Kimberley Lovato

Correspondent

  • San Francisco, CA, USA

Kimberley Lovato is a correspondent who covers San Francisco for Forbes Travel Guide. The champagne-loving Francophile is also an award-winning author and journalist whose articles about travel, lifestyle and food have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Executive Travel, AFAR, Delta Sky, Condè Nast Traveller (UK), Wine Enthusiast, Frommers.com, LeitesCulinaria.com and more. Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, won the 2012 Gold Lowell Thomas Award. Lovato snagged a 2012 Bronze Lowell Thomas Award for her essay Lost and Liberated, which also appears in Best Women’s Travel Writing. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter and is always planning that next fabulous trip.

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  • On July 24, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places to ski near San Francisco?

    Any chance of a good snow storm, or following one, and most of the skiiers in the San Francisco Bay Area have one word on their mind:  Tahoe!

    Lake Tahoe is America's largest Alpine Lake and a popular year-round destination for hikers, campers, and bikers. But skiing is tops among San Franciscans and Tahoe's pristine blue waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains harbor some of Northern California's best ski resorts. Located about 200 miles, or 3.5 hours (no traffic) from San Francisco, Tahoe is a favorite for winter sport lovers and families. From intimate and casual to sprawling world-class ski resorts, Lake Tahoe has something for every age and skill level.

    Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games and skiiers and snowboarders love its challenging terrain and runs, and there are some pretty awesome views of the lake too. Nearby Alpine Meadows offers diverse terrain and has more than 6,000 acres to ski. FYI: Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA now offer a combined season pass, to maximize your ski season. Northstar is off the lake a little bit, but the gorgeous setting is also popular for families, its stellar skiing, as well as the pretty village with 35 shops, restaurants, an ice rink, fire pits, and tons of après fun. The gorgeous Ritz Carlton in Northstar adds to the appeal for luxury travelers. Heavenly is one of Lake Tahoe’s largest and most visited resorts with jaw-dropping views, great ski and board conditions, with the highest elevation and the longest vertical drop in the Lake Tahoe area. 

    The choices are endless, really, but there's a start.  Check out this website for more details.

    FYI: Traffic can be a nightmare and the 3.5 hour trip has been known to take double the time during popular holidays and if weather slows things down.  Chains might also be required if you are driving in inclimate weather.  Reno Airport is the closest to  Lake Tahoe, about an hour away.  

  • On July 24, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best free museums in San Francisco?

    No surprise, San Francisco is an expenisve city and museums are no exception, generally charging admission of $10 or more, plus special exhibition fees. However, they are not entirely budget savaging. A few worthwhile museums around the city are free, and, with some clever planning, many of the "big name" institutions can be friendlier to your pocketbook.

    The Cable Car Museum is one of the freebies and a wonderful way get a look behind the scenes at San Francisco's moving monuments. The museum houses a few ancient cable cars as well as various mechanical tools to teach you how the system works. Head downstairs to see a the cable line running under the building.

    In the center of the Financial District, the Wells Fargo History Museum could be mistaken for a bank if you don't know where to look. On the site where Henry Wells and William G. Fargo first offered banking and express services to Gold Rush pioneers, this free museum is an immersion in California's 49er past, with an old Concord Coach used in the 1860s and a display of gold dust and ore from California's gold country. A free audio tour is also offered.

    The Legion of Honor and  de Young Museum  make up San Franciosco's Fine Arts Museums and are the city's premiere art destinations,welcoming high caliber international exhibitions. Normal admission price is $10 but come on the first Tuesday of the month, admission is free at both venues.

    San Francisco's modern art Mecca, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is a must for lovers of the genre, but entry is $18 dollors a pop for adult entry. However, entry on the first Tuesday of the month is free. Also, kids under 12 are always free as are active U.S. Military members. If Tuesday can't work, try Thursday night after 6pm when entry is half-price. UPDATE:  MoMA has closed for renovations until 2016.

     

     


  • On July 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best seafood restaurants in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is known for its food, and seafood is top notch in our city surrouned by water.

