“Marylle Koken is fantastic at performing major transformations with ease," says InStyle magazine. "Koken is one of the nation’s top performing media artists in hair making today," raves SalonCity. While most salon owners would revel in a single glowing review, The Harlot Salon’s owner, Marylle Koken, has had them rolling in since her career began at the tender age of 19. After growing up in Holland and training in France, she traveled to the United States to embark upon a storied career. Now, thanks to her reputation for spellbinding styles, she counts The Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Juliette Binoche, Claudia Schiffer, and Jack Nicholson as clients at her Parisian-themed salon.
Complimentary cookies, champagne, and cappuccino welcome guests into The Harlot, where they kick back in soft, leather chairs as they await treatments with Marylle or one of the salon’s other star stylists. Not to be outdone by their lauded leader, the staff also flaunts impressive resumés that include styling for LA Fashion Week and fitting the Hollywood sign for its new wig. With the help of Sebastian Professional and Moroccanoil products, they perform a traditional list of hair services with untraditional flair.
The early 20th century birthed the first incarnation of Mission Brewery, in which California newsboys and other pre–Jazz Era scallywags tossed back their sudsy concoctions before Prohibition closed its doors. Despite its short tenure since its reestablishment in 2007, Mission Brewery has already snatched medals from the Great American Beer Festival and other competitions for its pantheon of brews. In its tasting room, patrons claim bottles or sample draft beers that include the Bavarian-style hefeweizen with hints of banana, clove, and pear; a russian imperial stout; or the Shipwrecked Double IPA, a strong concoction that, like walking on hot coals, benefits from a liberal use of hops. Located just a few blocks from the San Diego Padre's Petco Park, guests can enjoy tours through the rows of gleaming vats in the brewing chambers, which are housed in the historic Wonder Bread Building, rumored to be haunted by multicolored polka dots.
At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.
Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.
Noeteca‘s owners spent their lives looking forward to running their own restaurant, so it’s no surprise that the French-inspired tapas spot feels comfortable in its own skin from early morning meals until late into the night. During the day, Noeteca seems like a cafe, where patrons sip on international coffees from local roasters brewed by the cup or for personal-sized French presses. At brunch menu, familiar dishes share space with ambitious French-inspired offerings—the croque monsieur becomes a croque Napoleon with slices of bread pudding layered with black forest ham and emmantaler. When the weather is nice, guests can wander out to a patio colored by a flower and herb garden to learn the sun’s secret handshake.
As evening falls, candlelight fills the dining room and guests switch their focus to wine. The award-winning list includes more than 30 varieties, each available by the glass or half-glass. For dinner, patrons can build their own cheese plates or share a tarte flambèe, Alsatian flatbreads the San Francisco Bay Guardian said have “a lovely thin, blistered crust that was a bit softer and more luxurious than a typical pizza crust”.
To make the search for fermented grapes almost as enjoyable as drinking them or throwing them at passing busses, Vino 100's friendly and knowledgeable staff of winetrepreneurs assists customers in making informed wine selections without the need for clunky vinometers and high-powered wineoculars. Vino 100 stocks more than 200 wines priced at $25 or less and more than 200 wines priced at $26 and up, as well as dozens of bottles costing equal to or less than the square root of the daily NASDAQ index. Amid its charmingly rustic décor, visitors can grab a bottle of Seven Hills Riesling ($15), De Tierra Merlot ($18), and more. The type of bottle all depends on whether they want to massage taste buds during dinner or inject a giggly romanticism into an evening that's usually spent playing Yahtzee and watching dance-contest recap shows. You can also peruse a wide selection of craft beers and savory meats and cheeses.
It is not just the pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas that keep guests coming back to Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse—the hand-crafted beers also play a major role, quenching thirsts with flavors ranging from the Uptown blonde’s light layers of honey to the highly hoppy profile of the Skinner’s Horse IPA. Pete’s team keeps meals in balance by offering food-and-beer-paring suggestions, assuring diners that the Midtown ale harmonizes with fish tacos and that the Old Town red—a malty, medium-bodied amber ale—improves coordination for slam-dunking meatballs.
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