Foodie Gift Guide

We all have friends and family in our lives that love to cook! Show your appreciation for their hard work in the kitchen and bring a smile to their face this year with some of my absolute favorite kitchen products and gifts.  

1) Harry Potter Kitchen Swag - Calling all Witches & Wizards. Harry Potter merch is available now through the Williams Sonoma/Pottery Barn family including these amazing aprons. Now to decide where your true loyalty lies. I'm Gryffindor all the way! 

2) AeroPress - Amazing coffee for under $30 - yes please! Goodbye fancy Burr grinders and scales, because who really can or wants to exert that much brain power BEFORE they've had their morning cup of Joe? I've owned a Nespresso machine, Chemex, French Press, Italian espresso maker...and the AeroPress is by far my favorite (and most affordable) caffeine delivery device out there. Designed by Aerobie engineer Alan Adler, it's perfect if you're looking to make just one or two cups and the best part is you can take it anywhere! All you need is boiling water - so camping trips, hotels, trips back home - you'll never be without a great cup of coffee again. After a tutorial or two, it's pretty fail-proof and oh so delicious. 

3) Le Creuset Cast Iron Crepe Pan - Okay, I've never actually made a crepe on this pan, but it lives on my stovetop year-round because that's how much I use it. I originally bought it to make Dosas, but soon realized this pan was destined for so much more. Grilled cheese or any grilled sandwich, quesadillas, my famous Almond Flour pancakes, heating up pizza (this is the only way to reheat pizza btw), warming tortillas - the list really goes on. I highly recommend this pan for any serious cook - or someone with kids! Oh, and the clean up is a breeze - I occasionally wash it, but mostly just wipe it down - much easier than washing my All-Clad pans. You also can't go wrong with the Le Creuset Grill Pan and classic Dutch Oven

4) Food Gifts - Of course, you can't go wrong with the gift of delicious food. Create a basket or stocking filled with gourmet pantry items such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil like this gorgeous re-usable bottle from Williams Sonoma, below, Italian Luxardo Cherries (for the world's best Manhattans and ice cream sundaes - click here to read why), Neilsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract, (what the pro's use), French Croissants (I send these to my parents every year in Ohio where French pastries are scarce), or a bottle of Vodka with some seriously tasty Bloody Mary Mix. My go-to shop is Williams Sonoma. They seem to always offer free shipping and a 20% off coupon around the holidays. They also have daily deals all month long on food gifts. 

5) Food Gifts (cont...) - If you live in the Bay Area and have a chance to go to St. Helena in Napa, pick up a sleeve (6) of Model Bakery's English Muffins. Featured on Oprah's Favorite Things 2016 & 2017, countless blogs and the Food Network, these puppies are worth their weight in gold. They freeze wonderfully, so we'll buy 4 or 5 sleeves each time we go up. Get one for a friend and yourself! They are best on their own with a little butter (okay, a lot), but also quite tasty with my favorite jam from Chico - which you can find at your local Whole Foods or specialty grocer - Mountain Fruit Company. The Raspberry Rhubarb is divine, but you can't go wrong with any of their flavors. Simply processed, they contain very little sugar with over 77% whole fruit picked at the peak of its season. If you're not in the Bay Area, you can still order, but call well in advance to Model Bakery. It looks like they are also on Amazon, but the shipping alone will set you back $32. Order the jams here

6) Joule - Sous Vide has long been popular among chefs and serious home cooks, and is now becoming more and more mainstream - just head into Starbucks and ask for their sous vide eggs for breakfast (they're delicious). I never got onto the sous vide train because the idea of cooking my food in plastic and then that plastic leaching chemicals into my food sounded insane. BUT, I know the final product is amazing. With some advances in technology and this really great article from Nom Paleo - I'm ready to try the silicone bags which are chemical free. The Joule claims to be the world's smallest and sexiest sous vide tool - you can even use it with your iPhone or Android. 

7) Epicuren Cutting Boards - These are hands down the best cutting boards out there. My favorite feature is how thin, light, and flush they are to your counter top making them easy to handle and wash. I often keep a trimmings bowl right in the sink and can easily scrap off my waste from the board right into the bowl in one fell swoop. Check out these from Williams Sonoma - the initials give it a a fab high-end look. 

8) LamsonSharp Fish (aka Off-Set) Spatula - I received this in culinary school and can't imagine cooking without it. Not just for fish, you'll use this for anything and everything that needs flipping. It's flexible, durable, and I secretly use it for cleaning up burned bits on my pan and things like dried pancake batter or wax adhered to the counter top that you just can't seem to scrub off. The magic fish spatula slides underneath and lifts it right up.  

9) OXO Handheld Spiralizer - This was certainly a big year for spiralized veggies thanks to the continued popularity of Gluten-Free, Paleo, and Whole 30 programs. This handy kitchen tool is a perfect stocking stuffer and is geared for a light to moderate spiralizer user. It earns double points in my book for its tiny footprint (basically fits in the palm of your hand). If you think the chef in your life wants more, opt for the OXO Good Grips Spiralizer which ranked #1 on Wirecutter's list $38.24 on Amazon. 

