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April 2, 2012

NJC Business Review: Room Service Will Deliver (almost) Anything To Your Door!

IMG_6056.JPGI never thought the phrase "from your mouth to God's ears" was serious, until I found out about the new business at 10th and Irving, Room Service. You see, I was out one day and thought to myself "why is it we, as a dense, urban city do not have more businesses that deliver like, say, in New York City or Elsewhere?" and literally the next day I saw the signs go up for Room Service. The business, owned by Daniel Flores and Ilario Peppe, grew out of the same question one night when some friends wanted something that was Not Pizza and Not Chinese Food.

Daniel had some experience delivering food as the owner of Los Yaquis in the Mission, and he and his business partner did some research, and found that there were no other businesses doing delivery of things like beer, food, and whatnot, particularly late at night on the weekends. Once the market at 10th and Irving was up for sale, they decided to make a go of it and give San Francisco the local delivery service that it needed.

Right now the business is still testing out various models to see what works in a 7 x7 city like ours. Currently the delivery minimum is $30, and there's a Scoutmob offer that gives you 50% off your order (minus alcohol and energy drinks), and they have a wide variety of food to choose from.

My favorite was the wonderful selection of Columbus brand meats and cheeses, as well as the sandwiches from Los Yaquis. Best of all there are an array of products one might want to order in odd situations: you've returned home late from a long distance trip and your kitchen has only the elements of food, or perhaps you're feeling ill and just want someone to deliver some chicken soup and fruit juice while you get over that nasty flu.

Those with memories that extend past 2006 may recall Kozmo.com, which was a wonderful idea, but blew up during Dot Bomb 1.0. Room Service has a chance to suceed as it's starting out slow and is working to find what things people really want and what they do not. In the near future they will be offering Illy coffee, and they also plan on opening up a wine cellar and offering custom gift baskets for delivery as well.

Overall you can't go wrong. Their prices don't seem to be too much different than anyone else's, and the fact they will deliver ANYWHERE says a lot. This is the kind of business we want to encourage, because the idea of more delivery businesses means more people can live without a car. Check them out sometime when you and your friends want something but perhaps don't feel like hopping on a Muni to get something late at night!

Room Service
900 Irving Street, SF, CA
1 block from the 9th and Irving N-Judah stop
415 566 7666

June 3, 2011

Friday Fun: New Store on Iriving, Chloe's Closet, has a Grand Opening Party June 4th!

Although there's a lot of unseasonable rain forecast for this weekend, that doesn't mean you have to stay at home watching reruns on Me TV all weekend. For example, Chloe's Closet, a new children's consignment store on Irving Street, is slated to have a formal grand opening tomorrow, June 4th!

Opening in the vacant storefront where the old photography place existed for years, Chloe's is new to Irving Street, but not to discerning families in need of kid clothing, and other assorted items. Their first location in Bernal Heights has been a success for years, winning the "Best of the Bay" award from the Bay Guardian in 2005-2008 and in 2010.

If you stop by tomorrow, not only can you check out the wonderful renovation they did to this space, you can also participate in some fun activities from 11am-4pm. There's a balloon artist making things for the kids, and they've also got a "Spin A Discount" fortune wheel where you can win anywhere from 10%-20% off your total purchases for the day, or you can win a chance to draw a prize ticket, which might be for a 30% discount, or other exciting prizes.

Best of all you'll be welcoming another locally owned, sustainable business providing goods and services the neighborhood can use, now and in the future. The N literally stops in front of this place (located at 661 Irving) , and it's within a block or so of other lines, including hte 6 ,43, 44, and 71.

At a time when economic times are bad, here and elsewhere, it's more important than ever to support locally-owned businesses, especially on the westside. When you spend your money at a place like this, more money stays here in San Francisco and gets reinvested via taxes and other intangible benefits (like having a useful store instead of some bland chain bar or something). Plus if you have kids, or are planning to, these kinds of stores are not just stores, they become a true community resource. So stop by tomorrow and say hi!

March 25, 2011

Riding Across The Country via Amtrak: First Impressions and Advice

mountains.JPGLast week I had a chance to return home from Washington DC by train. I chose to do so because I was going out there for an awards ceremony/trade show, and my plane ticket costs were reimbursed. I paid the difference on the return trip, and decided to see what it would be like. I've taken two road trips via car to and from DC (one lasted 2 weeks and I made stops all over the place, the other was a 3 day nightmare from DC to Seattle*), so I figured I'd see something new.

Overall the experience was pretty good. I'll talk more about specifics of the trip in another post - here I'll just throw out a few thoughts if you're considering such a journey yourself.

First, if you've ever ridden a train in Europe or Japan, the TGV in France, seen "The Orient Express," or "Strangers on a Train," take those beloved memories, put them in a safe place, and temporarily forget about them. You simply cannot compare Amtrak to any of those systems. That doesn't mean Amtrak sucks - it's just not the same. So put that aside and be open-minded.

Next, remember that to compare costs, you can't compare with an airline ticket price. An airplane can fly over any and all traffic, flies about 500 miles an hour or so, and so on. If you compare taking the train to driving a car, then you have a more apt comparison. When I drove across the country both times, I was driving alone, so I would have to stop at some point and find a Motel 6 or something and get some sleep. Add to that the cost of food along the way, and of course gasoline, oil, etc. and you start to realize driving such a long distance isn't that cheap.

Sure you could do all sorts of things to tweak the price, but here's something to consider - in a car, if you doze off or look at scenery, you can get killed. On the train, you can walk around the train, have a beer and look at scenery in the observation car, play cards, watch a movie, whatever you want to do. Also, if you do as I did and get the sleeper car, all of your meals are paid for.

Continue reading "Riding Across The Country via Amtrak: First Impressions and Advice" »

December 14, 2010

The 2010 N Judah Chronicles Shopping Guide (Good All Year Round, Too)

There's still time to buy things for Christmas and all the assorted winter holidays, and if you're like me, you put this off as much as you can because holiday shopping is never much fun. Fortunately, you can ride the N Judah and get an assortment of Really Cool Unique Things, and you don't have to go look for parking all day either.

First off, any guide would not be complete without a list of places to buy your Muni related gifts. The Market Street Railway Museum and Gift Shop can be found both online, and on Steuart Street downtown. Their calendar is a great gift for railfans or for friends from out of town, and features great photography. Another fun gift can be found amongst the touristy things at the Cable Car Museum - vintage San Francisco street signs which not only look cool, but can be used as weapons should you be attacked by anyone on the way home.

Obviously, you can always find NJC-related items at our Zazzle store. Today (December 14th) there's a 15% off code (enter code JINGLESALE75 at checkout) for everything in the store, and free shipping on orders of $50 or more. If you're shipping to anywhere in the Bay Area, you don't need to order special shipping, as Zazzle is located in Redwood City, so most itmes get shipped fairly quickly.

When you pull into the Irving and 9th intersection, you're within walking distance to a number of cool gift and card shops. Whenever I need unique cards, wrapping paper, or other fun, unique gifts, I head to Wishbone (on Irving and 7th) and Tutti Frutti (on Irving between 8th and 9th). Both offer distinctly different items, and I find they compliment each other nicely.

Right in between these two stores is one of my favorite comic book stores, Amazing Fantasy. They lean more towards the super-hero type comics, but they do have a small assortment of titles from Fantagraphics titles as well. They are always friendly and will help you find the perfect present for you amongst their assortment of comics and toys.

Also nearby on 7th is One Shot Tattoo. Now, this may sound like an odd present, but if you know someone who wants to get a tattoo, this is the place you want to send them to. I know many people who've had a tattoo made here and their work is excellent and the people who work there are super-friendly.

Going west on Irving, if you find yourself in need of a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price for a party, I recommend checking out 828 Irving Market. It's not only a good neighborhood market, their selection of wine isn't bad. And, right across the street is Pearl, which opened up earlier this year, offering an array of impressive photography and jewelry, all locally made and of good quality.

Keep going west another block, and you will find one of the Inner Sunset's semi-hidden treasures, Sakura. Basically it's a Japanese dollar store with everything from Japanese snacks and food, to household items, to just about anything they can fit in this space! The selection is constantly updated, and if they don't have something you need, they can usually try and find it for you. It's always fun to stop in at any time, but for discounted presents, it's hard to beat 'em.

If you walk up 9th, you'll find Urban Bazaar, which opened up earlier this year. They offer a variety of locally made and "fair trade" gifts, and some of the things they sell there are really nice. I like buying things like this for friends from out of town, because I know it will be something they can't necessarily find in their home town. Plus the store itself is quite pleasant and has a really nice back yard.

Finally, up at 9th and Judah, there is a fun little bookstore, the Great Overland Book Company. Now it has the usual assortment of used and new books a store like this will have, but the real find here are vintage newspapers from the 20th Century. Reading through a stash of these (all preserved in plastic) is like reading the blogs of the 1920s or something.

But wait, there's more! Click and find more bargains!

Continue reading "The 2010 N Judah Chronicles Shopping Guide (Good All Year Round, Too)" »

July 16, 2010

Fun Friday: Last Night's Nightlife!

Last night was an especially fun "Nightlife at the Academy" , as the them was the Science of Brewing Beer. Representatives from many local SF breweries, including our friend Richard at Elizabeth Street Brewery and our neighbors at Social Kitchen and Brewery were on hand to talk about the brewing process and talk about their beers. I posted a few (old iPhone quality) pictures here.

Also on hand were brewmasters from 21st Amendment, the San Francisco Brewcraft supply store, Magnolia Pub, Bison Brewing, and MataVeza.

Whew! That's a lot of links! But all in all it was a lot of fun, and I never pass up a chance to go to the Academy. In fact, this was my second trip in less than a week - last Friday I got to attend a premiere of a documentary produced by the Professional Engineers in CA Government.

Entitled The Next Frontier: Engineering the Golden Age of Green, it was primarily concerned with developing alternative, non polluting forms of energy. It was very interesting to watch, not preachy, and overall rather worth watching. In a few weeks I'll be doing a contest with a copy of the film on DVD as a prize.

This weekend promises some nice weather, even in San Francisco, so be sure to enjoy it as much as you can. I shall be at home toiling away on all sorts of crazy PHP things and whatnots that should be done soon.

Also, I'm still waiting to see if we hear anything regarding yesterday's challenge. I'll post an update if anything happens. (In other words, I'll be working on the roof deck on PHP junk).

April 6, 2010

Three Upcoming Community Events: Sunday Streets, a Book Blast, and the Inner Sunset Street Fair!

A quick note on a number of upcoming community events along the N you should be aware of...now that the weather seems to be a bit more cooperative, they should make for a fun time for all.

On Saturday, the House Formerly Known as Yes We Can will be hosting a "Book Blast." What is that, you ask? Simply put if you've got some books you're no longer reading or want to keep, you can give 'em away, and someone else can read it. If you're looking for some new books, you can take some. It's 100% free, and fun. Just go to 6th and Irving between noon and 5pm and look for the crowd!

Next, Sunday Streets is back and they're doing the Great Highway route once again. Basically this means you could walk from the California Academy of Sciences to the SF Zoo, unencumbered by traffic. I went to this last year, and it was fun.

Finally, applications are being taken for the first annual Inner Sunset Street Festival. A joint production of the Inner Sunset Merchants and the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, the fair will be held on May 15th, and will cover Irving from 9th to 10th, and 10th Avenue between Irving and Lincoln. Let's hope this is the start of a cool annual tradition!

March 11, 2010

Hey Look! A Thursday Night Special in the Inner Sunset!

btlogo.jpgI've been especially busy this week with a project, more so than I have in a while (hooray getting gigs as a freelancer) and sadly it means that the blog is a bit neglected, which I don't like. So A) if you want to sign up and be a Guest Blogger, please email me, and B)things should be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, our friends at the Blackthorn Tavern on Irving Street alerted us to their new Twitter account, and to a new special on Thursday Nights: "Industry Night" which features free pool, $1 off all drinks starting at 8pm, and $1 pint margaritas from 9-930pm.

