This is the first article in a five-part series celebrating women entrepreneurs in the Bay Area this summer.
I met photographer Ingrid Gordon on a balmy Saturday morning at Crissy Field. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find her because, well, it was a balmy Saturday morning at Crissy Field. But the moment my Uber pulled into the east parking lot, I quickly realized this woman could be spotted from a mile away.
She was standing next to a white van covered in photos of dogs, holding a bag of GoPro cameras in one hand and the leashes of three pups in the other. Gordon, you see, is the Bay Area's only GoPro photographer who specializes in capturing the lives of dogs by the bay.
"Here, take this," she said, handing me a bucket of water. "We'll tire the dogs out and set up the cameras before my client arrives."
Among the canine trio was Charlie, a six-year-old Shih Tzu–Maltese mix and shelter rescue who's living her best life thanks to Gordon. A few years back, when working as Charlie's sitter, Gordon had made a video for the dog's owners, who were frustrated in training her, during a weekend stay, "to show them that they had a great puppy that needed to learn some manners. But when they came to pick her up, they said they were taking her back to the shelter."
You already know how that story ends: Today, Gordon and Charlie are inseparable; the dog surfs a lot, has been the cover girl for "Bay Woof," and will soon be featured on the can of a new locally brewed beer.
But Charlie isn't the only positive to come from those dog-sitting days—that video turned into a side hustle and is now Gordon's full-time job: Her business, GoPro Dogs, guarantees dog parents frame-able photos of their fur babies in action; you can even book the experience through Airbnb.
Using several different cameras, Gordon is guaranteed to always get the shot.(Megan Cheek)
To get the perfect shot, Gordon sets up a handful of GoPros on the beach, and clicks the shutter from her phone as the dogs' owners throw them balls or toys. "I also like to put a GoPro on the dog's back, so we get every perspective. By the end of a shoot, I'll have hundreds of shots! Most clients have a tough time picking their favorites."
"So far, I've loved every dog and their humans who have booked my experience. The ones that really stand out are the older or less active dogs who only have dreams of running like super-dog across the beach. I have mastered the art of making their saunter-like-jaunt across the beach look amazingly active! And the shots are a once in a lifetime, priceless action shots with the majestic Golden Gate bridge in the background."
Think of it as an epic Instagram op.
"The most inspiring thing about being a female creative in the Bay Area is the support I get from other female entrepreneurs," she says.
This editorial feature celebrating women entrepreneurs is sponsored by Sava, a women-founded, women-led company that makes it their mission to support other women-owned businesses. Sava founders Andrea Brooks and Amanda Denz have created a different kind of cannabis experience, one with high-quality standards, transparency in sourcing, education around the plant, and strong customer support. They've sought out partnerships with women who make exceptional cannabis products, and as a result, half the brands you'll find in Sava's online marketplace are women-owned. Shop the complete offering at getsava.com.
Among the latest crop of experiential shopping concepts, San Francisco's contextual commerce company Batch is a bright, airy space for shoppers to explore a rotating selection of beautiful goods—from furniture and home decor to fashion, accessories, and lifestyle items—all curated around ever-changing themes.
The latest assemblage caught our eye for good reason: Batch's West Coast Collection channels California cool.
Stocked with wares from best coast designers, the collection has a bit of everything—think 3-D printed lighting, all-natural skincare, handcrafted leather accessories, and even a fancy electronic bidet. Here are some of our favorites.None
Look for chic swimwear in classic cuts and affordable prices from woman-run company Andie.
Gantri, whose shapely, 3D printed lighting is sustainably made in their California factory, introduces a new spectrum of hues here at Batch.
SF-based The Foggy Dog makes thoughtfully designed toys, collars, and accessories for pups.
Billie Marie creates ultra-durable leather handbags, clutches, and accessories in San Francisco.
Developed by acupuncturist and aesthetician Anna Lee, Mee Ra Rituals harnesses the power of East Asian herbal medicine for healthy, glowing skin—think of it as a Korean skincare routine for the thorough minimalist.
Ettitude's bedding is made from the first lyocell fabric made with 100 percent organic bamboo, which means it's ultra soft, breathable, antimicrobial, and saves water. They even offer a 30-night sleep trial.
Tact & Stone offers classic men's garments made with lowest-impact materials from suppliers who place an emphasis on high levels of social and environmental standards.
Fouladi Projects helps you find the art pieces that are right for you through a curated contemporary art program that includes personalized advisory to source paintings, drawings, and photography all the way through the installation process.
Apt2B's goal it to make outfitting your abode as easy as ordering a pizza, with stylish furnishings at attainable prices. Revival Rugs believes that a one-of-a-kind floor coverings shouldn't equate to a full month's rent.
// The West Coast Collection will be on view until August 24th at Batch, 1648 Pacific Ave. (Nob Hill), visitbatch.com.
Outside of just cooking up burgers, Bay Area chefs have found their groove in using these plant-protein patties in tasty and creative ways to make missing meat a lot less painful.
There are a lot of reasons why going vegetarian or vegan has become more and more popular. One of the most obvious is the reported overall health benefits of reducing meat in one's diet (like a lowered risk in developing certain cancers), but perhaps just as important is the sustainability of having a plant-based eating regimen.
As Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods—the two companies arguably leading the American movement towards lower meat consumption—espouse, the environmental implications of raising livestock for an ever-growing meat-hungry world population are many and are dangerous. A quick look at Beyond Meat's website will tell you, a staggering 66 billion animals are killed per year to satisfy the world's diet for animal proteins, which gives way to over half of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
Both companies have been thrust into the spotlight, given their line of plant-based products that mimic not only the flavor of meat but the texture as well. In the case of Impossible Foods, their product even mimics the bloodiness of animal proteins, thanks to a molecule called "heme" which gives blood its red color and is found in animal tissue and plants alike. Their products can now be found in grocery stores and restaurants around the nation, including establishments like White Castle and more recently, Burger King, with their Impossible Whopper. Even KFC has announced plans to have an Impossible chicken sandwich in the United Kingdom.
