spotlight on kelly lack | san francisco.
Name: Kelly Adair Lack
Hometown: I'm originally from Salinas, California, a complicated agricultural town of fields, culture clashes, a charming Main Street, and the legacy of native-son author John Steinbeck
How long have you been in San Francisco? 3 years. Have also lived in Florida, New York City, and Buenos Aires.
And what do you do here? I head up content and community at a new company called Spot. It's an easy, elegant platform—app/website—that'll connect you with cool places in your city and around the world using pals' and pros' recommendations.
Describe yourself in 3 words or less. Down for anything.
Describe San Francisco in 3 words or less. Little big city.
Your ultimate San Francisco weekend? When you're traveling, you're engaged, exploring, taking everything in, noticing small details like a pretty door or the way the air smells. But when you live somewhere—even in a cool city like SF—you tend to stop seeing it for what it is. At least I do. So my favorite thing to do on weekends is to play tourist and spend Saturday or Sunday in a neighborhood I really have no "reason" to be in. Ordering unfamiliar things at a restaurant in Chinatown and stopping by the fortune-cookie factory. Going to the Dogpatch to walk around the old factory buildings, then hit the Magnolia Brewing Company and Smokestack. Going to the Maritime National Historical Park near Fisherman's Wharf, then the vintage arcade-game museum Musee Mecanique, and then having dinner at the retro Franciscan Crab restaurant.
Best coffee? I'm going to give it up to a spot nobody ever talks about. And because nobody ever talks about it, I never would have known about it had I not worked in an office right around the corner! I'm talking about Cumaica on Mission and 10th. It's not atmospheric like Blue Bottle or Four Barrel, but its coffee is so consistently good I could drink it black with none of those it's-too-bitter grimaces. My go-to order is a large iced depth charge—pretty much a Big Gulp of coffee with a shot of espresso swirled in. I know—how has my heart not stopped?
Favorite burger spot? Original Joe’s. It's an old-school joint my dad has taken me to since I was little where the waiters wear tuxedos and you can sit at the bar and watch the chefs put on a show. It's said that the burger hasn't changed in 75 years: 12 ounces of ground chuck on half a Boudin baguette. No condiments, no veggies, no frills. There's a location in Daly City (currently closed for renovations), another in North Beach, and now a stand in AT&T Park.
Best spot for date night? Depends. If you're out with someone you don't know well, my vote is for something active plus booze. Mini golf + booze at Urban Putt. Bowling + booze at Mission Bowling Club. Even if you come to find that you and your date have ze ro in common, you can still slide through the night talking only about the activity at hand. Now if you and this special somebody are serious, the ultimate date is booking a night at Nick's Cove, a couple hours north in Marshall. It's breakfast in bed, oysters on your private deck, and ocean views all around.
Favorite yoga studio? No idea! I'm not the yoga-doer I wish I was.
Where can we hike? Through redwoods east of Oakland, up to the summit of Mount Diablo, but my favorite hike is from Muir Beach down to Tennessee Valley and back. You can bring a dog, and the views are mind-boggling the whole way. The trail snakes along the coast, high up on a hill. You'll feel as if you're on the end of the earth.
Where can we beach it up? I have a soft spot in my heart for the beaches that fringe the coastline north of San Francisco: Black Sands Beach, Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Beach, Muir Beach... They're not the warmest and can be difficult to reach, but they're ruggedly, fiercely beautiful. A couple years ago we drove out to Muir on New Years Day. We weren't the only folks with that idea—there were families, couples, dogs, and kids running through the surf—and the feeling of community and communing with the sea was almost tangible.
Favorite weekend escape outside San Francisco? We head north a lot up to Bolinas, Point Reyes, Marshall, and Tomales Bay. Big Sur is another frequent trip. It's where we got married. But recently I've discovered California's old gold-mining country in the foothills of the Sierras, and I can't get enough. We went two weekends in a row a few months ago. The towns I'm talking about are Volcano, Murphys, Jamestown, Columbia, Angel's Camp, Sonora, and there are still so many more. They're all a bit different, but they're typically dripping with history and a bit of quirk, with a picture-perfect main drag, a couple good restaurants, and a converted-stagecoach-stop hotel with an old saloon in the ground floor.
Who is inspiring you right now? All the makers: weavers, a ceramicists, leathersmiths, florists. Anybody doing something with their hands.
What's on your stereo? Musically, my tastes are...varied. Kaleida, Drake, FKA Twigs, Sohn, Led Zeppelin, old-school Snoop Dogg, classic-country like Johnny Cash, anything bachata. And oh my god Beyonce. C'mon.
Where is your next holiday? No current plans, but we're talking about a last-minute trip somewhere south of the equator for the holidays. Maybe Indonesia or the Philippines. My husband and I are 11th-hour travel planners through and through. Book a flight, throw some sh*t into a bag, and go. And early next year I want to hit Arkansas to visit my extended family.
Complete this sentence...when I grow up I want to be... Living half the year in New Orleans. I just went for the first time and realized it's where I'm meant to be. Magical, mystical, a little macabre.
Words you live by: Day to day: If you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen. It's on silly posters and cards, but it resonates. When I'm traveling: Sleep when you're dead. The friend who originally put me onto this is now, ironically, the adventure editor at RedBull. I also truly, truly down deep believe in this Mark Twain quote: Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.