Best known for her Olympic gold medal in 1992, Kristi Yamaguchi is no stranger to a busy schedule. Whether we’re talking about her professional career or personal life, this power woman always strives for excellence. A perfect example: She and professional dance partner Mark Ballas won the sixth season of ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. She has also established a foundation, called the Always Dream Foundation, which helps aid children with special needs.
Yamaguchi and her husband, former Olympic pro-hockey player Bret Hedican, now live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their two daughters. Though Yamaguchi has proved the meaning of success time and again, it’s the little things – like family life – that get her by
Where were you born ?
How long in San francisco:
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.
Professional athlete and corporate spokesperson.
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 Haute Cuisine.
Best Ethnic Food:
Betelnut Restaurant, 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 Asian-Pacific food.
here’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 place for late night dining:
After having two kids, you don’t get out late anymore! But The Slanted Door, in the Ferry Building.
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 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 San Francisco Hotel. I love the Clift. Or The Westin St. Francis. One of those two because of the location, and they’re both San Francisco landmarks.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique:
Geoffrey Scott in the East Bay. He has a store in Danville. He also designs his own jewelry.
Best place to buy Jewelry/Watches:
Cartier or Tiffany’s. You can’t go wrong with either of those places!
The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa
Favorite Charity Event:
The Always Dream Foundation 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 Event:
We’re members of the California Academy of Sciences.
Epic Roasthouse. We’ve been to Epic and Waterbar a lot lately, it’s so good.
Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria. The kids like that!
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 Gym/Athletic Facility:
The Sports Club/LA
ither the Nordstrom’s spa in San Francisco, or The Claremont.
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 (Bay Area Rapid Transit) into the city from the East Bay and walk across the street to the Ferry building. 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.
Anywhere in Japantown really. We just go to J Town and pick a spot!
My favorite dessert is actually in Minnesota, where my husband’s from. It’s like this warm banana cake, and it has a caramel sauce on it with fresh whipped cream. It’s so good!
Best aspect of Los Angeles
It has everything, but it's still pretty low-key. It has culture, restaurants, theatre and just so much to offer.