With mainstream eateries adopting ready-made plant protein products into their menu mainstays, it is safe to say that both companies have crafted a convincing substitute, even for the most discerning carnivores. In fact, there are reports that Impossible has had some trouble keeping up with the demand for their product in the aforementioned fast food chains.
Here's where to go meatless in the Bay Area chefs.
The avocado beetroot and creamy shrooms are two of VeganBurg's crowdpleasers.(Patrick Wong)
After launching in Singapore in 2010, VeganBurg (1466 Haight St.) opened its first American outpost in 2015—years before both Impossible and Beyond were publicly available plant-protein options. VeganBurg definitely has its handle on making meat-free burgers, and everything on their menu is vegan (with gluten-free options sprinkled in). Their menu is 95% made in-house, and among that 5% that is not made in-house is the Impossible Burger.
While VeganBurg's traditional burgers are tasty all on their own, the addition of the Impossible Burger adds another dimension with its "bleeding" heme-filled plant-protein product. VeganBurg's patty doesn't claim to be true meat replacement, rather a tasty alternative to the usual beef patty; with the Impossible Burger, diners may get a chance to enjoy a burger that both texturally and in flavor copy that of ground beef.
Any of the eight burger options (plus the extra seasonal burger) can come with an Impossible Patty instead of VeganBurg's usual vegan patty for a $3 upcharge. Suggested for first-timers are the Avocado Beetroot and the Creamy Shrooms Burgers. And the customization doesn't stop there; highly recommended are the additions of the vegan bacon and adding an order of their seaweed fries or their Chick'n Tenders with Vegan Ranch.
With a buttermilk aioli, the patatas bravas aren't vegan, but still vegetarian and still very tasty.(Patrick Wong)
While Traci Des Jardin's beloved Jardiniere has now closed, The Commissary (101 Montgomery St.) thankfully remains, nestled in the Presidio serving a full menu of Spanish-influenced Californian cuisine. Included in that menu is the Impossible Albondigas.
Made with the new gluten-free version of the Impossible Foods Burger 2.0 (a recent change in April 2019), the Impossible Albondigas are a convincing alternative to the traditional Spanish, Arab-inspired beef dish. Each serving comes with three of the meatballs, served on a bed of risotto-inspired bomba rice, alongside spring veggies, green garlic, and peas.
They're slightly crisp on the outside and almost unexpectedly moist on the inside. The dish is nicely portioned—it won't leave you feeling heavy or weighed down, and, while there are other tempting meat dishes on the menu, you won't regret ordering this one. If you still have room for more, try the Patatas Bravas. They aren't vegan, but they are vegetarian-friendly and just as delicious as the albondigas.
Top off your vegan Beyond Sausage with your favorite toppings, including sauerkraut and hot peppers.(Patrick Wong)
As a destination for sausages and a menu that historically has been heavy on the meat, Rosamunde (3908, 2832 Mission St.) now has a few options for vegetarians and vegans out there.
Diners can find the Beyond Meat Sausage on their menu, a product that debuted in December of 2017 and claims to be the world's first plant-based sausage—it is also kosher and gluten-free. You'll have two options if you'd like to go for the Beyond Sausage: the Hot Italian and the Original Brat. Depending on what mood you're in, both are fantastic options and you can choose two toppings to accompany your pick.
The Beyond Sausage cooks and sizzles just like traditional pork sausage, and it has a pretty similar taste and texture. Most meat and sausage connoisseurs will be able to tell the Beyond Sausage apart from its real-meat counterpart, but it's not to say the Beyond Sausage isn't worth trying, especially with all the delectable accoutrements that Rosamunde offers.
The tokusei ramen comes with a sizable dollop hot chili paste. Be prepared for some heat.(Patrick Wong)
Hell's Ramen (2193 Mission St.) the sister restaurant to Iza Ramen is Iza's spicier sibling. Its menu clearly listing all of their spiciness ratings and heat agents (chili paste, chili flakes, etc.) that will set your mouth on fire.
There are two vegan options on their ramen menu: a "Special Tomato" and a "Tokusei Miso." Only the Tokusei Miso variety comes with the Impossible Burger that has been thrown into the broth. Traditional ramen broth is usually made using bones, but this broth is fully vegan and uses ingredients like konbu (kelp) and miso (a traditional Japanese seasoning made of fermented soy beans, salt, and koji—a type of fungus). The end result is a super umami broth, especially considering the lack of bones, dried fish, and other traditional ramen ingredients.
The Tokusei—which as explained by the waitstaff, implies "being deluxe"—comes with fried eggplant, sauteed corn, bamboo shoots, and, of course, that Impossible Burger swimming around in your bowl. The Burger is definitely delicious and can break apart a bit too easily in the hot broth, but it's a great protein option for vegetarian or vegan ramen seekers.
With plenty of seating, Jolene's Bar makes it easy to enjoy your meal with a beer (or two).Courtesy of Patrick Wong
Jolene's Bar (2700 16th St.) has become a popular and beloved queer destination watering hole, away from the nearby Castro. With a sizeable food menu, you'll have plenty of options to line your stomach ahead of a night of drinking, including Jolene's Impossible! Sliders.
