In our What's in your Bay series, 7x7 asks local chefs, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs what restaurants, venues, and getaways form the landmarks of their Bay Area (and beyond).
Russian-born contemporary artist Kate Tova's stunningly vibrant, large-scale works have appeared everywhere from record covers to TV shows to magazines. Now at home in SF's Richmond District with her cattle dog Toochi, the creative innovator tells us what's in her Bay, from her go-to neighborhood restaurants to her favorite local hike.
"I love the seafood bibimbap, japchae noodles, and their complimentary beef tofu soup at Han Il Kwan," says Tova.(Courtesy of @djk236)
What is your go-to neighborhood spot?
Korean food at Han Il Kwan (1802 Balboa St). I love the seafood bibimbap, japchae noodles, and their complimentary beef tofu soup. Also Kaiju Eats Ramen & Izakaya (3409 Geary Blvd.) for ramen on a cold foggy day. My favorite is Kaiju kobe ramen. I order it mildly spicy because a regular one will get you!
What restaurant is your favorite splurge?
Gilda’s Salon Dinners, the 11-course meal with wine pairing at Proper Hotel (1100 Market St). Every dish is an artwork.
What’s your favorite place for brunch?
For sit-down brunch my favorite spot is Zazie (941 Cole St). Great vibes and great pancakes. For a to-go option I love the sushirritos from Amitis Poke Cafe (800 Masonic Ave.) and then taking a walk to Alamo Square.
"The live alternative music combined with the bizarre retro visuals they project on the screen at the Balboa Theatre creates a really fun, almost psychedelic experience," says Tova.(Courtesy of @chelrax)
What is your favorite Bay Area venue for seeing art or theater, or listening to live music?
I’ve been to breathtaking shows at SF Ballet, Opera and SFJazz, but somehow the most memorable and inspiring for my art has been the tiny Balboa Theatre (3630 Balboa St.) It’s an old school movie theater where local musicians perform on a stage in front of the movie screen. The live alternative music combined with the bizarre retro visuals they project on the screen creates a really fun, almost psychedelic experience.
What’s your favorite date night spot?
A sunset picnic at Land's End by the Sutro Baths (1004 Point Lobos Ave).
Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors?
I love showing the non-touristy places of San Francisco because that’s how I fell in love with the city. After I took a walk through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach, I knew I wanted to live here (even though it was foggy and chilly and I lived in toasty New Orleans at the time). Make sure you wander off to unpaved paths and explore the lakes, little flower gardens, and eucalyptus forests. I go there almost every day with my dog Toochi and keep discovering new gems.
"It looks like a Jurassic, lush paradise with waterfalls flowing throughout the whole Cataract Falls hike," says Tova.(Courtesy of @craiggy36)
What’s your favorite Bay Area hike?
The Cataract Falls Trail in Stinson Beach after the rains. It looks like a Jurassic, lush paradise with waterfalls flowing throughout the whole hike.
What’s your favorite Northern California day trip?
A surfing getaway to Santa Cruz. It’s a great place to visit to relax and reset.