Monthly Archives: June 2015

Delightful Divisadero Dining at Nopa

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“Cooks in the Kitchen” by Thomas Hawk / CC BY 2.0

If there’s a restaurant whose dining experience is more coveted than a glance of Taylor Swift’s belly button, it’s Nopa. Located on Divisadero, its hip factor is established by default, but it’s farm-to-table looks and friendly staff keep it from feeling too pretentious.

Since moving into the neighborhood, my boyfriend and I have been trying to get a seat at Nopa, first at brunch and then at dinner. Unfortunately, both times (even though we got there when they opened) were 2-hour waits and we just couldn’t do it. However, this past Monday, we committed and were able to land a seat at the bar, and I mean a single seat – my boyfriend stood for most of our meal. However, this didn’t ruin the experience. The bartenders were delightful and attentive, and we were just so excited to finally see what Nopa was all about.

I started out the evening with the Summit cocktail, a gin cocktail with grapefruit, while my boyfriend had the Quintessential, another gin cocktail but with Bonal Quinquina. The Summit had an expected tangy kick that was evened out with some honey. As for the Quintessential, we weren’t really sure what to expect, not being acquianted with Bonal Quinquina, but it too was refreshing and sweet without being saccharine.

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Summit cocktail on the left and the Quintessential on the right.

Wanting to try everything we decided to order an appetizer, an entree, as well as a small side plate, starting first with the warm goat cheese and berries crostini. The berries were rubbed with olive oil and the goat cheese, served warm in a ramekin, was topped with chives, salt and pepper. It ended up being a pretty substantial amount of goat cheese that by the end of the bread, we still had goat cheese! But no worries, we took the spoon to it…

For our main course we shared the fried duck leg with pinto beans, figs and chorizo, and a small plate of roasted squash with tzatziki.

The roasted squash was presented beautifully, with its deep green skin contrasted with what looked like some kind of pickled vegetable. But it’s flavors were too mild and ended up being overshadowed by everything else.

The duck leg was anything but mild. It was infused with the savory Mexican flavors from the chorizo and pinto beans, which were balanced out with the sweetness of figs. The most surprising part was that I’ve never been too big a fan of pinto beans since I think they lack flavor, but these were so delicious, I had every last spoonful. The duck itself was, as our waiter put it, divine. It was tender and tasted as if its coating was a kind of mole rub, which, as a Mexican-American, I appreciated. However, I do have to say that the figs were the best part of the dish. They paired so well with the rich, earthy flavors of the duck, beans and chorizo, and really brought the entire dish together.

Overall, it was a great dining experience. I recommend going on a weeknight and grabbing a couple of seats at the bar (once they open up), unless you want to wait two hours for a table (you could also make a reservation). During happy hour it feels like a fierce competition trying to snag a seat, but it’s well worth it. The plates are substantial and ultimately fairly priced, and the flavors are wonderfully balanced. I’ve had experiences at restaurants like Nopa that err so much on the side of savory that the dishes end up tasting salty. Luckily, Nopa knows the difference and caters to the palate perfectly.

We didn’t end up getting dessert (we were stuffed!), but I definitely look forward to coming back for brunch or even just a night of cocktails and dessert.

Have you been to Nopa? What were your thoughts?

“Nopa” by Thomas Hawk / CC BY 2.0

Credited Photo Source: Thomas Hawk

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Friday Inspiration: Summer Dreaming Edition

As I mentioned earlier this week, I just moved to San Francisco from Santa Barbara. Already, the experience of exploring a new city has been incredible. San Francisco definitely has all the food and culture variety that I was missing Santa Barbara; however, one thing that Santa Barbara has over SF is, wait for it…the weather. I did not realize the coldest winter I’d ever spend would be a summer in San Francisco! I’ve been sporting a leather jacket, scarf and beanie the past week and I’m usually still cold (it’s that Southern California blood). It’s been sunny in my neighborhood, but the air is chill and I can’t even fathom putting a bikini on right now. So, since I’m having warm beach weather withdrawals, I thought I’d get my fix through some summer-infused styles, recipes, and general inspiration from across the web. Enjoy!

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Swoon-worthy two piece from Mara Hoffman’s summer prints collection. And those cat-eye sunglasses!

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Dulcet Creative Blog has been nailing it with the cocktails lately, especially this watermelon moscow mule.

Free People Hepburn Round Sunglasses

I’m really digging these Hepburn Round Sunglasses from Free People. Unfortunately, my face is so round I don’t think I’d be able to pull them off!

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Beautiful tones and composition in this photo. Source unknown.

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Sugar and Charm throws a flamingo pool party and it’s everything my summer dreams are made of!

As you can probably tell, I’m definitely feeling those pink/green/teal tones right now. Now, excuse me, I’m going to go daydream about flamingo pool parties…

I moved to San Francisco!

It’s been a whirl wind of a month. A month ago I was working a full-time marketing job in Santa Barbara and now I’m living the freelance life in San Francisco! And in between all that there was a Napa wedding, a new job, and whole lot of of moving boxes!

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Gettin’ touristy

Why the big move? A job, of course. My partner landed his dream job in tech and it truly opened the doors of opportunity and possibility for both of us. We had been wanting to move up here for a while but couldn’t justify the cost without either one having a secure job lined up. Now that that’s changed we are so excited about our new life in the city. We’ve been exploring our neighborhoods, eating tons of amazing food, and diving head first into the incredible culture and lifestyles the city has to offer.

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The Heart Attack roll at Nara Sushi is so good!

That said, it hasn’t been an easy move for me. I’m still getting used to not having a full-time job and trying to make my own ends meet through freelancing. But being in a city like San Francisco, it’s hard not to find inspiration everywhere I look.

The Painted Ladies

My first Monday in the city I got to meet these pretty ladies.

I’m also lucky to have some good friends and family up here already. Having a support system and a wonderful partner has definitely helped me during this time of change and transition.

I’m so excited to share this adventure with you! And please let me know of any SF recommendations you have!