Archive for the ‘Arts & Culture’ Category

SF Chefs Week (and a POMegranate Party)

August 9, 2010

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. (more…)

Chef Profile: Hugo Campos

July 27, 2010

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. (more…)

Scratching the Surface

July 23, 2010


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. (more…)

Vive Le Film!

July 8, 2010


On Bastille Day, July 14th our Hotel Rex will play host to the French-Language Disposable Film Festival. The Disposable Film Festival in a San Francisco based event that was created to highlight the potential and creativity that can come from the medium of disposable film such as cell phone cameras, point and shoot cameras, webcams and so on.  Short film submissions from around the world are selected, then screened and featured in these festivals.

For this particular soiree, the Disposable Film crew has put together their most intriguing French-Language short films for us to enjoy the Joie of Film at our very own Hotel Rex.  The screening begins at 8:00pm but we’ll be serving French-inspired drink specials in our Library Bar starting at 6:00pm. Attendance is free.

Joyful Entrepreneurs: Rickshaw Bagworks

June 30, 2010

Mark Dwight and Lisa Taylor of Rickshaw Bagworks

As part of our summer Road Trippin’ California campaign, we’ve met the cool folks at Rickshaw Bagworks, who have made some fabulous custom road trip themed bags for us to share with our fans. Their approach to sustainability, which encompasses community and environmentally-conscious design, is holistic and quite inspiring. Their founder, Mark Dwight, graciously agreed to be interviewed as part of our “Joyful Entrepreneurs” series.

Why did you start Rickshaw?
I started Rickshaw to pursue my passion for designing bags, building brands, exploring sustainable business practices, running my own business, and engaging in the local community. I love making things — especially things that require a certain amount of hand-work. I call it “artisanal manufacturing”. My first business was making stained glass windows when I was in high school. After college, I spent 15 years in Silicon Valley working for technology companies. I took a break from high-tech in 2001, and had the good fortune to join a popular SF bag company called Timbuk2. That’s where my passion for bags blossomed. The bag business has brought me back to my true passion for working with my hands. In fact, making bags has some similarities to making stained glass windows — just with fabric and thread instead of glass and lead.

How is sustainable design interpreted at Rickshaw?
I’m a student of Bill McDonough’s “Cradle to Cradle” manifesto on sustainable design. I’m very interested in the difficult challenges of balancing design criteria (such as appearance, performance, and price) and sustainability, as they relate to our choices for materials and processes. Here at Rickshaw, we have a design methodology called “The Power of Zero” — whereby we try to eliminate waste in every aspect of our business, and explore opportunities for closed-loop recycling of environmentally-friendly materials. (more…)

Going Back to (So)Cali

June 23, 2010

Today’s guest post is from Leah Corradino of Joie de Vivre’s SoCal team. Leah shares her vast knowledge of what to do, see, eat and drink in Southern California – including a few bon mots from our hotels in the region: Shorebreak Hotel (Huntington Beach), Hotel Angeleno (Los Angeles), Hotel Maya (Long Beach), and Hotel Erwin (Venice Beach). Stay tuned also for our new Pacific Edge Hotel, which debuts in Laguna Beach this month. Thanks, Leah, we can’t wait to get back to SoCali and try some of these!

1. Intellegentsia for the BEST coffee experience on Abbot Kinney in Venice

2. The Hollywood Bowl for the best “under the stars” summer performances

3. Temescal Canyon Trail for a hike and to see the waterfall and ocean views from the Pacific Palisades

4. Opening Ceremony just opened on La Cienega!  Serious competition for Fred Segal!

5. Paradise Cove in Malibu for a scenic Sunday drive up the coast and for their gigantic iced seafood tower

6. The Other Room for great people-watching and drinks on Abbot Kinney in Venice

7. The Wiltern, Troubador, and the Fonda for intimate live music concerts (more…)

Top 10 Things to Do in Sacramento

June 17, 2010


I’m a Bay Area girl, born and raised. One can only imagine my friends’ reactions four years ago when they heard I was moving to Sacramento to attend UC Davis. Shock and disgust were among many facial expressions, to give you an idea.

You see, my friends were moving to “cool” places for college, like L.A. and San Diego.  Sacramento on the other hand, known for being a “cow-town” and “hot as hell”, was always stereotyped as less than desirable.

Well, turns out the joke’s on them.  Sacramento is awesome, and I’m not afraid to say it out loud. Four years into living here, I have dined downtown, wined Midtown, ran a 10k around the zoo, attended film festivals at the Crest, and rafted down the river on lazy Sunday afternoons.

Without further adieu, here’s my personal list of the top ten things to do in Sacramento (and I hope if you visit, you will check out – or, even better, check in – Joie de Vivre’s gorgeous Citizen Hotel):

1. Catch a film at the Crest Theater. I think it might be accurate to say I have never seen a bad film here. If you’re into the Avatars and Iron Mans, this isn’t the place for you. If you’re into the interesting, hilarious, and educational indie films that nobody has heard of, this is your go-to theater. I am a bit of a movie snob and this is hands down, the best place to catch a good film in Sacramento.

