Category Archives: I f***ing love San Francisco

There’s just something about the Mission

As we drove down mission street trying to find parking close to our meeting spot at Balmey Alley and 24th, I sat in the back seat of the car staring at this random grassy hill off in the distance.  It was such a lush deep shade of green and it seemed to set the mood for what was to come of our class field trip to the mission. It was calming and somewhere I really excited to be at the same time. 

Balmey Alley is the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco.  The murals began in the mid 80’s when artists’ needed to express their indignation for human and political injustices that were going on in Central America.

The murals are beautiful and are made to express something to the person viewing it; whether it is as obvious as simply painting Frida Kahlo alongside her husband or a piece filled with different shapes that create a whirlwind of vibrant colors, the artist is trying to communicate something important to world.  With each stroke of paint that artist is releasing their position, their stance, their opinion for people to absorb, learn from and maybe even act upon.

When we were done documenting every square inch of the alley we walked around the corner to Taqueria Vallarta, an authentic Mexican taqueria.  I ordered a vegetarian burrito filled with avocado, rice, pinto beans, sour cream and salsa all wrapped up in a big flour tortilla.  I know, its not the most authentic Mexican meal but it was so good.  In fact outside of northern Mexico, burritos are not common in traditional Mexican cuisine and only might be seen in some non-traditional venues South of the Boarder.  

As I look back at what I ordered I feel like I should have thought about the experience a little more and ordered some of the authentic Mexican tacos that were in the front of the restaurant tempting people strolling by; two corn tortillas, carne asada, cilantro, red onion and a little salsa.  mmmmm

We then walked a couple blocks to Mission Pie a local bakery and cafe specializing in pies by the slice and taking ingredients from local farms.  Even though the Mission Pie website says that it “encourages urban folks toward intimacy with their food through live relationships with the people and places that grow our ingredients.”  I think we can all agree, that statement went as far as the text on the website, if their banana cream pie wasn’t effing amazing I honestly wouldn’t step foot in the place again.  Oh well. 

My hw assignment for ESF was to use food to tell a story about the mission or to use the mission to tell a story about food.  When Silver (my professor) said this I immediately thought that there isn’t a way to choose one to define the other,   they simply go hand in hand explaining  and evolving each other; just as we did as a class and the many people that live and experience it everyday use it to define themselves within their culture, gender, ethnicity, residence and identity. 

There’s just something about the Mission.



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North Beach :)

We started our journey at City Lights Bookstore on the corner of Columbus and Broadway, a place that epitomizes the SF Beat Era of North Beach. Founded in 1953 the bookstore is practically the birthplace of Beat prose and poetry and where revolutionary and evolutionary ideas and artistic expression flourished.


The sun was setting as everyone arrived, some a little tipsy, some a little late, some a little tired but as we began our 5 minute walk through the streets of North Beach to Bocce Cafe the feeling of excitement and anticipation grew. The entrance was slightly hidden, but as we walked through a pathway covered with trees and greenery, up the stairs and through the doors I was struck by the openness and serene atmosphere created by the lighting and the traditional Italian decor.

We all sat at one huge table, settled in and looked at the menu to see how we could fulfill our appetites with a 15 dollar budget per person. Samantha and I agreed on sharing the caprese salad to start and then the penne pasta with roasted garlic and tomatoes. When the food arrived everyone was looking around to see what everyone else ordered, and because we were there not just to casually eat but to think about the food, the presentation, the ingredients and where they came from, the service, the atmosphere, and what we were actually putting in our mouths and consuming, dinner itself was more interesting and enjoyable. Many times when you go out to eat, its because you are hungry and you don’t want to think too much about food or to spend time preparing it. Being at the Bocce Cafe with 17 people all focused on every aspect of the meal was completely different and enhanced the flavor and experience.



