An Outerlands Thanksgiving

San Franciscans Put a Pacific Coast Spin on the Communal Feast for Photographer Todd Hido

A driftwood and timber décor sets the tenor for a locally sourced Thanksgiving feast at San Francisco’s Outerlands restaurant in this photo series by award-winning lensman Todd Hido. Owned by husband-and-wife team Dave Muller and Lana Porcello, the eight-table eatery was conceived as a space in which the nearby creative community could gather, work and grab a bowl of hot soup in the foggy Outer Sunset district. It quickly became one of the most dynamic culinary destinations in San Francisco, with people coming from around the Bay Area—and the world—to sample chef Brett Cooper’s inspiring yet comforting dishes. Muller and Porcello opened Outerlands in 2009 after befriending John McCambridge, whose radical surf store and gallery Mollusk first defined the windswept creative identity that now echoes through the neighborhood. “Our house became the other half of the shop, and people were always coming over and getting surf boards or suiting up,” Porcello explains of the venue's intimate genesis. “The back window became a kind of service counter, so if we were cooking we’d say, ‘Oh you’re here, well, have a little of this!’” Their Thanksgiving tradition is appropriately home-grown.  “We do a stay-in-the-city meal for everyone who can’t go home,” says Porcello. “People from the neighborhood come and cook here, too.” For this early holiday feast, speckled castelfranco lettuces with sliced persimmons and candied chestnuts were passed around with family-style platters of tender Brussels sprouts and fermented onions, cranberry and almond and magnums of 2008 Baker Lane Vineyards Estate Syrah. A black cod strewn with fennel flowers was served in place of the traditional turkey—this outlying area may have evolved and expanded over the last seven years, but it still derives its elemental character from the ocean.

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  • Today's extra
    Today's extra

    The Outer Sunset

    Todd Hido Reveals the Invigorating Culture Just Down the Street from San Francisco's Ocean Beach

    While photographing his Thanksgiving portrayal of San Francisco’s Outerlands restaurant, a haven for local creatives and surfers, and foodies from near and far, photographer Todd Hido was lured by the beachside terrain a block away. “Surfing is such an integrated part of people’s lives out here,” says Outerlands co-owner Dave Muller. “They’re not beach bums like in southern California! They’re out here because there’s this pioneering kind of feeling, where there’s a lot of room to grow.” Shooting in close-knit shops and galleries, Hido distills the neighborhood's passion not only for waves, but also for food and art. “There’s a direct connection between the creative community and the surf, and an interesting twist on the artist-entrepreneur has really blossomed here. It’s something that can only happen in a very particular landscape or physical situation and this neighborhood offers that in a lot of ways.” Here the Outerlands family offer their guide to the warmest blocks in the foggiest corner of the city by the Bay.

    Mollusk Surf Shop
    “I would come here to surf at Ocean Beach with my friend from art school, Jay Nelson. He knew John McCambridge, who opened up Mollusk Surf Shop,” says Dave Muller. “John was building a lot of stuff in the shop—a gallery, installations—and Jay and I got involved. We were really excited about this surf shop in the middle of nowhere in the Sunset.”
    4500 Irving Street, CA 94122-1132

    General Store
    Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter gather together all the things they love, from ceramics to vintage and hand-crafted jewelry. Potted plants, showcased in a greenhouse built by a local artist, are for sale in their backyard.
    4035 Judah St, CA 94122

    A workspace/showroom that houses four local craftsmen—Luke Bartels, who makes custom furnishings from salvaged wood; Danny Hess, a designer of high-performance wooden surfboards; artist and sign painter Jeff Canham; and Josh Duthie, a chairmaker.
    3725 Noriega Street, CA 94122

    The Carville Annex
    Co-founded by Alexis Petty and Sarah Fontaine, the Careville Annex is a storefront, gallery and publishing press that hosts lecture series and mounts shows. 
    4037 Judah St, CA 94122

    The Judah Street Clinic
    Nestled between Tuesday Tattoo parlour and Trouble Coffee, this is where Alexis Petty’s partner, Dr. Nick Wirtz, practices traditional chiropractic adjustments, applied kinesiology, and functional neurology medicine in a treatment room that looks like it was designed by Donald Judd’s hipster grandson.
    4027 Judah St, CA 94122

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    Florence and the Machine: Lover to Lover

    The English Songstress Performs a Tale of American Heartbreak in Vincent Haycock's New Video

    A relationship falls apart in the desert towns and fog-soaked coast of California as the baroque pop chanteuse and Karl Lagerfeld and Gucci muse Florence Welch takes on a cinematic role in this second collaboration with LA-based director Vincent Haycock. After helming the narrative music video for Welch’s Calvin Harris-produced disco hit “Sweet Nothing”, Haycock wanted to further explore singer’s interest in acting in his film for “Lover to Lover”, the latest single from her hit sophomore album Ceremonials. “She wasn’t just Florence, she was playing a character,” he says. “It was exciting to take someone who’s built such an iconic visual style, with the floaty dresses and distinct look of her videos, and do something really different.” Performing opposite Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, who stars alongside Brad Pitt in the forthcoming flick, Killing Them Softly, Welch's on-screen interpretation echoes the track’s heart-aching refrain, “There’s no salvation for me now.” Beginning in a drab Los Angeles house and building to a cathartic gospel frenzy, the romance ends as the lovesick heroine disappears amid mist into the Pacific Ocean. “The waves were enormous, it was freezing cold and four in the morning—I was weeping all the way in I was so scared,” recounts the MTV Award-winning singer, laughing. “It was the most intense experience because we shot the whole day before; I went back to the hotel, slept for three hours, woke up and dove into the sea.”

    How did the concept for this character come about? 
    I was going through a phase where I was thinking about what I wanted from life, asking, do I want a husband and a child? Why do I think I need that? 

    What was it like to film such intense scenes with a proper actor like Ben Mendelsohn? 
    It was an emotional day and it brought up a lot of things. I’d come to the end of this massive tour and just needed to go home. I was tired and disoriented because Southern California doesn't have seasons--everything's getting cold back home and the leaves are falling but in LA everything’s in this stasis. I think I was screaming, “This isn’t real, I don’t know what’s going on!" and Ben was screaming back, “You’re here, you’re here!”

    Did you have a script? 
    It was completely improvised. I had to think about things that I was actually angry and upset about. It is cathartic, but you have to literally let yourself go. Ben is so sweet and accommodating--afterwards he gave me this massive hug and made me feel so comfortable. 

    Do you plan to take some time off now? 
    I’m not going to tour for a year after this one. I’ve been doing it since I was 21 and I think it’s time really to settle into moving out of my mum's! But I’m not going to stop writing. Playing live is my biggest passion, but I’ve got a lot of ideas, and I need the space to work on them.

    (Read More)

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