san francisco

Bon Appétit Hot 10

[trip style = food & wine] 

It's the third week of August and that means one thing for gourmet globetrotters: the release of Bon Appétit's Hot 10 list of the best new restaurants in America. This annual list is our go-to source for first-rate restaurants from casual luncheonettes to approachable fine dining. When we're looking for a great restaurant in a city we're visiting, we always reference the Hot 10 list, as well as the magazine's list of top 50 nominees from the past few years.

One of my most memorable dining experiences—and my number-one recommended restaurant in San Francisco—was in Bon Appétit's best new restaurant of 2012, State Bird Provisions. At this gorgeous hotspot in the Western Addition, food is served dim sum style off carts rolled past your table by friendly servers. With unique dishes and a great wine list, this restaurant is way more than a gimmick and definitely worth the inevitable line-up!

As a Trip Styler team we've dined at several other hot 10 restaurants: Luce, Ava Gene's and Måurice in Portland, Westward and The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle, Grand Central Market Los Angeles and Rolf & Daughters in Nashville. All Trip Styler approved!

Trip Styler Tip: If you can't make it to San Francisco, Seattle, Indianapolis, Austin, Chicago, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Davidson, NC this year, bring these award-winning restaurant meals to your kitchen with these recipes.

What better reason to explore a new or favorite city for a weekend getaway than a few outstanding meals? Is San Francisco calling? Or is it North Carolina? I can't wait to sink my teeth into Austin. Check out this year's Hot 10.

#1 -  AL's Place  / San Francisco

#1 - AL's Place / San Francisco

#2 -  Gjusta  / Los Angeles

#2 - Gjusta / Los Angeles

#3 -  Petit Trois  / Los Angeles

#3 - Petit Trois / Los Angeles

#4 -  Semilla  / Brooklyn

#4 - Semilla / Brooklyn

#5 -  Parachute  / Chicago

#5 - Parachute / Chicago

#6 -  Dai Due  / Austin

#6 - Dai Due / Austin

#7 -  Kindred  / Davidson, NC

#7 - Kindred / Davidson, NC

#8 -  Rintaro  / San Francisco

#8 - Rintaro / San Francisco

#9 -  Manolin  / Seattle

#9 - Manolin / Seattle

#10 -  Milktooth  / Indianapolis

#10 - Milktooth / Indianapolis

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

San Francisco :: Eat
Spotlight :: Miami
Oregon Travel Diary :: Feasting on Portland
LA, Seriously

[top image and photo collages by @heatherlovesit, all other images via bon appétit]

San Francisco :: Eat

[trip style = urban + food + wine]

There are way too many restaurants on my where-to-eat-in-San-Francisco list---28 to be exact, which I've organized by neighborhood and cuisine. I keep a list of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, museums and outdoor spaces for many of my favorite cities, like Los Angeles, Portland and New York. This practice has always guaranteed fantastic meals, whether I'm looking for a quick bite near Dolores Park {Pizzeria Delfina} or a leisurely brunch near Ocean Beach {Outerlands}. I knocked a couple off my list last week and they were so good I had to share. Two down, 26 to go. The only problem is that I loved these two so much I can't wait to go back.

Trip Styler Tip: When you hear about a fantastic restaurant from a friend, in a magazine or on Instagram, keep a note of it in your phone under the name of the city and how you heard about it. Or, if you want to get extra fancy, make a custom Google Map.

State Bird Provisions
Neighborhood: Western Addition
I'm optimistically confident when I tell you this will be your most memorable dining experience in San Francisco. That is, if you can find it---and if you can get in. There's no name on the outside and their reservations are famously filled 60 days ahead, though they leave a third for walk-ins. But don't let that scare you off; once you set foot inside you'll feel welcomed. Despite its hotspot status---Bon Appetit named it the best new restaurant of 2012---the restaurant has a neighborhood feel. While I waited for my table, I saw several diners hugging and chatting with chefs and servers like old friends.

