Pleased As Punch

September 2, 2010 by

Oh, how we San Franciscans wait so patiently for warm weather to come upon us. All through July and August we hear of heat-waves happening all around the country and sigh.  We see cute summer dresses in storefront windows that we know if we bought them would just look pretty in our closets and that’s it.  We daydream about tropical drinks and destinations all the while shivering in our boots, scarves and overcoats just waiting for our summer to arrive. Well, it’s been a long-time coming but I do believe that Indian summer in San Francisco is finally here. Let’s stay out past 5:00pm without wearing a sweater, let’s order iced lattes, and let the punch party begin! Read the rest of this entry »

SF Examiner: Chip Conley Q&A

August 30, 2010 by

We thought this interview with Joie de Vivre Founder and CEO Chip Conley by Lisa Geduldig in the San Francisco Examiner was a good read and thought we’d share it. Originally published here.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?
My dad … and, from afar, Herb Kelleher, the co-founder of Southwest Airlines.

Is there a golden rule by which you live?

I’m a believer in “karmic capitalism”: What goes around comes around. Good things happen to good people; sometimes you just have to be a little more patient.

What book or piece of writing has had a big impact on you?

Viktor Frankl’s landmark book “Man’s Search for Meaning” helped me to see that, even in a concentration camp, one can find meaning in life, and that seeking meaning is truly the most noble and worthwhile thing that humans do. Read the rest of this entry »

Chef Profile: Michelle Mah

August 25, 2010 by

Michelle Mah, Executive Chef of Joie de Vivre’s Midi Restaurant was born in Seoul, Korea and lived there until she was three years old. It was then that her family immigrated to the United States and put down roots in Southern California.  A career in the culinary arts wasn’t always in the cards for Michelle. While living in Southern California, she attended the University of California, San Diego, where she majored in Ethnic Studies, minored in General Literature and also had a focus in Photography.

From there, Michelle began working at Café Japengo and because of her love of the kitchen and guidance from chef Amiko Gubbins, she also began attending the College of Food in San Diego where she graduated with an A.O.S. degree.  Michelle then made her move to San Francisco where she attended the California Culinary Academy. Michelle worked in multiple restaurants throughout the city as well as an externship in St. John in the Caribbean before becoming the Executive Chef at Ponzu. It was there; at age 29 that Michelle was awarded the 2006 “Rising Star Chef” award by the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the rest of this entry »

Takin’ It To the Street

August 16, 2010 by

Julie Flynn is the retail and communications program associate at La Cocina.  She man­ages all of La Cocina’s retail sales and handles communications and promotions.  She also supports the pro­gram par­tic­i­pants to help them grow and launch their food businesses.

The summer is in full swing, and the city of San Francisco has exploded with outdoor festivals, fairs, and markets. It seems that every weekend there is some fantastic, often delicious, community event going on in some part of this 7 x7 town.

Relatively new to this scene is the San Francisco Street Food Festival, which will celebrate its second year on August 21st in the Mission district.  The organization behind this much anticipated event, La Cocina, is a small non-profit incubator kitchen. La Cocina provides affordable commercial kitchen space and hands-on technical assistance to low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing, and formalizing food businesses. Read the rest of this entry »

SF Chefs Week (and a POMegranate Party)

August 9, 2010 by

This week our Northern California chefs are busy prepping for their upcoming participation in SFChefs Restaurant Week; an event highlighting the best chefs of the Bay.  For three days and nights starting on Friday, chefs rule in the middle of Union Square and judging by the feedback from the event debut last year, it will be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. With world renowned chefs like Hubert Keller and Tyler Florence participating as well as our own chefs from Café Andree, Bar Adagio, Midi, Henry’s, and Americano on hand, the only thing greater than the amazing culinary offerings are the people involved in bringing such an event together. Read the rest of this entry »

An Insider Talks Outside Lands

August 2, 2010 by

Danielle Madeira is the vice president of marketing for Another Planet Entertainment based in Berkeley, California.  In addition to producing the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival and the Treasure Island Music Festival, Another Planet is also the exclusive promoter for the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, the Fox Theater in Oakland, The Independent in San Francisco, and Harvey’s Outdoor Amphitheatre in Lake Tahoe.

What artist(s)/performers are you most excited for at Outside Lands this year?

This year is going to be tough since there are so many great live acts on the Outside Lands line-up.  I am really excited to see Phoenix. I saw them at the Fillmore a few months back and the show blew me away. I have been a fan of My Morning Jacket for a long time and their live shows never disappoint.  To have Golden Gate Park as their backdrop will be a perfect way to experience this band live. I think Al Green is another one not to miss. He is still an amazing performer and always brings out roses to the ladies in the audience – such a class act. Janelle Monάe is a new artist who has such style and energy – she’s one I’d recommend. She opened up for Erykah Badu at the Paramount and received a lot of buzz.

What can someone who’s never been to the Outside Lands Music Festival expect and be prepared for?

