Making the most of WWDC with @ashponders
(This is part of an email interview series we’re sharing this week in advance of WWDC. Since so many people come in from out of town to attend the conference, we thought it would be helpful and fun to get some advice from long-time attendees and SF residents about how to make the most of your trip to the Bay Area)
We pinged Aptfolk founder Ash Ponders (@ashponders) for his thoughts on the topic. As a long-time WWDC attendee and an accomplished world traveler, Ash knows how to make the most of the week (and he’d like you to know he wrote these answers while eating a popsicle).
Are you going stay near the Moscone Center when you’re in town for WWDC?
No, I prefer to stay in areas that reflect a more lived in ambiance. This year I’ll be staying in a town home on Nob Hill.
What ONE place would you say WWDC attendees from outside of the Bay Area have to go?
Mission Dolores Church, which is as far as I can tell, the oldest building in the city. I’ve spent more than one dusk there, enjoying the sounds of the Mission as the work day ends.
What is your favorite place to grab a drink and run into random WWDCers?
It used to be the Tempest, a bar I wandered into a 5 or so years ago looking for the party raging at the Chieftain. These days though it’s so crowded after dark, one can barely hear. Actually, that’s a real trouble at almost every bar around the Moscone Center. All except the St. Regis. The St. Regis is the calm sitting bar I’m always looking forward to after a long day of walking about to and fro. It was well attended last year, and I’m sure this year it’s charms will be shared with even more folks.
If you could lead a field trip for 15 WWDC attendees where would you take them?
The Streets! SF has some of the most wonderfully tall hills; nothing delights me more than riding a bike up and down Russian Hill or the Twin Peaks. A fierce climb or 12 would be a great way to wake up and oxygenate your brain before a long day of learning at WWDC.
What is the best cocktail you’ve had in San Francisco and where did you have it?
Oh that’s tough, I’m bunting. I’ve had a particularly memorable Corpse Reviver #2 miles & miles north at Cyrus. The restaurant and bar are renowned around the world, but still seem to be hidden gems every time I go. Their cocktail program is focused on the freshness of their garden, and their seasonal drinks give me heart ache when I can’t visit to try them.
Where is the best beer in San Francisco?
Toronado’s Pub. Belgian ales might be my Kryptonite. If Kryptonite made Superman preposterously happy and a little tired. If you’ve got legs though, go for a run up to Santa Rosa and try out Russian River.
Have you found a coffee shop worth working in and skipping WWDC sessions for? If so, where is it?
Last year by Thursday, my liver began to rebel. I spent the day playing “Hey, That’s Jack Dorsey!” in sunny uncrowded Mint Plaza. The coffee at Blue Bottle is worth the (preposterously, literally out the door and around the corner) line; the food is ample and delicious enough to get my liver to agree to terms. It was a wasted day, but a beautiful and enjoyable one, so perhaps all was not lost.
What’s the best meal you’ve had in San Francisco and where did you have it?
Dol Ho is basically the best bang for your buck in the whole city. Tremendous value and tremendously tasty Dim sum. Warning: It’s not the most clean place in the world.
What’s the most fun thing you can do in San Francisco that you’d recommend to visitors?
The same thing as anywhere, meet new friends and catch up with old friends. That’s the whole point of WWDC, right?
What’s the most unique thing you can do in San Francisco that you’d recommend to visitors?
I’m a big fan of ditching the city (can you tell?). There’s a small sea side farm near Muir Beach called Slide Ranch. I love jetting up there before dawn and watching the sun come up. It’s tremendously relaxing and inspiring. There’s even a geodesic dome… if you need a geodesic dome for something.
If you had one picture from SF to share, what is it?
I keep my memories in my head. Fewer people are embarrassed that way.
What one thing do you bring home from SF every time you visit?
A tour of coffee: Ritual, Sightglass, Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, to share with my coffee fiend friends.
And a loaf of bread from Tartine for my baker friends at Panne Bianco.
And an odd toy or two from Chinatown for my kid brother.
Other than that, I’m a strictly memories only kind of traveler.
Thanks for sharing Ash!
Want to see advice from other friends of ours? Check out tips from: