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Insider Guide: San Francisco

When the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, it was the greatest engineering feat of its time. Now, 75 years later, San Francisco remains a cutting edge city in nearly every sphere, from technology to food. We asked two local experts—Melissa Ferst, co-founder of International Orange Spa, and David Bazirgan, Executive Chef of Fifth Floor Restaurant—to give us a tour of their favorite spots. Find out their picks for eating, decompressing, and more.

Feast On This

David Bazirgan: I love the diversity in San Francisco—there are so many cultures, and it’s really reflected in the great food scene here. You can get some really unique spices and produce in Japantown, Chinatown, the Mission… I could go on. When it comes to eating out, I really like Plow for a mid-week breakfast, or the old school spot Tomaso in North Beach for a glass of chianti and a pizza.

Melissa Ferst: At Pizzeria Delfina, the menu is simple but everything they do is perfect, from their pizzas to seasonal fried veggies to their gelato. I also go to Out the Door when my schedule allows. My breakfast favorites are the soft cooked eggs with soy sauce and their fresh mint tea. For lunch, my favorite is the jicama and grapefruit salad, the spring rolls and any of their seasonal veggies.

Sweat It Out

DB: I just joined the UCSF gym in Mission Bay where they have both an outdoor climbing wall and pool. Jogging is also great here—not to mention the perfect way to sight-see!

MF: The Lyon Street steps are the ultimate outdoor workout. They are steep and long and brutal, but they are flanked by beautiful homes and greenery and at the top you have a view of the bay.

Best Way To Decompress

MF: The Monday Night Meditation at Spirit Rock is peaceful and refreshing and I always leave feeling calm and happy. I usually go when founder Jack Kornfield is leading. He weaves in the thoughts and teachings of many different people from all different faiths and always adds humor.

I also love a facial or bath at International Orange. Our Four-Handed Massage is also the most luxe treatment in the city. Two practitioners at once help take your massage over the top. If you need brow help, our own Jennifer Gallegos is your go-to girl.

If I Moved Away, I’d Book Trips Back Just For…

DB: I’d come back for the amazing seasonal produce—it’s best in the country, hands down. I’d go right to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market and visit my favorite farmers.

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