Tasty Tuesday: {Souvla, San Francisco}

This is a deep and honest confession- I have never been a fan of Greek food, ever. The yogurts were slightly foreign for my taste buds {I was never a Danables kid!}, spices just a tad too aromatic and robust for my palate and the desserts failed to live up to the much praised “baklava moment” – the after-tasting-it-you-never-look-at-desserts-the-same, moment. But before you put me through the fire, I’m also here to tell you the San Francisco neighborhood Hayes Valley’s new Greek hot spot, Souvla has me running to my fat Greek seat at the table!

Chef Charles Bililies souvlaki gem is the new go-to lunch, dinner or dessert spot any day of the week!


What made me ever step into a Greek restaurant in the first place? I discovered the joint while shopping on Hayes and literally being stopped dead in my tracks. The clean white inside, shiny grey stools outside and olive trees flanking the doors sung a sweet song from the exterior. And when you walk in, you’re greeted by copper mugs, {just like in Greece as Erin’s trip to Mykonos proved!}, a gorgeous tiled bar and dried olive branches mixed with vintage kitchen utensils hanging from the walls.


And the food is just as beautiful as the space it’s cooked in. Salads are served in big blue-rimmed enamel bowls. Sandwiches are wrapped in cute paper packaging and the wine is served in traditional copper mugs. You can even watch the chickens crisp up in the rotisserie. And for a non-greek goer, like myself, the menu is easy- you pick a meat and decide if you want it in a salad or sandwich. Furthermore, if you’re like me, you’ll order both! Because everything looks so yummy. Let’s not forget about dessert: Greek frozen yogurt with your choice of toppings like Greek olive oil and flaky sea salt {yes!}, baklava crumbles {double yes!} , sour cherry syrup or wildflower honey. Seriously- mind-blowing. It’s no surprise as Chef Bililies comes with a pedigree a mile long including working for culinary greats like Thomas Keller and Michael Mina!


And while the food is sincerely the best part of the experience, I’ve since come back to both eat and stare at the Nikos Economopoulos photograph on the wall {and plot a plan of how to walk out of the restaurant, unseen, with an 8ft art piece under my arm!}. Obsessed.

Hayes Valley is a fast changing neighborhood and the addition of Souvla is just what the popular couple of blocks needed- a casual, affordable, fast and delicious dining experience leaving you dreaming of spit roasted pork and what? Harissa yogurt! Greek food lovers, I get it now. —Bianca

For more of our San Francisco favorites, food related and otherwise, CLICK HERE!

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick

Retail Therapy: {SHED, Healdsburg}

It’s not everyday that an incredibly well designed and gorgeous space opens up in most cities, let alone in the teeny tiny Northern California town of Healdsburg. You may have remembered spying our vist to ‘The ‘Burg’ on Instagram a few weeks back and while we were there, we certainly weren’t going to miss our opportunity to check out the much talked about open-space market/resaurant/coffee shop/bar/general awesome hangout, SHED!


Word of Shed spread rapidly and it’s tempting us city dwellers to drive past the likes of Napa and Sonoma and take the extra 30 minutes it takes to get there! Focusing on quality artisan-made goods, Shed’s shelves are filled with tried and true pieces for your home and garden. It’s all the stuff that makes us swoon. Everything from artisanal brooms {yes they exist!} to oversized marble pestles and mortars can be found here. You can stock your pantry with locally made jams and gourmet olive oils as well as come home with something from the in-house larder! No matter what you’re in the market for, you definitely won’t leave empty handed- even if you do just walk away with some fresh blooms!


In the middle of the market, you’ll also find a cafe to sit and enjoy a cup of jo, as well as some crave-worthy bites. We couldn’t get enough of their gorgeous toasts {we do love a good tartine afterall}! Goat cheese and pickled watermelon radish toast called our name, but the herbed artichoke toast made us go back for seconds. Yumm.

Our absolute favorite thing had to be Shed’s fermentation bar! Never heard of such a thing? We hadn’t either.


Turns out, it’s a bar that serves all kinds of naturally cultured and fermented drinks that are made in-house or by local brewers. Kombucha, Kefir, natural sodas and beers are on tap, as well as local wines. And you can even have the bartender mix up a house-made Shrub. What’s a Shrub you ask? Let us explain.

Shrubs are drinks that actually date back to the 17th century. They’re made by combining fermented vinegar with fruit and sparkling water. There’s a reason they’ve stayed around this long- they’re a refreshing treat in your mouth! They’re sweet-tart, effervescent and really quite lovely. We ordered the Carrot + Coriander and the Grapefruit Shrub and could have easily kept on going through the entire menu!

