Travel

California

Establishment neighborhood
Gallery Wendi Norris
8 Octavia St., Hayes Valley
Wendi Norris runs one of the most cutting-edge, meticulously curated galleries in San Francisco. Norris spent ten years in tech before pivoting to the art world. Her gallery represents a wide span of contemporary and modern creatives, focusing on Latinx surrealists like Leonora Carrington. To follow the gallery’s roster of artists is a commitment, given Norris’s penchant for site-specific exhibits across cities other than San Francisco.
Ordinaire
3354 Grand Ave., Oakland
Cool, casual, packed with locals—dogs and kids in tow—Ordinaire feels like the village gathering space. And in a way, it is. It’s the kind of wine-bar-meets-tasting-room-meets-store where you pop in to buy a bottle and end up staying to taste a few glasses with strangers who become friends. A stalwart of the Oakland wine scene, the bar has been around for a while, but regular events and menu changes mean Ordinaire feels fresh every time. Images courtesy of Terri Lowenthal.
Minnesota Street Project
1275 Minnesota St., Dogpatch
This corner of Dogpatch is dedicated to providing accessible and affordable (on a long- and short-term basis) space for artists to thrive. Founded by collectors Deborah and Andy Rappaport, the project spans three cavernous warehouses and provides living space for San Francisco’s contemporary artists to call home. Two of these warehouses are open free to the public. Here. you’ll find ten galleries, each with its own hours. Don’t miss the current Raymond Saunders retrospective (until June 25th).
Minimo
420 3rd St., Oakland
Airy, bright, and beyond soothing, Minimo is a space for lingering. A long communal table encourages tasting and talking with a pack of friends or whomever you find yourself next to. The name “Minimo” translates from Italian to minimal—a nod to the strictly low-intervention, mostly biodynamic, terroir-driven wine list. If outdoor sipping is more your vibe, Minimo’s patio area is part of a larger block party in collaboration with a neighboring brewery and grill. Take a seat, order a wine flight, or a bottle off the shelves inside, a cheese board or something tasty from the restaurant next door, and chill. To really get into the convivial Oakland vibe, join Minimo’s wine club or attend one of their tastings, often led by a wine-maker. Images courtesy of Alison Christiana.
White Water
6736 Moonstone Beach Dr., Cambria
Moonstone Beach, the dreamiest, most ethereal Central Coast town, had us at moonstone. And then, you get to White Water. Sure, it’s a stretch from SF, but the wild beauty of the Cali coastline makes every minute in the car worth it. Naturally isolated, spacious, and outrageously scenic, this area is the hidden gem. Nina Freudenberger handled the surf-style interiors, and the mineral colors, natural materials, and earthy details—forest green tiles, abundant rattan—echo the wild landscape. There’s an almost spiritual sense of ease here—everything from the rocky terrain to the craft beers and kombucha served in the living-room-meets-lobby are intended to soothe. And they do. The minibar is pure California (Torres chips, Moon Juice snacks), the retro hotel bikes are Linus, and you’ll find Aesop in the shower. Check us in indefinitely, please. Images courtesy of Jonny Valient.
Montage Healdsburg
100 Montage Wy., Healdsburg
Buried deep in wine country, “a retreat for the modern age” is an apt descriptor for the new-ish Montage. Less than two hours from San Francisco, the property is as much a wellness destination as it is a wine-centric one. The spa is next level, with a roster of both traditional and more cutting-edge treatments available. Meanwhile, yoga happens outside amongst the vineyards. At its core, the Montage Healdsburg is a classic California resort: Understated, aesthetically respectful of the natural surroundings, and resolutely upmarket. Given the property sits on 250 acres, you are saturated in vines, oak trees, and native flowers at every turn—the level of space and isolation is total bliss. And the hotel has every amenity you can think of (with great activities for kiddos). The concierge crew are whizzes at arranging private tastings, tours, and bespoke dining experiences throughout the Sonoma Valley. Images courtesy of Christian Horan.
Montesacro
510 Stevenson St., Mid-Market
A friend (who happens to operate a storybook organic winery in Tuscany called Querceto di Castellina) turned us on to this Mid-Market pizza-and-wine spot. And this friend knows her wine and her pizza. Montesacro specializes in Roman-style pies called “pinsa,” oval-shaped, puffy flatbreads topped with tasty cheeses, meats, and veggies. These charred pinsa (try the “Ostia” topped with pecorino, grilled artichokes, fresh mint, and bottarga) are perfect for sharing, with a few antipasti like meatballs or fresh-from-Italy burrata doused in pesto. The food—and the minimalist setting—is so elegant for a weeknight dinner (there’s also an outdoor terrace). Lastly, Montesacro’s little grocery section is the ideal hunting ground for last-minute gifts, pantry items, and even fresh pinsa dough to rustle up your own version at home.
Laowai Noodles
Citywide
Hand-stretched noodle-making is an art few can (or do) master. William Lim Do cut his teeth at glitzy food establishments like Mister Jiu’s and State Bird Provisions, studied noodle-making in Lanzhou, China, and launched his highly coveted noodle kit pop-up during the pandemic. The waitlist for one of Laowai’s kits is in the thousands. Do makes every noodle, sauce, and pickle by hand and then delivers them himself. To taste the spicy, crunchy, scrumptiousness, sign up on the google doc link on Laowai’s Instagram, and…patiently wait your turn. This is one of the many incredible passion projects that have sprung up during quarantine, driven by a chef’s desire to share his craft with fellow San Franciscans.