But you want to hear about the food, I know! They serve it conventionally and unconventionally; you can order off a menu or you can order dim sum style, off carts and trays brought past your table throughout the meal. This is dangerous because everything looks delicious. The menu is always changing, but we ate: garlic bread with burrata, raw oyster with spicy kohlrabi kraut & sesame, grilled asparagus with gribiche & toasted hazelnuts, smoked trout quinoa tabouleh, steak tartare caesar lettuce cups, hamachi & avocado mousse on a seaweed cracker and pork belly blood orange salad. We finished our incredible meal with a half order of spiced almond cocoa nib ice cream sandwiches in plum fudge. {}

Trip Styler Tip: Drop by when they open or early in the evening to secure a table for the same night. I came in around 6:30 and scored a 9:30 reservation.

Bar Tartine
Neighborhood: the Mission
Sister restaurant to Tartine Bakery, whose cultlike following lines up out the door and down the block for bread and pastries on the daily, Bar Tartine is a stylish bistro where the dishes are as delicious as they are beautiful, as distinctive as they are simple. Open for dinner, weekend brunch and as a sandwich counter wednesdays through fridays, this nearly decade-old restaurant is always hopping. Many of the dishes are built around their famous bread, baked on site daily. Vogue recently called co-owner and baker Chad Robertson "the cult prince of American breadmaking".

I made a same-day reservation for the very European dinner time of 10:30pm. The room and staff are warm and inviting; I loved the small touches like fresh flowers in the restrooms and the thoughtful wine recommendations from our attentive server. We ate: sliced bread with cultured squash in sunflower oil, smoked potatoes with black garlic, kale with sunflower tahini and yogurt, beef tartare on toast with horseradish, chicken in paprika sauce with buckwheat and chard and rainbow trout with mustard greens and shiitake in broth. {}

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

San Francisco Coffee Crawl
Stylish Stays in San Francisco
Spring in San Francisco

[photos by @heatherlovesit and via instagram, eater sf & chow]

San Francisco Coffee Crawl

In San Francisco this week, the first thing my friend asked me every morning was "Where are we going for coffee?" Whether we were walking from SOMA to Noe Valley or road tripping to Sonoma, our first stop was always coffee.

As luck would have it, we were in a pretty phenomenal coffee town. And as excessive planning and coffee geekery would have it, I knew where to find it.

Move over, Portland; San Francisco is hot on your heels, roasting incredible beans and serving up gorgeous cafés. Here are a few places to get buzzed in Fog City.

Sightglass Coffee // Locations: SOMA & the Mission

Blue Bottle Coffee // Locations: Embarcadero, Hayes Valley, SOMA, the Mission, Oakland

Réveille Coffee Co.Locations: North Beach, the Castro, the Financial District

Four Barrel Coffee // Locations: the Mission, Portola, Alamo Square

Honorable mentions
Ritual Coffee Roasters {the Mission, Hayes Valley, Bayview, Napa}, Jane {Pac Heights & Tenderloin}, Saint Frank Coffee {Russian Hill}

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

Stylish Stays in San Francisco
Spring in San Francisco

[top image via sightglass coffee, all other photos by @heatherlovesit & eater sf]

Stylish Stays in San Francisco

[trip style = urban]

San Francisco crafts a unique cocktail of old-world luxury and contemporary California style. Known for its bohemian spirit and start-up cachet, the City by the Bay is the perfect spot for a getaway filled with charming neighborhoods, wine, shopping, world-class restaurants and, did I mention, wine?

Here are our picks for hotels that rise above the city's famous fog---which has its own Instagram account, of course. Stay tuned for more SF tips and picks next month!

Hotel Zetta
Neighborhood: SOMA
Price point: from $250

This tech-savvy hotel, a member of the Viceroy Hotel Group, has a shared games room and a lively lobby scene where you can mingle with budding tech tycoons.

