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Chicago | August 2015

I visited Chicago for a long weekend in late August 2015 and absolutely fell in love with it’s architecture, people, food, and overall accessibility. 

Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip! It’s an odd mix of everything I admired about Chicago: the eclectic mix of architecture, art & design styles; the inventive food; the welcoming people; and the beauty of the city at large.

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Best of 2014 (Movie posters / Album covers / Book covers)

Movie posters

  • Gone Girl: One of my most anticipated movies of 2014 was David Fincher’s adaption of Gillian Flynn’s thriller “Gone Girl”. As posters and production stills started being released, posters like this one not only spoke to Fincher’s signature style, but also a visual adaption of Flynn’s mysterious and haunting book. The cheeky/clever use of the text and it’s meaning work incredibly well as a teaser for the film. 
  • Inherent Vice: As of this post, I have not seen Inherent Vice, but the poster immediately grabbed my attention. The poster feels both referential of earlier decades and completely new and fresh. The design is playful, and the typography is elegant and purposeful. The composition is somewhat expected, but all of the pieces come together to create a memorable poster. 
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: The Hunger Games movie franchise has always had some incredible creative direction and marketing rollout. While this isn’t the full movie poster, this teaser photograph/poster conveys so much interest and mystery in one image. The all-white photograph is haunting and makes the subjects look both statuesque and futuristic. 

Album covers

  • St. Vincent, St. VincentI’ve written about this album cover before here, but it’s still one of my favorites from the year (and one of my favorite albums.) St. Vincent’s bright, rich, and enigmatic sound is replicated with a simple, stirring, and (fake) minimalistic-inspired cover. The typography is weird and geometric, her pose is regal and elegant, and the severe contrast of colors work to make the cover visually stunning.
  • FKA twigs, LP1There’s something so unique, moving, and subtle about FKA twigs’ music, and this cover helps to communicate all of those things. Photographed and manipulated by artist Jesse Kanda, the bright, stirring, surreal cover is one that I think will be continually regarded as an important and “classic” album cover.
  • Tycho, Awake:  This minimalistic and restrained album cover is elegant in it’s simplicity. The range of colors and geometry convey the ambient and calming music that Tycho releases. 

Book covers

  • Wolf In White Van by John Darnielle: While almost headache-inducing, this weird, challenging, and maze of a book cover is really eye-catching. The two-color cover evokes a sense of mystery, curiosity, and confusion - all while being visually appealing and well-designed.
  • Your Face in Mine by Jess Row: I love this book cover for it’s simplicity, character, and elegance in it’s geometry. The abstracted geometric shapes come together to form an interesting shape (I see a geometric interpretation of an ampersand.) I particularly enjoy the change in typeface for the word “in” - it’s simple and almost goes by without notice, but everything comes together to form a simple, geometric, and pleasing cover.
  • The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Kevin Moffett, Matthew Derby: This cover utilizes a clever typographic solution - a combination of geometric letters and blank spaces, with hand-written text set inside. The book is about a new generation of children who are born unable to understand language. It’s a dense topic, but the cover is deceptively simple and features some mystery in the combination of the set/written text. 

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How to Eat Your Way Through San Francisco: A Visual Diary

[L to R] - all taken with iPhone, more SF photographs taken with real camera to come!

In-N-Out Burger333 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Well, my first real (layovers don’t count) trip to California, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to In-N-Out.  I was pleased to find out that the one In-N-Out location outside of Southern California, was in the heart of the tourist area of San Francisco, where my friends and I spent most of our first day.  The burger was quite good - juicy, flavorful, and meaty. The fries were salty and delicious.  I can’t decide whether I prefer In-N-Out or Shake Shack.  (I guess i have to settle on Shake Shack for my proximity.)

Balompie Café3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
San Francisco is a sprawling, diverse, exciting food city.  My friend Joe said that we had to try a pupusa (traditional Salvadorian dish) while we were visiting. This delicious combination of cornmeal dough and filling (chorizo + cheese, mixed bean + cheese in my case) was so flavorful and so simple.  Handmade and served with rice and the most incredible beans I’ve ever had, this was the perfect late lunch after an exhausting hike through Muir Woods.

Dear Mom (S+M Vegan Chefs brunch pop-up) | 2700 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
My friends and I headed to Dear Mom (around the corner from where I was staying) for brunch on Saturday.  Unbeknownst to us, Dear Mom does not serve brunch on their own - instead, they feature a rotation of pop-up brunch menus prepared by local chefs and restaurants.  During our visit brunch was being served by S+M Vegan Chefs.  I ordered this beautiful creation: avocado toast with a hash made from roasted potatoes and peppers.  The gravy over top was dark and flavorful (possibly utilizing coffee? I can’t exactly remember.) Plus, those avocado slices! *swoon*

Nopalita1224 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
Described as a ‘sustainable organic Mexican kitchen’, Nopalita sits right outside of Golden Gate Park, and served as the perfect lunch spot after we spent a few hours wandering the de Young Museum in the park (go see the Modernist exhibit!) I ordered the Torta Pambazo, a chili-dipped sandwich with chorizo, potatoes, avocados, cabbage, queso fresco, crema and salsa escabeche.  This incredible sandwich was served with hand-cut, house-made Kennebec potato chips.  The chips were thick, crispy, and salty.  The sandwich was balanced and had a nice blend of the spice from the chili and chorizo, paired with the creaminess of the avocado and queso fresco. Not pictured: the best popsicle I’ve ever had: a house-made dark chocolate + cinnamon popsicle. 

Outerlands4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
The four of us stopped here for brunch before driving up to Muir Woods.  The menu isn’t overloaded with options, but instead opts for classics, like my fried eggs + bacon, and a mix of house-made breads/sweets/pastries (see below.) My fried eggs and bacon were placed on a huge piece of toast, which was crispy, and worked nicely with the salty bacon.  The dijon vinaigrette on the greens was a great touch as well. 

Woodhouse Fish Co.2073 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Admission: I’ve never had a lobster roll before. I’ve seen the light and I’m not looking back.  This lobster roll (a favorite of my friend, Joe) was meaty, buttery, loaded with bright flavors, and flat out incredibly delicious.  The fries are super salty, but the real star of the show is the lobster roll.  (This was the “small” lobster roll on the menu.  While I am sure I could have eaten the “large” I am happy I opted for the small - I don’t know if I would function properly after that much butter and mayonnaise.)

Outerlands4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
Because my friends Joe & John were raving about their breads/sweets/pastries, I spotted the 'Soft Pretzel’ option from a mile away and didn’t think twice.  Being from Philadelphia, I take soft pretzels very seriously.  This was a loose interpretation of a Philadelphia-flavored soft pretzel, but was in the right ballpark.  It appears more like a croissant, but is filled with cheese and bacon.