Outside Lands is so much more than music. We have created a food, wine and music festival with this two-day event. Definitely come hungry. We handpick local restaurants that are known for specialty food items that people love. It is definitely getting the best of the Bay in one place. This year we have Namu serving their Korean tacos; Farmer Brown’s Little Skillet serving their fried chicken and mac ‘n cheese; Anchor & Hope serving bbq and raw oysters; and so much more. The food is not your typical festival fare. In addition to the excellent culinary offerings, we can’t forget the wine. There will be more than 25 local vintners pouring wine in our Wine Lands area. The last thing to remember is bring your jacket. Summer in San Francisco can be foggy and cool, especially in the evenings. Read the rest of this entry »

Wild, Cool and Swanky

July 29, 2010 by

Swank, our hip lounge was just featured in an article stating that it was one of the best “Mad Men” style bars in the United States.  With its cool and understated feel along with a bartender that can quote Sinatra and Billie Holiday; it really is a perfect place to go back in time. Swank is nestled in the Laurel Heights district of San Francisco, far away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown scene.  It’s also one of the few bars in San Francisco with a fireplace! Read the rest of this entry »

Chef Profile: Hugo Campos

July 27, 2010 by

Hugo Campos is the head chef at our Bar Adagio in downtown San Francisco.  Although his family was originally from El Salvador; Hugo grew up in Southern California.  It was there, well to be more specific…in the kitchen of a diner in Riverside while working as a dishwasher that his love for the culinary world began.  When asked about his particular culinary influences; Hugo is quick to state that he doesn’t look up to the typical celebrity or high-profile chef.  The biggest influences on his culinary career have always been a number of sous chefs that he’s worked with since that job as a dishwasher right out of High School. Read the rest of this entry »

Scratching the Surface

July 23, 2010 by

Meandering down the Ocean Front Walk of Venice Beach, visions of eccentric storefronts and mystical characters fill your mind.  Your body begins to warm up with the heat of the sun while the ocean breeze provides an alluring sense of calm.  Thoughts of Jim Morrison’s, “Spanish Caravan” infiltrate your thoughts but just then, you start to hear another sound.  This sound isn’t the music of your past or future; but rather your present state of mind. It’s the sound of turn-tables mixing all kinds of beats and it appears to be coming directly from the sky above.  You’re not high yet…but you’re about to be.

Of course we’re talking about our “Scratch Academy” DJ classes we hold at our High Rooftop Lounge in our Hotel Erwin on Venice Beach. (What did you think we were talking about?) High has partnered up with Scratch Academy, which is an organization started by the late Jam Master J with the goal of making the DJ art form accessible to everyone.  Together, they are offering DJ classes on our rooftop lounge for those interested in learning how to mix the ones and twos. Read the rest of this entry »

Neil Young Country

July 22, 2010 by

(Neil Young playing Hank Williams Sr.’s guitar at the annual Bridge School Benefit, photo courtesy Paul Tomita)

Editor’s note: Today we are really excited to feature a post from guest blogger Chris Horn, a music lover who has followed Bay Area resident and rock legend Neil Young for nearly 35 years. We met Chris when we were doing a blog post on our Hotel Kabuki’s cameo the night of The Band’s last performance at the now defunct (and also legendary) Winterland Ballroom. Chris was gracious enough to let us use a wonderful photo he had taken of Winterland before its demolition in 1985. You can find his writings on music and some of his great photos here.

By Chris Horn

Neil Young is one of the most beloved and respected musicians of our time. Poignant, prolific, and fiercely independent he has followed his muse and penned songs that have touched the lives and consciousness of multiple generations. Writing and performing music since the early 1960’s he shows no sign of slowing down.

Neil doesn’t just play songs, he lives and breathes them. Whether he’s playing acoustic on a guitar once owned by Hank Williams Sr. or caressing punishing electric notes out of Ol’ Black, (both pictured) he can get into a zone that only he fully feels. We, the audience, have the joy of coming along for the ride.

He has toured the world and since making the San Francisco Bay Area his home in the early 1970’s, he’s played the widest variety of venues here.

While he’s performed in the area’s larger and famous venues (Shoreline Amphitheater, Oakland Coliseum-Arena, Winterland)  he has also played some much smaller places too (Old Princeton Landing in Princeton/Half Moon Bay, Saddle Rack in San Jose, The Inn Of The Beginning in Cotati).

I’ve assembled a list (below), with dates and set lists, of those varied sized venues.

I first saw Neil live on July 1, 1976 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York when he played with Stephen Stills as the Stills-Young Band.  I hadn’t followed him too closely but had heard his music on the radio and occasionally listened to Deja Vu. After the Beatles broke up, Poco was my favorite band. One day my younger brother came to me with Neil’s “Tonight’s The Night” and “Zuma” albums and insisted I listen to them. I knew he was really into Neil and I obliged. I then devoured all his other Neil LP’s and my music appreciation course had changed. The time came when he was going to play locally and I could see him live. With Poco opening, not only was it a dream concert it set the course of my live musical journey. Read the rest of this entry »