Not a bad deal if you can swing by!

December 4, 2009

The Inner Sunset Gets A Little Play in the Chronicle via Kronos Quartet...

The ever alert Eve of SF Appeal passed on this link that appeared at SFGate today, a brief interview with the David Harrington, founder of the world famous Kronos Quartet, extolling the virtues of the Inner Sunset, which is home to the group. (Hey! That's cool!).

While I still consider Amoeba to be in the Haight, overall there's some nice picks in here. You may not be aware of this, but the Kronos Quartet actually wrote a song about our Mighty N, entitled Judah to the Ocean.

I think it's great to live in a neighborhood home to so many different kinds of people and businesses. Craigslist, Kronos Quartet, the Blackthorn, and so many more. Why live anywhere else?

November 30, 2009

Team Nutella Wins 1st Place at the Blackthorn, Heads to League Championships!

Pardon the horn tooting here, but our pub trivia team, "Team Nutella," just took 1st place at the Blackthorn in Brainstormer Pub Trivia's Bay Area trivia league! Needless to say this is kinda fun, and it means we'll be advancing to the finals on December 12th.

What's particularly amazing about our 1st place finish was that our team was never a big one (only 5 people) and on several occaisions, one of us couldn't make it due to other commitments, and yet we still prevailed. One night we had only 3 people make it, and they came in 1st, beating out teams much larger than ours. Most importantly we had a lot of fun, and none of it would have been possible had I not been on a team with so many fun people. Joe, Jenny, Jennifer and Mason are awesome!

During the summer we came in 3rd in the Bay Area at the finals, and I'm hoping we'll do better this time around. However, just because the league is over does not mean trivia is over - you can play Brainstormer trivia at the Blackthorn (which this fall featured barbecues on Mondays!), and at many bars in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Other bars, such as Shotwell's, feature quizzes devised by their own staff, and are also fun.

Besides, where else are you going to find uses for all that algebra and social studies you had back in high school?

September 11, 2009

California Academy of Science Free Days This Weekend!

CAS_V_4C_CMYK_sm.jpg I've been rather busy with work this week, so much so I can't post as much as I want. But I wanted to make sure everyone knew about this great piece of news - the California Academy of Science will be FREE to anyone in the 94122, 94116, 94127, and 94132 zip codes Sept. 11-13. This is part of the Academy's ongoing series of free weekends, each time focusing on a few ZIP codes in San Francisco. Follow the link to check for eligibility requirements - you have to have ID or something else that simply proves you are indeed a resident of said ZIP codes. Enjoy!

Also, here's a fun fact - the guy who designed the logo for the Academy is also the guy who designed the logo for the recently departed Culture Bus. No kidding!

Enjoy the weekend!

September 10, 2009

Hey This Sounds Important: NERT Training begins in the Inner Sunset in October!

So this week they're making repairs and upgrades to the unit next to mine, which is awesome, except for the fact that the three guys working can only work well if they yell a lot at each other. Between that and the drilling and sawing, it's been too noisy to work at home. So, while escaping to one of the many wifi locations in the neighborhood, I saw this flyer advertising free NERT training, starting in October and thought, "Hey that's kinda important, I should blog about that."

If you're not familiar with the term NERT stands for Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, and the goal is to teach people what to do in case of an emergency and work together with proper training. The classes are free, and taught by San Francisco firefighters. In the aftermath of a disaster, having more people who know what to do, and be there to help out can make all the difference.

I've always been a big advocate of disaster preparedness, but I'll admit I've been a bit lax in stocking up my new place with water, food, first aid kit, etc. and seeing this flyer kinda gave me the mental jolt to do that this week. We can count on another earthquake hitting us for sure (we're approaching the 20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake after all), but any sort of disaster might require us to be ready to take care of ourselves and others while first responders deal with a crisis.

August 28, 2009

Open Thread Weekend: Outside Lands, Critical Sass, and More...

This weekend has already gotten off to a great start with the SPECTACULAR weather we're having so far. This should be of benefit to all San Franciscans, but it also means that if you're attending Outside Lands, you won't freeze out west. However, we would direct any and all patrons of the MUNI to our longstanding PSA on personal grooming products as a courtesy to other riders.

Also, don't forget, that today is Critical Sass Day, which sucks because it's super hot and a billion people are coming into town for the music festival. If you can, escape downtown as fast as you can, so you're not caught up in this maelstrom of selfishness. (Then again, Burning Man starts on Monday, so perhaps people are starting to leave town for it, thus making it a bit smaller than usual? One can hope).

Finally, since the weather is so great and it's my birthday tomorrow, I'm going to go light on posting this weekend. Barring a major MUNI fail (and not the usual nonsense) or something else of note, I'm going to leave the comments open on this post for people to report on anything particularly good or bad this weekend. I'll of course be on the Twitter armed with my iPhone as well for short posts + pictures.

In particular, if you're taking pictures, post them online and post the URL in the comments - surely with billions of people attending Outside Lands there has to be something of note to take a picture of.

Finally, I wanted to post this video of the always awesome Beth Spotswood's "Weekend What's Up" created by the always awesome VidSF.com folks. Have a great weekend and enjoy a sunny San Francisco!


Oh wait! SF Appeal has this live coverage online of Outside Lands - if you've got something to say about Outside Lands or whatever, go for it.

August 26, 2009

A Guide to All the Outside Lands Guides Online!

olart.jpgQuite a lot is happening this weekend. Not only is the weather expected to be hot and sunny, it's my birthday on Saturday (yay!) and we on the west side have the (in)famous Outside Lands Festival all weekend, starting Friday.

Last year I composed a quick guide to attractions around the festival, and posted and tweeted many MUNI fails that weekend as well. It seems the organizers have learned from last year, and have tried to mitigate the effect of millions of Tenacious D fans on the Park and our neighborhoods this year.

This year there are so many guides to the festival, it makes it even easier to do a round up of all the places you can get some really good information and plan your weekend accordingly. I'm not attending myself, unless of course I win tickets or something, but I will most likely either camp out on the deck on our roof and watch the masses flood MUNI with a cooler of cheap TJ's beer, or sell treats to drunken festival-goers at street-fair inflated prices for a few bucks.

