The word that comes to mind when thinking of Kristi Yamaguchi is champion. An Olympic champion on the ice, a dance champion on television, a champion mother in her personal life, and a champion fundraiser for children’s needs (in 1996, she established the Always Dream Foundation for children.) Whatever it is she does, she always strives to do the best.
And so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with her recently about the best that life has to offer in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised and now lives with her husband and two daughters.
Where were you born: Hayward, California.
How long in the San Francisco Bay Area: I was born and raised here. I moved away right after high school. From 1989 to 1995 I pretty much lived in Canada, or on the road. And then I got married in 2000. So from 2000 to about 2008 we were in North Carolina because my husband played hockey there.
Occupation: Professional athlete and corporate spokesperson.
Favorite restaurant: If I could go anywhere at any given night, what it would be? A special place, with my favorite meal ever, is at Tommy Toy’s.
Best steakhouse: Epic Roasthouse. We’ve been to Epic and Waterbar a lot lately, it’s so good.
Best sushi: Anywhere in Japantown really. We just go to J Town and pick a spot!
Best ethnic food: Betelnut, on Union Street. It’s by the same owners as Tommy Toy’s. It’s Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese. It’s kind of a fusion of Pacific Asian food.
Best Italian: There’s a tiny little place in Laurel Heights called Osteria, on Sacramento Street. There are like ten tables. But it’s really fresh, beautiful food.
Best pizza: Amici’s. The kids like that!
Best lunch: In the East Bay there’s a little place called Sideboard Cafe. it’s on Hartz Avenue in Danville. A tiny little place, but I think they use local ingredients, a lot of organic food. It’s really fresh, and they’re constantly changing the menu. It’s a seasonal menu, with home-baked goods.
Best place for late night dining: After having two kids, you don’t get out late anymore! But Slanted Door, in the Ferry Building.
Best dessert: My favorite dessert is actually in Minnesota, where my husband’s from. It’s like this warm banana cake, and it has a carmel sauce on it with fresh whipped cream. It’s so good!
Best place for a romantic date: I would love to either do dinner and the theatre in San Francisco, or the San Francisco Ballet.
Best place for a power business meeting: I had a business meeting in a private dining room at the Waterbar. They have a room there that overlooks the Bay, and it was just beautiful.
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? I’ve stayed at the Clift Hotel. I love the Clift. Or the Westin St. Francis. One of those two because of the location and they’re San Francisco landmarks.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Geoffrey Scott in the East Bay. He has a store in Danville. He also design his own jewelry.
Best place to buy jewelry/watches: Cartier or Tiffany’s. You can’t go wrong with either of those places!
Best spa: The Claremont.
Best gym/athletic facility: Sports Club LA.
Best massage: Either the Nordstrom’s Spa in San Francisco, or The Claremont.
Kristi Shows Her Dancing With The Stars Trophy to Haute Living’s Damion Matthews
Favorite charity event: Always Dream events are always so much fun! And I often do a lot of Ronnie Lott’s events here in the Bay Area. He has been a huge mentor for me.
Favorite cultural institution: We’re members of the California Academy of Sciences.
Best museum/exhibit: Anything at the California Academy of Sciences.
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: The Ferry Building on the weekends. We take the BART into the City from the East Bay, and walk across the street to the Ferry building. And we’ve taken the Ferry to Sausalito, which is just a fun day out on the Bay with the kids. Then come back and have lunch at the Ferry building, walk around and get some fresh produce.
Best aspect of San Francisco: It has everything, but it’s still pretty low key. It has culture, restaurants, theatre, and just so much to offer.
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