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.

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

    What are the best tours of San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a walker's city and one of the best ways to explore is to grab a map and go. But I hear ya on those hills. Sometimes you just want to sit back and let someone else do the leg work.

    By far one of the most unique tours in San Francscisco is the Fire Engine Tour.  Even if you've been here before, riding a candy-apple red Fire Engine for 75-minutes brings a new perspective. You'll get to where an authentic fireman's jacket too, which is great for profile pictures. 

    Alcatraz, the former prision also known as "The Rock," is on of San Francisco's most popular attractions, and tours sell out weeks in advance, especially during peak tourist times. Book online at Alcatraz Cruises.
     

    The historic Red and White Fleet is San Francisco’s original sightseeing adventure, in operation since 1892. The family owned fleet departs Fisherman’s Wharf p to 17 times daily for upclose and personal views of the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island. Or opt for a romantic sunset cruise with views over our magnificent city.

     

    If you're up for walking, but still want a guide, then there is no better way to learn about San Francisco's quirky neighborhoods, unique architecture, and colorful history than by joining a free San Francisco City Guides Tour.   Whether it's an inside look at the iconic Fairmont Hotel, a stroll of Diego Rivera's murals, or look at San Francisco's Golden past, you'll leave a little more in love with our fair city.
  • On January 21, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best indoor activities in San Francisco?

    Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always sunny in California and sometimes you need to duck inside.

    San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA, is great rain or shine. Located just a short walk from downtown in an eye-catching building, the museum houses over 27,000 modern and contemporary works of art. Don’t forget to have a coffee in the rooftop sculpture garden.

    I can’t help but think of the Van Halen lyrics, “..go ahead jump. Jump!” when I’m at the House of Air, an indoor trampoline park located in a former airplane hangar on Crissy Field. Kids and adults alike flip and soar with ease.

    For a little outdoors while indoors, stroll through the historic Conservatory of Flowers, a 100+ year-old Victorian greenhouse and botanical garden in Golden Gate Park that’s home to myriad rare plants and exotic blooms, including approximately 25,000 species of orchids.

    After a long day of hoofing it up and down those San Francisco hills, Kabuki Springs and Spa is just what you’ll need. Indulge in a massage or partake in the great tradition of Japanese-style communal baths at this oasis in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown.
  • On January 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Alice Waters
  • On January 19, 2013
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Amanda Cherrin
  • On January 19, 2013
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Larry Stone
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Caroline Patek
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in San Francisco?

    Coffee mugs, snow globes, a deck of playing cards---we’ve got ‘em and you'll find them everywhere. And while those things might be fun “thinking of you” gifts for your cat sitter at home, give the ones you love a real San Francisco memento.

    Standing between the Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most iconic of all symbols of the city and just celebrated (2012) its 75th anniversary. The beautiful coffee table book,The Golden Gate, features stunning images of the bridge from acclaimed photographer and native San Franciscan Morton Beebe.

    Baseball fans, you know the answer---who are the 2012 World Series Champs? You guessed it, the San Francisco Giants. Bring home a cap, a jersey, or any number of other must-haves for your favorite baseball fan.

    Every city has its taste and San Francisco’s is sourdough bread, created by a long fermentation of the dough. Pick some up at Boudin Bakery. Hollow out a round and use it as a soup bowl, slice it for sandwiches or toast it and spread it with butter with your morning coffee (my favorite). Whatever your choice, it’s a real San Francisco treat. 

    Beer lover in the family? Since you can bring home the suds (TSA rule # 879, insert sarcasm) bring home the apparel of San Francisco’s beer Anchor Steam, often referred to as the "Godfather" of craft brewing with a history in San Francisco dating to the Gold Rush. 
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best restaurants in San Francisco?

    Asking what the best restaurants are in San Francisco is like asking what the best diamond is at Cartier. Honey, they’re all pretty good.  Seriously, San Francisco is a food-lover's fantasy. Yes there are plenty of star-rated restaurant here with big name chefs to boot, all worth the wait and price by the way, but don't count out the smaller neighborhood gems that make San Francisco one of the best eating out cities in the world.

    Those of us from California have guacamole in our veins and Mexican food is top-notch here. The Mission neighborhood is known for its ubiquitous taco shops and burrito dens and you can’t go wrong at places like La Taqueria or Papalote, where the food is freshly made, authentic, and a good value. 

    For Mexican outside The Mission (gasp), I like Nopalito. The food is organic and locally sourced and they have some of the best Carnitas I’ve ever had. Around the corner is Nopa (yes the restaurants are related) specializing in what they call “ organic wood-fired cuisine.”  Think roasted chicken cilantro and mandarin spiced chickpeas. They also have a killer wine list. 

    One of my most favorite neighborhood eats is Bistro Aix in The Marina. With a French brasserie meets California sass, this place just does it right. From the grilled fish and lamb to the pizza and pasta, and everything in between, Bistro Aix is still among my favorite tables.

    The ever popular and James Beard award winning Zuni Café is still going strong over 30 years later and with good reason. Quality Mediterranean style food, nice wine list and diverse clientele make coming back again and again a pleasure.

    For something off, okay well off, the beaten path, head to The Sunset, almost to the beach, and stop into Outerlands. You won't mind the trek when you're sitting in this cozy wood-paneled (in a cool way, not 1970's rec room) outpost with well-priced, well-prepared comfort food in front of you. Grilled cheese sandwich and bowl of steaming hot soup on a foggy day? Oh yeah, this place might be the reason to leave your heart in San Francisco.  