So here are your guides for the weekend (click through for the list):

Continue reading "A Guide to All the Outside Lands Guides Online!" »

August 20, 2009

Routesy for iPhone is BACK Thanks to Some Hard Work and Some Good Reporting!

routesyheader.jpgIn a victory for iPhone users who wanted to use a cool little app to check on MUNI related arrival times, Routesy, which was pulled from the iTunes App Store due to a bogus claim against it by some nefarious folks, is now back, and better than ever.

Now, the iPhone user can choose whatever app they think is best, in a truly competitive spirit. The story, and its aftermath, say a lot about MUNI, San Francisco, local media, and how some people can be good and some can be real jerks.

First, if you haven't already done so, go read the story at the San Francisco Appeal, which has the details on how data owned by MUNI is really MUNI's, people who are unecessary middlemen (and charlatans) can't extort money from people anymore, and those who did pay the extortion got nada as a result. (To quote Nelson, "Ha HA!") MUNI's new contract with The Real Next Bus makes sure that the MTA, and only the MTA owns the data generated by the taxpayer/rider funded Municipal Railway. Yay!

When this all broke (when the maker of Routesy made a routine update to the application, and the chaos ensued) I was finding out a lot of intel on the situation. Unfortunately, at the time, I couldn't take the days off of work I would have needed to write a complete story, with the level of detailed research one has to do to get this kind of story done right.

I wasn't comfortable just posting some quickie snarky post, because I didn't want to do a half-assed study of a complex subject, and post something that would be confusing or just plain wrong. But I also didn't want to let it fall by the wayside, a victim of budget cuts at newspapers or considered "unimportant" by deep thinking scribes who have better things to write about than San Francisco day-to-day issues.

That's why I contacted my friend Eve at the SF Appeal, which began covering this in June. I knew they'd do the story right, and I also knew they'd even bother to consider it as a potential story - most other local news entities wouldn't be interested, or wouldn't have the time. I was able to pass on the raw intel I'd collected, connect folks with them, and then let them figure out the details, whatever they ended up being (I just wanted to know what was up, and I didn't have a dog in the fight, so to say). They did a great job, and it's nice to se this thing called "actual reporting of news," regardless of whether the medium is a piece of paper or my web browser. (Check into that, old media.)

You can go there and read the June and August reports, and you'll quickly see that a poorly worded contract between the MTA and The Real Next Bus vendor led to this confusion in the first place - wording that has since been cleaned up. You'll also notice how incredibly f*cked the Apple iTunes store can be to developers - this is nothing new. Although there was a little help from the City Attorney's office, in the end, it took a pro bono lawyer helping out a guy who wouldn't get pushed around by a bunch of legalistic bullies at Fake Next Bus to get things done. In the end, we all won because the right of the public to freely access data generated by publicly funded entities was re-asserted.

Now that we've tipped hats to those worthy of tipping, it's time to wag the finger too. When this whole situation blew up, there was some help from the City Attorney's office. However, if City Attorney Dennis Herrera had used his office and clout to get behind this early on, it probably would have been solved sooner, and the public would have a win, and Herrera could have something he could tout in a future mayoral bid. Besides, his spokesman Matt Dorsey is cool, and it would have been totally boss if he was out there going medieval on our behalf (he's really good at that!).

Likewise, Mayor Newsom had another showboaty press conference about open access to public data, but on the one controversy that concerned this topic, he was oddly silent. That's either because he's completely clueless about the situation, or he just doesn't care about MUNI (like you have to guess which one it is?).

Either way, while he was off playing mayor/gubernatorial candidate for a few hours, when it mattered most, when a Mayor simply could have used the PR megaphone we're paying for, to you know, do something for us, he was off Twittering about Facebook friends or raising money for attack ads. Sigh.

With true competition amongst application developers, be they on iPhone, Android, Palm, or Blackberry, we win when people compete and the best product wins. The worst thing that happened though, was to see how quickly some people capitulated to Fake Next Bus's demands, either by killing off a cool product, or paying the extortion fee to get a monopoly for their product (albeit briefly).

Fortunately for us, this is all behind us, and anyone who wants to build a better app can do so, free of bullying legalistic threats. It's good to know that in a bad situation, some good people are willing to step up, and we all win in the end. Yay good people!

Finally, I'm bringing back an oldie but a goodie. Enjoy:

OnNotice-1.php.jpeg

August 5, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: Mason Powell's Guide To All Those Free Events This Weekend

SundayStreets.jpgGuest Blogger Wednesday gives readers a chance to regale the Loyal Readers with tales of the neighborhoods, MUNI and more. Want to Guest Blog? Email me and let's get you signed up!

These days, anything "free" is nice, especially when it comes to finding something to do on the weekend. And "fun" is nice too, especially after all the crazy accidents and other crazy stuff going on around town. We need a break! Lucky for us, we've got quite a few fun free events this weekend, all around San Francisco, and easy to reach by even our hobbled MUNI.

On Saturday and Sunday, we have two great street fairs, the Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown and the Pistahan Parade and Fair at Yerba Buena Gardens, which has like, a a bazillion MUNI lines that will drop you off over there.

Both are really fun (but I'm not eating a balut, no matter how much people keep telling me it's ok). Personally, I always like going to Japantown if only because it's got sort of a retro 60's James Bond in "You Only Live Twice" feel. (I keep looking for the Osato Chemical Concern logo...). All easily accessible by the 38 Geary and the 22 Fillmore.

On Sunday, we'll have all of Ocean Beach closed off for Sunday Streets SF from 10am to 2pm. Now, what you may not realize is that they're coordinating the street closure with the regular one in the park, so you'll literally be able to walk unimpeded from the Academy of Sciences to the Zoo, if that's your thing. Here's a map for your planning purposes. (Also, note that they're going to repeat this closure on September 6th). Hopefully the N won't die that day so you can avoid trying to find a parking spot way way out there.

