Jessica and I finished up our holiday-cookie–tasting extravaganza weeks ago, but the fruits of our labor can now be viewed right here. Tasting over 100 cookies from SF’s best bakeries sounds fun until you’re on your fifth really mediocre Mexican wedding cookie, feeling vaguely strung out on sugar (not to mention the suspicious dusting of powder on your nose).
The elections may (finally) be over, but the inaugural celebrations have yet to come. We're predicting everything from lunchtime toasts to swanky shindigs around town on January 20. Loyal Army, an SF-based clothing line for teens that opened its first retail shop, in the Haight, in recent months, is whipping up a batch of limited-edition T-shirts just for the occasion. Founder Brian Dold says he designed the shirts with the goal of getting teens involved in politics.
Local illustrator Hannah Stouffer, daughter of wildlife documentarian Marty Stouffer, finds inspiration in a “grand array” (also the name of her online Etsy shop) of pop-culture emblems, which are neatly disorganized into graphic mash-ups emblazoned on everything from posters to pillows.
It's always fun to see what SF star chefs are doing abroad, so to speak. We recently checked out Michael Mina's newest outpost, XIV, on a bustling corner of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. While the design by Philippe Starck is an uncommon marriage of modern and French chateau (a nice play on the name, which derives from this being Mina's fourteenth restaurant), the food is classic Mina mini-portions, taken to the next level.
For the beauty novice, it’s hard to believe that a bar of soap could do more than wash the dirt off. Those in the know realize the potential joys of the ideal cleansing bar—one so perfectly balanced that its rich lather leaves your skin moisturized and smooth, freshly scented and, of course, gently cleaned. We’ve found said bar in the form of the new, ultragentle Glowology Believe Honey Bar by San Jose–based Noodle & Boo. As a bonus, the company donates 100 percent of the product’s profits to the Raise Your Hand Campaign, which funds water-purification systems for disadvantaged children worldwide. Available at Nordstrom, 865 Market St., 415-243-8500
Cinta Gibbons of Cinta Salon fame has opened California’s first Aveda Institute, providing West Coast cosmetology and esthetics students with 10,000 square feet of eco-friendly space in which to train, and bargain hunters with a gold mine for discounted grooming services. Professionally supervised students perform an array of services, from brow tints and waxes to haircuts, updos and highlights. Our budget service of choice is the 50-minute custom-cleansing facial, which includes a neck massage and extractions, as well as post-treatment mineral makeup application, for $40—twice the beauty at more than half off the usual spa price. 305 Kearny St., 415-989-4400
Not-in-the-know hikers might think they’ve got to leave the city for a challenging nature trek with views. Not so. Our recently renovated stretch of the California Coastal Trail, which actually runs throughout the entire state, offers rugged coastline climbs, picnic spots and several sets of steps. Around each corner is another killer view. We like to start at Baker Beach and follow the trail up to the Golden Gate Bridge, then down into Marina Green for a well-deserved lunch at either the Warming Hut (Presidio Bldg.
You’re just as likely to see a preschool percussionist as a baby-boomer bassist emerge from the Blue Bear School of Music’s bustling Fort Mason Center headquarters, where jamming is key and age ain’t nothin’ but a number. The nonprofit community school has been rocking out since 1971, attracting thousands of kids and would-be professional musicians for an array of affordable private and group classes. We’re huge fans of the quarterly nighttime gigs around town, where you’ll find gathered the unlikeliest of onstage bandmates (think: middle-aged engineer-mandolin-player alongside 20-something blues-crooning barista.) A bonus?
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