Violet's Tavern

Guess what? There’s another bar that has opened its doors in the Richmond. Violet’s Tavern, located on 2301 Clement, is serving up some American classics but the focus is seafood and drinks (plus, it's the team behind Fiorella!). 

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The inside décor is stunning, with deep blue marbled wallpaper from the same company who did Fiorella’s famous wallpaper – Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper. Plants hang from the bar shelves, giving it a very home-y & comfy vibe that makes you want to stay forever. 

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While we were there, the bar was buzzing with folks trying to get their hands on beautiful cocktails. Some of my favorites: Spindrift Cobbler - Riesling, Lime, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Salted Nori Syrup and Lime Bitters, Stolen Tart – Tree Craft Gin, Christian Drouin calvados, rosemary, house-made raspberry cordial, lemon, Bolivar bitters and club soda, and Papi Suave – Plantation 3 Star rum, Cimarron Blanco Tequila, Ancho Verde liqueur, Merlet Apricot liqueur, lime, sage and Angostura bitters. 

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The cocktails had my attention from the moment we walked in, but let’s not forget about the food. The selection of East & West Coast Oysters, Baked Stuffed Clams and House-made chips & Dips (Roasted Onion & Duck liver) were top-notch. I am still dreaming about that Roasted Onion dip. 

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The space isn’t large, and it was hard to maneuver around, but, they are doing well with what they have. They have installed hooks all along the seating area for bags and purses, that way customers aren’t crowding floor space. 

Overall, I am excited for the Richmond and everything that is popping up – gives us an excuse to explore our city more – and The Pearl and Violet’s are amazing places to start. I look forward to visiting Violet’s again and trying their Fried Chicken with cheddar biscuits, macaroni salad and hot honey. HELLO. 

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Until next time, 

Halee

Pearl Restaurant

Pearl Restaurant, owned by and next to Pizzetta 211, has opened its doors in the Richmond District. They are currently serving breakfast (starting 6/4), dinner and brunch. Co-chefs Mel Lopez and Joyce Conway have created a menu that caters to the ingredients and produce in California seasonally. They are making everything in-house from scratch, with the exception of the bread they get from Acme.

I popped in to sample their brunch yesterday with a handful of others and it did not disappoint. Take a look!

Stunning corner booth.

Stunning corner booth.

Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

Coffee station.

Coffee station.

Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

For a peek at their list of menus, including brunch: Menus. 

Honestly, everything we tried was great, but if I had to choose a favorite dish from their brunch menu, it'd have to be the Chicory Caesar or Eggs in Purgatory. I don't really eat salad much but when I come across a salad like this one, it's one that I want to recreate at home and eat every week. SO GOOD. And for the Eggs in Purgatory, there isn't much to say.  Lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta AND house-made pita bread!! Sign me up. To top off brunch, breakfast is rumored to have coffee and fresh baked goods, including wood-fired bagels. Sign me up for that too. And for dinner, well there is fresh hand-made pasta and a Tomahawk Chop (chili-cheese polenta, cipollini onion, asparagus, sauce bernaise - may take up to 45 minutes) to share between 4 people. 

We had such a great time and can't wait to go back for breakfast or dinner (or both). If you're in the Richmond, make sure to check this place out, and grab a slice of Pizzetta after ;)

Cheers, 

Halee

Sun Basket Review

Sun Basket, an organic food delivery service based in the Bay area, reached out to have me review their product. I haven't blogged, let alone reviewed a product, in such a long time so I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to commit to. 

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After doing my research I learned a lot about Sun Basket and was very impressed: 

  • Sun Basket is a certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time (currently over 99% of their produce is organic).
  • Organic ingredients are clearly labeled on delivery.
  • They work exclusively with ranchers and farmers who raise their animals responsibly and sustainably. 
  • All of their seafood is wild-caught, never farmed.
  • All of their fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a leading authority in sustainable seafood.
  • Their meal plans are dietitian-approved like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more, which make healthy eating easy.
  • Their packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable.
  • Sun Basket works with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and shops to offer the best ingredients each week. 
  • The executive chef/owner of Sun Basket, Justine Kelly, spent time at Slanted Door restaurant. She also was mentioned in Gourmet Magazine and had an appearance on Iron Chef.

All of these details about Sun Basket (+ many more) made me say "let's do this". I received my first week's meals this past week and will receive my second batch next week. Each box included 3 meals, of my choosing, to prepare. I chose Lemongrass Tofu, Salmon and Quinoa Bowls and Tomato-Coconut Shrimp this week. Out of the three, my favorite were the Lemongrass Tofu + Tomato-Coconut Shrimp. 

Lemongrass Tofu

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

This meal was so flavorful and fun to make! The process was simple enough for anyone to execute, whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or not. Starting with the rice, you let that cook for a good 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, you are able to prepare and cook everything else. This made things almost effortless.

What was inside (serves 2): 

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  • Black Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hodo Soy firm tofu
  • Onion 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sun Basket Lemongrass paste (lemongrass, EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, ground turmeric)
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Sun Basket stir-fry blend (gluten-free tamari, sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger)

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

This meal, like Lemongrass Tofu, was bursting with the right amount of flavors that both Paul and I pleasantly enjoyed. The broccoli rice was a nice addition to an already healthy-ish meal. This is one I will gladly recreate again and am looking forward to the results. 

What's inside (serves 2):

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  • Broccoli rice
  • Wild gulf shrimp
  • Red chile flakes
  • Onion
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Baby spinach
  • Shaved coconut

Things to know about Sun Basket:

  • Pricing does seem to be a bit steep; $11.99 per serving. Considering all of the local organic ingredients they use, it may be worth this price, especially if you don't have all the time in the world to go grocery shopping. The fact that they provide the exact measurements of what you need in each dish is convenient and makes things incredibly easy. (easy seems to be the constant word here). 
  • You can choose 2, 3, or 4 meals per week (depending on your menu plan) and can mix & match them (making some vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, etc.) within your meal plan (classic/family).
  • You can skip a delivery or cancel your plan at any time. 
  • Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, & parts of NM.
  • Your pantry should include olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground pepper. They occasionally call for wine or butter as an optional recipe item. You'll need basic pots and pans, a knife, and basic utensils.

I really enjoyed the first week's meal plan and am excited to try next week's! Check back in to see my thoughts when I review Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs, Bucatini Pomodoro and Saigon Noodles with Braised Tofu. 

 

Cheers, Halee

Life Update + Our New Abode

It's been awhile hasn't it?! Life has definitely been a little crazy for us these last two months with new jobs, a new apartment and generally everything new around us! We've been trying to navigate our way through SF, especially our new 'hood, to become familiar with our surroundings.

Paul and I finally have our favorite grocery stores we like to go to; Trader Joe's for weekend trips when we need a lot of things, Le Beau Market for quality and specialty items (fruit and veggies etc.), Belcampo for meat, and Flatiron for wine. We have SO many good restaurants around us, but we try to cook at home at least 4 times a week, leaving us a few times to eat out (can you blame us?)

My job was located in the Mission, but we just recently moved offices closer to our apartment. Before, I was leaving our apartment at 7:45 a.m. every morning to get to work by 9 a.m. I would get off at 5:30 p.m and wouldn't get home until 6:30 p.m. My commute included about nearly an hour of walking every day and an hour of bus every day (2 hours total commute everyday). Now, it should only take me 20 minutes to walk to work, which really excites me! It takes Paul about 20-30 minutes to walk to work as well, so hopefully him and I have extraordinary calves, butts, and/or abs in the near future. 

Paul and I just recently joined a co-ed soccer team too! We have already played a couple of games, and let me tell you, the weather for soccer here compared to Texas is really incomparable. I do not miss that Texas heat (but I do miss other things including queso, bbq, and a handful of people). 

We have been living in our apartment for a month now (crazy!) and we finally feel like it has come together. We still need a few things, and still want to update some pieces of furniture in the future, but overall it feels like home. Here are some photos of our place for your viewing pleasure - I will also link some of our items so you know where we purchased them. 

