Bloggers of the Bay: North Beach Alleys & Delicious Focaccia with Carlina Harris

Always giving global trends a cool San Francisco twist, Allergic to Vanilla‘s Carlina Harris is one of the Bay’s most established and prominent fashion bloggers. When she’s not taking gorgeous pictures with quintessential urban backgrounds, Harris manages influencer relations for the shopping platform Shopstyle, runs marathons, and frequents local eateries—where the donuts and lattes are as photogenic as her covetable accessories. Who could be a better guide for the vibrant, throwback-cool North Beach neighborhood?

How long have you lived in North Beach?

I moved there a little less than a year.

What do you love about living in this neighborhood?

It’s so beautiful, historic and full of life. Also, it’s so central to downtown, the water, Chinatown…I can almost walk anywhere.

Where do you get your coffee and why?

I always have my coffee at home, but if for some reason I didn’t have any on hand, I’d pop into Reveille on the corner of Columbus and Kearny. It’s the cutest little spot.

What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?

During the summer or on nicer weather days I love going to Piazza Pellegrini, it’s a little outdoor cafe overlooking Washington Square with lots of foot traffic. Get the Aperol Spritz!

Where do you like to eat in the neighborhood and why?

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is so good! We love the Grandma pie with the spicy sauce. For breakfast, I just discovered Pat’s Cafe. She has the best pancakes, and it’s the perfect unpretentious breakfast place. Pat even comes around to say hi, she complimented my fur coat last time I was in. She’s got great style. 

Describe the perfect North Beach day for us.

Get up, have some coffee and a green smoothie. Go for a run starting in North Beach and off to the Embarcadero and back. Grab a yummy loaf of raisin foccacia at Liguria Bakery, but get there early, as they sell out by 11am sometimes. For lunch, I’d run into Giovanni’s and pick up more focaccia. They bake it in-house and it’s so delicious. I’d take it to go and eat lunch in Washington Square park, on a blanket with some vino while enjoying the sunshine. For dinner, I’d do Cotogna. Finish the day with post-dinner drinks at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe and get the house Campari cocktail.

Where is the best Instagram photo-op in the neighborhood?

North Beach is full of tiny alleyways, which are not as crowded when you want a less busy street. But when you want an iconic background, I say The Sentinel, that beautiful old sea-foam building off of Columbus.

What do you wish people knew about your neighborhood?

It’s loud but lovely! North Beach is super central to everything and has the best weather in the city.

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