The sliders sub out the typical beef patty with an Impossible Burger and come two to an order, with a healthy serving of fries and special vegan sauce for dipping. The sliders also come with your typical burger accessories like lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. Though they look small, they're quite filling and are truly a great substitute for those looking to skip the meat.
The Sliders are available on Jolene's non-brunch menu only, with their kitchen open until 1am Thursdays to Saturdays, with plenty of open bar and table space to set-up shop and eat. If you're looking for a similar offering at another queer-friendly space, Hi-Tops in the Castro also offers an Impossible Burger.
Isn't summer supposed to be slow and lazy? Not this week, anyway.
Don't miss the opening of Al's Deli and Tartine Bakery in the Inner Sunset; shop the Urban Air Market; take a moonrise hike on Mt. Tam; eat all the black truffles and drink all the mezcal; celebrate the 20th anniversary of Litquake and 15 years of the Museum of Craft + Design; peruse Minnesota Street Project's art book fair; and be one of the first to check out SFMOMA's new space exhibit.
Tartine is officially an empire , and we're not mad about it. With two locations in the city plus one at SFO, Tartine is counting four with a new bakery in the Inner Sunset. Expect the usual pastries (like those famous morning buns), country loaves, and an expanded menu of breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch items including smorrebrods, toasts, soups, and salads.
From now till next Tuesday, head to La Toque for their annual seasonal truffle menu. Expect five courses—including fresh black winter "carpaccio" with truffled wagyu lardo and open-face truffle lasagna with sea scallops. If you really want to get the deets on truffles, you can book a special class on pairing, storage, and cooking led by the chef. // $220 per person; dinner reservations can be made by calling La Toque at 707-257-5157. Reservations for the truffle class can be made by calling (707) 257-1800.
It's time to let out that inner artist. Mingle, paint and have a good time all while creating cool art. Whether you're a professional artist or you just like to doodle in your notebook, you are welcome to come. All materials are provided and all you have to do is show up and have fun. // Tickets ($40) are available for purchase at eventbrite.com
Celebrate Litquake's 20th well before the weeklong festival in October with a special sneak peek of what's to come, includin readings, a feisty Battle Royale performance between five author bands, free books, and Fort Point Beer specials. // Free to attend, details at litquakeyearround2019.sched.com.
Mezcalista Susan Coss will guide you through five spirit tastings and share stories of the small producers she has visited at this special dinner. Drink up and dig into four Mexican courses—think wild shrimp ceviche, sweet corn-poblano chile soup crema, Cochinita pibil tacos, and an Oaxacan chocolate budin. // Tickets ($75) are available at ticketfly.com.
You might have snagged a piece or two of this Detroit-style 'za at weekly pop-ups over at Vinyl Coffee & Wine Bar. Rejoice, now the pizza-making duo behind Square Pie Guys has set up a permanent shop with their crusty, thick pies alongside a cheeseburger, salads, and sandwiches. No time to sit and eat? Delivery and take-out are also available.
In the booming arts city that is San Francisco, there's always something to learn. Join panelists from Arthaus, Dzine, and Modern Eden galleries for current gallery trends and how artists can place their work. // Tickets ($20) are available for purchase at eventbrite.com
Wear something fabulous for this two-night double feature starting with the 4k restoration of Hedwig and the Angry Itch, followed by the 2002 Sundance hit The Cockettes, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original gender revolutionaries. // Tickets are available for purchase at prod3.agileticketing.net
Indian or Mexican? Tonight you don't have to choose as August (1) Five serves up a choose-your-own-adventure fusion meal with dishes including pork empanadas, avocado bhel, roti lamb tacos, duck confit with mole, and a paneer and cactus enchilada with tikka sauce. Each course will be paired with an agave cocktail. // Reservations ($115/person; tax and gratuity included) available on opentable.com.
After management issues (#metoo) at the popular Oakland restaurant Boot and Shoe Service last year, the future of the spot was up in the air. Now under new leadership (co-owners Jennifer Cremer and Richard Clark), the place is reopening as Sister (get it?), with a fresh menu including such fun elements as a fermentation program and a big-time bread focus.
Fans of Al's Place, the veggie-forward Cal-American hot spot in the deep Mission, will be excited to see the opening of this casual sophomore spot. Dishes are part Californian, part Jewish deli—think shawarma spiced chicken sandwiches; potato hot pockets stuffed with avocado, grapefruit and preserved lemon; falafel corn dog bite;, and platters of smoked brisket.
Moonrise Evening Hike
6 to 8pm
Mount Tamalpais State Park, 3801 Panoramic Hwy (Mill Valley), parks.ca.gov
Lace up your hikers and cross the GGB for a 5.2-mile moonrise hike atop Mt. Tam. BYO water and snacks. // Limited to 20 people on a first come, first serve basis. Parking is $8; more information at facebook.com
The Bay's best storytellers and comedic acts come together for a night of uncontrollable laughter. Sit down and enjoy stories that are so shocking, sad or weird that they become laughable. Come with some friends or by yourself, either way you'll leave with a smile. // Tickets ($15) are available for purchase at eventbrite.com
The Caviar Co. is taking over for a special event to celebrate National Caviar Day. Enjoy glasses of Veuve Clicquot, Belvedere cocktails, caviar bumps, and other tasty bites. // Tickets ($150) can be purchased on eventbrite.com.
Cassava wants to teach you an appreciation for sake. At this new dinner series, Certified Sake Specialist Yuka Ioroi and Sake Educator Jesse Pugach will explain the various brewing techniques and rice polishing grades as you taste your way through four sakes and four courses. // Tickets ($90/person) are available on exploretock.com.
Beer Garden NightLife
6 to 10pm
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr (Golden Gate Park), calacademy.org
We bet you've never gone to a botanical-forward beer tasting. Now's your chance. Learn about beer, taste a few, ask UCSF scientists whatever you'd like and even participate in some fun games. // Cash will not be accepted. All purchases will be made with "beer tickets". One ticket is $2. Entrance tickets ($19.50) are available for purchase at calacademy.org
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of that giant leap for mankind at SFMOMA's new exhibit, Far Out: Suits, Habs, and Labs for Outer Space. The installation is full of conceptual designs for, you guessed it, space suits, habitats, and laboratories as well as all sorts of ideas and solutions from the ones who dared to imagine life in outer space. // Tickets are available for purchase at sfmoma.org
Kick back al fresco and catch a flick in Wine Country. Charles Krug Winery is screening Pick of The Litter, a documentary about puppies on their journey to become guide dogs, which won an award at last year's Napa Valley Film Festival. Indulge in pizza, wine, and live music before the show. // Tickets ($10) can be bought on charleskrug.com.
Get your summer sip on at this evening wine tasting event featuring more than 150 wines and Champagnes. Brab a bite from food trucks and vendors and, once you've loosened up, dance the night away to live music. // Tickets ($65 and up) are available on fortmason.vbotickets.com.
Ride a Mechanical Bull
5pm to midnight, Wednesday & Thursday; till 2am Friday & Saturday
Get ready to check this one off your bucket list. Taking over the old Stock in Trade space, Westwood will make you shout Yee Haw! as you indulge in whiskey drinks, country music, and Tex-Mex eats. Will you brave the bull?
San Francisco Art Book Fair
6 to 10pm today, 11am to 6pm Saturday and 11am to 5pm Sunday
The work of over 100 independent publishers, antiquarian dealers, artists, collectors, and enthusiasts will take over this years SFABF. This is the chance for publishers to expand their audience or connect with a different one. If books and art are your thing, you're are not going to want to be anywhere else today. // Free to attend with registration at eventbrite.com
Seghesio Family Vineyards, 700 Grove St. (Healdsburg), seghesio.com
Keep the summer vibes going with food hot off the grill, live music from SoulShine and, of course, delicious wine on the shaded picnic grounds. // Tickets ($75 /adults, $40/under 21) can be purchased on seghesio.com.
Design15 Birthday Bash
6:30 to 10pm
Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 3rd St. (Dogpatch), sfmcd.org
This cool Dogpatch museum is celebrating 15 years with a special benefit featuring a live auction, a seated comfort food dinner, birthday cake, and dancing. // Tickets ($175/person) are available on sfmcd.org. Proceeds support the MCD MakeArt educational programs for children and families.
Taste through epic lamb dishes from 16 SF chefs from restaurants including Lolinda, Dumpling Time, and The Slanted Door. Judges will pick a winner for each cuisine category (Asian, Latin, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern) and one winner who will face top finalists from around the country in a grand cook-off later this year. // Tickets ($75/person) can be purchased at americanlambjam.com; proceeds support La Cocina.
Explore the fascinating world of Japanese anime at a festival full of costumes, wigs, cosplay, shops, restaurants, and more. // Free to attend; more information at facebook.com
Apollo 50th Anniversary Celebration
10am to 5pm, 6 to 10pm
Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd (Oakland), chabotspace.org
Another fete for Apollo 11, and super family friendly, Chabot's day-time event will include hands-on moon demos and a planetarium show. At 6pm, the 21+ after party gets going with space karaoke and a dance floor. // $14-$18 during the day; after-party is $14 or free with daytime admission. Tickets are available for purchase at chabotspace.org
One-starred tasting menu spot Birdsong is cooking up a special dinner tonight with chef Garrett Lipar of Detroit restaurant Albena. Snag tickets fast for this three-hour dining adventure. // Tickets ($225) are available on exploretock.com.
Third Culture Bakery is presenting a new event series with a lineup of food industry speakers. The first event goes down today with James Beard–nominated chef Tu David Phu (you may have seen him on Top Chef Season 15), Ingrid Goesnar (Mavencook), and Mustache Bakery and Noble Folk Ice Cream founder Christian Sullberg. // Tickets ($15 and up) are available at julyfoodietalks.eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit local nonprofit, 1951 Coffee Company.
If you love Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, then kick your heels over to this evening of live music featuring the Hellman Family Band plus several special guests. Bites will be available for guests that arrive on the early side. // Tickets ($20) can be found on sweetwatermusichall.com.
The chefs at stylish Hayes Valley spot Nightbird are getting together with Tucker Taylor, the gardener at Kendall Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens (and previously The French Laundry's green thumb) to source and serve some impeccable produce in a one-time 10-course tasting menu. // Tickets ($175, plus optional wine pairings) can be booked by emailing email@example.com.
You're likely to find sunshine in the East Bay, not to mention a chill day of live music, eats, and shopping high-quality, sustainable goods from more than 80 local artisans and designers. Bring your kids and dogs! // Free to attend with registration at eventbrite.com; for more information, go to urbanairmarket.com.
That's right, it's like camp—with all the toilet paper and ramen you might want—but for working professionals who likely earn enough money to purchase really nice homes in, say, Boise.
Plus, Kanye West tries to solve the housing crisis; beachfront views and modern design unite at Taco Bell's Pacifica Cantina; and more local news you might missed while you were in a post-Fourth of July barbecue and booze coma.
Architecturally stunning Pacifica Taco Bell remodeled, Curbed SF
Enjoy your Doritos Locos racos in style at Taco Bell's newly remodeled beachside Pacifica location. Ocean views, wood floors, exposed beams, and beer and wine make for an elevated fast food experience. Read more.
