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February 21, 2019

How I See San Francisco: A.K. Crump

A.K. Crump is the founder of TasteTV, the world's first multi-platform digital lifestyle media network, launched in 2004 as the Indie Food Channel. He is also the guiding visionary behind the Taste Awards. He has authored bestselling books such as "The Cafes of San Francisco", "Chocolate French", "The Dog's Guide to Surfing," and "The Winermakers Primer." We asked him about his favorite places in San Francisco and the things that every visitor should experience.

You grew up on the east coast and in the midwest before arriving in San Francisco. What keeps you here?

I love the mild weather, the fresh food, and the openness to new ideas.

Which neighborhood do you like to explore, other than your own?

San Francisco is made up of hills and valleys, so almost every neighborhood has its own town center. This means that going to another neighborhood is like going to another small town and exploring what they have to offer. Some neighborhoods I haven't been to recently and need to explore are Outer Balboa, Glen Park, and Hyde Street. I have to admit that I do visit Destination Bakery in Glen Park at least once a month, then stop by Bird & Beckett Books and Records. I have yet to catch one of the regular jazz performances there.

What's a typical day in San Francisco like for you?

Wake up, take care of family business, check emails, eat some 75% dark chocolate (instead of drinking coffee), then head to work. After that, it depends on what's on tap for the day. Sometimes it means staying in San Francisco; sometimes it means heading to the North, East or South Bay.

Where do you indulge your artistic side in San Francisco?

This whole city is artistic, even in areas of business. You could say it thrives on creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. There are certainly enough galleries, shops, and art fairs to keep any art lover busy, not to mention the clubs, classes and meet-up groups. Lately, I've been a fanboy of a group called SF Sketchers. They go around as a group and sketch places or events.

What's your favorite annual event that happens in San Francisco?

Ours! The San Francisco International Chocolate Salon and the World Dog Surfing Championships. Aside from those, we have a tradition of going to the Orchid Expo at Fort Mason, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown, and now and then to Outside Lands.

What's the best place in San Francisco for a great cocktail?

Favorite places for cocktails are Belga in Cow Hollow and Noir Lounge in Hayes Valley.

Where do you like to watch the sunset?

You can see great sunsets from certain spots in the Presidio, and of course at Lands End.

Where do you recommend for a day trip beyond the bridge?

I'm a big fan of San Carlos, Walnut Creek, Emeryville, Corte Madera, Petaluma, Sonoma, Pacifica and Yountville.

What should every visitor to San Francisco do at least once?

Walk around a lot. This is a walking town, even with the hills. You can't see anything worth noting by just driving around all the time. You'll never notice that the building you walked by had a horse stable in the back, or that the storefront you passed has something you've always wanted. You'll definitely never smell the jasmine in bloom in the Mission or Marina.

What is one item still on your San Francisco bucket list?

Recently, I've been thinking about going out on a boat to the Farallons.

Any special advice for travelers coming to San Francisco?

This is a friendly town. People like to talk. Walk around. Ask people questions. Don't just stay silent. I've talked to so many people who don't realize that two blocks in the other direction is a major San Francisco event or a really cool place to eat or shop.


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