A Tale of Two Cities

Our Leading Ladies share their top 10 from Los Angeles and San Francisco

When we founded The Single Diaries a year ago, we had no idea we wouldn’t be in the same city so soon. (Don’t tell me I’ve never been in a long-distance relationship.) Separation anxiety aside, we are finding one major plus to working out of two different major cities: more wine bars to frequent, more neighborhoods to explore, more dishes to discover! In honor of our new status as a bi-city blog, we bring you our favorite mainstays from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Jen’s Top 5 Los Angeles

When people ask why I moved to L.A., my standard response is that I moved for a job. If I’m being totally honest, that’s not the reason at all. In a post I shared with Quarterlette, I open up about what really brought me to L.A.: the need for change. Three years later, I’ve finally begun to find my footing and make this place truly feel like home. These are spots that I’ve come to love most in this big ole city.
PHOTO: Malibu Wines.

PHOTO: Malibu Wines.

Favorite Place to Take Guest: Malibu Wines

When guests head to town, this spot always makes the cut in my planning of things to see and do. Head there for a lazy day basking in the sun while a folksy band provides the perfect bit of background music. Malibu Wines provide the bottles and glasses and leaves packing the picnic favorites to you.


PHOTO: Jen Hacker.

PHOTO: Jen Hacker.

Favorite Way to Spend a SaturdayThe Strand

I can’t imagine a better way to spend a sunny day in Santa Monica than going for a cruise along The Strand. This 22-mile bike path hugs the coast from Malibu to Redondo Beach providing perfect ocean views and ocean breeze throughout. Not only does it make for a great outdoor workout, it also serves as a fun route for a biking bar crawl.


Favorite IndulgenceM Street Bakery

If I were to eat one food the rest of my life without consequence, I would eat chocolate chip cookies. And if I had to pick one cookie, it would be the banana chocolate chip cookie from M Street Kitchen. They are that good. Moist and gooey center, crusty edges, giant chunks of chocolate… can you say drool worthy?



PHOTO: Jen Hacker.

Favorite Sunday Ritual: Main Street Farmer’s Market

The Main Street Sunday Farmer’s Market is my favorite spot to pick up a healthy breakfast, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some good people watching. My go-to meal is an egg-white breakfast burrito, coffee from Groundworks, and a fresh peach or strawberries from one of the farmer’s stalls.



PHOTO: Jen Hacker.

Favorite Place to Blog: TOMS Flagship Shop

I have somewhat of a love affair going on with TOMS Flagship store on Abbot Kinney. If I’m not there at least once a week I feel like something is missing from my life. They have an outdoor patio with ample power outlets, free wi-fi, the friendliest baristas, and delicious coffee and treats. It’s 360 degrees of awesome.


Catherine’s Top 5 San Francisco

PHOTO: Kevin Gueco.

PHOTO: Kevin Gueco.

It doesn’t matter that I grew up in the Bay Area. As Nini mentioned in What I Love About My City, the city is ever-evolving. With only two months under my belt in my “new” home, I’m still exploring. Here are the tried and true from my years of visiting home… and what makes me even more excited for this new chapter and adventure. (Click here for my favorites in West L.A.)


Best Place for a Long Ladylike Catch-up: Lovejoy’s Tea Room

I love a good afternoon tea, and once my sister introduced me to the loveliest of tea rooms I found it difficult not to measure every other parlor against it. Now, this is not tea at the Ritz, so take your judge-y fascinator off and open your eyes to the charm of this intimately authentic living room setting. The tables, the chairs, and the teacups are all mis-matched, like a last minute family gathering. The ladies who serve the neverending pots of tea are like your kind aunts whose number one priority is to make sure you’re well-fed. Well-fed you will be; the de-crusted tea sandwiches here are not only filling, they’re damn delicious.


Favorite Afternon Pick-Me-Up and/or Late-Night Snack: Boba

If you met me in college, you may have known me as Boba Girl. Per my L.A. post, KC’s Crepes is basically my second home. It was notoriously closed on Mondays, so I mentally fooled myself that I couldn’t drink boba on Mondays. Now it’s available to me every day of the week and often until midnight or later (good news? bad news?). There are 2 blocks of Irving St. in the Sunset that are home to a minimum of 6 boba (also known as tapioca) cafes. T-Pumps is the cool kid on the block with a line out the door; their specialty is milk tea with any combination of a wide list of flavors. However, Wonderful Foods is the O.G., and they aren’t afraid to say it; the sign on the window says “Best Tapioca in Town.” Can’t argue that!


PHOTO: Yelp.

PHOTO: Yelp.

Best Retail Therapy: Aritzia

One boutique that has me happy to be home is Canada-based Aritzia. Let’s just say that if I won the lotto, I would likely stop at Aritzia first, not because it’s the most expensive, but because you know your dollar will go a long way with quality and style. With only 10 locations in the States, this is one fashion advantage San Francisco has on L.A. When you walk in, you feel like it might actually be possible to achieve the casual cool fashion blogger look you scoff at but secretly envy.


PHOTO: SF Weekly.

PHOTO: SF Weekly.

Favorite Way to Spend a Saturday: Ferry Building Marketplace

Perhaps it’s the walk along the water or the sight of the Bay Bridge, but whenever I make a trip to the Ferry Building Marketplace I always feel extra proud of being born in this city. The Marketplace is bustling on Saturday mornings with the weekly Farmer’s Market. Don’t forget the gourmet food trucks! If you love food, you’ll have no problem spending an entire afternoon making your way through the building, having an oyster, trying a roll of amazing fresh baked bread, sampling cheese, buying a bottle of wine to share on a bench by the Bay on a nice day. No visit is complete for me without a macaron from Miette and a soy latte from Blue Bottle.


PHOTO: La Mia Vita.

PHOTO: La Mia Vita.

Best Place to Play Hookey: Tomales Bay Oyster Company

Both times I celebrated my birthday in San Francisco since I moved away, my only requirement was to have $1 oysters. District in SOMA was the answer, and it’s still my go-to when I need to feed the craving. If you’re down for a little adventure and a lot of shucking, head north where you can have the freshest oysters to your heart’s content. Completely plain, these oysters are buttery and delicious, but plan to have your favorite toppings in tow (lemon, tabasco, garlic, butter). Pack bread, prosciutto, cheese, and wine—they make for excellent appetizers to tide the hunger while you wait for your next opened oyster.


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