On August 11th Jack and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary with an extravagant dinner at Saison. This Michelin 3-star restaurant started as a pop-up project in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco seven years ago, and quickly garnered a stellar reputation. The restaurant earned its third Michelin star in 2013; it is currently ranked 37th on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Saison is located South of Market (technically South Beach), just a block away from AT&T Park. Despite being the most expensive restaurant in San Francisco, it has a very welcoming vibe. The dining room has a warm, urban feel with exposed brick and dark grey walls, leather and wood furniture, with various mounted animal heads on the walls; natural light from a large window softens the overall feel of the decor. The music playlist was a catchy mix of 70’s and 80’s rock including Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, and Billy Joel. It did not feel pretentious in the slightest.
Jack and I recently traveled to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with his family. Jack grew up in L.A. and I went to college there, but these days we are very out of the loop when it comes to restaurants in the area. So, as I’ve been known to do, I reached out to my friends and family via Facebook to get their recommendations for restaurants in the area. We received a lengthy list of dining spots, from casual to fancy, which I thought I’d share with you here.
Whenever I plan a trip, I like to reach out to my friends and family to get their thoughts on restaurants, hotels, and activities in the area. I don’t really have the patience for weeding through guide books or the internet to find the best spots, and I find it so much more efficient (and fun!) to rely on my network of well-traveled friends and loved ones. This is why, when Jack and I recently spent the holidays with his family in Los Angeles, I immediately turned to Facebook for advice on where to eat. We received a plethora of recommendations, all of which looked incredibly delicious. We ultimately decided to go with Odys + Penelope, but I will file away the other restaurants for future visits, as they all sounded fantastic.
Odys + Penelope was recommended by our friend Lauren, who has lived in the LA area for several years now with her husband and two boys. She definitely knows and appreciates food, and she owns the sinfully decadent gluten-free baked goods company BossyCakes. So, when she described Odys + Penelope as her “number one” restaurant in LA, we were intrigued. We did a little research and discovered that O+P sounded right up our alley, as the space is rustic and urban, with an approachable menu using local/seasonal ingredients and good quality meats, poultry, and seafood.
One of the benefits to living in San Francisco is its proximity to so many great weekend destinations. Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Big Sur, Carmel, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino are all within driving distance, and completely doable for a weekend escape from city life.
One of our favorite weekend spots is the town of Healdsburg, which is located in Sonoma County, along the Russian River. This town has definitely undergone a transformation over the last two decades, as the critically-acclaimed wine regions of Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley made it a popular tourist destination; high end hotels, fancy restaurants, and a revitalization of the town square quickly followed.