    Speaking of Water, Waterbar is a seafood-centric restaurant located on the waterfront with spectacular views of  the Bay Bridge and city skyline. The menu bursts with the freshest sustainable fish and seafood. Also on the waterfront, La Mar Cebicheria specializes in ceviche ( or cebiche) at Pier 1 1/2 on the Embarcadero, and serves beautiful dishes with an ecclectic and colorful mix of fresh flavors, and a Peruvian bent. Head to the Ferry Builidng and to Hog Island Oyster Company, the oyster bar and retail outlet for the Tomales Bay oyster farm of the same name. The seating is causual---belly up to a U-shaped bar, and enjoy more great water views out on to the San Francisco Bay. Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, and many go to the plethora of seafood restaurants, like the landmark Alioto's, the oldest on the wharf..  I prefer to grab a sourdough bowl of clam chowder or some fresh crab and eat it on a near by bench. Venture across the bay to Sausaliton and Fish. The name says it all, and it's all they do here at this order at the counter casual eatery.  It's all fresh, all local, and all sustainable. The place is usually packed, so be prepared to queue up. But it's worth it!
  • On July 5, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best restaurants in San Francisco’s Mission District?

    You can barely throw a fork in the Mission District without hitting a restuarant and chances are, it's pretty good. It's a neighborhood known for its Mexican cuisine and there are some great choices here for that, like longtime favorite Poncho Villa and La Taqueria (2889 Mission)

    But don't limit yourself.  Here are a few other favorites.

    Delfina has been a longtime classic in the neighborhood and still serves some of the city's best Italian and American comforts. Always packed, be it at outdoor tables on nice days, or huddled inside on cold ones, you can't go wrong here. Ever.  



    Tartine Bakery is pardise for pastry and bread lovers. The smell of fresh cooked dough alone could satisfy your hunger (fresh loaves come out around 4:30). But better yet,  grab one of the mouth watering hot pressed sandwiches. You won't ever go back to the deli again. 

    Flour + Water reminds is a quentessential gathering spot that specializes in homemade pasta, but also serves meat dishes and sauces and fresh vegetables. It's intimate and inviting, perfect for a dinner with friends or a romantic rendezvous.  And the past---oh boy---doesn't get better.

  • On July 5, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places for tea in San Francisco?

    It's amazing how big tea is getting in SF.  One of my favorite things to do is hit the tea tasting rooms, especially in Chinatown. Here you'll belly up to the tea bar and taste a selection of whte, green, herbal, black (and probably others I can't recall) while chatting it up with knowledgable staff who tell you about the health benefits of each tea. Vital Leaf is one of my favorites. The tea is great and carefully prepared before your eyes, but Uncle Gee and Ming make the experience fun. "You come in strangers, and you leave like family," said Uncle Gee. How could I not buy a pound of tea after that!  Red Blossom Tea Company is nearby and boasts being the first tea shop in Chinatown. Knowledgable, with a vast assortment of outstanding, abd gorgeous tea serving sets, this place is definitely for the tea savvy sippers.


  • On June 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places for brunch in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a city that loves its food, but especially its laid-back weekend brunch, and you can barely throw an English muffin without finding a small cafe that's jammed with diners.  

    Ella's on Presidio Ave and Sacramento Street has been a longtime go-to brunch, with plenty of egg options on the menu and pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup. Mmmm.

    Nopa is popular dinner outing, but don't skip Brunch at this perennially popular hotspot on Divisadero Street.  Locally sourced ingredients create dishes like custard french toast with blueberry compoted, housemade bagels and granola, and oven-baked farm eggs.

    A local favorite in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is Kate's Kitchen.  Serioulsy good, home cooking at affordable (relative to the rest of SF) prices.  Eggs,  corn beef hash, French Toast---all the good stuff is represented, but I can't get enough of the cheese and green onion biscuits.   CASH ONLY.

