blue bottle coffee shopcraftsman and wolvescraftsman and wolvesdijital fixdijital fixdijital fixgravel & goldpfieffer beachmcway fallsnepenthehenry miller memorial libraryhenry miller memorial library Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the golden state of California for the first time. While I'm usually not one for making plans while on vacation, I did a bit of homework prior to heading out west to find the best coffee spots, restaurants and shops to visit while on my trip. Here's a run down of my favorites, stretching the coast from San Francisco to Big Sur, complete with a soundtrack of West Coast vibes. San Francisco // Mission District Blue Bottle Coffee: With 6 locations in the Bay Area, there's usually always delicious iced coffee within a mile of anywhere in the city. For those of you in the Big Apple, Blue Bottle has 4 shops in New York as well. And even better! You can order supplies - drip sets, siphons, grinders, filters, etc. - and coffee from their website… and become a pro barista with the help of their brewing guides. Wins all around. Craftsman and Wolves: Two words. Egg muffin - made with Baccalone sausage, green onions and a soft poached egg. The sell out early, so make sure to get there around 10 am on the weekends if you're in search of an egg muffin. Otherwise, treat yourself to a pastry or sandwich while basking in aesthetic goodness - because literally everything they make is delicious and the interior space is incredible. Pizzeria Delfina (not pictured): Pizzeria Delfina came well-recommended from some East Coast friends. Great spot with outdoor seating in the Mission. If you're into pizza, you can't skip out on this place. I ordered the "Panna" and added fennel sausage, which I later learned is nicknamed "The Magic Pie," and with good reason. Dijital Fix: Great looking audio equipment ranging from headphones to record players to an Eames lounge decked out with a speaker system. They also stock a great supply notebooks, letterpress prints, iPhone and iPod cases, a million Herschel bags, and cool posters. And they have a black and white photo booth! They also have a shop in New York, but if both options are inconvenient, check out their website. Dog Eared Books: This independent book shop has been around for over 20 years and is located in the heart of the Mission. They stock new and used books, magazines, and have a super friendly staff. Gravel & Gold: This group of ladies has their own line of clothing and goods, and also stock pottery, cards, jams, kitchen and home goods from craftsmen near and far whom they know and love. Great concept and and even better selection of goods. Monument (not pictured): Authentic Mid-century furniture at its finest. While Mid-century shops are a dime a dozen in SF, Monument had a particularly unique selection. Conveniently enough, you can view and shop their pieces online here. Drive down the coast along Highway 1 from the city to Big Sur. If you're looking to unplug (literally, the cell service is super spotty) and to be surrounded by a wealth of natural beauty, Big Sur is the place. Perks: secluded beaches, amazing wine, hiking, biking, kayaking, cliff top views that span 30 miles of the coast. Big Sur Pfeiffer Beach: The most popular coastal access in Big Sur, but typically not very crowded. Pack a lunch and a camera and you're set. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and McWay Falls: Easily one of the most beautiful views in Big Sur. Nepenthe: Panoramic view of coastline and the food is probably the best you'll find in Big Sur. Also a great place to sit and have a nice bottle of wine while enjoying the view. Henry Miller Memorial Library: Hands down, the most charming experience I had in California. Equal parts bookstore and collection of Henry Miller oddities, including handwritten pages, posters, photographs and paintings. They host shows, film screenings, writing workshops and other events. A "must" if you're in Big Sur.
October 17, 2013 — Mel Calabro