How I See San Francisco: Tour Guide Lisa Rogovin
Lisa Rogovin is the Founder/CEO/Epicurean Concierge of Edible Excursions, one of the country’s first walking food tour companies based in San Francisco and offering tours in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. Lisa brings more than 20 years experience in worldwide culinary exploration to her job. A longtime California resident, she has a vast knowledge of the Bay Area’s acclaimed food culture. This is how she see's the city she calls home, San Francisco.
Describe a Typical Day in San Francisco
I love eating well, but I also put a lot into taking care of my family and myself. Our mornings start pretty early, and I love taking my kids to Cafe St. Jorge for their amazing baked goods (although it’s usually a chia bowl for me) before dropping them off at school. I also feel at my best if I make it to my favorite Monday morning Zumba class with Doug Silva at Fitness SF on Market Street in the Castro (I exercise to eat!).
I may find myself taking meetings with several of our favorite partners and farmers at the Ferry Building. We are also launching new tour excursions: a Japantown tour of the South Bay and a brewery tour of Oakland. Any tour in development has to appear seamless to our guests, which means a lot of work on the backend for us.
What Should Every Visitor to San Francisco Do At Least Once?
Take a tour of the Ferry Building with one of our user-connected guides! It’s a great jumping off point for the history of the food scene in the Bay Area and a walk along the Embarcadero with beautiful waterfront views in either direction. Choose heading south past AT&T Park to see the changing San Francisco skyline or north to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can’t go wrong. If you happen to hit the Ferry Building during the farmers market on a Saturday, you must have the chilaquiles at Primavera and take in the view of the Bay. This city is meant to be seen on foot, so bring your walking shoes and an extra stomach!
What's Your Favorite Place to Take a Photo or Read a Book?
I’m a huge fan of the southwest corner of Dolores Park at Church and 20th Streets. It’s beautiful, and you have this amazing view of the bustling park below and all of downtown in the background. It’s such great people-watching, and not too far away from Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream.
Where do you indulge your artistic side in San Francisco?
I love public street art, and I never get tired of checking out Balmy Alley, Clarion Alley or most any street in the Mission. It’s always changing, and it’s always real.
What’s your favorite event that happens in San Francisco?
Baile en la Calle in the Mission has really grown into a must-see event. Several Mission district dance companies interpret the colorful, Latin American murals of the neighborhood in dance in the streets, and it’s fantastic. It’s a great way to experience the Mission’s proud cultural heritage, and it’s put on for free for the public by some great non-profit arts organizations that really add to the quality of life here, including Brava Theater, Precita Eyes Muralists, Loco Bloco, Cuicacalli Dance Company, and others.
Where and what would you choose for your last meal in San Francisco?
It would have to be dumplings. Maybe Yank Sing for its elegance and its eminence. But it might also be Shanghai House for just bare-bones authenticity. I hope I never have to choose!
Which restaurant is still on your list to dine at in San Francisco?
Rich Table. I’ve heard nothing but great things, the chefs have the pedigree, and there must be a good reason they’ve been James Beard-nominated and written up by the national press.
Who do you follow to keep up with San Francisco news?
I try to stay on top of Chronicle Food, Eater SF, Tablehopper, and KQED’s Bay Area Bites. They always do a good job. Part of the news, though, also comes from talking to people in the business. A lot happens behind the scenes and by word of mouth.
Any last final advice for travelers in San Francisco?
Don’t pack shorts! To really get to know this city, my advice would be to head into the neighborhoods on foot and tap into the pulse and pace of local life. Skip the touristy sourdough bowl filled with clam chowder. Instead, head to 24th Street in the Mission for Basa Seafood's creamy homemade clam chowder, fresh oysters, and sushi. Or head to SF’s Japantown (the first in the U.S. and one of only three remaining in the country) to eat tonkatsu ramen at Yamadaya and snap a picture of the Peace Pagoda, a gift from Osaka, our sister city in Japan. It’s not hard to have fun in San Francisco, or to find a great meal.