Establishment neighborhood
Laowai Noodles
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.
Pie Society
Angela Pinkerton honed her dough skills at Che Fico and Eleven Madison Park, and thanks to her new endeavor, we can all reap the benefits. Pie Society celebrates simplicity. Expect perfectly baked, rustic pies in nostalgic flavors like peach, key lime, and zingy passionfruit curd. The crust is flaky and buttery, and the fillings are sweet but never too sugary. Pie Society is a one-woman show, so quantities are limited (order ahead early). And remember, there are few experiences more pleasant than rolling up to an outdoor picnic or Friday night barbecue with a fresh, homemade pie baked by an absolute pro.
Moonrise Standard (Closed)
We recently attended a desert feast, cooked under the stars and inches from our table by Moonrise Standard: platters of lamb so tender we could pull it apart, bowls of spicy hominy, crunchy salads, and an incredible orange polenta cake. The surest sign of a great meal: Everyone stopped talking. Feasts are typically seven courses and emphasize whatever is best that is seasonal and local. The company hosts events throughout California and is available to cater smaller-scale parties and dinners.
Using organic, local ingredients—with all of their meals boasting an average of almost six different fruits and veggies—Thistle whips up colorful gluten- and dairy-free fare, with vegan options as well. We're partial to their “poke" bowl: marinated rainbow beets, togarashi-sprinkled brown rice, edamame, cucumber, and avocado sesame ginger dressing. House-made nut milks spiked with mushrooms, plus superfoods like maca, spirulina, and moringa take the menu to the next level. Local couriers deliver in SF and LA, and shipping is available to greater California and Nevada.
Leaning into being a tourist (or playing tourist in your own city for a day) can be extremely entertaining. Such is the case with GoCar's cool take on the common city tour: a talking, GPS-guided go-cart vehicle that takes you around the big—as well as some lesser known—sights of SF. Following the suggested routes laid out for you is simple, as is making an unplanned pit stop for photos, or veering off to do more of your own thing. Each car fits two people (the driver must be at least twenty-one years old, but kids can ride shotgun); small groups and families can reserve a mini fleet of their own. Most departures are from Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf; for a little adventure, you can end by climbing Russian Hill and then screaming down Lombard Street (aka the oft-Instagrammed Crooked Street).
Fireside Provisions
San Francisco-based startup Fireside Provisions is a little like the Blue Apron of camp food—peruse their website ahead of your trip, enter your specifications, and they’ll deliver pre-packaged food with recipes to your door on the day of departure, swiftly eliminating any anxiety over food preparation. This isn’t your Dad’s camping hot dogs, either: Recipes include chilaquiles, salmon pita sandwiches, pork-fried rice, and even trail snacks like apples and peanut butter. No-brainer.
Caroline Frost Photography
The first thing you’ll notice about Caroline Frost is that she’s supremely organized: She comes to every event armed with a thorough timeline and a neat list of every shot she needs to get before the day is over. That attention to detail means that she can easily fade into the background on the actual day, never interrupting the special moments around the ceremony or during the reception for photos. Caroline is also famously great at organizing wedding albums—rather than disappearing moments after the event, she’ll walk you through the entire process.