Rachel Levin is a San Francisco journalist and author, who often covers food, travel, and cultural trends, as well as the occasional Instagrammer hunter, speed-dating mother, and incarcerated marathoner. She has written about adult campers and audiobook narrators, bear whisperers and raccoon wranglers, uncrowded national parks and over-crowded mountain towns, posh motels, piano men, and more, for the New Yorker, the New York Times’ Travel, Styles, and Kids sections, Outside, Bon Appetit, the Wall Street Journal, the Cut, T magazine, Eater, as its’ first San Francisco restaurant critic, and elsewhere.
Her essay on grapefruit spoons was selected for the 2022 edition of Best American Food Writing, and she remains obsessed with restaurant regulars and the role restaurants play in the lives of the people they feed. (Which was the subject of her semi-regular column, illustrated by George McCalman, for the San Francisco Chronicle; a fine publication which also invited her to semi-regularly vent during the pandemic.)
A former senior travel editor at Sunset magazine, the once-iconic magazine of the West— where a stressful workday was needing a “best burrito” in Utah, Rachel wrote about pot suppers, iPad tipping, and booze-free happy hours before everyone else did.
A 2018 recipient of the Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship from the San Francisco Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, Rachel has appeared on NPR Marketplace and KQED Forum, and has performed at Pop-Up Magazine and Voices from the Kitchen, a live storytelling series from La Cocina, where she served as a member of its editorial committee.
Rachel has written four books. Her first, LOOK BIG: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds (Ten Speed, 2018), was described by the Wall Street Journal as “a nifty idea carried out with humor and a deft touch.” EAT SOMETHING: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews, (Chronicle Books, 2020), coauthored with Evan Bloom, was named a Best New Cookbook by Eater, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes. Taste wrote a very fun rave, too, titled “Where No Jewish Cookbook Has Gone Before”, which is true! STEAMED: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner (and Your Feelings) on the Table, (Running Press, 2021), coauthored with Tara Duggan, was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and included on Wirecutter’s list of Best Mother’s Day Gifts— because it really is. Rachel’s first kids book, WHO ATE WHAT?, (Phaidon, 2023), a Best Kids Book of 2023,makes her wish she could have been an illustrator.
Apart from a stint as a reporter for the Martha’s Vineyard Times, Rachel has lived in San Francisco since fleeing central New York’s snowbelt, where she graduated with honors from Colgate University with a degree in Philosophy. Which prepared her for both everything and nothing. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and the Ruby, and lives with her family at the top of an absurdly steep hill.
Find her reluctantly on Twitter @rachellevinsf (occasional rarely retweeted tweets) and
Instagram @offmenusf (occasional restaurant musings), @lookbigbook (occasional animal encounter antics), @rachellevinsf (occasional pics of her kids)