Tagged free spirit

Hyper-local + trendy Scandinavian restaurant Stedsans shows off in SF for one-night popup

Stedsans in SF
Scandinavia’s Stedsans makes an appearance in SF

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

The food scene in SF is paramount. Restaurants and chefs with a global footprint are constantly attracted to the City to turn a new leaf or try out some new recipes in our 7×7 grid of a community. From famous NY food carts to world-acclaimed chefs, the San Francisco food scene caters to everyone — chef or eater. I was so lucky to be invited to a special, media-only dinner hosted by VisitDenmark and Scandinavian Airlines who put organic restaurant, Stedsans on our radar.

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Stedsans is a beautiful restaurant set within the greenhouse of Scandinavia’s first rooftop farm, OsterGRO, in Copenhagen. If you’re a guest at their restaurant, which is booked several months in advance, you’ll sit at one long table and share five to six courses with everyone around you.

The tablescape at Cookhouse used all Danish cookware.
The tablescape at Cookhouse spotlighted Danish cookware.

In keeping with the inspiration of the restaurant’s normal menu, the owners of Stedsans sourced our dinner’s ingredients from local farms and farmer’s markets that day. We were treated to a six-course meal paired with local wines at North Beach pop-up restaurant space, Cookhouse. Chefs and founders Mette Helbæk and Flemming Hansen were also on hand to talk about the restaurant and the inspiration behind our meal.

“Our menu changes with the season,” Hansen says. “We source natural wines too, because nature is so perfect. Sustainability, our health and gourmet food go hand in hand.”

Stedsans-squash
Have you ever seen such a stunning plate of food?

The meal was absolutely amazing. Vegetarians would have LOVED it and carnivores would have loved the lamb dish. We started our meal with a crudite of raw vegetables, tarragon mayo and seeded crackers, paired with a Pinot Gris. We moved onto roasted butternut squash with goat cheese as well as veggies and hollandaise. While these dishes sound ordinary, they did an amazing job at showing off the freshness and earthiness of each vegetable. Our main course was lamb and two different types of onions and we rounded off our evening with a California gouda and macadamia nuts and Stedsans’ famous Chocolate Cake.

Stedfans veggies
These vegetables were doused in butter and I’m pretty sure that’s why they were so delicious
Stedsans' famous chocolate cake
Stedsans’ famous chocolate cake

Unfortunately I can’t provide any info on when Stedsans will be back in town or offering a meal to the public, but if you ever find yourself in Copenhagen, make sure to look these guys up. For more information, visit http://www.cleansimplelocal.com.

See the sights of San Francisco with GoCar Tours

GoCar SF Golden Gate Bridge

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Michael A. 

I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it: I don’t do touristy things. But when you have friends or family in town for the first time, or if you’re helping someone knock things off their SF bucket list, sometimes you gotta give in. Case in point: My friends and I wanted to see SF not by foot or by car. But by GoCar.

Let’s face it. You can walk miles in SF and not realize it. Unless you’re walking uphill, then that sh*t hurts. Parking and driving in the city without getting stressed out by the car and foot traffic? Yeah, that’s a joke too. So the next best alternative is GoCar. I guarantee you’ve seen these yellow, three-wheelers buzzin’ around in San Francisco and San Diego. But don’t be fooled. These little guys have some power and you can zoom around the City better and more efficiently than by foot or full-sized car.

We magically scheduled our rental on a sunny SF Sunday, got some instruction on how to maneuver around, checked out a couple of paths we could take, and were on our way. I’ve gotta say that I was completely shocked as to how fast the cars went and how much fun these things could be.

GoCar SF
You can go almost everywhere in these little things.

We started our ride in Fisherman’s Wharf, rode to Chrissy Field, went to the beach, through Golden Gate Park and everywhere in between. If you stay on the pre-determined route, you’ll hear a really cool history of SF from the speakers within the car. The tour is self-paced so even if you decide to make a pit stop or get off the route, the GPS will pick up again once you get back on the trail.

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We found some awesome view points while on the GoCar Tours route.

Some of the best parts of the day were zooming down Lombard, up to Coit Tower and around Alamo Square. Although they were highly touristed areas, you’d be surprised as to how much stuff you can pack in a single day.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Unless you’re planning on just driving these cars around, I’d book these GoCars for a few hours. It’s hard to see everything with just a one-hour rental. Splurge a little and rent the cars for a few hours.
  • If you plan on having these cars into the late afternoon. Make sure to bring plenty of layers because it gets chilly. I suggest a hoodie, scarf, light throw blanket, sunglasses and gloves.
  • Bring a group of friends along when you go on these tours. Each car seats two people and I guarantee you’ll have a ton of fun with more people in your group.

If you’re looking for an alternative way to show some out-of-towners the City, or if you’ve lived here awhile but want to see SF in a whole new light, GoCar Tours is how you should do it. For more information, visit www.gocartours.com.

