Opening Alert: Hanson of Sonoma Organic Vodka Tasting Room

Sonoma. Organic products. Vodka. These are a few of my favorite things. So when my friends at Hanson of Sonoma shared that they will be offering unique tasting experiences of their organic grape-based vodka at their new tasting room and distillery in Sonoma, I was beyond thrilled and wanted to share the news with, well, everyone! A couple months ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to tour the distillery and see the early phases of the new tasting rooms. Everything that the Hanson family does, from building the distillery, to working with the local farmers, to designing the labels for the bottles, is done with so much love and care, and it can be tasted in the high quality of their vodka.

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About their Vodka
Hanson of Sonoma is a family-owned and operated distillery that produces artisan craft vodka from organic grapes. Crafted in the distillery located in the heart of beautiful Sonoma, all of their vodka is gluten-free and non-GMO.

In addition to their Original vodka, they offer six fruit-infused vodkas, including Cucumber (perfect for a summer day), Habanero (tastes AMAZING in Bloody Mary's!), Ginger, and Mandarin, and two seasonal flavors, Boysenberry and Espresso. Not only are they all delicious, but the fruits and vegetables that are used are all organic, local, and hand-peeled. They never add any sugar, artificial flavors, or any nonsense. Where else can you find quality like that?!

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Book Your Visit
Now for the most exciting news... Hanson of Sonoma is now taking reservations for their Tasting Room on their website! You and your friends can choose from a selection of tasting experiences, so whether you want to sip on a craft cocktail and try their various flavors of vodka, tour their beautiful distillery, or enjoy a VIP tour and tasting, they've got you covered! Head on over to their website to see the various options and book your next visit!

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SF City Guide: The Ultimate Eats

It's finally here... the ULTIMATE guide to all of my favorite places to dine in San Francisco! I've included the address, link to the website, and my favorite thing(s) to order for each spot - BONE APPLE TEA, Y'ALL.

Breakfast and Brunch

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āina
Location: 900 22nd St.
My Go-To Order: Kalbi Loco Moco, or Portuguese Sausage Hash. Also, their Malasadas and homemade banana bread are INSANE.
SSS Tip: Brunch is walk-in only, so either get there early or they suggest using the NoWait app to add yourself to the waitlist remotely. They also have an amazing dinner menu, and evening reservations are usually available throughout the week.

 


 

Plow 
Location: 1299 18th St.
My Go-To Order: Soft Scrambled Eggs, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, or The Plow (a lil' bit of everything).
SSS Tip: Go early on a weekday (I've gone between 7-7:30 am) to avoid the weekend mobs.

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Black Sands Brewery
Location: 701 Haight St.
My Go-To Order: House-made Sausage and Eggs. Because, sawseej.

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Tartine Manufactory 
Location: 595 Alabama St.
My Go-To Order: Smoked Salmon Tartine, or Porchetta & Fried Egg Sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zazie 
Location: 941 Cole St.
My Go-To Order: Fountainbleau Scramble with a side pancake... don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Eats

Souvla 
Locations: Hayes Valley - 517 Hayes St.; NoPa - 531 Divisadero St.; Mission - 758 Valencia St.)
My Go-To Order: Chicken Salad with no cheese and olive oil dressing on the side, or Veg Salad plus chicken with no cheese and olive oil dressing on the side. Add Greek Fries on top for a #treatyoself moment!

Kitava 
Location: 2011 Mission St.
My Go-To Order: Baja Bowl with Chicken and cauliflower rice, or Cuban Bowl with Pork. If you're extra hungry, order a side of Pesto Meatballs and/or Avocado Mash.

Mixt 
Locations: Throughout SF - visit their website for specific locations
My Go-To Order: Orchard Salad without cheese, or Design-Your-Own Salad with kale, kimchi (seasonal), butternut squash or winter squash (seasonal), yellow beets, avocado, and olives with lemon juice dressing.

Coffee Shops and Bakeries

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Andytown Roasters
Locations: 3655 Lawton St.; 3629 Taraval St.; 3016 Taraval St.
My Go-To Order: Almond Milk Cappuccino or Almond Milk Matcha Latte, but I also love their seasonal drinks, and their pastries, especially the scones, are also insanely good.
SSS Tip: They use Califia Farms almond milk (my favorite because it's carrageenan free), and they have free wifi!

 

 

 

Snowbird Coffee 
Location: 1352 9th Ave.
My Go-To Order: Matcha Latte with Almond Milk
SSS Tip: Like Andytown, they use Califia Farms almond milk (my favorite because it's carrageenan free), and they have free wifi too!

