Isis Tatiana Hockenos’s San Francisco City Guide – Locals Only
This week we’re excited to feature Isis Tatiana Hockenos! Read their personal San Francisco city guide, and what travel means to them below. The true way to experience a new city and have an unforgettable adventure is to go to the best spots known by locals only. Let Isis Tatiana Hockenos show you their version of San Francisco through a native lens.
About Isis Tatiana Hockenos
Check out their Instagram: @isistatianahockenos
At Overnight, we want you to travel like a native, which is why we profile unique and exciting perspectives for our Locals Only features. Use these suggestions to learn about the city, discover the best places last minute, and as inspiration to #ExploreMore2016
All Photo’s by isistatianahockenos unless otherwise stated.
What to do in San Francisco
What is the one must-do you always share with your out-of-town friends if they take a last minute trip to San Francisco?
I think that it is important for visitors to get a sense of how the city is positioned geographically. It is such a small city that its reach extends beyond the county line. Grab a “Mission burrito” and drive or walk up to the top of Twin Peaks. The view provides a 360 degree view of the entire Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge to the north and the Bay Bridge to the east. All of the East Bay is in sight as well as the Marin Headlands. With this understanding it is easier to get a sense of the community of the city. When a specific farm is listed on a local restaurant’s menu, one’s knowledge of the region will give context and value to that information. When browsing in a local boutique and one notices that the artisan behind a striking piece of jewelry is based out of a tiny town along Hwy 1 north of the city, that piece of jewelry will take on greater relevance. Understanding the relationship between San Francisco and the surrounding areas that feed its aesthetics and values will bring more depth and significance to any visit. After you hike back down from Twin Peaks you may even have room for Dim Sum in the Richmond District.
What’s your favorite thing about San Francisco?
San Francisco is truly an emanation of the surrounding areas, from the handcraft culture of the northern Pacific coast to the sun-baked inland farm land to the various immigrant communities that continue to define the spirit of San Francisco. I love how directly these elements influence our aesthetic and values.
Where’s your favorite place to grab a drink?
I am partial to dive bars and spots where my friends and I can create our own experience and are not dictated by a “scene”. One of our favorites is Virgil’s Sea Room in the outer Mission. They have a patio in the back too. Zeitgeist on Valencia is a classic destination with ample outside seating. I love Latin American Club on 22nd St. for their massive margaritas, lively decor and sunny afternoons. For specialty cocktails I head to The Alembic on Haight St.
Where’s your must-eat spot?
What a question! I am most fond of places that hold stories for me. Tartine Bakery has set the tone for bread and pastry not only in SF but globally. They got their start out in Pt. Reyes where I grew up so they are part of my history. The perfect day begins with a croissant at Tartine. I think that Outerlands and Trouble Coffee out in the Sunset on Judah St. really capture the spirit of the Pacific Coast and most of the build outs there were done by craftspeople I know. (Similarly The General Store is on that same block). Dim Sum in SF is a classic treat, perfect for a hungover Sunday Morning. (I love Hong Kong Lounge on Geary). On Saturday morning, head to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. It is best to get there before 10am as it is very crowded but you’ll find that most of the farms from which local restaurants source, are represented there. Don’t miss the fish tacos at Primavera. For the absolute best charcuterie head to Fatted Calf Charcuterie on Fell St. House made charcuterie and a full service butcher counter (as well as wine, cheese and other larder items) makes Fatted Calf a one stop shop for picnicking or dinner. For dinner, Bar Tartine can’t be beat. It really captures the vibe of contemporary San Francisco in a way so creative that it must be tasted to be understood. For late night, Nopa on Divisadero is classic, serving great, local food until 2am and many specialty cocktails and spirits. If headed North to my childhood town of Marshall (which any true visit would include) The Marshall Store on Hwy 1 serves the best and freshest oysters both raw and BBQ’d’ (directly from Tomales Bay). Sit along the water and wash them down with a glass of vinho verde.
What’s your favorite hidden gem?
Club Delux on Haight St. is a tiny jazz club with good drinks and, occasional pizza but an old school vibe and truly fantastic music.
Flora Grubb Gardens on Jerrold Ave in the Bayview is a magical experience. They also host a Ritual Coffee kiosk so you can sip as you stroll.
What’s your favorite city and why?
I love Berlin. There is a post-industrial roughness mixed with european charm that I find inspiring. The city is wonderful for artists and while maintaining a low cost of living (for now), it is making its presence known on the international art stage. It also has one of the best electronic music cultures in the wold. I can’t resist a city that does its “thing” so very well.
If you had to leave town last minute and you could only bring 3 things, what would they be? Why?
A volume of Dylan Thomas that includes A Child’s Christmas in Wales and Do not go gentle into that good night. I almost know them by heart but they continue to reveal new truths. Reading aloud is also a great way to make friends. My folding Opinel carbon steel knife. It travels well and stays sharp. Lastly, the sheepskin that I got in Sweden. It can be a bed, a pillow, a blanket. It is light yet warm and smells of sheep. It is comforting and beautiful and would turn the dankest motel room or coldest ground into home.
What’s your favorite travel memory or moment?
While spending my Junior year abroad in Florence, Italy studying printmaking at Fondazione Il Bisonte I lived with an Italian family. Upon arrival I spoke but a tiny bit of Italian and my family spoke no English. All of my classes were in Italian so by necessity (and because there is no language more romantic and beautiful than Italian) I was at last able to make myself understood, if not with nuance, at least with correct grammar. My greatest moment though was a light bulb moment. It seems obvious now, but all at once I understood that words do not hold meaning in their own right, but that meaning is conveyed through context and intention. I discovered that I had been struggling to translate my English sentences into Italian sentences. From that moment forward I left language out of my thoughts. Thought is not in any language but our own understanding. Therefore, if I eliminated the step of turning my language-less thought into English and from there into Italian and went directly from my language-less thought into verbal Italian I was free!
One more thing …
What’s the most important thing travel has taught you?
Travel has given me the perspective to examine my own life within a more universal context. Travel reminds me of the freedom I have to exist with an authenticity not bound by my own regional or societal expectations nor am I an un-participating, shuttered observer of other cultures and ways of life. As an amalgam of my experiences and openness to the world I am able to be my truest self. Hopefully this brings joy and meaning to the people I encounter along the way.