When the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, we all looked at each other and shook our head as if the thought of eating anything else disgusted us. Then the bill arrived and it was the easiest transaction I have ever dealt with considering our party was the size of basketball team (everyone knows that trying to pay the bill with a crowd over 4 is a huge pain in the ass, someone gets stuck paying more, someone doesn’t pay enough and it kind of ruins the whole dinner and night).


Then after the meal we walked to The Italian French Baking Company where we were given a behind the scenes tour of the bakery. Seeing the process of making and baking the bread was fascinating and knowing the process makes me think more about where my food is coming from and the time and energy that goes into every loaf of bread (toast is probably my favorite thing in the world, so I eat a lot of bread).


The North Beach Crew set the bar high for the other crews to follow. Congrats, the night was amazing!


Green Apple Books


On a windy Wednesday morning as I stepped outside of my apartment onto 3rd ave to get some coffee at Marthas, I realized that I had yet to do an assignment for my digital journalism class.  On my way down the street I thought of Green Apple Books on clement between 6th and 7th.  I was pretty impressed with myself considering I hadnt had my morning cup of energy. 

When I arrived at the store I went through their 1$ used section for a bit (such a steal!), and then ventured inside.  Now, from the outside this little place does not look like it can hold more than a couple hundred books, but once your inside be prepared to be overwhelmed.  The place is stacked to the brim with good finds.  I must have spent 2 hours meandering around, exploring my curiousity, and getting lost (literally).  I went upstairs to see if I could find a good coffee table book and found this amazing photography book that I fell in love with when I was in NY earlier this year.  I couldnt get it at the time becasue it weighs just about 50 pounds.  The book is by this photographer named Dave LaChappelle , his work features actors, singers, models and icons in strange sceneries.  They are amazingly interesting and beautiful.  So my random trip to Green Apple books was a complete success!

Double Dutch

This past friday as my girls and I searched the city for a new bar/club to spend our night, my best friend cinthia remembered this bar called Double Dutch she went to freshman year in the Mission district. She said of what she remembered it was cool, played good music and had an eclectic group of people. So we gave it a chance.

When we arrived the place was packed, people were break dancing, turf dancing to old school rap, watching the action or just plain having a good time. We sat down in a booth that looked directly at the bar and people watched for a while before we got some drinks. As I looked around the small cozy chaotic place I was pleasantly surprised. I got up to join the commotion on the dance floor and had chance to notice the amount of character the place had. On one wall a framed picture of a New York tagger skateboarding through a construction site, on the wall behind me was a huge graffiti piece,
on the wall near the bar was a case filled with vintage SBs, and my personal favorite the wall behind the DJ was filled with old school boomboxes.

Most bars don’t go through the trouble of trying to create a atmosphere like Double Dutch, they figure a bar, some seats and alcohol is all you need. So if you like hip-hop, relatively cheap drinks, dancing and being surrounded by people who just want to have a good night, check out Double Dutch.

The Blue Danube

A mish-mash of comfortable, worn-in thrift store furniture, tables topped with colorful paintings and rotating art on the walls give The Blue Danube a homey vibe. A chalkboard lists coffee and tea drinks, along with breakfast wraps and thick sandwiches like the rosemary chicken on focaccia. A more leisurely pace prevails at night, when locals filter in to chat over pints or cocktails. Once in a while a local band or friends of the owners (Sandy and Jimmy, which are two of the kindest human beings I have ever encountered) come in and play music while people snack on carrot cake and enjoy a nice cup of coffee.

Not only is The Blue Danube a nice place to chill, people watch, get some work done and grab a quick bite to eat but its also a cool place to hit up if you are bored. In the back right corner of the cafe there are about 20 journals on a bookshelf. Random people have poured their deepest secrets, their hearts, poems, stories and funnies into these journals for the world to see and enjoy. Its kind of like old fashioned blogging. Check this place out on Clement street between 4th and 5th street. (check out the map) Its one of the oldest cafes in San Francisco so they must be doing something right!

I didnt have time to put up the pictures, but ill update you when they are on flickr.