Erin Gleeson is an artist and author. Here she gives us the scoop on her favorite corners of Palo Alto and Menlo Park

Rosewood Sand Hill
Rosewood Sand Hill--photo courtesy of Blake Marvin

A master in creating cozy settings and family-style sharing plates, Gleeson is gearing up for the September release of her new book, The Forest Feast Mediterranean (Abrams; $25), which dives deep into vegetarian recipes and dinner parties and features watercolors inspired by her travels.


Rosewood Sand Hill, 
 a luxury hotel set on 16 acres in Menlo Park, is suited for both out-of-towners and locals like Gleeson, who enjoys grabbing a “fancy drink” at the resort with friends. “I like to watch the sunset on their expansive patio with a western-facing view of the mountains,” she says.


Constance Higley-Half Orange Photography

For a menu rooted in farm-sourced ingredients, there’s Local Union 271 downtown (pictured above). Gleeson especially loves the airy, relaxed restaurant for its light-filled space and hanging plants. Date night she hits Terùn, a refined pizzeria serving Neapolitan-style pies on a patio. “They have great Italian wines here,” she adds.


On Sundays, Gleeson hits the California Avenue Farmers’ Market with her family. “We also tend to frequent the Portola Valley Farmers’ Market on Thursdays, since it’s adjacent to our favorite playground and has a redwood grove for picnics,” she says. Over on University Avenue, which runs from Stanford to the heart of the city, sits the historic 1920s Stanford Theatre. “They screen classic films out of Hollywood’s golden age, complete with a red velvet curtain and an onstage organ,” she says. “They also have the best popcorn!”


Gleeson ends her evening with a nightcap at Bird Dog. “We like to walk over for a drink (and dessert!) at the bar—it’s one of the most modern and stylishly decorated restaurants in Palo Alto.”