Sunday is also the same day as the Inner Sunset Really Really Free Market, located at 6th and Irving. (This is the house Greg refers to as the "House Formerly Known as the Yes We Can House.") Located just a couple of blocks from the Inner Sunset Farmer's Market, they offer free anything, including ice cream. How can you resist that? And the N and the 71 will drop you off over there.

With so many fun free things to do, it's hard to choose, but it certainly makes the weekend more fun. And even on our broken down MUNI, you can get to most of these events pretty easily. So go out and have fun, everyone!

Editor's note: if you know of other fun events around town, feel free to share them in the comments!

UPDATE!: On Friday, August 7th, there's going to be a "Renegade Film Screening" on the N and other Muni Metro trains, from 5ish to 9ish that evening. Talk about MUNI street theater! Let's hope the cops and fare inspectors don't totally shut this down the way they did those kids a few years ago.

July 15, 2009

Guest Blogger Wednesday: Outerlands


I went down to 45th and Judah over the July 4th weekend to check out a new restaurant that has been receiving a lot of buzz in places like the Chronicle and even the New York Times. The restaurant, the five month old Outerlands, not only lived up to the hype, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole little hippie business district out there that I had never really appreciated before. I picked up some organic flowers at Other Avenues, the co-op between 44th and 45th, and I am contemplating a return trip out there to try out yet another raw food restaurant. I am not always so up on raw food, but I was a fan of some Café Gratitude specialties (if not the weird cult-like atmosphere).

I read that Outerlands was originally conceived as a soup restaurant, so I ordered a cup of carrot soup, and I also tried a salad with apples, pine nuts and cultured raw sauerkraut (whatever that is). The soup, which came with dill and garlic toast, was phenomenal, and the salad was out of this world. Everything was just unbelievably simple and delicious. The restaurant has great décor, too, with simple wooden tables and quirky wall art made up of what looks like pieces of driftwood. It all felt very calm and soothing, even as I was trying to contend with a wriggly ten month old who desperately wanted to get her hands on everything (in the end, I just fed her some carrot soup, which she loved).

I left Outerlands of two minds. I was glad to have a reason to set out for the far reaches of the Judah line. But I also found myself really wishing we had such a simple, hearty option in the Inner Sunset. Hey, that makes me think—now that the Café Gratitude space is empty, maybe Outerlands can move inbound?

Debra Solomon lives in the Inner Sunset with her husband and baby girl.

May 20, 2009

N Judah Business Review: Sakura Store on Irving Street!

IMG_0507.JPGIt's been a while since I've done one of these local business reviews, despite the fact I have a stack of business cards with notes on a number of great locally owned businesses I keep meaning to write. So I'm kicking things off with a review of Irving Street's newest locally owned busines - the Sakura Store af 936 Irving Street between 10th and 11th.

Sakura has been open for just over 2 weeks, opening on May 1st. Owner Michi Hojo found out about the space via a Craigslist ad (another local buisiness! yay Craig!) in January and said that upon viewing it, and the neighborhood, she felt an "immediate attachment" to both and began plans to open up her store. Since then she's really enjoyed meeting people in the neighborhood as they check out what Sakura has to offer.

Sakura offers a wide array of products, mostly from Japan, ranging from instant noodle bowls and Japanese snacks, to household wares, and various other useful supplies. It is simliar in some ways to theDaiso store in Daly City, or Ichiban Kan in Japantown, but on a smaller scale.

And, in these economically crummy times, Sakura offers a big advantage over its larger cousins far away, in that its prices are very low. Right now I'm trying to restock a household after years of living in furnished places, and I've found some great bargains on household items there. They even sell my favorite brand of cheese puffs so now I don't have to hike all the way to Japantown (or even past 19th avenue) should I decide I need a bag.

However, what really makes Sakura such a fun place to shop is the contagious optimsim of Ms. Hojo, who's opened her first store. Her enthusiasm makes you want to return again and again. In times like these when it seems like most news (esp. from City Hall) is so depressing, it's nice to see someone willing to put in the time to do something productive, and turn a vacant storefront into something we can all enjoy. That's the biggest benefit of small business, and why you should stop by sometime when you're walking around Irving Street!

May 12, 2009

A Roundup Of Local Events You Really Should Check Out And A Possible Farmer's Market for the Inner Sunset...

After all this heavy budget talk, it's time to lighten the mood around here, and what better way than to spotlight the many awesome neighborhood events coming up?

There's quite a lot going on this week (and weekend) around the neighborhood, so mark your calendars for 'em and check 'em out. They include:

-The House Formerly Known As The "Yes We Can" House at Irving and 6th is having a flea market May 16th from 12pm-5pm. I know I'll be there trying to find a lamp and a desk for my new apartment. Stop by and say hi to your awesome neighbors here.

-Grattan School will be holding its 4th annual "Fun Fest," also on May 16th, from 11am-5pm. Located at 165 Grattan Street, the FunFest is a great way to show your support for the school. There will be a silent auction, music, games, activities and more. Find out more at the Grattan School website.

-The super awesome Western Neighborhoods Project not only has a new blog, they also have a new office/space at 300 Taraval Street as well. They will be hosting an open house 11am-3pm and all are welcome.

-Supporters of an Inner Sunset Farmer's Market have been working hard behind the scenes to get one established at the 8th Avenue parking lot on Sunday mornings. A hearing is being held downtown by the (bear with us with the name) Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation for Temporary Street Closures (mercifully referred to from now on as ISCOTT) on May 14th at 9am to discuss the temporary closing of the lot for the market. The meeting is at One South Van Ness Avenue, Room #7080.

If you'd like to show your support but can't make it to a 9am meeting, but still would like to show your support, you can sign an online petition as well. Farmer's markets aren't just about buying food - they really help boost a sense of community in a neighborhood, and I think such a market would be a fun addition to the area on Sundays.

November 30, 2008

The NJC Holiday Shopping Guide! UPDATED!

In the frenzy that is holiday shopping, we often don't realize how many wonderful things are available to us right in our own neighborhood as we set out to Buy Stuff, usually locked in a pattern based on years of experience. So this year, I thought I'd create an N Judah Holiday Shopping Guide for you to consider as you decide what to get everyone on your list. Just about all of them are locally owned and offer you, the consumer, a good value for the money.

