Eating in San Francisco: Beretta

I found this beautiful place for my 21st birthday meal with my sister, during my year in the city. Perched at the top of Valencia Street in the Mission District where I spent so much of my time it had rave reviews and the menu looked decadent without being over the top. Not only did it live up to my (pretty high) expectations, but it surpassed them.

To dine at this little gem you can only call an hour ahead to pop your name on the wait list, no reservations.
So we arrived and were told there was a 15-20 minute wait for the table. There was really only one thing for it, cocktails at the bar. The place was already bustling and we stood taking in the dark wood surfaces, hanging line of bulbs and high, open ceilings while we sipped on apple/gin/lemon/basil/honey concoctions.



Cocktail photo c/o Beretta

We were shown our table and dug into the menu. Its a mix of small plates, mains and pizzas, all of which come highly recommended. We ended up sharing three small plates (pretty generous in size) and a pizza between us. The pizza was delicious but for my return visit all I could think about were the small plates...



Our small plates included: Gnocchi with porcini mushrooms & smoked pancettaBeef carpaccio with argula, parmesan & capers, and Dungeness crab arancini with calabrese aioli. This last one was my standout dish. For our pizza we went with the squash, provolone, proscuitto, and goat cheese option. 


Pizza photo c/o Beretta

Without a doubt this is my favourite San Franciscan restaurant. So much so that when my parents made the long haul trip to come and visit me I took them here. We 're-celebrated' my birthday. And we had arancini - plus baccala mantecato and melt in your mouth burrata brushcetta with walnut bread & mushroom truffle honey. I had the gnocchi for my main. And then...to top it all off? Panacotta ice cream with salt and olive oil. Sounds strange, was strange, but pretty incredible too.

If you're ever in the city, I can't recommend it enough. The vibe, the staff, the food. And their wine is pretty good too...

Find them here: http://berettasf.com/ here: 1199 Valencia St and here: https://twitter.com/BerettaSF

M x

Alcatraz, San Francisco

On an island in San Francisco's bay sits... 


Alcatraz prison. 'The Rock'.
The only way on and off the island is by boat - unless you want to mess with some serious currents and apparently potential sharks. Not the best situation to be in...The prison has 'hosted' some infamous names such as Al Capone! and we had a brilliant audio guide round the place with true stories of the inmates (including the famous 1962 attempted escape) to go with it.


On arrival

Cells

View of San Francisco from one of the cells - frustrating to say the least!


The prison is clearly closed now - a landmark site instead. It's well worth a visit, and personally I enjoyed the grounds and views just as much as the stories and prison itself. 

x

The Workshop, Norwich

#foodie

The Sampson Sisters had a little reunion this past weekend which basically translates as a food tour of whatever area, city, town we are in... On this occasion the other one came to visit me in Norwich, my current city of choice. It's a beautiful little place - filled with tumbling lanes, river walks, a stunning cathedral (check it out in Harry Potter) and enough independent spots that the sis will have to visit many more times to tick them all off...

Here's the first spot we swung by, closest to my home. A cosy place filled with warm people, board games, and walls of books.

The Workshop. And here's what we got stuck into...


This made me nostalgic for childhood holidays abroad. Peach flavour!


Perfectly served mocha, and the Workshop menu/information booklet.


I think this was my favourite dish - feta fritters. They were perfect in texture and taste, dipped in tzatziki.


Saying that this was delicious too - aubergine stuffed with feta, spice blend, and pilaf. There were some other bits in it too and I guess I'll just have to go back and try it again to remind myself...


A classic served perfectly. Figs, halloumi...There was a light honey and balsamic style dressing on this too which was delicious.

The tapas also came with free Turkish-style flatbread which they make onsite and is available to buy to take home. It was so light and fluffy, served warm.

After having our fill and playing some silly board games in the warm space we headed off for a wander in the lanes and swung by The Bicycle Shop for some tea. Which came in huge pots and pretty mismatched crockery.


[Apologies for the photo quality - iphone!]

But more on this other great spot later...x

Fohr Card

Back in September's Fashion Week I was working on the UK Launch of Fohr Card. A brilliant company concept hopping over from New York. It's US takeover has been swift, featuring most recently on the front cover of The Wall St Journal, but now it was time to launch in London. We had three days to pull a party together and somehow, office hopping on a daily basis having no set space, we managed it. The party was thoroughly enjoyable, hosted in the beautiful Spring Studios with a jazz band, and flowers & candles adding to the atmosphere. Thanks to everyone for making it down. Any other brands or blogs have a hop over to fohrcard.com and check it out for yourselves - it is 100% worth signing up for your future.


Handle Cards

Ipad Demonstrations Ready To Go & The Beautiful Venue

#WhatIWore

Jazz Band Setting Up

Flower Arrangements

M x



Coachella Snapshot

Clearly this is ridiculously delayed but as the end of my year in America comes flying towards me things are undoubtedly going to be sporadic. This weekend we went North to Portland and it was an incredible weekend away, very different to the trip we made up in January too (which included Seattle). But more on that later. Here's a few snapshots of our weekend at Coachella Music Festival...

It was ridiculously hot and falling out of the tent in the morning to lie on the shady grass was so relieving. Add that to beautiful art work (including a huge moving painted snail), the infamous magic hour (as the sun sets over the desert) and some performances with serious impact (James Blake, Lumineers & Pretty Lights for me in particular), and you've got one of the best weekends of our lives, thus far at least.
 We even watched the moon set...
Words cannot fully describe. Photos don't do justice.

x



Art work in the campsite

The giant moving snail...
Do Lab in the foreground, Ferris Wheel in the back
Favourite moments at magic hour


First day chilling out

Ferry Building Farmer's Market

My parents came to visit a few weeks back and, having not seen them since August, it was incredibly surreal showing them the city. I was completely spoilt, and benefited from being a tourist all over again for a week - discovering new areas I hadn't even ventured into before and getting a bit more background from tour guides! 

One morning we headed over to the Ferry Building for the Farmer's Market and were greeted by endless stalls of produce and other items for sale and to eat. There was such a variety and it lulled the separation from the countryside a little bit. I'm a big supporter of fresh produce, particularly from local growers - the less packaging, processing, and air miles the better! It was a brilliant education in the best things to grow in California and the variety that's available locally. I also enjoyed all the little free tasters far too much...

Here's some snapshots of things we saw...and ate!

Ferry Building with the City behind it. The clock tower mimics Big Ben in London!

Bundled Asparagus - I love the purple heads
One of the first things I saw and smelt...spit roast - quickly induced hunger!
Fresh greens
All types of colourful mushrooms inside the building
We may have had some oysters for breakfast, overlooking the Bay Bridge...
Crunchy but sweet pears...

...which we paired with this delicious sheep's milk cheese (cured for 70days). And took the remainder on a walk around Land's End.

A perfect city day intertwined with the outdoors.

I'm off to Coachella next week...hope all of you there this weekend have a brilliant time!

For more regular updates find me on Twitter @mlle_milly
& Instagram @millysampson
x

Wandering the West Coast: Portland

A seriously whirlwind tour of our trip to Portland...

Top tips include:
Brunch at JAM on Hawthorne and be prepared to be full all day
jamonhawthorne.com
Visit the Pearl District for some posh eats and cute shops
explorethepearl.com
The area around Powell's Bookstore on West Burnside has record shops, vintage clothing & the flagship Dr Martens store - as well as Sizzle Pie - before heading down to the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts
powells.com
voodoodoughtnut.com

Pop by Reed College campus if you want to see English boarding school style buildings planted firmly in the American landscape. You can even take a walk round its very own 'canyon'.
reed.edu
Eat at Old Town Pizza (mac&cheese and garlic knots are highly recommended) & soak up the surroundings
oldtownpizza.com


Infamous Voodoo Doughtnuts...

Voodoo Doughtnuts extensive menu and colourful store (there is a LOT of pink)

I went with the 'Old Dirty Bastard'...chocolate frosting, Oreo's and peanut butter !

Powell's Bookstore - you can pick up a map of this wonderful, and very large, independent book store inside. 

Grab a slice at Sizzle Pie across the road from Powell's - perfectly concocted pizza.

Coming soon...back to the city for restaurants, days out, exploring new areas and much more.
Plus adventures down Route 1 / the Pacific Coast Highway and visits to San Luis Obispo.

We also can't wait for Coachella in two weeks time, can you?!

x