 

 

 

 

Ritual Hot Yoga in SOMA: For lovers of sweaty yoga and sick beats

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Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos courtesy of Ritual Hot Yoga

I think I’m closing in on my eight or nine year anniversary of practicing yoga. I go to yoga to clear my head; to stretch and get a work out in; to get grounded; and to give myself an hour everyday to find balance and breathe. But my workouts, and my life, completely changed once I started practicing hot yoga. I first discovered it in Encinitas maybe four or five years ago and I’m so grateful to have found it.

There’s something so gratifying about seeing your body literally pour out sweat while you’re moving to the beats with your breath. It’s hard to explain but if you’re a yogi like me, you just get it. I found my yoga home at Corepower Yoga in Encinitas. Everyday that I went truly felt like I was going home. My teachers supported me in and out of class, with physical adjustments and words that resonated with me and where I was at in life that very exact moment.

Life has taken me on a crazy journey these last few years and the only constant was my yoga practice.

I’ve since found my yoga home in the City at Corepower SF and I love all of my instructors. This studio is blocks from my office and it’s where I run to when I need some peace. This month I decided to mix things up a bit and check out this hot yoga studio that I’ve had my eye on for several months.

I first found out at Ritual Hot Yoga on Instagram; somehow we found each other on the social media wave. I was reminded of them again when one of my favorite Instagram-famous yogis mentioned her practice at the studio. It was destiny. I had to check these guys out.

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Ritual Hot Yoga is located in SOMA around the corner from the headquarters of tech powerhouses like Airbnb and Pinterest. The studio looks modest from the outside but once you step inside, everything you could possibly need or want is at your fingertips.

This is the first time I’ve been a member at one of those fancy, all-inclusive studios. All you have to do is bring yourself. A mat, a yogitoes towel, hand towel, block and mat clips are all provided and set up in the studio when you arrive. Sip on some tea, check your Instagram with their free wifi, or play with the studio dogs if they’re hanging out. Bottled water is available, as well as showers and every bathroom amenity is available for use before or after class.

Classes at Ritual aren’t like your average yoga practice. Step inside the huge, heated room and you’ll never have to worry about accidentally bumping into your neighbor as mats are perfectly spaced from each other. Classes are held in dark, candlelit rooms so you’ll really have to force yourself to be present, without staring at others or yourself in the mirror. The faint smell of Nag Champa wafts through the air.

Instructors are hooked up to mics and each class begins with a guided meditation about the week’s theme and purpose. Then the party starts. Music booms through the speakers so if you’re into mellow classes, this place not be right for you. The music selection is so on point. Feel like moving your booty to some old school jams or hip hop? This place might just top all of the clubs in the area.

Sometimes you’ll try out a yoga class and you’ll feel like your teacher is just going through the motions and reading from a script while teaching. But all of the instructors I’ve had at Ritual add their own personality to class, whether they’re bouncing around and dancing during class, or sharing intimate stories about their struggles and their life. All of the instructors at Ritual Hot Yoga are amazing.

Classes are 50 minutes so it’s perfect if you need a lunch time break from the office. There’s one to two adjusters in every class so you’ll definitely get some hands-on love if you want it. Oh, and the adjusters come by and offer neck and shoulder massages during meditation and savasana. Swoon! A cold towel is placed on your forehead during your final rest and believe me when I say this will be one of the best parts of class after getting your booty whooped during this fast-paced class.

As crazy, busy and transient as city life can be, I somehow always find a way to find my yoga home. Ritual Hot Yoga is definitely a place I could see myself spending a lot of time at this year. If you live in the City and are looking to spice up your workout regimen, check these guys out. And tell them I sent you. For more information, visit http://www.studioritual.com/.

 

Explore the many landscapes of Oregon

Crater Lake
I mean, just look at this place.

Written by and photos by Michael A.

Although no one would ever question the beauty of Oregon, the state is much more than just beautiful forests. Oregon is in a constant state of beauty whether you’re driving up the beautiful beaches, wandering around the forests, rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park, or eating the West Coast meets Southern style fusion food in Portland. And let’s not forget about all of the breweries and medical dispensaries that seem to be popping up all over the state.

So, follow me on a road trip from California through Oregon as I make stops in Klamath Falls, Crater Lake, Bend, Smith Rock State Park, Multnomah Falls, Portland, and all up and down the coast.

Crater Lake

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Although Crater Lake is regarded as one of Oregon’s biggest tourist destinations, it was pretty empty and peaceful on the day that I went. I should prefix that with the fact that I went on a Friday, mid-November afternoon when most people are working. Note to self: always check the driving advisories before making the trip to Crater Lake as it does get quite a bit of snow and your car will start sliding. Also, there aren’t any gas stations within around 30 miles of the Lake. So, don’t be like me and try to “man up” against your tank. Feed your car some of that sweet gas before making her drive to isolated areas. She’ll appreciate it ;).

I was a bit hesitant to make a stop here as there was a lot of other things I wanted to do in Oregon. Whether you want to stay by the coast your not, do yourself the favor and make a stop here. Although I had the benefit of not running into very many people, it’s hard not to find peace and tranquility with such a beautiful view.

