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A couple of weeks ago, I was wandering with friends in North Beach wondering where to dine. We walked the streets and examined menus, but were at a loss. The place we settled on was good, but I suspected we probably passed a few hidden gems. I wish I’d had a copy of Kimberley Lovato’s new book Unique Eats & Eateries of San Francisco, but it wasn’t released yet. Now that it is, I’ve ordered one to have ready for my next bout of culinary disorientation!

Like in her book Walnut Wine and Truffle Groves (about the food of the Dordogne region of France), Kimberley reminds us that behind every restaurant is a dreamer and behind each recipe a story. For example, did you know Cioppino, San Francisco’s signature dish, was inspired by the left-over catch of Italian fisherman who in the 1800s arrived in the city. They put it in pots and then added to it, spiced it up until it evolved into the well known dish that it is today. The same process of trial and error  led to The Buena Vista’s perfect fog-inspired Irish Coffee. Among the dozens of restaurants she writes up, I was glad to see Swan’s Oyster bar included; I’ll never forget the Crab Lois salad I had there on one bright spring day.

Kimberley Lovato writes in a way that only a enthusiast can: with energy, easy interest, and detailed expertise. Better than a “best of book” she seeks places with story, history, and traditions that represent this–as she puts it–“uncommonly edible city”

Kimberley joined us on our first ever Deep Travel adventure to Morocco and fell in love with the country. She writes

From the second I arrived in the Fez medina for Deep Travel, it was a magic carpet ride. It was twisting and turning streets; food stalls piled high with spices and sticky nougat and oil and bottles of orange blossom water. It was sounds I’d never heard before like the clack of a loom, the tinny clang of metal being forged into bowls, a donkey bray as it hauled its heavy load pack through the tiniest of passageways. It was the coating of sugar on my teeth at each sip of hot mint tea.

She uses the French word dépaysement to sum up Morocco:

It means disoriented, out of your element, a change of scenery.  As someone who loves to get lost, Morocco was heaven, and I was never more pleased for the sensation of dépaysement. It was hard to put into writing the feeling and emotion of being completely out of my element, but Deep Travel managed to help me conjure the words. I’d gladly get lost with them all over again.”

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Visit Kimberley Lovato’s website here.

Deep Travel is currently accepting sign-ups for our upcoming trips to Yelapa, Mexico, Granada, Spain and Fez, Morocco. All of our trips feature two hours sessions with award-winning writers like Tim Cahill, Erin Byrne and Larry Habegger, as well as inspiring elder Dot Fisher-Smith. For more information, click HERE.

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