2. Float down the river. I’ll be honest—it gets pretty dang hot in Sacramento, especially in the summer months. What better way to spend your scorching Sunday afternoon than lazily rafting down the American River? Tip: rent multiple rafts and tie them together with rope to float as a group. Add a cooler of classy beverages, a boom box, and you’re good to go. (more…)

Sonoma on My Mind

June 15, 2010

One of my favorite road trips involves Hwy 121 aka Arnold Drive in Sonoma.  Sonoma is a vast territory that spans from the San Pablo Bay in the south all the way up north to Santa Rosa and in between the Mayacamas Mountains and Sonoma Mountains.

Once referred to as the Valley of the Moon by the native Miwok, Pomo and Wintun peoples, the Sonoma Valley is now a mecca for wine enthusiasts, and all people in search for some Joie de Vivre.  Whereas Napa is seen as a little more upscale and refined, Sonoma is true to its country roots.  The Sonoma lifestyle is a little more casual and free-spirited.  It’s one of my favorite local getaways as it’s a quick 45 minute drive from San Francisco once you hit the Golden Gate Bridge.  My picks reflect places that hold great memories and are almost always on my itinerary when I make my way up north.

Angelo’s Wine Deli

Angelo’s is a small and unassuming outpost along the 121 also known as Arnold Drive.  If you’re not paying attention, you may miss it as you’re gazing at the surrounding vineyards.  Look out for the brown and white Hereford statue that graces the top of the sign to signal your arrival.  Most people know Angelo’s for its famous jerky.  It’s unlike any jerky I have ever had, instead of being dehydrated to the point of leather, it’s actually very moist and hearty, and comes in many different flavors. The VIP is my favorite.  Many people who are traveling to the wine country are maybe not in a position to buy perishable meats that need to be refrigerated, but the real treasure to be had at Angelo’s is their famous sausages that are hands-down the best I have ever had.  The Louisiana hot links and the Hawaiian Portuguese sausages are delicious and when braised in beer and onions and then placed on the grill for some charring – divine. (more…)

Road Trippin’: SF’s Richmond District

June 8, 2010

Getting up close and personal with a city you do not know is a bit like angling to meet the Rolling Stones after the show without a backstage pass: if you don’t have someone who can hook you up, you’ll have to be content with being held at a cordial arm’s length, no shots of Jameson with Keith for you.

For the next few months, as part of our Road Trippin’ California summer, we’re going to be sharing our personal itineraries from the places in California we love. We hope it inspires you to get out and explore the Golden State and experience some of the authentic sights and scenes we’d want people to share with us.

Today, I’m writing about my own neighborhood, San Francisco’s  fabulously untrendy Richmond District. If you’re looking for packaged faux-bohemian or sidewalk cafes avec the stroller set, the Richmond probably isn’t going to ring your bell. I love it for its sunny days, good food, cheap rents (with great views), and its nearness to both Golden Gate Park (the city’s legendary outdoor playground) and the beach. It’s also got humility going for it, like the best people and places who aren’t terribly aware of their charms.

Here’s my top 10 list for the Richmond. I hope you will read it with rapt attention, takes notes, and make a visit next time you are in our fair city by the bay.

1. Kamei Restaurant Supply – honestly, forget Chinatown for tablewares and tchotchkes and head to Kamei, where you can find all the sushi ware your heart desires, a vast selection of rice cookers, tea pots, and other culinary lovelies at affordable prices (525-547 Clement St., San Francisco).

(more…)

Body of Art

April 27, 2010

I’ve been intrigued by tattoos for as long as I can remember, likely due to the influences of my brother and mother. Growing up, my older brother discovered his love for tattoos during his middle school years. I remember coming home one day to find he had taken apart my bedside fan to use the motor for his homemade tattoo gun. He and his friends always practiced on each other. Lucky for them, my brother is quite a good artist. By the time he was in high school he had a few dozen tattoos all over his body. As a child, I used to think his pre-teen doodle tattoos looked so silly. I didn’t see the appeal and never thought I would get one.

I later came to love the beauty tattoos can express…the insights into one’s life that can be seen on a canvas of skin. As horrible as I used to think my brother’s kid-made tattoos were, as I got older I could see the beauty in them – the story of his life scrawled across his body.

I recently began working on my latest tattoo, which is by far my largest: a full back piece of a phoenix and a dragon.  The journey began with an idea, a vision of what I felt represented my life.  I began saving money because I knew it was going to be an investment. I started researching artists. I’d look at portfolios online and pop into shops all over San Francisco.  After two years of looking around I found a tremendous amount of talent in the city, but when I stepped into the shop where I found my artist, I knew I’d found the one. I told him what I was thinking and just let him run with it. The first time I went in to see his sketch, I was blown away. His vision of my idea was incredible.  (more…)