Bend

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Up until my visit, I can honestly say that I didn’t know all that much about Bend. When you think of cities in Oregon, for the most part, we just think of the state as having a ton of trees and that one city named Portland. However, Bend is a great city to stop on your way up through the state. There are tons of food options and breweries everywhere you look. With this combination, it’s hard not to have a good time. Oh, and did I mention, attractive people everywhere! Who would have thought? Since you are somewhat in the middle of nowhere, prices are cheap and you can easily find a hotel room for under $100.

Smith Rock State Park

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The central/eastern part of Oregon definitely doesn’t feel like Oregon anymore. Out with the tall trees and in with the beautiful wide-open landscapes. Oregon quickly transforms itself from greenery everywhere you look to a hay-type hue with beautiful rock formations. If you decide to go to Bend on your way north to Portland, this is an easy stop on the way. If you’re a rock climber, you’ll definitely not want to miss this stop as you’ll see hundreds of rock climbers trying to make these rock formations their bitch.

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Multnomah Falls

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Just an hour or so east of Portland is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever laid my eyes on and that’s saying a lot. I’ve seen them all over Iceland, Ireland, Hawaii, Jamaica, etc. but there truly is something special about the waterfall here. It’s free to get in and you need to make sure you pick up your jaw, which will surely be hanging after 30 minutes of staring in awe as the mist eventually envelopes you as you work your way up to the top of the falls. There are great trails that you can spend hours on and essentially feel as though you’re trapped in some type of Disney fairy tale (or enjoyed the dispensaries way more than you should have).

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Portland

Portland

Oh boy! Just for a little perspective, I’ve been to 40 states and I usually try to go to the biggest to cities in each. I’ve heard good things in the past about Portland’s food and their beer culture, but it was never a top city of mine that I wanted to visit. I can now easily put Portland in my top five American cities to visit. The fusion of modern American/Southern comfort food is absolutely to die for (or from). While you’ll feel stuffed to the brim as you leave, every single meal left me with the ability to work up the energy to crack a smile before going into a two-hour food coma. SOOOOO GOOOOOOOD. Eat everything and do it as often as possible. Also, drink everywhere and do it as often as possible. Microbreweries are everywhere in this young man’s city so do yourself a favor and try to sign up for a beer tour as Portland is now known internationally for their unique and delicious beers.

Also, for all of you West Coast people who have always wanted to see the fall colors, don’t bother flying all the way across the country to the Northeast. I’ve lived on the east coast and although the fall season is beautiful, Portland does a great job making you forget all about the colors of New England.

Lastly, I can’t talk about Portland and not mention Voodoo Donuts. Voodoo Donuts is one of the top places to eat in Portland. You’ll likely wait a good 30 minutes just to get inside. Let me save you the time: OVERRATED. They are just donuts with the novelty of throwing a bunch of odd toppings on them like Fruit Loops. The donuts themselves don’t taste all that good and they are really heavy so you’re missing out an actual meal of delicious food from elsewhere in the city.

Oregon Coast

IMG_0716I strongly suggest driving up on the Eastern side of Oregon and then coming back down on the coast. The coast is beautifully filled with drastic cliffs cutting down into the ocean with tall forest trees resting above. It’s a rather unique view and one that you won’t get tired of as you drive the 8 hours or so from Northern Oregon to the California border.

TL, DR: Oregon = BEAUTY BEAUTY BEAUTY. Take the time, get a car, maybe a tent, a DD, and have a blast as you experience the many wonders of Oregon.

The simple beauty that is Oregon.
The simple beauty that is Oregon.

Who’s going to Lightning in a Bottle 2016?!

Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos courtesy of Lightning in a Bottle

I should have a section on Wander for “Wishful Thinking” posts. It happens just about every week where I’m sitting at my 9-5 job and get a crazy inclination to check out a cool new art show, concert venue, totally crazy event, or new hotel — you name it, I’ve done it. Or, at least I’ve planned to go to something and then plans/universe turned me in a different direction. A couple years ago, I made the intention to check out Lightning in a Bottle at some point in my 20s/30s. And if you know me, you know this event is 1000% Nadia friendly.

Over Memorial Day weekend, thousands and thousands of people convene for a six-day festival of amazing music, yoga, live art installations, a meditation temple, cooking classes and demos, booze, and environmental consciousness in the form of food, vendors and much more. Essentially, people going to LIB are seeking full immersion in a culture that embraces community, self-awareness, the healing benefits of music and yoga, and the act of befriending strangers with common interests.

This year, Lightning in a Bottle will return to the San Antonio Recreation Center in Bradley, CA. Music headliners include some of my favorite artists like Chet Faker, Grimes and Jaime XX and a boatload of other DJs and musicians. While some people are going for the dance and EDM scene, I think I’m more excited about the yoga and meditation aspect, along with spending a couple days out in the wilderness and under the stars. For a hippie, festie girl, this would be a dream come true. Now it’s just a matter of finding a squad to join me.

For more information, check out lightninginabottle.org or check out the 2015 video below. Hope to see you there!