Here’s something you may not know about me: I’m obsessed with tiny spoons and have quiet the collection. So when Kelly from Design Crush sent over a link to Miscellaneous Adventures I may have squealed. So many spoons! So many outdoorsy vibes! So much wood! Kelly is a good friend, indeed.
Miscellaneous Adventures was created by illustrator and craftsman Andrew Groves and serves as a place for design to meet traditional craft and outdoor skills (aka my personal heaven). You know what else is awesome about them? They believe in FUN. So, not only do they sell stuff, but they also host incredible workshops to learn skills like woodcarving and wild camping in the woods. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for anything that gets me outdoors more and more.
I’ll keep it short and sweet: I want it to be the weekend… desperately. I’m currently in the throes of taking Alt for Everyone and learning a ton. It’s so amazing because I’m doing it from the comfort of my home office and brushing up on all my skills to make this blog a way better place. On a personal note, I’m so happy with how this blog has evolved and all the exciting, new things coming in a few months. Be sure to stay tuned!
Have you seen the #DestinationSummer virtual road trip from Kohl’s? It’s truly one of my favorite ideas in a long, long time. Basically, Kohl’s asked a bunch of bloggers to step away from the computer and show the world our respective hometowns. And, because I’m still so new to San Francisco, I basically got to be a tourist in my own city! I decided to use this as the perfect opportunity to indulge in two favorites: the beach and s’mores.
We cruised out to a favorite spot of mine, Muir Beach. About 30-45 minutes from San Francisco, the drive to the beach is stunning in and of itself. Once you cross the Golden Gate bridge, follow a windy road to the beach, catching far-off glimpses of the Pacific as you go. I recommend making the trip right at golden hour for that perfect California glow.
Using tons of picnic-friendly tools, textiles, and serving pieces, I laid out my ultimate s’mores bar. To start, I gathered supplies from a few of my favorite neighborhood staples here in Hayes Valley: sweets (such as graham crackers, fancy marshmallows and chocolates, and tonsss of toppings) from Miette, plus sausages and other grillables from The Fatted Calf. Don’t forget firewood!
To create your own s’mores bar, here are a few tips:
Mix up your toppings: from gummy bears to honey to lavender, it’s always fun to explore different flavor combinations.
Another fun way to experiment is to offer different alternatives to the traditional graham cracker. I suggest everything pretzels, Nilla wafers, even peanut butter cookies! (While shooting, I discovered that Kimberley has a gluten-free diet, so we thought it would be fun to replace crackers with thinly sliced apple!)
Don’t forget the fresh fruit, especially here in SF. Since moving here, I can’t stop devouring local blackberries. They are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
Last, but not least, chocolate is king. Splurge on the fancy stuff, in all different flavors and textures. I may have chosen a few based on packaging…
Seriously, what is more fun than playing with your food??
It can get pretty chilly when the sun goes down, so I recommend bringing extra layers. I like to rock a men’s flannel shirt with vintage cut offs for a casual, borrowed-from-the-boys vibe that will also keep me a bit warmer.
Being 100% honest with you, I was really blown away by the awesome outdoor dining pieces I found at Kohl’s. The colors, the materials… even the prices were so good. I definitely plan to use these pieces for more picnics and outings going forward.
Living in San Francisco has some serious perks, one of them being the food scene. A couple weeks ago my good friend Vivien surprised me with hard-to-get reservations to Naked Kitchen. Basically, Naked Kitchen exists to create an environment where “chefs have the creative freedom to explore something new in a casual and relaxed space.” What this means is that they prepare extraordinary dishes, none of which ever repeat, in an environment that is beautiful, relaxed, and encourages sharing, conversation, and storytelling. It is truly an experience not to be missed. And the food… well, I should let the photos speak for themselves because chef Anthony Yang truly outdid himself.
We started out with organic Strauss yogurt, coffee flavored oats, and cashew butter berries (above).
Toasted panorama bakery sourdough english muffin, corn pudding, squash, and ham (this was my absolute favorite).
While admittedly a bit touristy, there’s something to be said for The Ferry Building here in San Francisco… and the amazing food scene within. Just picture it: row and row of cured meats, locally grown produce, flavorful ice cream, the best coffee this side of the Rockies. It’s a foodie paradise. I stopped by with my friend Ash for a leisurely afternoon of treats, people watching, and wandering.
First stop, Blue Bottle of course. I recommend a super-sweet and creamy New Orleans iced with a side of the most perfect waffle ever. Crispy on the edges, doughy in the center… topped with giant, crunchy bits of sugar… this waffle is truly perfection.
Not to be missed, this is the cone of meat from Boccalone. Their tagline is “tasty, salted pig parts,” so you just know it’s gonna be good. I’m starting to think that the cone is my preferred way of eating while shopping for even more things to devour on the go…
I always like to end on a decadent note and, being more into savory than sweet, we opted for Hog Island Oyster Co. There’s just something so fancy to me about oysters, even if they are served atop rough hewn planks and you’re seated family style. I prefer mine to be briney (my favorites were the Well Fleets from Massachusetts) and topped with just a drizzle of lemon.
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Fire + Fish + Beer Summer Skill Exchange at Storefront Lab. If you’re not familiar with Skill Exchange, basically it’s the brainchild of designer and founder Kate Koeppel. It’s a workshop series designed to inspire the community “to use their hands and learn traditional, hand making and self-reliance skills in a fun, social setting,” This particular workshop was seriously mind blowing in the best possible way. Essentially, we learned all the skills needed to make an incredible summer spread.
Here’s the menu of everything we ate.
We kicked off the day with a session led by Galen Garretson of the Town Cutler. He taught us the basics of how knives are made, how to sharpen knives, and how to best care for our knives.
While this was going on, we were lucky enough to preview a recipe (summer squash pasta with Green Goddess dressing) from Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food. She’s got a new book coming out, titled Vibrant Food (pre-order here!). I got to sneak a peek and let me just say… this is a must buy.
From there, we were led by Austin Durant of the Fermenters Club in how to make kimchi. I have to say, this guy seriously knows his stuff. And how awesome is his t-shirt??
This next tutorial was my absolute favorite: we learned how to buy sustainably caught fish and then how to clean the fish. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I shucked my very first oyster during this section of the workshop. This one was taught by the incredibly knowledge Anna Barr Larsen from Siren Fish Co. She seriously knows her stuff. Plus, I love Siren because they offer a CSA, but with fish! If you’re in San Francisco, you should check it out here.
We also learned the proper way to get a grill goin’, a skill that I’m sure will last me past this summer. Led by Edible San Francisco Magazine editor Bruce Cole, we learned how to make grilled little gem lettuces with creamy dressing, grilled king salmon with yuzo kosho crème fraiche, grilled sardines with parsley pesto, and grilled peaches with 25 year old balsamic vinegar. Is your mouth watering yet?
Whether you’re setting your table for Easter, brunch, or just cocktails with the girls, serve it up in style with these adorable and handsome party provisions from Food52. With the goal of “better kitchens for everyone” in mind, Food52 has carefully curated an assortment of serveware, barware, and even party decorations that make for great gifts (or a treat for yourself…). I love the amount of detail on these pieces: from a gentle swoosh of glaze on a platter, to pony-topped drink stirrers, these pieces are like modern heirlooms.
I love the idea of setting a table and using such a wide range of materials, like copper, clear and colored glass, brass, even dipped enamel. Plus, it’s always nice to throw in a punch of color to perk up a neutral and sophisticated table.
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