Food blogger Michael from @betweenballoons shares San Francisco’s best eats

I was always obsessed with balloons when I was a child…

Balloons represent happiness and freedom. I wanted to incorporate that into a travel and food blog. Balloons bring people great joy and that is the feeling I want others to have when they look at my photos or visit my blog. You’ll see from my posts, that I try to make them bright and colourful so that they are satisfying to the eye. My balloon theme is sometimes hard to manage, but I think that’s where I get to experiment with the creativity behind photography. The travel bug in me is much like a balloon—floating and traveling from one place to the next.

The travel bug in me is much like a balloon

— floating and traveling from one place to the next.

The secret behind a great Instagram food shot is …

Lighting! Indirect natural light, such as near a window, is what I tend to look for when taking food pictures. You don’t need a fancy digital camera or Photoshop to get a great shot. I also tend to focus on symmetry and center alignment, as it can be pleasing to the eye.

Photography isn’t always about the perfect angle so it’s fun to experiment with negative space and use different textures and patterns as backdrops. I’m a big fan of overhead shots or flatlays, as it can really showcase a restaurant’s variety of dishes.

For my overhead shots, I like to capture the corner of a table to get interesting angles and I like to add a restaurant’s menu just to have different elements altogether. I think Instagram followers appreciate consistency, so always keep in mind having your feed look cohesive by using one certain filter that goes well with your brand.

Lighting, symmetry and consistency.

The recipe of a great Instagram food shot.

My most memorable brunch in San Francisco…

Was at Kitchen Story. I first tried it with my two cousins from out of town, and ever since then I’ve recommended it to everyone. They serve breakfast food but it’s also Asian fusion (bulgogi burger, banh mi panini, etc). My favorite dish is the mascarpone stuffed deep fried French toast. The portions here are quite generous and the décor is rustic with a diner feel. All the dishes are photogenic and it is an overall great brunch experience. It’s also walking distance to my favorite park, Dolores Park!


I’m craving this ice cream right now…

Garden Creamery! I love their unique flavor combinations like haupia mac nut and matcha gold toffee. My favorite flavor to get is the black sesame. They also have Hungarian-inspired chimney cones available on Saturdays!


If you’re visiting San Francisco, go for breakfast here…

My go-to breakfast spot in San Francisco is Le Marais Bakery. They have an extensive brunch menu and you can’t go wrong with anything you order. The pastries will also transport you straight to Paris!


& lunch here…

This ramen joint called Nojo Ramen Tavern. Get the chicken paitan ramen and you won’t regret it.


& dinner here… 

My favorite dinner spot is Aina, a Hawaiian and Asian fusion restaurant. Their menu changes frequently and it’s a fun spot to try elevated Hawaiian-inspired food.


My travel motto is …

Get lost and find something unexpected! The most memorable travel moments are always the unplanned. When my friend and I were exploring Kyoto, we did not plan out our day and just took a train to a nearby town. It ended up being one of the most memorable parts of the trip as we stumbled across all these roaming deer and low-key temples. I’m definitely a planner, but it’s always nice to get lost in a new city and you may even find something about yourself in the process.

Get lost and you may find something about yourself in the process.

A post shared by Michael 🎈 (@betweenballoons) on

Edited for length and clarity. Follow Michael at @betweenbaloons

Andy is a Content Creator for CAPTURED. For more travel inspiration, follow him on Facebook & Instagram.



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