    For the ultimate laid back vibe that doesn't skimp on quality food, you must head to Outerlands, near Ocean Beach. It's good for any meal, the line up outside will tell you that, but brunch here is exceptional, especially the Dutch pancake baked in a cast iron skillet.  Order it sweet, with fresh strawberries, or savory, with bacon and syrup. Heaven!
  • On June 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best holiday events in San Francisco?

    Holidays are magical in San Francisco and there's nothing that ignites the Christmas spirit like a tree lighting. San Francisco has a few too.  Pier 39 and Santa always draw a crowd, and the Union Square tree lighitng is a popular San Francisco outing, and ice skating in the square lasts until January. The Ghiradelli Square tree lighting is usually accompanied by music and other holiday cheer, and the hot chocolate is amazing! 

    On Christmas Eve, 1944, the audience at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House experienced the American premiere of Nutcracker ballet, and it has been a San Francisco holiday institution ever since.

    Many of the large hotels like The Palace Hotel and The Fairmont,  deck the halls and their gorgeous lobbies with holiday cheer and are fun places to celebrate the season.

    And Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill impresses any time of year, but most especially during Christmas with several events and concerts.
  • On June 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best holiday events in San Francisco?

    Holidays are magical in San Francisco and there's nothing that ignites the Christmas spirit like a tree lighting. San Francisco has a few too.  Pier 39 and Santa always draw a crowd, and the Union Square tree lighitng in front of Macy's decorated windows is spetacular. The Ghiradelli Square tree lighting is usually accompanied by music and other holiday cheer, and the hot chocolate is amazing! 

    On Christmas Eve, 1944, the audience at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House experienced the American premiere of Nutcracker ballet, and it has been a San Francisco holiday institution ever since.

    Many of the large hotels like The Palace Hotel and The Fairmont,  deck the halls and their gorgeous lobbies with holiday cheer and are fun places to celebrate the season.

    And Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill impresses any time of year, but most especially during Christmas with several events and concerts.
  • On June 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best Fisherman’s Wharf attractions in San Francisco?

    Fisherman's Wharf tops the list of most tourists "must see" list when visiting San Francisco. There are a slew of restaurants and fish stands serving San Francisco's famous Dungeness Crab, Shrimp Coctail, and Clam Chowder---best served thick and hearty in a sourdough bowl.  

    Behind Fisherman's Wharf, on the waterside at Pier 45, is the Musée Mechanique. A museum kids will actually love,  this is really an arcade filled wtih over 200 ancient and modern coin operated arcade games, many  of which used to be and San Francisco's former Ocean Beach amusement park  Playland (Closed in 1972).  

    A short walk north is Hyde Street Pier, which is oft overlooked but fun for all ages.  Here San Francisco's rich maritime history comes alive and there are several large historic ships to climb aboard including the impressive Balclutha, an 1886 square-rigged sailing vessel.  Or book a sail on the flat-bottomed schooner, Alma, once one of 250 schooners that delivered goods all over the bay.

    The Hyde Street Cable Car turnaround is also located right above the Hyde Street Pier and takes riders on a scenic trail through San Francisco's hills and neighborhoods, offering some amazing views along the way. It stops downtown on Powell Street.
  • On June 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best clothing boutiques in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a fun city to shop in, mainly because its a city of neighborhoods each with its own ecclectic personality, much like the shops found there.  I personally love Luna in Presidio Heights.  Luna carries stylish sweaters and scarves year round (necessary in San Francisco), along with ocktail attire and comfortable yet sophisticated everyday wear.  Luna focues on small, niche designers that aren't found everywhere mixed with a few bigger name brands.  In Hayes Valley, an assortment of unique boutiques are popping up on Hayes Street. Lingerie, swimwear and coverups are sexy at Alla Prima and younger fashionistas, men and women, might like the contemporary streetwear found at Acrimony.
    Union Street is loaded with chains, which is fine, but there are also a few one off boutiques to be found too. I like Ambiance (4 locations around the city) for its ecclectic assortment of big names and off brands packed into shelves and racks. From shoes to bags, jewelry to jumpsuits, you're sure to find something here, and prices are often discounted off retail.  


  • On April 30, 2013
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