Zhori Bar Cart from  Wayfair  

Zhori Bar Cart from Wayfair 

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Pillow from Etsy 

Pillow from Etsy 

Zona 75" Etagere Bookcase from  Wayfair

Zona 75" Etagere Bookcase from Wayfair

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Ottis Lianne Red Area Rug from  Wayfair  

Ottis Lianne Red Area Rug from Wayfair 

Freestanding Wood Coat Stand from  Wayfair

Freestanding Wood Coat Stand from Wayfair

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Banner from  Matriarch Handmade

Banner from Matriarch Handmade

Pascal Dining Chair from  Wayfair

Pascal Dining Chair from Wayfair

Regina in stuffed animal form

Regina in stuffed animal form

All the closet space!

All the closet space!

Ilkley map from  Uncommon Objects

Ilkley map from Uncommon Objects

Hallway views

Hallway views

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Table from  Stuff

Table from Stuff

Apron from  Hedley and Bennett
Life currently

Life currently

Golden Gate to the left (even though I didn't get it in the picture)

Golden Gate to the left (even though I didn't get it in the picture)

Coit Tower to the right

Coit Tower to the right

And that's a wrap! Thanks for reading and scrolling through. I can't tell you what my next post will be, but it will have something to do with baking, traveling, or more updates on life in SF.

-Halee 

Artifact Uprising Prints

I have been a huge Artifact Uprising fan for years, ever since I got my first instagram book made by them. I believe my collection so far equals to 3 books, and now some 5x7 prints, that I am super excited about. 

Why am I excited you ask? Well, we will be moving into our new apartment in (hopefully) 3 weeks time, and I can't wait to showcase these photos throughout our new home. I plan on framing some of them and using holders for some of them too (check out these wood block holders on Artifact Uprising's site here). Of course I will be displaying the photo-books I have already, which I did at our old house, but I am excited to see how it all comes together in our new place. 

If you aren't familiar with Artifact Uprising, they are a team of individuals who decided that photos on our phones and laptops should be transferred to books or pictures that we can display in our home and therefore can never get deleted or lost. They truly believe in people and our ability to do great things. If you want to learn more about how they started as a business and become a fan like myself, you can read about them here

If you guys are interested in Artifact Uprising and ordering some prints, use code PRINT25TGS! This will get you a set of everyday prints (seen here), not including shipping. You can choose any size and the code is good until August 11th. Hope some of you get your hands on some prints! Leave me any questions or comments below.

Until next time,

Halee

San Fran, Here We Come!

Some people might say we're crazy or stupid or irrational, but I say to hell with them. Sometimes you have to do what feels right. Sometimes you have to take a risk and put all of your cards on the table. Sometimes you have to do what most people won't.

It all started when we visited SF a month ago. I knew I would love the city but I wasn't sure how Paul would feel. One of the first things he said to me when we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, pulled into Enterprise, dropped the car off, and waited for an uber was, "I love it here already". I couldn't stop ooing and aaing at every building we passed and every street we went by. We dropped our bags off, spoke with who we were staying with, and off we went to explore. 

Roaming the streets of San Francisco made me feel a certain way I can't quite describe, and that I haven't felt since England. There is definitely a unique energy exuding from San Francisco that pulls you in and I'm under the impression its some kind of spell. Either way, I was hooked and so was Paul. After day one we started doing research to see if this was even possible. "Are we being mental?" we asked ourselves. After little thought and enough research to put our minds at ease, we decided after day 1, we should move there. 

We spent the rest of our trip seeing as much as we could see, checking out different areas, even making a trip to Oakland (since that was a possible option for us at first). 

Once we got home the first thing we did was call our Realtor. He came around the very next day and we told him the news. We asked him what we needed to do to put the house on the market and how long he projected it would take. Fast forward almost 4 weeks and here we are. 

Why are we doing this you ask? Why would we sell our 4 bedroom home with loads of space do you ask? Why would we move to the most expensive city in the US you ask? Why would you not take your time and think about all of this you ask?

Well, for starters, we are doing this because...why not? Why should we stay in San Antonio for the rest of our lives? I honestly have never done anything this crazy (since moving to England), but I can't even begin to explain the feeling I get from it all. I would rather risk everything we have to move to SF and try, rather than staying in SA and always wondering and wishing and dreaming.