This bunk bed is $1,200 a month, privacy not included, CNN
In San Francisco's staggering economy, $1,200 a month can get you a bunk bed rental in PodShare's privacy-free dormitory style housing. Just think of it like adult summer camp. Read more.
Kanye West reportedly tried to sell SF investors on 'Star Wars'-inspired housing for homeless, SFGate
Rapper, designer, and Kim Kardashian's baby daddy extraordinaire has big plans to solve the California housing crisis with Star Wars–inspired shelters in the California wilderness. Read more.
Pop-Up Tents No S'more: Glamping Is the New Backyard Camping, The Wall Street Journal
Say goodbye to sleeping bags and make like SF design darling Ken Fulk, who's kitted out his Durham Ranch in Wine Country with glamping sites built for gods. Read more.
Former San Francisco star chef Elka Gilmore dies at 59, The San Francisco Chronicle
Before there was Traci Des Jardins or Dominique Crenn, there was Elka Gilmore, chef of the famed Japanese-French fusion restaurant Elka's and mentor to some of SF's best loved and most successful lady chefs, including Des Jardins herself. Read more.
New BART fare gate clamps down on people with disabilities, SF Examiner
In an effort to combat fare cheats, BART installed new double wedged gates at the Richmond station. The gates, which have been compared to guillotines, aren't exactly ADA friendly. Read more.
Living in this tiny expanse of 7x7, surrounded by water on three sides, it's amazing we don't spend more time soaking in the views from the sea.
Maybe it's the unpredictable weather or maybe it's that we just don't know where to start, but either way it's time you took a pleasure cruise on San Francisco Bay. Just remember to pack your layers.
Here are the best ways to rent a boat for a day on the bay for any type of sailor.
Boatsetter is the Airbnb for boats, with the added bonus of optional amenities like a captain and rentable waterskis. Just enter where you'd like to rent the boat from and browse a number of sailboats and motorboats all around the bay. Each listing features reviews from former renters and you can even message the owner before booking if you have any questions. // boatsetter.com
If you're looking for your next great Instagram photo, Passage Nautical has a variety of yachts, sailboats and motorboats to choose from that'll be the envy of your social media followers. Each boat is impeccably well-kept and they all come with updated sound systems so you can listen to the new Beyonce album all day long. Prices start at $200 for four hours, but that doesn't include fees for the captain and crew, which most boats require. If you fall in love with boating during your outing, you can even browse their site to purchase one of your own. // 423 Water St. (Oakland), passagenautical.com
Captain San Francisco
Charters on Captain San Francisco are a great way to explore new adventures on the bay. From sunset cruises to whale watching to Giants game tailgates, they offer unique experiences that feel intimate. If you're not sure what you want, just give Captain Josh a call and he'll figure out something that will work for you. Plus, dog lovers will love the first mate (pictured above). // 2930 Lyon St. (Marina), captainsanfrancisco.com
SF Bay Adventures
From small two-person boats to large 200 person charters, SF Bay Adventures has an expansive fleet for any type of outing you're looking for. Private charters are available with or without a captain, or you can view their schedule of pre-planned outings that include sunset cruises and trips for events like Fleet Week. You can even plan a wedding on one of their larger boats. // Suite B2A, 1001 Bridgeway (Sausalito), sfbayadventures.com
Get My Boat
Another Airbnb-like platform, Get My Boat not only allows you to rent boats in a variety of sizes, but you can also rent smaller vessels like kayaks or stand-up paddle boards. It's available all over the world, so if you rent with them once you'll probably be tempted to rent something next time you're in Greece. Or Colombia. Or New Zealand. // getmyboat.com
San Francisco Sailing Co
The San Francisco Sailing Company has four sailboats that will carry six to 36 passengers. It's the only company offering shorter charters for two hours, so it's a great option if you're unsure you want to commit most of your day. The company also offers daily sunsets cruises that include two glasses of wine or beer. // Pier 39, Dock C, sailsf.com
Red and White Fleet
If you've been to Fisherman's Wharf you've likely seen the Red and White Fleet boats looming in the distance. This is your most touristy option for a day on the bay, but if you don't want to think too much about it and you just want to be on the water, it's an easy option. The boats are huge, fully staffed, and many tours even come with light bites and an audio tour. // Pier 43 ½, redandwhite.com
Pretty much everyone is familiar with Hornblower Cruises & Events. You've either been on one of their Champagne brunch cruises, attended an onboard wedding or big birthday celebration, or you know someone who has. If it's the latter, it's time to get out on the water. Hornblower offers all sorts of experiences with food, live music, dancing, and more on a fleet of luxe yachts than can carry parties ranging from 100 to 1,500. // Cruises depart from SF, Berkeley, and Sacramento; hornblower.com/san-francisco.
If you're a seasoned sailor who likes to get out on the water often but doesn't want the financial stress of owning a boat, SailTime could be exactly what you've been searching for. It's essentially a boat timeshare—choose from going out three, seven, or 14 times a month. Plus, you can spend the night on many of the boats and book times on demand when you need them. // sailtime.com/san-francisco-bay
For this couple, their love came full circle on the dance floor.
As part of the Bay Area's fusion dance community, Markaley Smith and Francesco Georg met, well, dancing. After seeing each other at multiple events, Georg needed a ride. She offered, and has been driving him around ever since. When he proposed, it was with a ring he had 3-D printed. "He knew I wanted to pick out my own engagement ring, but he didn't want to propose without one," she explains.
When it came to planning their wedding, Smith's Cortana gown was the first big decision. "I chose a dress made of the softest silk tulle—it was comfortable, dance-able, and perfect for my wedding day." She accented it with a sash handmade by her mother-in-law—the two had spent hours sourcing beads and materials and trying different designs. To finish her look, she went with handmade, bespoke clogs from San Francisco–based Bryr.
