Go Away With … Jill Litwin

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
November 17, 2009

When a friend asked Jill Litwin to help her make healthy and tasty meals for her child, Litwin put together a few yummy, kid-friendly dishes. These ideas became the starting point for Peas of Mind, an organic frozen food company catering to kids who’ve outgrown standard jarred baby food. Based in San Francisco, the energetic 35-year-old CEO loves to travel, whether it’s to nearby Sonoma or to the beaches of Jamaica. Litwin talks about some of her favorite hotels, why she always travels with a scarf and a custard shop in Greenfield, Wis., that makes her mouth water.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I love Treasure Beach, Jamaica. It’s not touristy at all. You have to drive about two hours through the Blue Mountains and go down in the middle of nowhere. We had a car so we did some driving to see some waterfalls. It was just so gorgeous there. And the island cuisine was really good, too.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I’m based out of San Francisco, so it’s really easy to go to the Pacific Northwest. I love going to Seattle, Portland, Napa, Big Sur, Sonoma.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A. I really like charming inns that are rustic. Jake’s at Treasure Beach had an outdoor shower. The Pitcher Inn in (www.pitcherinn.com) in Warren, Vt., is really charming and every room is different. Nick’s Cove (www.nickscove.com) in Marshall, Calif., is charming. In Sonoma there’s a place called the El Dorado (www.eldoradosonoma.com) that I like. The Ace Hotel (www.theacehotel.com) in Seattle is a really interesting, cool boutique type of hotel that’s a lot of fun. The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (www.fairmont.com) in Quebec was probably the ritziest hotel I’ve stayed in so far. There are some really good high-end pizzerias in San Francisco — Flour + Water (www.flourandwater.com) and Beretta (www.berettasf.com) are really good. Delfina (www.delfinasf.com) is great, too. I love great bakeries like the City Bakery (www.thecitybakery.com) in New York City, which is totally amazing. There’s a great custard place called Kopp’s (www.kopps.com) in Greenfield, Wis. I actually send away for it and I get it for friends as gifts.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I have this Nivea lip cream that I like and I like really soft ChapStick. I adore Skin Trip lotions. I always have some sort of light cotton scarf around my neck. And definitely my iPod.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I actually have a loose plan. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I get there, but I always know where I’m staying. I do a lot of things off the beaten path where there’s not a lot of literature about it necessarily. The best way to find out is by word of mouth and then trying to find those places.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I’m getting married in March and am planning my honeymoon now in the south of France. I’ve lived on the West Coast for the past five years now and have yet to make it to Vancouver. I’d really like to go there soon.

Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
A. I like to talk to the locals and find out about the places they like to go to, rather than what’s in all the guidebooks. But then on the other hand, I also want to capture some memories and see some things that may be touristy, so then I’m like, “Screw it. I am a tourist.”

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM


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