It is by no means an all-inclusive list - mostly made up of places I tend to end up at during the holiday season, so if a store you like isn't mentioned it isn't meant as a slight - post something in the comments about places you enjoy as well!

Also, note that from December 7th through February 1st, you can get an all-day pass on MUNI on Sundays. For $1.50 you get a transfer that's good all day (until 6pm.) That's a great deal!

But first, the self-promotion of our two T shirts - the famous "N is Near" and our new "80th Anniversary" shirt which we offer for sale via Zazzle.com. The quality of these (and our items at sister site Adama For President are of dependable quality. I've bought a few for myself and so long as you hang them out to dry, they do not fade or "chap" like other shirts did in the past.

Likewise, if you have a local history or transit fan among your friends and family The Market Street Railway's online store (and their store/museum on Steuart Street downtown) offer some really fun items. My favorite is their calendar, which features some really nice photography.

Also, I wanted to give a special shout-out to my friend Z who has a new online blog+store at FoxyMonster. She was one of the people who encouraged me to start this site, and her jewelry and other items (offered through Etsy.com and Zazzle.com) are unique. If you have a friend who likes unique products, or likes zombies, go check it out!

Now let's start, first in the Irving/9th shopping zone. If you are looking for holiday cards that will stand out amongst the many your friends and relatives will be getting this year, I recommend Wishbone on Irving and 6th Avenue as well as Tutti Frutti just a few blocks away. Whenever I need to get a birthday card, it usually ends up coming from one of these places. Wishbone also had this really cool MUNI themed kids wear a while back.

Right in the same block of shops is another favorite of mine - the Amazing Fantasy comic book shop located next door to the Rain Tree Cafe on 8th. It is one of my favorites in town, the other being of course Comix Experience on Divisadero (which is a short walk via Duboce Park from the N). AF tends to lean more towards mainstream comics (superheroes, Star Wars, etc.) while Comix Epxierence has more alternative/independent titles, in addition to a good mix of Marvel/DC comics as well.

Continue reading "The NJC Holiday Shopping Guide! UPDATED!" »

August 11, 2008

N-Judah Business Review: Cheese Boutique at 12th and Irving!

It's been a while since I've done a review of local businesses on the Mighty N line, and I've got a stack of business cards and notes for all the great places I've been meaning to write about but haven't had a chance to (day job and all that). Today I want to talk to you about Cheese Boutique, located at 1291 12th Avenue, at the corner of Irving and 12th, just one block from the 12th Avenue N Judah Stop.

It's a small store, located in the same block as some of my other favorite places, such as San Tung Chinese Restaurant, the Pho noodle place, and so on. There's so many great businesses here you might miss Cheese Boutique during your daily routine - as I have done so until several months ago. Believe me when I say I'm glad I broke the pattern and walked in.

Owned by Rick and Nada Malouf, Cheese Boutique does indeed have a wide variety of gourmet cheeses, as you might guess. However, what you might not know is that they offer one of the best tasting, bargain priced sandwiches you can find in the Inner Susnet.

For less than $5 you can get a salami sandwich on a fresh, locally baked baguette with everything on it, and it's really good. 90% of sandwiches made in delis suck, so when I find one that's good and low cost, I take note. I've often picked one up on the way to Pub Trivia at the Blackthorn on Mondays. (And yes, they have other choices as well, all high quality meats, cheses, etc).

However, one of the biggest secrets of Cheese Boutique is the fact that their prices for things like salami, cheese, etc. are some of the lowest you'll find. For example, I like Molinari Salami, so much that I won't buy anything else. At Andronico's or Lunardi's it's 12-13 bucks a pound (!) while at CB, it's only 8.99, freshly sliced.

Needless to say, that's a heck of a deal, and one of many reasons I'll go back. Plus, you're supporting a local business which isn't just good for feeling good, it's good for the local economy too.

Cheese Boutique is an example of one of the many local businesses we can have a "blind spot" to as we go to familiar places over and over again, not realizing that sometimes there are other great things hiding in plain sight.

I plan on sitting down one day and blasting out a stack of pending reviews of other local businesses that are worth a second look. If you have any suggestions or finds of your own, feel free to email me and let me know!

Cheese Boutique
1298 12th avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122
415 566 3155
One block from the 12th Avenue N Judah Stop
One block from the 11th Avenue 71 Haight Noriega Stop

May 6, 2008

Nightlife on the N: Pacific Catch at 9th and Lincoln

There was no greater fan of the old Canvas Gallery than I - more than once when low-grade home Internet crapped out on me, the Canvas Gallery was a wifi safe haven to continue the bloggy goodness.

However, since it's passing, we've had a new addition to the neighborhood I've found to be a pleasant replacement, Pacific Catch, in the refurbished Canvas Gallery space on 9th and Lincoln.

Now, I have to confess I haven't actually had dinner here yet (although I've seen what others have ordered and it all looks great), but that's because Pacific Catch has been luring me in there with an incredible happy hour, one that's not only from 4-6pm , but also late at night (something we've needed around here for a while), and at both times they serve a great bargain-priced menu of assorted fish and deep fried items, along with some great cocktails.

For example, the spicy tuna roll, which is fairly sizable and quite well made, is only $4.95. I've also tried their sweet potato fries (normally an abomination, but here super awesome), and a friend of mine tried the calamari (also looked good). They also have their own specialty cocktails, which, although costing a bit more than their well counterparts, are made with some pretty exotic ingredients.

They make a great pisco sour, among other pisco-based drinks. But even more amazing? They have more than one kind of pisco! Unheard of, I know! My personal favorite is the "Lime in the Cocoanut" which features toasted cocoanut syrup muddled with limes and pisco, with a splash of soda.

But even if you order a nice, ordinary $4 well cocktail, you're going to get a really well-made drink. No bar mixes, only fresh fruit juice, and the well pours are of good quality. Either way you can have a nice drink and a snack on the way home and get out of there for about $10.

