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Robin Rinaldi

Bay to Breakers: Time to Start Training!

Lots of things are better when you DIY, but training for a long-distance race is not one of them. If you’re set on finally running the Bay to Breakers (May 17) or the SF Marathon (July 26) this year, do your body a favor and sign up for one of the various race training programs created by the SF Road Runners Club or the SF Marathon, all of which start right around now.

We Be Clubbin' (Or Yoga-ing)

We’ve noticed two yoga trends lately: more music played during class, and more weekend nighttime classes that serve as a kind of social happening. These phenoms collide at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in the Mission, where Midnight Yoga has been bringing in the healthy crowd every Friday at 10 p.m. for a two-hour vinyasa class accompanied by local DJs and live music ranging from jazz to African. 3271 16th St., 415-355-1600, laughinglotus.com

Our Favorite Overnight Bag

Our favorite new overnighter is the Metric Weekender bag from local accessories outfit Hlaska, whose flagship store opened on Fillmore last fall. The perfect size for a short jaunt, the bag sports Italian-leather handles and trim and hides several utility pockets. It comes in either salmon- or slate-colored basketweave ($315) or a variety of limited-edition, custom-printed woven fabrics ($475).

2033 Fillmore St., 415-440-1999

Michael Mina's XIV Debuts in L.A.

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.

Renovated California Coastal Trail: Best Urban Walk

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.

Farina's World Pesto Champ

You may have heard a tidbit here or there about Danny Bowien, the 25-year-old chef at Farina, winning the Pesto World Championship in Genoa, Italy back in April. But in my humble opinion, none of us has heard enough about this accomplishment. So I headed over to Farina the other day to talk with Bowien and his mentor, Farina executive chef Paolo Laboa, a Genoese who taught his mother’s recipe to Bowien in Farina’s kitchen.

A Gold Star for Golden Produce

I’d like to point out a little gem of a market on Church Street in Duboce Triangle, across from Safeway. It’s called Golden Produce, and it’s got some of the freshest, best-looking and most affordable vegetables in town, much of them certified organic. We’re talking plump, perfectly shaped eggplant the color of Cabernet and muscular-looking bell peppers that seem to have been airbrushed by Pantone. Even more enticing are the baby vegetables—fingerling potatoes, tiny artichokes, mini-bulbs of bok choy and sunburst squash the size of silver dollars.

Nettie's Crab Shack Opens

Just in time for the opening of Dungeness season next month, Nettie’s Crab Shack debuted on Union Street Tuesday night, in the space that—for about five minutes—house Palmetto. The co-creation of Brian Leitner (who spent five years cooking at Chez Panisse) and Annette Yang (who helped open Spruce, Jack Falstaff and Home, which occupied said space before Palmetto), Nettie’s is done up like a spacious Atlantic beach cottage. You’ll think you’re back in Cape Cod or Ocean City. There’s a patio, picnic tables covered in butcher paper and buckets of beer.


The bar at Nettie's.

Dining in the Dark

Take away one sense and the others are heightened—that's what they say, right? You can test that theory in spades at Dining in the Dark, a program that launched in Europe and has now made its way to L.A., San Diego and recently, SF. The experiment takes place in Crimson Lounge, the downstairs private-event space of Indigo restaurant in Hayes Valley, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.


Making Nocino

Green walnuts have made their annual appearance at the farmers markets, which means it's time to make nocino, an Italian liqueur that's traditionally made in summer (if you want to get really pagan about it, the walnuts should be picked on the solstice, June 21, though it's too late for that now) and aged until the winter holidays, when it's used as an excellent digestive. We found these at Alemany Farmers Market, but you can also drive up to Marin, Napa or Sonoma counties, where the trees are plentiful, and pick your own.


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