    This  "best" list is endless, and subjective, but these should whet your appetite.
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    Where is the best shopping in San Francisco?

    New York has Fifth Avenue, Paris has Avenue Montaigne, and San Francisco has Union Square where shoppers and credit card companies coo with delight at  Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany’s. But don’t limit yourself to just the square. Head three blocks in any direction for countless boutiques and big name brands, and of course San Francisco's own Gump’s, department store, a retail monument in the city for over 150 years.

    Hayes Valley (start at the corner of Gough and Hayes) not far from the Civic Center has been face lifted a few times over the last several years and provides shoppers with an eclectic mix of non-chain clothing boutiques, shoe shops, home décor, and cafés and restaurants. Check out Lavish for their unique cards and stationary, reminiscenet of that old-fashioned way of communicating with distant friends and family.

    Personally, I window shopping and people watching on Haight Street, the epicenter of San Francisco’s hippie culture and summer of love in the 60s. The smell of incense and other herbals still wafts through the streets among vintage shops, record stores, jewelry boutiques, and other assorted outposts. 

    New to San Francisco is the appropriately named New People, a Japanese retail and entertainment hub smack in the middle of Japantown. Here shoppers find the art, and hip retail brands like Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, all fresh from the land of the rising sun.

     Polk Street is a fun wander with that something for everyone appeal. The upscale scale consignment shop CRIS can land you some names like Gucci, Chanel or Prada for a fraction of the cost. Molte Cose is a three-in-one blend of women’s and men’s fashion plus vintage shop. Plus much more along what's called Polk Gulch.
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    Where is the best shopping in San Francisco?

    New York has Fifth Avenue, Paris has Avenue Montaigne and San Francisco has Union Square, where shoppers and credit card companies will delight in big department stores like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany’s. But don’t limit yourself to just the square. Head three blocks in any direction for boutiques and big name brands and of course Gump’s, a San Francisco retail monument for over 150 years.

    Hayes Valley (start at the corner of Gough and Hayes) not far from the Civic Center has been face lifted a few times over the last several years and provides shoppers with an eclectic mix of non-chain clothing boutiques, shoe shops, home décor, and cafés and restaurants.

    Personally, I love browsing along Haight Street, the epicenter of San Francisco’s hippie culture and summer of love in the 60s.  The smell of incense and other herbals still wafts through the streets among vintage shops, record stores, jewelry boutiques and more. 

    New to San Francisco is the appropriately named New People, a Japanese retail and entertainment hub smack in the middle of Japantown.  Here shoppers find the art, and hip retail brands like Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, all fresh from the land of the rising sun.

     Polk Street is a fun wander with that something for everyone appeal. The upscale scale consignment shop CRIS can land you some names like Gucci, Chanel or Prada for a fraction of the cost. Molte Cose is a three-in-one blend of women’s and men’s fashion plus vintage shop. Plus much much more along what's called Polk Gulch.
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Miguel Forbes
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best indoor activities in San Francisco?

    Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always sunny in California and sometimes you need to duck inside.

    San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA, is great rain or shine. Located just a short walk from downtown in an eye-catching building, the museum houses over 27,000 modern and contemporary works of art. Don’t forget ot have a coffee in the rooftop sculpture garden.

    I can’t help but think of the Van Halen lyrics, “..go ahead jump. Jump!” when I’m at the House of Air, an indoor trampoline park located in a former airplane hangar on Crissy Field. Kids and adults alike flip and soar with ease.

    For a little outdoors while indoors, stroll through the historic Conservatory of Flowers, a 100+ year-old Victorian greenhouse and botanical garden in Golden Gate Park that’s home to myriad rare plants and exotic blooms, including approximately 25,000 species of orchids.

    After a long day of hoofing it up and down those San Francisco hills, Kabuki Springs and Spa is just what you’ll need. Indulge in a massage or partake in the great tradition of Japanese-style communal baths at this oasis in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown.
  • On January 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best bars in San Francisco?

    Whether you prefer a dive joint, a trendy lounge, or sultry speakeasy, there’s a place to quaff in San Francisco that will satisfy your need for a night out.

    For something new on the bar scene, head to The Mission and Trick Dog, an eagerly awaited bar opened on January 7 and already accumulating rave reviews from casual cocktailers and connoisseurs alike. The clever Pantone paint swatch bar menu is fun to peruse and has 13 signature Pantone-color cocktails with names like Grandma’s Sweater and Polar Bear.

    In the heart of The Haight, Alembic has been a premiere cocktail haunt in the city for a few years now and is still going strong, thanks to its consistently good pours, limited and coveted bar space, and a menu of forgotten classics like the Jack Rose, referred to on the menu as “a home wrecker of a cocktail.” Alembic also boasts several original concoctions that will cause a stir.

     Bix has been around so long it can be called a classic. Located down skinny little Gold Street near the financial district, Bix oozes 1920’s supperclub swagger, complete with a smokey-voiced jazz singer and piano in the corner. Order a martini, an old standard, just like Bix itself.

    Dress up and head out ot The Redwood Room at the swank Clift Hotel. A blend of plush and modern interior, with the original redwood paneling that spawned the bar's name, The Redwood Room is San Francisco sophistication personified.

    For 30+ years, Liverpool Lil's has welcomed  people in to its dark and dimly lit rooms for food, friendly service, and game day action. San Francisco's version of the neighborhood English pub, Lil's is great for a pint or two, and the setting, across from The Presidio, can't be beat.