But best of all, this is not some impersonal Tipsy McStaggers "chain" with impersonal waitstaff...everyone that works here is friendly, polite, and makes you feel welcome and want to come back. This is why I've returned as often as I have (about once a week, time and schedule permitting) since I sometimes work a strange schedule and actually have time at the end of the day to do something fun (while other times I'm chained to my desk until late).

Next time you're done with a walk in the park on a warm day, check it out, and you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised!

Pacific Catch
9th Avenue and Lincoln
1 Block from the 9th and Irving N Judah Stop
Right In Front of the 71 Haight Stop

March 21, 2008

This Just Sucks: Black Oak Books on Irving St. is CLOSED...

f08150.jpg There's no other way to say this - the unexpected news that Black Oak Books on Irving Street has suddenly closed just sucks. I got done with work early so I decided to take a long walk outside and make a few Irving and 9th stops before hiking up to Golden Gate Heights Park. Whilst talking to Alexis at Amazing Fantasy Comics, he told me that in fact, Black Oak Books at closed. I walked a few doors down and in fact, there was the notice on butcher paper.

What suprised me was that I was in there just two weeks ago (and in fact took this picture of some great old OZ books they had there, and was planning on coming back to buy one of those old RESearch books) and there was no indication things were not going so great for this store.

I'd been going in there every so often for years, as I found it was a great place to get Christmas gifts for folks, especially if they were interested in topics one does not always find at Barnes and Noble.

I don't know the specifics of why they had to close, but if I find out I'll post an update. For now, I'm going to finish this post, and go offline for a while and enjoy the rest of the afternoon, such as it is. But I really hope this isn't the first of a wave of local biz closings. That would really suck.

March 1, 2008

N Judah Business Review: Sunset Shoe Repair on Irving Street!

So there I was on Friday, heading out for a 5:30 cocktail party at Alfred's Steakhouse downtown, a gathering of all sorts of local folks, internet rockstars Melissa and Beth and tv talk show host Art Bruzzone among others. But as I was getting ready to leave I noticed that my leather shoes had this weird white powdery stain on them. WTF? My normally fine looking dress shoes were looking hobo-esque. Now what?

As I was walking down Irving to catch the N downtown, I remembered that Sunset Shoe Repair was right there on Irving, so I walked over there hoping they were still open. It was 4:58pm and they close at 5pm on Friday. Not wanting to be a jerk customer I asked if it was ok to get a quick shoeshine, and the guy said yes. He not only polished my shoes and made them look new, he also explained to me what the stains were - salt stains. Because I'd worn them a lot during our rainy period and let them dry in the closet, salt residue built up on the outside.

This was awesome. Not only was I able to go to the event without hobo shoes, I learned something new about shoe care as well. How cool is that?

This morning as I recovered from last night's rock star partying, I was talking to someone in the neighborhood and they too had an awesome "save the day" story about Sunset Shoe Repair. Heck, as I googled around for some info, I found this this story about how great the service is here.

This is the kind of local business you really want to promote - it's a great business providing great service. Plus, it's giving folks out here something they actually need instead of Yet Another Nail Salon or Yet Another Cutesy Annoying Expensive Clothing Store, or Yet Another Lame Restaurant.

So the next time you need a shoe shine or a shoe repair you know where to go!

621 Irving Street
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94122

PS: The awesome service here was a nice antidote to a rather typical Friday on the N going downtown. We stalled several times at the tunnel at Duboce, and then crawled at a snail's pace through once we actually got IN the tunnel. It was so slow, I decided to get out at Powell and walk to Kearny and Merchant instead of getting off at Montgomery like I'd planned.

But I eventually got there and talked to all sorts of good folks, including Luke and Elaine of Fog City Journal, Ben over at SF Weekly's blog and many more. It was fun, and on the way home later that night I capped things off with a quick drink at the Blackthorn. What a Friday.

January 3, 2008

So There I Was, Dying From The Flu...And...A Breakfast Recommendation on the N Line....Darla's!

Oh, Loyal Readers....I had hoped long ago to regale you with tales of the Double Decker Bus, tales of Holiday MUNI, and more...and instead I got a freakin' flu (and you have to realize I NEVER get sick, EVER) that kicked my ass something fierce for the duration.

It sucked, and for the first time since I was a kid, my holidays sucked royally. There's no good way to describe it. Anyway, things should be back to normally forthwith, but in the meantime, I wanted to post a short recommendation for breakfast on the N.

Darla's on Irving Street is rightfully known for their awesome burgers and fries, which many folks enjoy while playing Brainstormer Trivia at the Awesome Blackthorn, but many may not realize their breakfast menu is also really good.

In particular, Darla's manages to make a breakfast sandwich that defies physics and restaurant nonsense and is one of the best things I've ever had. Now, you'd think eggs, cheese and sausage on an English muffin would be easy to do, but you'd be wrong. Just try the over-cooked abominations at Starbucks on Irving, which I'd reluctantly put up with, and you'll see what I mean.

Darla, however, manages to make something that's fresh, just enough food without being too much, and tastes amazing. And it's accompanied with some bottomless (well sort of bottomless) coffee and the good will of a locally owned biz.

It was also my last day out before I had the horrid flu hit, so it provided me with a nice memory as I puked my guts out a few days later, unrelated to said awesome sandwich. The flu sucks, the holidays sucked, but Darla's was a beacon of hope in a sea of bullcrap.

Lighter lit because...Darla's rocks!

November 27, 2007

N Judah Business Review - Sunset Super!

One of the main reasons I continue to hold out for a new apartment somewhere within striking distance of our Mighty N (despite the amazing amount of pain and suffering such a decision has inflicted on me) is because there are so many interesting local businesses that offer bargain hunters like me incredible deals, as well as saving me a trip to other parts of Our Fair City. Sunset Super is one of those places.

I don't know that I've ever been in this store when it wasn't busy, and Saturdays are obviously incredibly busy, but frankly that has never bothered me since no matter what, I'm always able to get in, buy what it is I need, and get out in a reasonable amount of time.