"I got to chose my heel height, the style of clog, and the color to go perfectly with my dress. They also can personalize the heel stamp of each pair of clogs—one of my shoes said 'MarMar + CoCo' and the other has our wedding date."
After trying on 20 different suits, Georg landed on a blue Armani with a cream bowtie and luggage leather Magnanni dress shoes.
It was that dress, though, that served as inspiration for the rest of the affair.
"I wanted something simple and romantic; unique but timeless," she says. They took to Julia Morgan–designed historic women's club, Berkeley City Club. "We loved the design of the building, the gorgeous windows, and the interior gardens. The library room spoke to my book-loving heart, and the grandeur of the ballroom was perfect for Francesco's love of all things fancy."
Florals were their primary decor, put together by another Bryr bridal client, florist Katie Chirgotis; the bursting botanicals adorned everything from the ceremony to cocktail hour and the reception. "Katie filled an alcove with beautiful blooms for our ceremony backdrop. She created the florals of my dreams for our reception space—a variety of vases spilling over with lovely blooms and berries, candle votives making everything more romantic, silk table runners pulling everything together."
Working with Silk and Willow, who only uses natural fibers, their tables were swathed in blue slate linen napkins and silk table runners dyed with black walnuts. Stationary consisted of handmade paper with mixed hues and textures. SHare Studios made paper for their guest name cards, welcome sign, and signage, which they then handed over to Everlace Design Co. for calligraphy. "The only part of our wedding that was DIY was the name cards for my family placed on the first two rows in our wedding ceremony. It was a joy to write out each of their names, knowing they'd be there to support and celebrate our marriage!"
Naturally, they also incorporated their own dance moves into the big day as well as a musician DJ they knew from their dance community, who played live keyboard for the ceremony and upbeat tunes for the reception. He even received an encore, and obliged with one more song before the party ended.
If you've never looked for free camping before, be patient and do your research ahead of time. The chances are high you'll take a wrong turn or go a mile in the wrong direction—when that happens, take a deep breath and enjoy the drive. Free camping exists in wild and wonderful places (like Walmart parking lots, right?) and the better equipped you are to enjoy the journey the more you'll enjoy the destination.
Free camping in California can generally be found on BLM and USFS property, and some of the best sites are found by taking a random turn down a dirt road with a cattle guard and driving until you find a pull-out.
Benchmark maps make some of the best recreation-based atlases for exploring your state and region, with shaded regions denoting private and public property. They also cordon off national parks from national forests and differentiate between 4WD and paved roads. By cross-referencing your Benchmark map with Google Maps it's easier than ever to identify areas with a high likelihood of free camping.
Here are 12 favorite sites.
Orr Lake CampgroundCourtesy of The Dyrt camper James E.
Nestled in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Orr Lake Campground offers six free lakefront campsites as well as four free group campsites on the opposite end of the lake. While no motorized boats are allowed on the lake, there's plenty of space for swimming, kayaking, and angling among the lily pads.
Even though there are no hook-ups, RVs can boondock in the secluded lakeside spaces. From the lake, campers can catch epic views of Mt. Shasta in the distance while grilling fresh-caught trout for dinner. Vault toilets are available to reduce the amount of gray water you produce in your time off the grid.
There are plenty of primitive campsites in Lassen National Forest, but if you're looking to camp with a few of your friends, Black Rock Campground offers six first come, first served campsites equipped with grills and tables. Anglers can fish in both Deer Creek and Mill Creek, and hikers will find plenty of trails for low- or high-mileage days.
Vault toilets are available at Black Rock, so your camping experience doesn't have to be completely primitive. Within the national forest boundaries, there's opportunity for mineral prospecting, horse riding, and water activities on Lake Almanor.
One of the greatest allures of the Mendocino National Forest is the fact that no major highways or paved roads cross through the forest. So if you're looking for tranquility and seclusion, Mendocino is the place to go. Like other national forests, Mendocino offers dispersed primitive camping anywhere throughout the forest. There are also three dispersed campgrounds in Mendocino National Forest: Grizzly Flat, Lakeview, and Lower Nye.
Once you've established your free campsite, take your pick of activities, like horseback riding, swimming at Stonyford Recreation area (where there's also a paid campground, Letts Lake Campground), and hiking in the Chico Seed Orchard and Red Bluff Recreation Area.
In the northeast corner of California, where Oregon, California, and Nevada meet, Modoc National Forest sits quietly, away from the hustle and bustle of California's more popular parks and forests. Here you'll find pull-offs and spurs for dispersed camping in all four ranger districts: Big Valley, Devil's Garden, Doublehead, and Warner Mountain.
The landscape is diverse enough to keep you occupied for weeks. From high-alpine terrain in the Warner Mountain Range to the central lava flows, you won't want for ecological diversity. If anything, it'll make you wish you had more time to explore.
When you're looking for free California camping or boondocking, it doesn't get much better than Glass Creek Campground, just outside of Mammoth Lakes. With 66 spacious campsites, you can easily pull through a 45' motorhome or trailer for a three-week stay near Mammoth and the June Lakes District.
Once you arrive, self-register at the kiosk and then settle in! There's wildlife in the area, so be bear aware of your food and other belongings. And with no water on site you'll want to pack in enough to reduce your trips into town. Plenty of trails lead out from the campground for convenient day hikes.
Lake in Inyo National ForestCourtesy of The Dyrt camper Daniel S.
According to the USFS, most of the land in Inyo County is publicly owned, so anywhere you can find to park and camp for the night is fair game. While the Forest Service recommends purchasing a map to distinguish public land from private, you can find somewhere to camp with enough space to hang up a hammock and enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna.