Hotel Vitale
Neighborhood: Embarcadero
Price point: from $300

The selling points of this serene boutique property from Joie de Vivre Hospitality are a stellar location on the Embarcadero and views of the Bay Bridge from the rooftop patio.

Fairmont San Francisco
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
Price point: from $250

Perched atop Nob Hill, this luxury landmark hotel is swathed in history and grandeur, and is home to the famous Tonga Room tiki bar.

Hotel Monaco
Neighborhood: Union Square
Price point: from $210

This playful and pet-friendly property from Kimpton Hotels has a 1920s theme plus a complimentary nightly wine reception and an enviable location close to Union Square.

st regis

St. Regis San Francisco
Neighborhood: SOMA
Price point: from $450
An elegant hotel that sets itself apart with its butler service, spa and Bentley for hire, this property is high on sophistication and style.

Hotel Tomo
Neighborhood: Japantown
Price point: from $115
This minimalist boutique hotel, outfitted in Japanese pop art, is a re-purposed budget hotel from Joie de Vivre Hospitality, and close to iconic music venue The Fillmore.

Phoenix Hotel
Neighborhood: Tenderloin
Price point: from $150

A converted midcentury motel in a neighborhood in transition, this property has hipster appeal and a vibrant pool scene.

hotel kabuki

Hotel Kabuki
Neighborhood: Japantown
Price point: from $140

This affordable and modern property features a koi pond, Japanese garden and unique sauna suites, away from the hustle and bustle of Union Square.

Clift Hotel
Neighborhood: Union Square
Price point: from $260

Art Deco opulence meets surrealist whimsy in this Phillippe Starck-designed hotel near the city's central shopping district.

cavallo point

Cavallo Point
Neighborhood: Sausalito
Price point: from $330 This relaxing hotel across the Bay, the sister property to Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn, sits on a former army base in Golden Gate National Park.

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather, who's heading to San Francisco this week!

Spring in San Francisco

[photos via,,,]

Fashion Friday :: Spring in San Francisco

Fashion Friday posts are published on the last Friday of every month by fashion blogger Heather

It's easy to leave your heart in San Francisco, as the saying goes, but with such amazing shopping, it's even easier to leave your chequing account. Having just returned from the City by the Bay, I couldn't wait to share a few of my favorite shopping and eating haunts {since you can't have one without the other}. Don't forget your walking shoes!

San Francisco mini neighborhood shopping guide

The Mission

I have a mad crush on the Mission, which has some of the best shops and restaurants in the city---not to mention the coolest park and the prettiest boys and girls on bicycles you ever did see. It's a neighborhood gentri-hipsterfied with coffee shops, thrift stores, juice bars and high-end furniture galleries. Shop around Valencia St at hippie-artisan boutique Gravel & Gold, taxidermy garden shop Paxton Gate and must-stop lifestyle store Voyager. Do yourself a favor and eat at any of the following: Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Four Barrel Coffee, Tartine, Bar Bambino and Bi-Rite Creamery.

Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is a bit of a locals' secret just a hop-skip from the Mission and home to boutiques and delicious eats aplenty. Shop your face off at Steven Alan, Gimme Shoes, Flight 001, Welcome Stranger, Birch and Rand+Statler, and then eat/drink your face off at Biergarten, Smitten Ice Cream and Bar Jules.

Union Square

We can't discuss shopping in San Francisco without mentioning the epicentre of west coast shopping herself: Union Square. This department store heaven, which includes Macy's, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Barneys, Saks and Neiman Marcus, is also home to all of your favourite chains like Madewell, J.Crew, Zara, Diesel, H&M and Levi's. Refuel at Blue Bottle with delicious coffee and waffles before you, ahem, window shop at the likes of Kate Spade, Chanel, John Varvatos, Prada and YSL.

More Fashion Friday
Spring In Your Step
Scarf Tying 101
Celeb Travel Must-Haves
November in New York

[photos by @heatherlovesit]