Another exciting part about this big move is that we both have never lived in a new city together. We lived in England (where Paul is from) for the first 2 years of our marriage and we have lived in SA for the last 2 years (where I'm from). I also plan to try and focus on social media as a career and do baking as a hobby or side gig, which will be another first for me. But we shall see!

There is so much to say about this whole situation and I have so much on my mind, but I think the message is don't settle. After visiting and seeing San Francisco, I knew if we stayed in San Antonio it would be because we were scared, comfortable, and playing it safe. There is nothing wrong with doing so, but for us, this seems well worth the risk. 

I hope some of you follow our journey and see what happens to us in San Francisco as we work, eat, sleep, travel, explore, and play. I hope I have also shared a little insight for any of those who are wanting to do the same, or have thought about moving somewhere but uncertain about the risks. 

As for the future? We are unsure of it at the moment. San Francisco could be a temporary location for us or it could be more permanent. We've talked about possibly moving back to England after this move, or somewhere in Europe-who knows! But that's life right? Just go with it, follow your heart, trust your instinct and your partner, have fun, take risks, and be brave. 

Signing out,

Halee

All Things San Francisco

Where do I even start?! San Francisco is full of so many places to eat, drink, visit, and explore. Here is a little guide I've put together from when we visited recently for nearly 5 days. We tried to hit up every spot on our list possible, and even though there were a few places we couldn't make, I think we did a pretty good job. 

1. Golden Gate Bridge

See the Golden Gate Bridge, somehow, some way. Whether you drive over it or see it from the distance, it is worth seeing. 

2. Explore the Different Neighborhoods

There are SO many areas and neighborhoods in SF that are worth exploring. The homes are full of unique characteristics and details, and some are super vibrant and colorful. It was hard NOT to take a picture of every house we walked past. Some areas we walked through that I recommend are, The Castro, The Mission, Hayes Valley, Dolores Heights, Fillmore District, Presidio Heights, Japantown, Chinatown, Western Addition, Marina District, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Potrero Hill. Basically all of San Francisco, ha!

3. Clarion Alley

If you're a fan of murals and street art, Clarion Alley is a must see. The alley is maintained by the Clarion Alley Mural Project, who support over 500 artists, receive 200, 000 visitors annually, and have created over 700 murals since 1992. The organization also collaborates with many community neighbors and partners, and work in support of social, economic, and environmental justice. It is located between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets.

4. Twin Peaks

If you are looking for a stunning view directly in the center of San Francisco, Twin Peaks is for you. You can hike up or drive/uber. We decided to uber since we were running low on time, but we walked all the way down and back to our airbnb. I recommend walking part of the way so you can walk through Dolores Heights/The Castro (depending on which way you're headed), or Noe Valley, Cole Valley, or Vista Del Monte.

5. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is full of so many things to do and see. We decided not to do everything within the park because we probably would have spent loads of money, but I would advise choosing a few things that sound appealing and doing them. One thing that I had to see (and was free) was the Bison Paddock. You can learn more about the history of this part of the park here. We visited the Conservatory of Flowers, which is also located in the park. And, we walked the entire park until it ends at the beach. 

6. Conservatory of Flowers

Within Golden Gate Park, the COF is a must see if you are a fan of plants and flowers. TIP: It's also a nice place to warm up if it's cold outside.

7. Go to the beach

You might as well! If you are already in Golden Gate Park and heading towards the Bison Paddock, Ocean beach isn't much further. Once you get to Ocean beach, Sutro Baths is nearby as well. Just get your pen out to mark a ton of things off your list!

8. Sutro Baths

To learn more about Sutro Bath, click here.

9. Mission Dolores Park

All of the yes! Not going to Mission Dolores Park, especially on a sunny day, is basically sacrilege. It is another spot in the city that offers a great view. It's also a wonderful place to have a picnic, play tennis, basketball and/or soccer, play with your dog, relax, or even take a nap under the trees. 