At Inyo, campers can remain for 28 days per every six months in each of the four ranger districts and campsites can be found along the road in compacted pull-outs, many of which have established primitive fire rings. If you do decide to have a fire, always check with the ranger station to understand the fire danger levels.
Plumas National Forest is loaded with dispersed campsites for the frugal-minded. In each of the four ranger districts, campers can find hordes of California free camping in areas like Feather Falls, Little North Fork, Bucks Lake Recreation Area, and Red Bridge.
In terms of recreation, there's an activity for almost everyone at Plumas. From rock climbing in the Mt. Hough Ranger district (where you'll find a paid campground at Queen Lily) to wildlife viewing of rare species like the Pitcher Plant in Butterfly Valley, you can practice your preferred outdoor hobby or even take up a new one.
Located in the Stanislaus National Forest, Hermit Valley Campground offers shaded sites beneath old-growth sequoia trees with pine needle floors. Far fewer people make it out to these parts of the national forest, but on summer weekends try and get there before the crowds descend.
In the surrounding area you'll find plenty of opportunities to mountain bike, hike, fish, and, if you're willing to venture a little farther south, explore the expanse of Yosemite National Park. Be prepared for zero amenities during your stay, but the trade-off is seclusion and serenity, which is almost always worth it.
Alabama Hills Recreation AreaCourtesy of The Dyrt camper Jennifer D.
As one of the highest rated free camping in California sites on this list, Alabama Hills Recreation Area welcomes hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors each year. Alabama Hills sits between the desert and the mountains, for some of the most epic views in Southern California. Each site is easy to find, with most boasting an established fire pit.
At Alabama Hills, campers must be 100% self-contained because there are no amenities. Lone Pine is the nearest town if you need to stock up on necessities, but it's not close enough to feel the proximity of civilization. Get a fire permit if you plan to sit beneath the stars around an open flame. Otherwise, enjoy this slice of public land.
If you want to stay in Sequoia National Forest and aren't interested in the OHV area, check out Alder Creek Dispersed Camping, a heavily-wooded campground with vault toilets and a creek nearby.
Campground usage is also light and operates on a first come, first served basis but beware—during summer days when the heat rises, the area becomes dry and heavy fire restrictions are enforced. Check the USFS website before you go to assess your likelihood of marshmallow roasting.
Both primitive and tucked away, with incredible views of the night sky, Blair Valley Campground acts as an ideal stopping point when visiting Joshua Tree National Park. The area is expansive so you don't have to worry about camping feet away from someone else, but don't venture too far in if you have a heavy rig or low clearance, as the roads can become sandy to the point of impassable.
Climbers can find sandstone routes nearby, while hikers and mountain bikers will be delighted by the number of trails. There's very little shade, so pack a canopy or tarp to create some for yourself. Bring enough water to sustain your visit and pack out anything you packed in.
Resources for finding the perfect free California camping spot:
The Dyrt makes it easy to find free camping in California (or anywhere else). Here's how: Enter the state, then click enter. Click 'type' under the search bar, then click 'dispersed.' Each listing includes a rating, reviews, detailed description, list of features, images, weather report, and geographical data.
Visit the U.S. Forest Service map of California. Check out individual national forests and other federally-protected areas in California by clicking on the map or on the links below.
Go to the Bureau of Land Management website's 'visit' page and sort by location (California) and activity (camping). Browse through the results to find your perfect free camping in California.
If you already know your destination, it's a good idea to stop by the visitor center or ranger station and talk to a ranger. They're the best source of information about free, dispersed camping in the area.
Service roads are usually lined with free campsites. On maps, U.S. Forest Service roads are indicated as NF-##, while roads running through BLM lands also tend to have free camping options alongside them.
Summer is the perfect time to unplug and shed your digital fatigue on the coast.
Three miles south of Pigeon Point Lighthouse (or three miles north of Ano Nuevo State Park), you'll find Costanoa Lodge and Campground, surrounded by 30,000 acres of state parks, open space, and trails ready to explore.
Relax in Costanoa's tent bungalows. (Courtesy of Costanoa)
Costanoa is an eco-adventure resort where guests can simply retreat from the distractions of everyday life and discover the pace of nature. Costanoa is committed to providing genuine service, unique accommodations, California coastal cuisine, as well as a variety of spa and adventure activities.
Onsite you'll find a variety of unique ways to stay, from traditional lodge rooms and tent bungalows to hard structure cabins and 50 amp RV sites. There are even pitch-your-own-tent areas.
Cascade, the full service bar and restaurant, is complimented by Pine Tent, a weekend fast-casual food venue with live music. Costanoa is also the ideal location for your next company retreat with several thousand square feet of flexible meeting space and spectacular outdoor spots for catered meals.
Tucked away on Folsom and Fourth Street is a combination restaurant, art gallery and artist workshop with one caveat: It was created to be torn down a year later.
When asked about Palette, chef and owner Peter Hemsley admits, "We repurposed it in a way that I don't think any rational restaurateur would have done." But when it comes to passion projects, that just seems to be how the chef/artist operates.
Chef and owner Peter Hemsley(Courtesy of Jane Fisher)
Food, Art and a dash of French
Hemsley was a history and political science major in college, but his interest in food and art started when he was just a child living in Minnesota. His mother was a very good, untrained cook who liked to, he says, "experiment with the new, trendy stuff, or stuff that other people were trying." She always had an eye towards "older, practiced, classic recipes from her parents' heritage."
