Long-time couple Sabrina Buell and Yves Behar have uniquely defined creativity in San Francisco through their individual pursuits. As an art consultant, Buell advises wealthy investors on buying art, but also connects clients with local museums and institutions to create what she describes as “a more vibrant cultural community”. Behar, meanwhile, has created innovative consumer products through his firm FuseProject that have successfully married beauty and function, including the portable Jawbone Jambox speaker. The couple and their four kids split their time between SF’s art and design scene and West Marin's relaxed outdoors. Between catching waves and dining at the most exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, the couple share their ultimate California indulgences below.
Boathouse at Mankas Inverness Lodge
The Boathouse at Mankas is the best cottage on the property at the beloved hunting lodge turned luxury retreat in Inverness. “You feel very much like you're at home, but in this fantasy place,” Sabrina says of the two-floor waterfront accommodation overlooking Tomales Bay. The Boathouse is the largest suite on the property and commonly booked for weddings and other special occasions, and includes a kitchen, dining area, fireplace and piano. The locally sourced restaurant at Mankas burned down in 2006 in a devastating fire, so to make up for the lack of on-site dining, owners Margaret Grade and Daniel Delong deliver baskets of homemade breads, granola, and jams to your room each morning, all with personalized notes about where the treats where produced. If you want to share the private retreat with friends and family, Mankas staffers will provide in room dinner service. “We have friends that will stay there and host dinners in the Boathouse for eight people,” Sabrina says.
When Sabrina and Yves head to their West Marin home, they call The Sir and Star at Olema Inn the “best out of town restaurant escape.” The cosy but luxurious dinner destination aligns with the couple's affinity for supporting local communities. “The menu is made of food and wine from local places, so you know what neighbourhood your food is coming from,” Sabrina says. “It's the definition of local California.” Owners Margaret Grade and Daniel Delong opened the Olema Inn after their previous local restaurant at their Mankas Inverness Lodge was destroyed by fire in 2006. They've kept the same hyper local focus, but with a modern hand that keeps Sabrina and Yves—who recently got engaged—going back. “I dream of having a rehearsal dinner there.”
The wellness focused spa and resort was once an army barrack that was restored and converted into a hotel by the owners of the tony Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. Cavallo Point is located just ten minutes from Buell's home, and once there, Buell says, “you're transported into a totally different landscape.” This gorgeous hotel and resort at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge offering guest rooms with picturesque views of San Francisco is Sabrina’s zen retreat of choice. “I just go for the day or for an afternoon,” she says, indulging in a massage or some time in the property’s heated outdoor pool under towering redwood trees. “You can see the fog coming in over your head.”
Sabrina and Yves appreciate the artistry of Dominique Crenn’s two-star Michelin restaurant, where her inventive French food is described on its website as “poetic culinarian,” in part because her menu is presented as an expressive poem. “There's something she does that’s very authentic, artistic, and creative,” Sabrina says. “We find not only we have this delicious response in our mouths to the food, but this emotional connection to it in our hearts.” Crenn has become a phenom in the food world—her $298 tasting menu has seduced fans and critics and she is only women in the world with two Michelin stars. But the restaurant's intimate experience and emotional journey—Crenn has described her business as an homage to her childhood in Brittany—are what elevate Atelier Crenn beyond the typical fine dining venue. “It’s completely over the top amazing, but it’s not too pretentious that you can't emotionally connect with the food,” Sabrina says.
Sabrina considers this private photography museum the most exclusive art exhibit an insider can enjoy. Though free to the public, the only way to gain access is by appointment. “It’s the ultimate in terms of art luxury,” she declares. “They limit the number of people there at any given time. I still know people in the art world who don’t know about it.” Located in a refurbished warehouse underneath the Bay Bridge and founded by private collector Andrew Pilara, the museum displays historic and modern photography, from Richard Avedon, Paul Strand, and Diane Arbus, as well as local photographers and collections. Visitor spots book up quickly, and once there, guests attend in two-hour time slots. Curators want guests so focused on taking in the work that there's no explanatory text on the walls (though printed gallery guides with general information and trained docents are available on site). “It’s one of those spectacularly perfect art exhibits,” Sabrina says.
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