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Wholesome Bakery 
Location: 299 Divisadero St.
My Go-To Order: Almond Tea Cake or the 7 Layer Bar. DROOL.
SSS Tip: All of their baked goods are gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, trans fat-free, and low-glycemic... and delicious!

 

 

 


 

Arizmendi Bakery 
Locations: 1331 9th Ave. (Other locations throughout the Bay Area - visit their website for specific locations)
My Go-To Order: Corn-Cherry or Currant Scones, Chocolate Thing (that's the real name, not just laziness on my part), and their focaccia and daily pizza offerings are always spot on.

Asian and Hawaiian

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Liholiho Yacht Club 
Location: 871 Sutter St.
My Go-To Order: EVERYTHING. But if I had to choose a few (read: five) of my favorite items... Tuna Poke, Roasted Octopus, Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Opah, and Grilled Shortribs.
SSS Tip: Their off-the-menu homemade Spam is ridiculously good - if you're into that kind of thing.

 

 


Wooden Charcoal Korean Barbecue House 
Location: 4611 Geary Blvd.
My Go-To Order: Galbi (BBQ Short Ribs), Japchae (Clear Yam Noodles), Soft Tofu Stew, and Duk Mandu Guk (Rice Cake and Beef Wonton Soup).

Marnee Thai 
Locations: 1243 9th Ave.; 2225 Irving St.
My Go-To Order: Green Curry, Pad Se-Ew, Pad Thai, Prig Khing J, Mango Fried Rice.

Ebisu Sushi 
Location: 1283 9th Ave.
My Go-To Order: All of their sashimi is amazing (my favorites are Maguro and Hamachi), Sukiyaki, and their Special XXX Roll.

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Ton Kiang 
Location: 5821 Geary Blvd.
My Go-To Order: West Lake Minced Beef with Crab Meat Soup, Mongolian Style Beef, Rock Cod Fillets in Black Bean Sauce, and Shredded Chicken Chow Mein - Hong Kong Style (Crispy Noodles). I also love their dim sum, especially the Steamed Pork Buns and Sesame Balls with Red Bean Paste.

 

 

 

 

Other Favorites

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Nopalito 
Location: 1224 9th Ave.; 306 Broderick St.
My Go-To Order: The seasonal Ceviche, Quesadilla de Primavera, and Mole con Pollo.

 

 

 

 

 

Hook Fish Co. 
Location: 4542 Irving St.
My Go-To Order: The Poke and Ceviche starters, Poke Burrito, and Salad with the Grilled Fish of the Day (ft. everything seed clusters that rival Trader Joe's "Everything But the Bagel" spice).

Son's Addition 
Location: 2990 24th St.
My Go-To Order: Tuna & Uni Tostada, Grilled Spanish Octopus, Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, and the Poached Chicken and Crispy Skin was one of the BEST things I've had in a while.

Great for Birthdays and Special Occasions

Kokkari 
Location: 200 Jackson St.
My Go-to Order: I ALWAYS order the whole branzino, head-on, filleted. And my favorite appetizers are the Spanikopita, Grilled Octopus, and the "Kolokithokeftethes" (don't even try to get me to pronounce this - but they're zucchini cakes and are to die for). And for dessert... definitely get the Baklava and the "Galaktoboureko" (semolina custard in filo dough).

Coqueta 
Location: Pier 5 on the Embarcadero
My Go-To Order: Croquetas de Pollo, "Sunny Side Up" Huevo, Pulpo a la Parrilla, Albondigas a la Feria, Lubina a la Brasa, and the Paella.

36 Hours in Prince Edward County

As some of you already know, my boyfriend Zach and I have been in a long distance relationship for almost three years now. He lives in Toronto, and my home is San Francisco. Because we only get to see each other every 6-8 weeks, we've established annual traditions over the past few years that make our time together extra special. And one of those traditions is going on a trip every year for my birthday (not too shabby, huh?). For the first year of long distance, we traveled to Paris and Cannes in France, and last year we spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Due to busy schedules and vacation day limitations, we decided to do a few nights in Prince Edward County. When we were choosing where to go for our getaway, I must admit that PEC's main selling points were The June Motel (every square inch of the motel is Insta-worthy) and the impressive number of wineries in the area (I love wine, so if you don't know, now you know). But between the wineries and shops that we visited, and all of the towns we drove through, it quickly became one of our favorite trips to date! Here's why:

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Prince Edward County is a rural area on the northern shore of Lake Ontario comprised of a handful of small communities, and is just over a two-hour drive from Toronto. Zach and I arrived at The June Motel in Picton on a Wednesday evening around 9:30 pm, which was after the front desk had closed and the owner had kindly texted us the information of how to obtain the key for our room. From the moment we unlocked our room at The June, I immediately fell in love. In June 2016, owners April Brown and Sarah Sklash took over the existing Sportsman Motel and transformed the space into a tropical and chic oasis that they opened earlier this year in May. The interior in "The Classic" room that we had booked was pure Instagram perfection. After snapping nearly 100 photos (not an exaggeration) of the room upon arrival, Zach opened the mini fridge and surprised me with a bottle of Prosecco and a full charcuterie board - talk about a perfect start to a birthday trip!

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The following morning, we ventured into the quaint downtown area of Picton to grab a quick coffee and breakfast at The Vic Cafe. For such a small town, Picton (and PEC in general) seems to be experiencing a lot of growth recently, with the openings of trendy cafes and restaurants and the building of multiple condo complexes. The Vic Cafe underwent a renovation earlier this year and has become one of the go-to breakfast and lunch spots in the area. Their breakfast menu has a balance of light fare and heartier options with a vegan and vegetarian focus. Zach and I opted for quick coffees and pastries (mine of course being gluten-free), and we were also convinced to get a few of their vegan carrot squares for post-winery snacks (and they were insanely delicious, even Zach agreed).

We then drove about 25 minutes to Wellington to begin our first tasting of the day at Rosehall Run Vineyards. We arrived at 11 am to an empty lot and enjoyed an unintentionally private tasting of four wines, all for SEVEN. DOLLARS. That's unheard of in California. Bonus points for PEC.

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Up next was Norman Hardie Winery, a popular lunch spot down the street from Rosehall Run that is known for their wood-fired pizzas. We immediately got a seat on their sunny patio, and enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir with our salad and pizza that we split - it was delicious! We then walked upstairs to their tasting room and each got a glass that we sipped on as we walked around the vineyards (and snapped some photos, of course).

 

We continued our PEC winery tour at Sandbanks Winery, where we each did a tasting at their outdoor tasting bar. Not surprisingly, we started to get the munchies. Luckily, Zach's coworker had recommended a restaurant with an outdoor patio that overlooked the lake. It sounded like the perfect way to end the afternoon, so we headed to The Miller House and grabbed a lovely table where we enjoyed a charcuterie board and drinks with a stunning view before heading back to The June.

After a power nap, we spruced up for dinner and headed to The June's outdoor bonfire pit for a pre-dinner glass of wine (because more wine never hurts). Because Uber doesn't operate in PEC, the front desk notified us that a cab would take approximately 30 minutes to pick us up, so we called the cab company when we ordered our drinks. The cab actually took about 45 minutes, but we eventually were picked up and were on our way to Blumen Garden Bistro. With a focus on fresh and seasonal ingredients, it's easy to understand why Blumen Garden is one of the top restuarants in PEC. Per usual, we began our dinner with a cocktail, and both decided to start with the seasonal soup, followed by the duck and lamb entrees, which were both incredible, all accompanied by a great bottle of wine. We were pretty exhausted from our busy day, so we were fortunately able to cork up our bottle of wine and bring it back to The June where we ended our evening with a nightcap and a movie.

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The following morning, we checked out of The June and drove into Wellington for brunch at the popular Drake Devonshire Inn. The interior of the hotel has an absolutely stunning balance of rustic, cozy, and chic, and the restaurant was designed with high beamed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that looks onto the property's lakeside beach. We were lucky enough to order breakfast items before they switched to their lunch menu (on weekdays, breakfast is only available until 11 am). After devouring our brunch and Caesars (to my Americans - they're essentially Bloody Mary's but made with Clamato juice instead of tomato juice), we strolled down Main Street. We stopped into The Parlour Studio, a stunning plant shop with the most beautiful copper accents, and Oak Clothing Co. that had a great selection of both men's and women's clothing. Before heading back to Toronto, we drove to Sandbanks Provincial Park in the hopes of catching a few rays, but unfortunately the beach was closed due to flooding.

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Needless to say, PEC completely stole my heart, and I couldn't have asked for a dreamier birthday trip with my love. Even though we spend so much time apart from one another, I'm grateful that we can share such special experiences together and make the time that we do have with each other incredibly special.

If you have any questions about anywhere that we stayed or visited, feel free to shoot me a comment below or DM/email me!

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