10. Drink all the Coffee & Eat all the Pastries

The Mill

11. Eat a Burrito

There are plenty of burrito joints to go to, especially in the Mission. We ended up going to Pancho Villa and it ended up being the best damn burrito I can ever remember having. I also got watermelon agua frescas which went perfectly with the flavor of the burrito; match made in heaven I tell you!

12. Eat Oysters

Like burritos, there are plenty of places to get oysters. For instance Swan Depot, which has been around for over 100 years, and Hog Island Oyster Co. located in the Ferry Building, are two well known places. But, after doing some research, I knew I had to go to Leo's. It is probably the most beautifully decorated place we went, and the oysters were just as good. I tried hot oysters for the first time; flavors carbonara and hot wings. YAS. It was a little pricey but we did have some bubbles with our oysters (because why not?), and we had to the get the fries which were recommended by my friend Nanette :) 

13. Go to a Museum

San Francisco is a hub for tech, food, and art. There are plenty of museums to go to while visiting. For instance de Young, SFMOMA, California Academy of Sciences, AAMSF, and SO MANY MORE. We decided to go to SFMOMA. I have never been to a MOMA and heard this one was good. It is $25 each to enter, whereas de Young is $30 each. I did really want to go to  de Young but we decided to just pick one and spend more money on food ;) We also missed seeing Matisse by ONE day. Darn.

14. Bi-rite Creamery...

...is a must. There are actually a lot of ice cream shops in SF currently and I was bummed we only made it to one, but Bi-rite didn't disappoint. I got honey lavender and balsamic strawberry and it was seriously perfection. The two flavors went so well together. Some others that I'd like to visit in the future are Smitten, Salt a & Straw, and Humphry Slocombe

15. Eat a Nice Meal

There is SO much good food in San Francisco, including some Michelin star restaurants. If that is something that you're into, you should take advantage of it in SF. We dined at Saison (3 Michelin star, which I will talk about in my next post), Aster (1 Michelin star), and The Progress (1 Michelin star). There are a total of six 3-Michelin restaurants in SF giving them a total of 54 stars. New York has 75, so they aren't too far behind. Another Michelin restaurant (2 star) that we really want to go to is Atelier Crenn , which is Dominique Crenn's restaurant from Chef's Table.

The Progress

Aster

16. Eat Sushi

Find a sushi restaurant, sit at the bar, and order the "chef's choice". You'll thank me later ;) We ate at a place called Ebisu recommended to us by our friends Todd and Craig. We went for lunch and loved it. They do bento box lunch specials and I almost got one but I was feeling soup and sushi :)

17. Day trip to Oakland

We decided to see what all this Oakland fuss was about. The BART near/in the Mission all the way to DT Oakland only took about 20 minutes. We got off DT and grabbed a coffee nearby. We walked towards Uptown, where a couple places we wanted to check out were located. First stop was Homeroom for some mac n' cheese. I was basically in some kind of heaven. Homeroom has about 12 different mac options, but your can create your own mac as well (probably should have done that)! Paul wanted pizza, so we went to Slicer for a slice! Then we walked off the macaroni and pizza and made our way back to the DT area where Sweet Belly was. SB was by far my favorite part of Oakland. The ice cream/donut combo I got was only $5.50, which included ice cream, topping, donut, and drizzle. They also make the donuts on the spot so when you get it its piping hot! SO GOOD.    

18. Palace of Fine Arts

To learn more about the Palace of Fine Arts, click here. 

Lucasfilm is also located near the Palace of Fine Arts, so that was something we had to see (especially Paul). But how could we NOT take a picture of yoda??

If you're in the Marina District, find this house.

19. Pier 39

The one and only one reason you should ever go to Fisherman's Wharf is to see the sea lions (if you're into that sort of thing, like me). 

20. See the Damn Painted Ladies!

You have to, you just HAVE to. There are certain things you have to do and see while visiting SF and I personally think this is one of them, especially if you've never seen them before. 

Here is a video recap of our trip made by Paul!

And that concludes my "guide" to SF, and everything we were able to do in 4-5 days. I kind of feel like I am missing a thing or two but to be honest, it's a bit longer than I was expecting. Be on the lookout for my next post, where I will compare my meal at The French Laundry vs. Saison. Thanks for reading!

-Halee