I hope wherever you are in space or time you’re sipping on a nice drink and relaxing with some internet reads (our stories as we’ll come to call them when we’re old and gray). I wish I could be doing the same, but there’s no rest for me this weekend. This is going to be one of those weeks where I wish there was 5 of me to get everything done that needs doing. I’ve been lucky to hire a few false me’s here and there in the past to help with the load, but ultimately there’s only one real me, and she’s got to run. If you’d like to follow me on my upcoming journeys via plane, train & automobile I’d love to connect with you on instagram — the only form of social media I ever use. I’m already old and gray at heart.
Some things I loved this week:
The fantastic Faye was wandering through my old stomping ground up by the Sacré Cœur at sunset and captured the most beautiful, dreamy shots. I almost feel like I’m back there walking along with her…
I guess I successfully missed winter this year — I didn’t see a single snowfall; which makes these stunningly gorgeous images by the crazy talented Carin that much more surreal.
A Lady in London blogged her visit to Hadrian’s Wall in the North of England — a site I’ve always been obsessed with touring but haven’t made it to yet. Until then I’ll live vicariously through her…
Free People released their new catalog with subsequent video (my favorite yet in their series by far) and once again I want every single thing in it. Just when I was making some progress with savings…
When an out of town friend stopped by I was delighted to take her sightseeing in the oldest part of town, touring cathedrals and cable cars all around Nob Hill before wandering down to Comstock Saloon at the crossroads of North Beach and China Town (not that any excuse is needed to share a cocktail with a friend, but strolling up and down San Francisco’s steepest hills can be thirsty business). I’d only ever been to this establishment in the dark before, but as it turns out during the day light floods in to a charming alcove off the main bar room; with high ceilings, gorgeous wallpaper and detailing, and where the soup of the day is always whiskey. This is the kind of watering hole where you always want to leave your fate in the hands of the bartender — never order from a menu. I requested something spirt-forward with a touch of sweetness, while Diane went with a grapefruit and bourbon pairing. As our bespoke cocktails were shaken up (or in my case stirred) we crept next door to check out the main room in the quiet daytime — a tribute to SF’s gold-miner heritage, with antique lighting and fans, a dark but gleaming old bar with built-in vintage seating, and even a statue of Emperor Norton looking down over all his subjects. Back in the lunch bar we toasted our glasses to the indulgence of daytime drinking; a rarity for ladies who work as much as ourselves, but often a necessity, especially on a Thursday.
Top: Angie (Seen here)/Jeans: 1921 Jeans from Twig & Willow/Boots: Sendra (Seen here)
The weather was too beautiful and the g&t’s too plentiful to resist taking a cat nap in the backyard this sunny afternoon — a day that feels so far away after almost a full week of rain and clouds. The weather’s been stormy and life’s been a whirlwind this past week in the both the blog, work and personal sphere, but after few showers this morning I can see a break in the clouds over San Francisco; there’s a newly quiet house to relax in, and an unheard Beck album to listen to. Not a bad prospect for a Tuesday evening.
A few years ago I began an unexpected correspondence with a total stranger. She was working at one of my client’s office, and I was struck how cheery and sweet her emails always were (rather than the usual sour and curt ones more often received at work). We emailed back and forth for a few years, letting more and more personal info slip in between negotiating fees and scheduling, and when she eventually left that company our email friendship blossomed almost immediately. We nicknamed each other Avis and Julia, coined after two other pen pals who became literary friends before ever meeting in person (names that proved to be prophetic when I packed up and moved to France last year). Though we’ve only actually visited each other less than a handful of occasions, I was honored that my penpal invited me to share her bridal shower getaway the other weekend near the foot of Mount Diablo. It was no surprise to me that someone this lovely would have so many other wonderful people in her life, and I count myself lucky to have spent this weekend in such a gorgeous setting with her nearest and dearest. Sweeping grounds, a rambling manse, a heavenly veranda, 4 acres of gardens, and 2 shetland ponies with hilarious friends made for one escape I didn’t ever want to have to leave.
The weather report predicts rainy days ahead for SF so I may be spending some quiet days indoors, but it won’t be without a few sweets here and there (or everywhere). I hope it’s not too soon to be posting again about macarons on this blog, because I’ve been scouring SF for weeks now to find the best ones in the city (the things I do for blogging). Here are my top 4 picks thus far:
You won’t find the glossy bright colors typically associated with the cookie at Miette Patisserie. They use coarsely ground almond-meringue with the purest ingredients (nothing artificial and no food coloring) to result in a unique textural crunch. A very Northern California twist on the French classic. I picked up some cookies and melt-in-your-mouth lemon drops in their Ferry building location (they’re also on Octavia), which is conveniently located across the aisle from Blue Bottle Coffee. Whole grain macarons and artisinal espresso in one of SF’s landmark buildings — could you get any more San Francisco?
Since discovering Chantal Guillon I’ve quickly become completely addicted. These macarons are consistently delicious, and the closest taste and texture wise to their Parisian cousins back in France (with one exception I’ll mention below). They could use some new design on their packaging, and I wish they had more unique flavors (or more rotating ones, although they do have holiday flavors 4 times a year, including isaphan for Valentine’s day most recently), but I do love the flavors they have (Speculoos-Raspberry and Tahitian Vanilla are my favorites), that they’re open 7 days a week, and that they also carry Mariage Frères tea.
Tout Sweet Patisserie
Tout Sweet takes the cake for the most original cookie flavorings I’ve discovered thus far, such Aztec Spiced Chocolate, Earl Gray Tea, Olive Oil & Mandarin, or Bing Cherry & Bourbon, to name a few (flavors rotate regularly). Dine in at their location overlooking Union Square, or select a few flavors to take away in their gorgeous box for rooftop snacking later on.
I’ve rhapsodized at length about my love for B Patisserie before now, but at long last I was able to not only try her weekend-only macarons, but order a giant Isaphan version for Valentine’s. Belinda studied at Pierre Hermé in Paris, and it comes through in her cookies, which are tied with Chantal Guillon for the best I’ve had in the city so far.
What patisseries have you tried in SF? Where should I go next?
Sometimes (most times) it seems like the weekends are nowhere near long enough. And then other times, they’re just perfect. Saturday — spent running around town with good friends, hopping from one bus line and part of town to another, champagne in the afternoon and free(!) cocktails in the evenings. Sunday started slow, with a long, leisurely brunch and a carafe of pomegranate mimosas. Worked on some projects around the house. Got a head start on the busy week to come. Lounged in pjs watching episodes of House of Cards in between each bout of productivity. This weekend wasn’t technically any longer than another, but maybe it’s the days themselves that are stretching out. On Saturday we dismantled the cabinets above the sink to install exposed shelving (something I’ve always, always wanted) and there’s so much more light now. From the couch in the other room I watch it move across the walls and floor, watch the fog peek its head above Twin Peaks, gathering its courage to make the leap to the other side.
These images are from a stroll with the lovely Sarah, where we were also basking in the glow of beautiful light drifting through cherry blossoms. You’d almost think it was spring around here.
Blazer: Vintage/Blouse: Topshop (seen here)/Jeans: Free People (similar here)/Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens (seen here)
Photos by Sarah of Sanfranista