Uncommon Adventures: San Francisco

Nine under-the-radar happenings that'll quicken your pulse this summer, guaranteed

PART THREE:
CRAFTSMANSHIP

PART THREE: CRAFTSMANSHIP

Craftsmanship is an abstract idea that takes many concrete forms.

A Michelin two-starred restaurant with decor every bit as stimulating as the food on the table. A tech-savvy design house that makes leather furniture inspired by Google image searches. An 11-course tasting menu plated so prettily you’ll be loath to eat it.

Spoiler alert: today, it means all those things.

Because each of those experiences can be found within Uncommon Adventures, a new series spotlighting under-the-radar happenings around San Francisco.

Remember to take a picture. It’ll last longer.

ATELIER CRENN

The twice Michelin starred eatery is led by Breton chef Dominique Crenn, expected to be the first female chef in the U.S. to earn a third. It didn’t require an update, but Crenn’s highly personalized craftsmanship is nonetheless well represented in this space, designed to be an homage to her father, Allain. His paintings hang above black walnut Goby tables, on which Japanese Futagami cutlery sits alongside carbon-steel knives by artist Michael Lishinsky.

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MIKE AND MAAIKE

This Dutch-Californian studio is Silicon Valley’s go-to for innovative industrial design projects — like Daydream View, a wearable VR device from Google made with soft materials inspired by clothing, rather than traditional (and uncomfortable) synthetics. Their tech-inflected conceptual projects are equally interesting, like leather pieces inspired by Google image searches for iconic jewels.

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THE LEXUS LC 500
FROM OUR PARTNER

Before you hop around town to check in on some of the city’s most talented craftsman, you’re going to want a car to match. Enter the first-ever Lexus LC 500, which we recently christened “far and away the sexiest Lexus ever built.” Born in a factory though it may be, the LC 500 was built with an obsessive, artisan-esque attention to detail, from the single piece of chrome trim they hand-apply to the roofline of every LC to their unrivaled pickiness with materials. To wit: only 5% of the leather on earth meets their scrupulous in-house standards for available semi-aniline leather. The result is a car you’ll be thrilled to step out of, no matter the occasion.

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SINGLE THREAD

Michael Bauer, the Bay Area’s preeminent food critic, gave this Healdsburg eatery “a flawless 4 stars on arrival.” The 11-course tasting menu is strongly influenced by the fruits of the labor of Single Thread’s head farmers, who tend a garden bordered by vineyards; similar attention is given to the design, like the restaurant’s dishware pieces, vases and serving vessels, many of which were made by the Nagatani family of Iga, Japan, eighth-generation master potters.

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PART TWO:
DESIGN

PART TWO:
DESIGN

Good design is an abstract idea that takes many concrete forms.

The works of a prodigious Bay Area artist next to those of the French master who inspired him. A festival celebrating everything from Yves Béhar to the history of Pixar. A curiously stylish and rugged go-bag.

Spoiler alert: today, it means all those things.

Design never looked this good.

MATISSE/DIEBENKORN

Even high school art students know Henri Matisse — fewer will be familiar with Bay Area artist Richard Diebenkorn, who participated in a decades-long conversation with the French artist’s work throughout his career. His name comes second in the exhibition’s title, but Diebenkorn is responsible for the dominant work here, with 60 of his paintings on view to Matisse’s 40; together, they create an intriguing lesson in canonical works — and how they’re transfigured by the artists of the generations that follow. Don’t miss the Ocean Park paintings.

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DSPTCH

No shop better sums up the S.F. ethos: the made-in-the-Mission brand provides its users with beautifully constructed, built-to-last goods — backpacks, duffels, camera straps — meant to take customers (and their photographic gear) to the ends of the Earth ... or the nearest airport lounge.

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THE LEXUS LC 500
FROM OUR PARTNER

For a day of design-minded pursuits, you’re going to need a ride that looks the part. Enter the first-ever Lexus LC 500, which we recently christened “far and away the sexiest Lexus ever built.” This is no ordinary two-door sport coupe. Notice the elegant flourishes throughout: the chrome-plated moldings, the taillamps that contain 80 individual LEDs and evoke the look of a jet’s afterburners. Given the level of innovation, it’s no surprise the LC began as a concept car. But unlike the vast majority of concepts, this one has actually achieved production. And what you’re left with is a car uniquely engineered for the future of driving.

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SF DESIGN WEEK

The city’s highest-profile design event brings together the best talent from the West Coast — like a Pixar director on the art of storyboarding — as well as the odd international star (see: Yves Béhar, in town to discuss co-working spaces). Come for the seminars, stay for the opening-night party, studio crawls and networking.

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PART ONE:
PERFORMANCE

PART ONE:
PERFORMANCE

 

If it’s high-adrenaline outings you’re after, we’ve got ‘em.

Performance is an abstract word that takes many concrete forms.

A cyclist deftly maneuvering through S.F.’s hilly streets. A kayaker paddling through the surf while whales breach just feet away. A skier rocketing down California’s slopes in the middle of summer.

Spoiler alert: today, it means all those things.

Performance never looked so good.

MISSION BICYCLE

San Francisco is a cyclist's town — if said cyclist has nerves of steel, the patience of an elevated saint and a bike built to wage war on hills, slippery slopes and unrepentantly murderous drivers. You bring the former; for the latter, Mission Bicycles is our preferred source for superior city bikes. Hit them up and they'll work with you to design a machine custom-built to your specs.

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SANTA CRUZ KAYAK

If you love someone who loves animals, there may be no better gift than a tour with Santa Cruz Kayak, which offers an opportunity to paddle alongside a staggering array of marine life. You know those videos of whales surfacing 40 feet from paddlers? These guys can't guarantee whale sightings — whales maintain their own schedules — but they'll do everything possible to ensure the sort of aquatic safari experience that'll have you coming back for more.

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THE LEXUS LC 500
FROM OUR PARTNER

For a day of high-performance pursuits, you’re gonna need a ride that looks the part. Enter the first-ever LC 500, which we recently christened “far and away the sexiest Lexus ever built.” Beyond the impressive résumé (5.0-liter V8, 471 horsepower, 0-60 in 4.4 seconds), the LC 500 is bringing actual, real innovation in the performance department. The 10-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission is an industry first from a luxury carmaker, the naturally aspirated engine (which few competitors offer) produces a unique, aggressive engine note, and the driver can toggle between multiple drive modes to accommodate driving conditions. One of them is called Sport S+. Without saying too much, do try to find a road suited for Sport S+. You will not regret it.

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SUMMER SKIING AT SQUAW

The drought is over ... and in its place, hundreds of inches of snow. For the first time in memory, Squaw Valley may stay open through the summer months, pushing forward an earlier — and no less noteworthy — plan to keep lifts on select western slopes operating until July 4. At lower elevations, you'll find the same summer mountain biking crowd that makes this resort, just 20 minutes above Lake Tahoe, a year-round favorite.

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