When he had to fend for himself in college without mom's cooking, Hemsley's curiosity and interest in food culture grew; he also began working in restaurants during his summers. Working at a French eatery sparked his interest in French culture and the language. Eventually, he would spend four years in France, a lengthy sabbatical during which his enthusiasm for food and art became a joint passion.
To learn the language, Hemsley devoured French culinary cookbooks and books about food history. Fascinated by historic recipes, he began illustrating them just for fun. "I think I started doing it to have cool decorations in my apartment," he says. "Even two, three years later, I still didn't know what I was doing with all this collected collateral stuff, until I started doing ink and watercolor drawings of recipes, and trying different mediums. That's where it really started to click, and say, 'All right, well I'm doing all this art activity with the materials of the kitchen...'"
Some of Hemsley's art is on display at Palette's gallery.(Courtesy of Ghost Media)
A temporary location goes all out
After years in the kitchen as a professional chef (including a period of time at the Michelin-starred Quince), Hemsley dreamed of having both his own studio space and a place to continue his private dining business. He met with artists to learn more about what a studio needed to make it attractive for other artists to work there. During this period, he says, "The notion of a kitchen within a restaurant within an art gallery came out of that. So I was looking for a space that could accommodate all those things."
Finding the warehouse space that would be the perfect vessel for this dream took time. "They're rare, and they're not in the most desired areas of town," Hemsley says. "But I did find one, and it seemed to accommodate exactly the kind of space that I had the vision to create."
Said space was not the one where I met him in 2019 for this interview—in September 2017 he found a warehouse on 12th Street, let's call it Palette 1.0.
At Palette, there is a connected shop where you can buy different commissioned Bay Area pieces.C(ourtesy of Ghost Media)
In his grand dreams, Hemsley explains, "That'll be the fully formed Palette." It will have a restaurant with an evolving salon wall of art, a gallery for exhibitions and arts, and on a mezzanine level, a residency workshop.
The Palette where we met for this interview was, in fact, a "swing space"—a test to see how the concept he dreamed of would work on an operational level. Hemsley was at the original warehouse for less than a year when he realized his ambitious construction vision would eliminate all the working space and displace his team. They toyed with different ideas (at one point a mobile Palette was on the table), and he was looking for a rented kitchen space when the Folsom Street location (Palette 2.0) caught his eye.
The former automotive building was sitting empty and would have remained empty for another year-and-a-half to two years until demolition and construction for a hotel space began. With a vague end date in mind, the realtor was offering it at a favorable below-market rate, and Hemsley jumped on the chance to "test" his ideas out for Palette.
For a test that might only last a year, his team has utterly transformed the empty space.
The dining room at Folsom Street's Palette. (Courtesy of Rob Williamson)
Customized and community-minded
Palette's every surface is lovely, even the walls. A colorful floral mural by Velia De Luliis blooms next to the kitchen, hand-painted ceramic dishes draw the eye as much as the food, and the white walls of the gallery and boutique provide a nice contrast to the deep teal splashed around the dining room.
"It's important to me that people see in a lot of ways the level of thought, the level of production, the specialness of what we're doing is communicated not only by the objects that we have here but the nature of the space," Hemsley explains. "There's more we could do here, but I think we did an outstanding job. People are impressed by the level that we have gone to it. I think they're more in shock that it's just a temporary spot."
And what is Palette's blueprint—the dream that Hemsley is working to build? Just like his own passions cover both food and art, he wants Palette to be a space where food, art and community can thrive.
"In a lot of ways, a restaurant is great to be interested in and want to be invested in from a business standpoint, but it could be so much more profoundly impactful for the community if those funds were being directed towards something that actually has a deeper impact on the community," says Hemsley.
"A restaurant space is a great community asset. People can patronize it, love it, can use it as a place for social gathering."
Even something as simple as fried artichoke gets its own intricately designed, handmade vessel.(Grace Cheung)
The chairs, the glasses, the menu—every aspect of Palette's design is intentional, showcasing the talents of local artists and Hemsley's creative culinary mind. A bonus to working with smaller, local artists is that they're more interested in working on what Hemsley describes as "challenging projects that are typically not in the scope of what you might find commercially."
As for the artists themselves, he thinks of it as "an opportunity for them to start scaling their business and realize a potential in themselves that this could go somewhere bigger than they ever imagined."
Palette's glassblower Sam Schumacher of Rocket Glass Works makes all of the custom glasses for the restaurant with just one assistant to help him. Yes, it costs more, but Hemsley believes it's worth it, the unique objects become more meaningful for diners.
While each item is more expensive to produce, there's a sustainability angle to partnering with local artisans like Schumacher and Palette's ceramics artist, Andrew Kontrabecki. In restaurants where breakage is an issue (broken glass or dropped tray of plates), Palette's team save all the broken pieces to melt or grind down and use the materials again in new tableware. "It's not necessarily the best financial model," Hemsley admits, "but it's not a wasteful model."
Palette's Apple Rosette Tart is served on a glass apple plate.Courtesy of Grace Cheung
And with art as the medium, Hemsley has more freedom with his menu as well, explaining, "What we're trying to do here is influenced by many of the experiences I've had, but much more personal because bringing art into the vein of it, it helps give it a sense of purpose. What is Palette and the food culture here? It can really be anything. It's not tied to a national cuisine type, it's not tied to a certain true cultural or direction orientation."
Palette in its current form has a limited lifespan—according to Joey Campanella, the Director of Operations, "the plans for the eventual development of the Folsom Street building are ever-changing so if and when this location will close is up in the air!"
But don't cry over spilled milk just yet. Their 12th Street location is already undergoing construction, and, once it's ready and the Folsom Street location has reached the end of its term, elements from the Palette 2.0 version will be implemented into the new and improved Palette Hemsley has dreamed of all this time.