If you’re making your way up to wine country this summer, take a well worth it detour to Shed! Who’s already snuck away from the city and enjoyed a glass of wine there? Better question, who’s ready to do it again?! We are!

For more fabulous things to do and see round the Bay Area this summer head here.

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick 

Girl Crush: {There’s a New Editor-In-Chief In Town}

That’s right. We love women who love to run the show, so it’s a no-brainer that we immediately swooned over Alisa Carroll. She is the Editor in Chief of the newly launched publication, San Francisco Cottages & Gardens {yay for print magazines!}. We also swooned because she is awesome. Like, really awesome! Here’s how this conclusion was drawn:

We sent her interview questions over email {it’s faster- people are busy- idk, it’s the 21st century?} and when she sent them back with the words “cray, cray” in her answers, we just about died. Who was this new and {seriously!} fierce EIC, who was cool enough to quote a Jay-Z song?! We had to know. Thankfully, she wanted to meet us too {?} so we met her at one of her favorite San Francisco boutiques, March {epic!}, where we talked leather pants, dogs with underbites and oh yeah, the important stuff…

With a slew of experiences behind her {and in front of her!}, Alisa shared with us the path to her latest role, a peek into what running a magazine is really like and her advice on…well anything we could think to ask, because we’ll take whatever words of wisdom this dynamic woman is willing to offer up!


Her Background

My path has definitely not been linear, but I’ve always written. For the first decade of my adult life, I was in a band, songwriting and touring around. It was a really defining experience—it helped me find my voice and figure out who I was. But ultimately I wanted life to be a little more stable! I’d always been involved in visual art and design, so I began writing for magazines like Elle Décor and Interior Design, and collaborated with artists and designers to promote their work, Jay [Jeffers] being one of them. We met ten years ago and its been an amazing, inspiring relationship ever since. A few years ago, when I started to feel the pull to go back to writing full time, I was lucky enough to be invited to edit 3D, the annual journal of the San Francisco Design Center. Then Jay and I began developing the book, and I came on board at SFC&G this past December. [My career] happened very organically. To me that’s always a good sign–when something doesn’t have to be forced, it feels like I’m on the right path.


A Day In The Life

Every day is about trying to balance the creative and business aspects of the magazine. I might go from interviewing a designer for a story to meeting with the social media team to editing the product section. For example, this past week we shot a phenomenal home in Monterey, so I was scouting the styling elements and shooting, then hustled back up to the city to do the final edits on the current issue, then worked on researching a story for the next issue. 

On Being the Boss-Lady

[Being Editor-in-Chief] is my dream job, but a magazine is also a train that does not stop! As soon as the current issue is off and running, we’re planning the next. So while we’re all writing stories for June/July, for example, we’re also planning and scouting for August/September.  It’s cray-cray.


On Success

Being lucky enough to know kind, smart, creative people who have been willing to help guide me has contributed to my success. My pinch-me moment was definitely the book launch in London. I walked up to the Chelsea Design Center and there was Collected Cool in the bookstore window. I get butterflies every time I see it on a shelf.

Her Advice 

Find your true voice and don’t compromise it. I had drinks recently with a dear friend, an accomplished writer and editor, who still lays awake at night worrying about the crop of a photo or a font. That kind of meticulousness is really what it all comes down to. I hate to think of what percentage of my life I’ve spent writing “no one” then changing it to “no body” and then back and forth again a hundred times. It’s totally obsessive and ultimately may not matter to anyone (anybody) but me, but it’s the only way to get to what’s beautiful and meaningful. 

It’s also ok to screw it up. There’s a great scene in “The Young Victoria” in which she says, “If there are mistakes they will be my mistakes, and no one else will make them.” It’s important to take a risk. Like, I probably never should have worn my hair in cornrows, but now I know.


About SFC&G

We are committed to creating a magazine that we hope people will feel authentically reflects the beauty and soul of San Francisco. SFC&G is the only design publication that is dedicated exclusively to this city, and all of our coverage emerges locally–we want to distill the creativity of the Bay—from interior design to landscape to visual art–into its pages. I’m excited about our May issue, which is all about verdant living – the experience of the Bay in spring when we head back to Dolores Park in earnest, to events like Art Market and the Film Festival and, of course, to the bar to begin imbibing awesome cocktails with absurdly esoteric herbs. Cheers!

And per Girl Crush tradition, we asked Alisa to answer our rapid fire Q&A!



Thank you to Alisa for such a fun hangout sesh {we’ll take one of everything in that store!} and if you haven’t already, pick up the new issue of San Francisco Cottages & Gardens! — Bianca

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick