I’m normally not the “prayer warrior” type who solicits good vibes from my social networks, but I had to today as my good friend endured her bilateral mastectomy to eradicate cancer. Ever the good sport, she named her cancer “Felicia” so she could say BYE to it 😂 Here’s what else I’m focused on lately:
- Sheet Pan Chili Lime Salmon: In an effort to simplify my weekly meal prep, I’ve read countless lists of one-pot and sheet-pan meals. I was pumped to try this recipe Monday night and it didn’t disappoint: The marinade flavor has only gotten more pronounced with each serving of leftovers, and I’ll definitely be using this in my regular rotation. Delish!
- Sugarhill Kitchen: After yesterday’s lockout snafu, I needed an hour to kill while my landlord brought me their keys. I’ve passed this restaurant approximately a thousand times but hadn’t ventured in before. The owner/chef/bartender, Jennie, was so hospitable and welcoming — even offering a (free!) second glass of wine to heal my headache. I had other dinner plans to get to after, but I’ll return soon to enjoy all Sugarhill Kitchen has to offer!
- Bar Method: Not a day goes by without discussing different workout routines to try. Part of it is literally my job. Part of it is living in an active city like SF. All of me was excited to try Bar Method during its “Love Your Selfie” challenge, which grants unlimited access to newcomers for 40 days — and just $49! I’m two days in and can already feel the benefits of small, yet calculated, movements. Plus, who doesn’t want to feel longer and leaner? I might be a barre addict after all.
- “Doo Wop (That Thing)” – Ms. Lauryn Hill: I’ve enjoyed Spotify’s Black History Salute playlist, with tracks ranging from Marvin Gaye to Wanda Sykes and many more. The unequivocal fave, for me? None other than Ms. Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing).” It’s in my top five for lyrics – don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem — and it always brings a smile to my face.
Today marks my second San Franniversary, so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned since moving here. Bonus: It’s apparently (and arbitrarily) San Francisco Appreciation Week! If I’m missing anything, I’m sure you’ll all let me know 😉
1. Never, ever, EVER call it “San Fran.”
I realize I broke this cardinal rule in the very title of this post, but I believe a pun makes it OK. (I haven’t gotten an eye-roll yet in my empty apartment, at least.) For some reason, SF residents absolutely cannot stand calling their beloved city “San Fran.” It’s “SF” (pronounced “ess eff”) or “The City” (though I still save that for NYC). And I’m guilty of the hatred toward “Saaan Fraaan,” too. It strikes a nerve, sounds sooo country and feels like a betrayal to the Bay Area. Even worse: “Frisco.” *shudders*
2. There won’t be a heat wave in August.
It goes against everything you’ve ever been taught, but bring sweaters and jeans if you visit SF in August. With an average temperature this year of 58°F, you’ll thank me later. Easiest way to spot tourists here each August? They’re wearing overpriced Golden Gate Bridge sweatshirts from Fisherman’s Wharf, because they figured it’d be hot like everywhere else. On the flip side, September and October are our warmest months. I don’t make the rules; I’m just sharing them.
3. NorCal is very different from SoCal.
I haven’t personally experienced Southern California yet, but I’ve heard enough comparisons to feel confident in this lesson. NorCal is bourgie and techy, chilly and pretentious — while SoCal is beachy and sprawling, warm and pretentious in a different way. Also: Don’t expect me to “pop down” to San Diego or LA while you’re there on a weekday, since they’re 400+ miles away. I still love you, though 🙂
4. We work smarter, not harder.
Work/life balance is a constant topic of conversation here, almost to a fault. I haven’t worked in the smallest of startups — so there is some variation — but for the most part I believe SFers find efficiencies in their work, suggest changes to organizations’ processes and don’t have to prove their worth by how many hours they work. We value getting in, getting shit done and getting out to live life away from office walls.
5. We take our wine and our sports seriously.
This should come as no surprise, given electric playoff seasons from the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants,and San Jose Sharks — plus the recent resurgence of the Oakland Raiders. Even the 49ers and A’s fans are fiercely loyal. And while wine and sports don’t necessarily go hand in hand, you can’t be just south of Wine Country and not have a strong appreciation for vino. Cheers to that.
6. Oakland is SF’s cooler cousin — and kinda too cool for me.
I haven’t explored nearly as much of Oakland as I’d like to, but what I have seen has been mostly awesome. The Fox Theater is a phenomenal concert venue, there are awesome restaurants and bars to try all over Downtown, Lake Merritt and more. Get comfortable with the BART map first, though, as I’ve gotten turned around and spent way more time on the train than is ever necessary for one human.
7. Trolleys are not the same as cable cars.
This is a lesson I’m still learning, as anyone within earshot is quick to correct me when I mistakenly identify a trolley (or streetcar) as a cable car. The key difference is how they’re propelled, which is exactly why I can’t seem to keep them straight. All I really know is, both types are adorable and strangely efficient forms of transportation — provided you avoid the stops at each end of the cable car lines.
8. Public transportation is laughable.
Ask me two years ago, and I’d say I would never, ever miss the MTA. But being out here, I miss the subway nearly every damn day. MUNI is inefficient, dealing with traffic and breakdowns and shitty people who refuse to follow the rules. BART is a hot mess of its own. And while I understand this city wasn’t built for the massive influx of people, it’s frustrating to feel like there aren’t any major changes in sight for affordable, efficient, reliable public transportation.
9. Uber, Lyft and Chariot are godsends… mostly.
It’s no wonder, then, we freaking love rideshare and shuttle services. Since Uber and Lyft were founded here, we’re often a test market for new features (and promos!) before they’re rolled out nationwide. I relied heavily on UberPool with my last job, since my 2.5-mile commute would take more than 50 minutes on MUNI. I’m now blessed with transportation reimbursement from my employer, so a shuttle service like Chariot (also founded in SF) makes commuting and getting around SF a breeze.
10. SF is a fantastic place to live.
There are plenty of challenges living in a big city with rich history and recent gentrification. It’s easy to take it for granted, but it’s truly become my favorite home. Whether making jokes about Karl the Fog; braving tourists on Golden Gate Bridge; or enjoying the quirky, eclectic local vibes, SF will always have a special place in my heart.
I’m low on sleep but high on energy to bring you all this week’s finds. Here’s hoping I don’t crash before I finish…
- La Croix Cocktails: I previously mentioned my love for La Croix flavored sparkling water. Well, I’m hopelessly addicted now that I have an endless supply at work. Good thing a writer at Gizmodo curated nine cocktail recipes to make with La Croix! Happy hour just got a little happier.
- RunKeeper: With my newfound Run Club at work, I wanted to try this wildly popular app to map my route and pace. The welcome series of emails was a little aggressive, but I’m otherwise pleased with the experience so far. Bonus: It’s on sale for just $20/year — get it while you can!
- Firefly: I recently celebrated three months with my company by joining my referring co-worker and our mutual friend at this spot in Noe Valley. It’s largely veg-focused, but I can attest that the fried chicken and biscuit were also stellar. It was a nice departure from my usual menu, especially with the tart and vibrant fried green tomatoes. Yum!
- Jay Pharaoh: SNL’s king of impressions has done it again — this time, mimicking various rappers. Best of all, host and musical guest Drake had something to say about it. Despite the crap quality (thanks for hoarding your videos, SNL), you won’t be disappointed, fam.*
*Am I using that correctly? I’m too old and white to be cool.
I had a blast hosting one of my best friends for the past few days. We’ve known each other for 12 years, and he was truly my savior while living in NYC — so it was the least I could do to show him a little bit of my new life in SF.
At the risk of getting way too sentimental on you all, let’s just distract all the feels with these picks, instead:
- The Oscars: The dresses, the drama, the divine NPH … Sunday’s 87th Annual Academy Awards were certainly abuzz all over the social stratosphere. I personally wasn’t surprised by many of the wins, but I’m still itching to see “Boyhood” and was sad it wasn’t recognized more.
- Picaro: This tapas restaurant in The Mission features fresh and fruity sangria alongside a million (or so) small plates. The service was great, the food was fantastic and the drinks never stopped flowing. ¡Olé!
- Dolores Park: Also in The Mission, this iconic park is the place to be on a sunny day in SF. My friend Mike and I mostly judged all the hipster-hippy hybrids, but it sure was a beautiful place to do it.
- Chloe’s Side Eye: Speaking of judgment, “Chloe’s side eye” was the recurring theme for Mike’s visit. Now, I would have shared Xtina’s incredible performance on The Tonight Show, but it has 18 million views and you’ve already watched it 100 times with me. Plus, there’s nothing quite like seeing shade thrown by a 3-year-old.
Ffwd to 2 minutes in for the best of it.
It appears I’ve finally kicked this sickness — just in time for my dear friend Mike to take over SF this weekend! If I could sum up how his visit will be in one word, it’d be: FIERCE. So let’s do the damn thing:
- SNL40: I can confidently say SNL has had greater significance on my life than any other TV show, and I was so excited to see what its 40th anniversary special had in store. There were hits and misses overall, but nothing can take away from such a monumental night. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
- The Slanted Door: A friend of mine graciously offered up his reservations for this SF dining hotspot on the water. The views are gorgeous, and the food was delicious. Cellophane noodles with lobster, then churros for dessert? Don’t mind if I do.
- Ash Wednesday: It’s that time of year again, when we Catholics sacrifice something for 40ish days and nights in an effort to get closer to God. Not only is Ash Wednesday my favorite mass of the year, but it’s also a good reminder to keep improving, taking small steps at a time.
- “It’s My Party” – Lesley Gore: The legendary Lesley Gore died Monday after a battle with lung cancer, so this breakout smash is naturally on repeat. I vividly remember belting out these lyrics nonstop in my mom’s minivan, and I’m sure my parents were thrilled when I finally moved on to ruin another song. Spoiler alert: That song was likely “You Don’t Own Me,” also by Gore.