10) Salt & Pepper - Most serious cooks keep their Kosher salt close to the cooktop to grab a pinch quickly and efficiently. Check out this gorgeous made-to-order Salt Cellar from Food 52. Pepper is another story. Freshly ground pepper delivers the best flavor, so you've got to have a killer pepper grinder. With close to 700 reviews and 5 stars on Amazon, you can get a sense of why the Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill has developed a cult like following with pro and home cooks alike.

11) Lagouile Steak Knives - French-made, these are the gold standard of steak knives. They come in a variety of gorgeous handles and cut beautifully. The beautiful box makes for a lovely gift. 

12) Moscow Mule Mugs - Set of 4 mugs for $40 with straws and a shot glass. This is a solid deal and the Amazon reviews are glowing. 

Q3 Market Update - Districts 3 & 10 Boast Best Affordability

Emily Beaven San Francisco Real Estate Market Update Q3 2017

Compared to last year's Q3 we saw a decrease in inventory for both single family residences (SFR) which was down 22.20% (median), and condo's which was down 20.40%.

The most affordable area in the city for single family homes was the Southeast or District 10 at $870,500. 

The most affordable area to purchase a condo was the Southwest or District 3 at $680K.

Greatest Increase in Median Price from Last Year: Single family homes rose by 31% in District 3 to $1.15M. The biggest increase in condo prices was seen in District 10 at 25.7% at $700K. 

Most expensive: No surprise that the North or District 7, was home to the most expensive single family homes AND condos, at $3,546,875 and $1.6M respectively.

    District 3 neighborhoods: 

    • Lake Shore
    • Merced Heights
    • Pine Lake Park
    • Stonestown
    • Lakeside
    • Merced Manor
    • Ingleside Heights
    • Ingleside
    • Oceanview

    District 7 neighborhoods: 

    • Marina
    • Pacific Heights
    • Presidio Heights
    • Cow Hollow

    District 10 neighborhoods:

    • Bayview
    • Crocker Amazon
    • Excelsior
    • Outer Mission
    • Visitacion Valley
    • Portola
    • Silver Terrace
    • Mission Terrace
    • Hunters Point
    • Bayview Heights
    • Candlestick Point
    • Little Hollywood

    Your Best Chances at Getting a "Deal" in San Francisco

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    1)    You Had Me at Shag Carpet    

    While your friends are online ooh’ing and awing over the subway tile and wide oak plank floors of their next dream house – you need to be seeking out the shag carpet, the avocado kitchen, and the pink bathtubs. That’s right, the….FIXERS. Fixer-upper’s almost always go for less and the cost of upgrading usually puts you ahead. Plus, you’ll get the chance to customize your home to your personal preference – not today’s latest design fads (please go away barn doors!).

    2)    Look for The Next Neighborhood

    If you’re trying to get a deal in SF – you’re not looking in the historic, well-established neighborhoods (say goodbye to Pac Heights). Cross of the A’s and even the B’s – look to the C’s and even the D’s if you know it’s got potential. Keep informed on what’s happening in SF that could make a neighborhood the “next” real estate hotspot, such as these projects:

    The Central Subway Project, which will extend the Muni Metro T Third Line to provide a direct transit link between the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to SoMa, downtown, and Chinatown. So, it might be a smart idea to take a second look at Chinatown – it’s just a short walk to the FIDI, North Beach, Nob Hill and we’re starting to see some new life being brought into the neighborhood like the award-winning Mister Jiu’s and China Live.

    Potrero Hill’s massive redevelopment project will transform the area’s public housing into a mix of below market, at market and commercial space.

    Mission Bay has been developing for years, and will soon be home to Dropbox, which just signed the biggest lease in SF history along with a little something called theWarriors Stadium. This area could be perfect for finding an investment property.

    Bayview-Hunter’s Point – Dubbed “SF’s last real estate frontier,” homes are still affordable by today’s standards (median in Q3 for Bayview was $788,500K) and the area has some of the sunniest weather in all of SF. The neighborhood’s redevelopment project began in 2006, and has since seen some major changes including the Third St. light rail and a slew of new business in the area including a Peet’s Coffee. This is a great read on the history of the neighborhood for more.

    3)    Early Bird Gets the Worm (and the House)

    You always need a great Realtor, especially if you’re trying for to get any type of a deal. While there are discount brokerages out there – they rarely have the inside track on the upcoming, off market/pocket listings that are so prevalent in SF. In fact, some real estate companies in SF conduct 30% of their business off market. This can be a win-win for both buyer and seller. The seller saves money and time getting the home ready for market and the buyer gets to beat out the competition and avoid the ever so common bidding war.

    4)    Buy for Tomorrow  

    You’re a young couple today – but do you think you might have kids in the next four years? If so, push yourself to spend a bit more to get the home with the extra bedroom and space. You’ll want to hold onto this home for at least 5-7 years and if a baby comes before that – you won’t be happy in that "steal" of a $600K loft apartment. Same idea applies if you’re an older couple. Maybe a home with stairs makes sense today – but in reality a home that’s all one level or has an elevator would be smarter for the future. This tip isn’t necessarily saving you money today, but it will tomorrow. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Downside of Selling Your Home On Your Own

    In this kind of a “seller’s market” it’s understandable that some homeowners may believe that they should try selling their home on their own to “save” money. However, do-it-yourself sellers (also known as “For Sale By Owner” or “FSBO”) could end up losing money and time in the long run - here's why: