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We Wanna Be Friends With: Jessamine McLellan of Hakkasan SF

Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

The opening of Hakkasan San Francisco was met with serious excitement earlier this year. But along with a stellar interior design and tasty food, their cocktail menu and massive "U" shaped bar is a huge hit. The woman to thank? Beverage and Bar Manager Jessamine McLellan.

Jessamine is an industry pro with a level two sommelier certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers, who discovered her passion for food+drink while living in Nice as a kid. We're dying to try the new seasonal cocktail menu she put together for Hakkasan, like the Ruby Empress with Blade gin, Byrrh Grand quinquina, blood orange juice, fennel, orange bitters and absinthe spritz, and love to see how Jessamine is excelling in a traditionally male-dominated field. Cheers to Jessamine for taking the time to answer our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A!

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?

I currently live in Oakland, on the Emeryville border. I’d love to live in the city and have before, but living in the East Bay has been surprisingly gratifying since I’m going to a lot of places I never would have if I didn’t live there. I go to Prizefighter often and tend to go to Honor Bar for late night food and drinks. Rockridge is close by too, so Ramen Shop and A Coté are good places since they serve food later as well. Late night dining is one thing I miss about living in SF.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?

I will never, ever, ever say no to a Croque Madame from Chez Maman. I lived in France when I was a child so I have a penchant for French cafe foods. Also, working at Hakkasan has afforded me the pleasure of eating amazing Chinese food every day so, when I’m not eating at the restaurant, I crave other types of food.

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

I think that perfect nights are defined by the company you surround yourself with. I’m lucky enough to have most of my family and friends nearby in the city. One of our favorite things is to explore new restaurants. I recently had dinner at some new hot spots – Roka Akor, the Cavalier and 1760. Also, if I'm in the Mission, I always take friends to Trick Dog to show off the menu concept, or Smuggler's Cove to get flames, rum, and danger (not on the side).

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

Usually my house. Since I work long hours, I don’t spend much time there and watching TV in pajamas is highly underrated. I also like to come into the city on Saturdays to see my better half, Joey Elenterio at Wayfare Tavern, have a cocktail and eat some soup. I know it’s an odd choice, but he just makes really good soups.

When Joey and I have time off together we search out antiques and used books at places like Dog Eared Books, STUFF and Green Apple Books. I love vintage spirit print ads and funky mixing glasses. He arguably has an antique spoon problem. It's a nice way to spend down time though, pondering the history of a book or object and is certainly a source of serenity for me.

6. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?

Naturally it’s Napa Valley. I always have to stop in Yountville and take a stroll through the French Laundry garden to see the changes in the seasons. It’s beautiful and very sacred to me for a few reasons. Then of course I have an excuse to devour my weight in Bouchon Bakery pastries.

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?

Burger.

Presidio or Golden Gate Park?

GG Park.

BiRite or Mitchell’s?

Neither! Marianne’s in Santa Cruz…. it’s worth it.

Bike or MUNI?

Muni.

Fort Mason or Dolores Park?

Dolores Park.

The Independent or the Fillmore?

Fillmore.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?

Ocean Beach.

7. Three words that describe your life in SF?

Smiling, Shaking, Stirring.

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