January 11


My San Francisco Love Letter

By Mashav Shelef

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Last night we got on a plane from San Francisco to Tel Aviv. When the plane departed, and we looked down on San Francisco from above, it was an emotional and beautiful moment. After 6.5 years, San Francisco was home. Observing it in such a magical light for the last time (at least in a while), was breathtaking.

Unlike watching any city from above, SF has become special to us, a part of our hearts forever. This last year has been a challenge to the entire world, and it pushed us to decide it’s time for us to move-on and seek out our next adventure.

Golden gate bridge from baker beach

I closed my local business and started a new business that will be easier to manage from anywhere in the world. It took us 6 months, but we finished sorting, selling, tossing, packing, saying goodbyes, and thank you to everyone.

Our plan is to stay in Tel-Aviv until the spring and then find our new place in New York around April. Read (a lot) more about my new business plan here, and make sure to follow my new Facebook page Always Tasting.

I miss SF already, it’s really one of these unique places on earth. So I thought I’d share what is San Francisco to me.

1. The Friendships

Turns out that Israelis who found themselves relocating to SF are some really awesome people. I wasn’t prepared to have mostly Israeli friends in the US but I found that sharing a similar background and journey to the same city, brings people together quite easily.

2. The Hills and the Views

It’s a part of what makes the city so beautiful, but also tends to throw you into some weird situations sometimes. A block might seem like a breeze on the map but in real life – it’s a gamble. We got a pair of electric bikes, but still, there were areas I avoid in all costs.

3. The Weather

I’m probably the minority here but I love SF weather. It’s mostly somewhere between 65F-80F which is mild and cool. Not that I know what that mean in *real* temp (i.g. celsius), but I can say that 60 is cold, 70 is ideal and 80 is hot. In SF it’s not too warm in the summer and not too cold in the winter. A micro-climate ecosystem means it could be sunny in one neighborhood while cold and windy in another. It could be annoying when you have a bunch of summer dresses with only about 5 days a year to wear them. Or to be carrying around a jacket, every time you’re out after 4pm, doesn’t matter which month it is.

SF from a ferry

4. The Fog

the fog is real. So real they named him “Karl“. You can watch him creep in every evening, which reminds you that this is SF, but it’s also hard to see what’s in front of you sometimes.

Karl the fog from the balcony

5. The Food

the food scene in SF is very elaborate. It has its ups and downs. The best of it: Mexican, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Burmese and Indian. Also a good amount of fine dining, American and modern cuisine. The lows are salads (better make it yourself), over-priced Californian cuisine (like an $8 peach at Zuni Cafe), Mediterranean (still looking for decent shawarma in the whole bay area) and desserts (too sweet and rarely worth the price).

6. The Weird

it’s natural to be a weirdo in SF. You can wear whatever you like, do crazy stuff and no-one will mind. They might even join you.

7. The Weed

let’s face it, it’s nice to walk into a dispensary and have the expert suggest what kind of weed will help with any of your problems. And it really does help, especially this past year. At least we didn’t consume too much alcohol.

8. The Neighborhoods

unlink most cities, there’s really no benefit of living closest to downtown in SF. It’s actually one of the more boring neighborhoods. Each neighborhood in SF is like a little town, with its own personality. I’m gonna miss Haight-Ashbury (where we lived 2.5 years), The Mission, the Inner Richmond (where we also lived 2.5 years), North Beach, Chinatown, Japantown and many more.

9. The Tech

SF is THE tech city, or at least it used to be before covid-19 struck. It’s so nice to have all the newest and experimental services and apps start close to home. Seriously, there’s an app for everything, before they go bankrupt.

weird ad on a bus stop

10. The Thrifting

I love shopping in second-hand stores, flea markets and garage sales. SF has so much to offer in that sense. The antique market at Alameda is a sight to be seen, the vintage stores in the Haight are so colorful and fun to explore, the Goodwills and Salvation Army stores are the place to find the best and cheapest finds, and a legit weekend plan can be garage-sale-hopping in the neighborhood.

11. The Festivals

there’s always a festival of some sort, so you better keep a well-appointed box of costumes for everyday occasions. And did you ever hear about Folsom Street Fair?

Final words

Goodbye SF and SF people! Stay colorful and wonderfully weird! We’ll miss you a lot!

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Mashav Shelef

I’m a trained chef, a food writer, a culinary traveler, a food explorer and a mom. My mission in life is to inspire and motivate people by helping them experience life through food.

Mashav Shelef

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