touristy and has lots of great little markets.
Location // Eastern Bakery, 720 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
Nob Hill Café
We finally made it! We’ve passed by Nob Hill Café approximately 8,052 times (always tempted to try it, it’s been highly recommended, and Blaine’s in love with Italian food). Located on Taylor and Clay, it’s serene at night with yellow bare bulb lights above a handful of sidewalk tables. Inside, the café’s tightly packed tables make for an intimate dining experience. We had the caprese salad, gnocchi, calamari steak, and two bottles of red wine (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is our favorite Italian wine…currently).
Location // 1152 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Ina Coolbrith Park
A few blocks uphill from Nob Hill Café, at Taylor just north of Broadway, is one of San Francisco’s coolest micro parks, Ina Coolbrith Park. Ina Coolbrith was California’s first Poet Laureate and the views from Ina’s park are well worth the hike. From this point, you’ll see Alcatraz, Coit Tower, downtown SF, and the Bay Bridge. Not to mention the parrots! The parrots of Russian Hill live around Ina Coolbrith Park. Look for bright red and green beauties flying overhead (they’re pretty vocal, so you’ll likely hear them before you see them).
Location // Vallejo & Taylor, San Francisco, CA 94133
Ina Coolbrith Park
What’s better than the view from Ina Coolbrith by night? The view at sunrise! We caught the sunrise at Coolbrith twice this week and both times were a completely distinct show. It’s such a great way to start the day.
Cup-A- Joe Coffee House
Cup-A- Joe’s is our neighborhood coffee shop. The sausage breakfast sandwich is ridiculously good (my mouth is watering just thinking about it) and Joe is there every day taking orders and making coffee. It makes us happy to support Joe and his coffee shop.
Location // 896 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Alamo Square Park
I met Hannah at Alamo Square on Friday afternoon. Beyond its Full House fame, Alamo Square is a wonderful park for picnics and bootcamp (join us T/Th 7:30am). Come take in the view of the painted ladies (beautiful Victorian homes) and the San Francisco skyline. It’s another stunning vantage point for the SF sunrise.
Hayes Valley is at the top of my list of SF’s most beautiful neighborhoods. A walk through the tree lined streets of Hayes is immediately relaxing. We discovered Hayes Valley on our first trip to San Francisco because it’s the home of the largest sake shop in the US, True Sake (which is truly tiny). And Blaine, of course, made it his mission to find it, buy sake, and join their mailing list as soon as possible.
Hayes has lots of cool boutiques. Azalea, which carries men’s and womenswear, is one of my favorites. Flight 009 is a quirky little travel shop with travel trinkets and curated guide books, like Wallpaper Guides.
Hannah and I spent a solid hour trying on all the frames at Warby Parker before our stomachs lead us to Arlequin for tea, coffee, and snacks in their tree covered backyard. Since one of the limitations of living in a tiny apartment in San Francisco is no yard, I’ve decided to adopt Arlequin’s expansive back patio as my own.
Location // Arelquin, 384 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Mission Coffee Tour
Jake and Blaine hit up Ritual Coffee Roasters and Four Barrel for a brief but lovely Mission coffee tour. We recommend that a full SF coffee tasting tour include: Ritual, Four Barrel, SightGlass, Blue Bottle and Front Coffee. All five are roasted in the Bay Area. I can’t decide my favorite, depends on the day.
Cole Valley, Zazie, and Ice Cream Bar!
We love Cole Valley! My second trip out to SF, before moving here I stayed at a beautiful Airbnb next door to Ice Cream Bar. I have a distinct memory of coming off the train at the Cole Valley stop at about 10pm. I was returning from dinner at Beretta in the Mission, where it was a completely clear night. When I stepped off the train, I could barely see ten feet ahead through the dense fog. It felt so noir and so San Francisco.
Cole Valley is quiet and close to Golden Gate Park with a sweet main street, which happens to have some damn good food.
We took Jake and Hannah to Zazie, a small traditional French restaurant with a warm rustic interior and a cozy back patio. The staff are wonderful. They’re friendly, down to earth, and seem genuinely happy to be working at Zazie.
There was a wait when we arrived, so we decided to start with dessert. A few blocks down from Zazie, is Ice Cream Bar. Ice Cream Bar is straight out of a childhood dream. It’s a darling 1930s style soda fountain that serves old fashioned sodas and ice cream made with local and organic dairy.
Location // Zazie, 941 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117