More important than the speed of service is the fact that if you are looking for any sort of Chinese or other Asian ingredients, this is the place to go. I bought a container of the good green curry that the folks at Whole Paycheck charge a fortune for, at a significant discount. Sunset Super also has an amazing array of frozen food that you can't find in most stores, and their selection of candy and snack foods from all around Asia is one of the best I've seen.

Now, a word on the meat market - some of my colleagues, upon entering said store immediately make all sorts of assumptions, none of them good, about the quality of the meat here, but they are incorrect! Not only do they have just about any part of the pig or chicken you might need, but they also have an incredible array of seafood. Now, sure, some of it, in fact much of it is alive when you buy it, and that may not be everyone's cup of tea, so to speak, but to me that just makes coming to Sunset Super that much more fun.

True, it was a bit wince-inducing when a woman and her young daughter were in the market, obviously for the first time, and the kid exclaimed "Look mommy! Pet Froggies for sale!" as she pointed to a vat of live frogs. But to me that just made the visit that much more interesting.

Other notables include an incredible selection of sake, soju, and some types of imported Chinese liquor that I have never heard of that looks rather fierce. Their sake deals are amazing - the same dry sake you'd pay a fortune for at Safeway for some little bottle comes in a 1.5 liter bottle for like, 7 bucks. Talk about a bargain! They also have the city's biggest selection of canned luncheon meats as well so if you find yourself jonesing for some SPAM but just can't bring yourself to picking one up at Safeway, try "GreatWall" luncheon meat instead and impress all your pals!

All in all, one of my all time favorite places to find bargains on Irving Street. Check it out sometime and you'll most likely end up buying something good at a great price!

Sunset Super
2425 Irving Street
(415) 566-6504
Next Door to the Awesome Tel-Aviv Kosher Deli, which we'll review soon!

October 23, 2007

There's Some Measure A Thing Going On, Or Something....Meanwhile I'm Taking A Few Days Off So Answer Our Question Of The Day

Rather than try and keep up with work, other duties, the much needed upgrades behind the scenes and post half-baked blog posts, I'm going to take a few days off to just work on some things for the big "upgrade" of the site.

Now, I would have liked to have told you about some pro-Measure A rallies (which you could have attended as a supporter, or as a detractor) that apparently happened, but every time I email or call the pro-A people they never seem to call or email me back.

Thus, I'm going to assume that they've got this thing nailed, in the bag, pwned, whatever, have endless numbers of volunteers, money and support, and not worry too much about it. If it passes, yay, if not, then something else will be on the ballot in some future election that might be better. Right?

In the meantime, if you were to give some advice to a tourist, either from one of the many fine states that make up the U.S., or perhaps a foreign tourist who is staying at a hotel downtown or in one of our many fine tourist areas, what would it be? What hidden treasures of the "real" S.F. would you recommend to them, and how would you recommend they get their on a cable car, MUNI train, or bus?

Thanks for your help and see you in a few days...

October 15, 2007

N Judah Business Review: Sunset Barber on 9th Avenue!

Once upon a time, getting a haircut was a simple affair for a guy. Go to the barber, sit in the chair, get a haircut, maybe a shave with a straight razor, and enjoy a moment's respite from daily life.

Then the 60s happened and suddenly, finding a sanctuary where one could get a haircut got more and more difficult. Suddenly, "barber shops" were no longer in vogue, and instead we had endless variants of "hair salons," excellent at serving the needs of those who require highlights and endless expensive whatnots, but the rest of us just wanted a good haircut.

Fortunately for those of us in the Inner Sunset, Sunset Barber has been with us for 40 years, and continues to provide patrons a quality haircut in a modern, barbershop setting at a reasonable price.

The father-son duo of Issa and Jay recently remodeled their longtime location on 9th Avenue (between Irving and Judah), taking a classic barber shop and updating it for the 21st Century, while retaining all of the charm and neighborly feel that longtime patrons have come to know and appreciate. "Most of our business is repeat customers because they know we're going to treat them right," said Jay, as he masterfully cut what's left of my hair the other day. "If we get someone in here once, they're going to come back." Besides, how many "hair salons" will give you a shave with a real razor, anyway?

Having been a longtime customer, I can attest to Issa and Jay's mad haircutting skillz, and the friendly atmosphere that permeates the premises. More importantly, when I go to the Sunset Barber, I'm not just going to get a haircut, I'm going to help continue a successful family owned business that's been around for four decades thanks to their hard work. Spending my money at a locally owned place like this isn't a holier-than-thou political sentiment - it makes good sense because I get great service at a great price - and I have the added benefit of keeping my money here in town, instead of sending it off to the home office for that chain store around the corner.

With the recent improvements to the shop and young Jay's enthusiasm for his work, I have no doubt Sunset Barber will continue to prosper and provide us with Yet Another Reason why we like living out here, and why the N-Judah continues to be a great way to find the best of Local San Francisco.

Sunset Barber Shop
1374 9th Avenue (between Judah and Irving)
1/2 a block from either the 9th/Irving or the 9th/Judah stops!

October 10, 2007

The Rebirth of Irving/9th Continues: Wunder Brewing Company Rocks!

Lately, it seems we've been having a mini-revitalization of nightlife in the Inner Sunset. First, we had the Blackthorn transform from a run-of-the-mill bar to a great place to have a drink and a good time.

Now, the new owners of what was once the dull, boring Eldos Brewery, have transformed that venue into the new Wunder Brewing Company - and if you haven't been there yet, I strongly advise you to do so. Many may be put off by the space since it once housed such a boring, lame restaurant. Erase said memories and start anew, forthwith!

First, a word about happy hour - this is probably one of the best bargain happy hours I've found in a while. Not only do they sell their beers for a mere $2.25 (i.e. less than what one pays for crap beer at a corporate chain) from 4:30-6:30, they also have a special menu of discount-priced items as well. How good is the food? Well, put it this way - I hate sweet potato fries, normally considering them an anomaly at best, and yet they make some so good I actually enjoyed eating them (and no I wasn't that plastered either). I also tried their homemade pretzels (amazing) and the rest of the menu looked pretty good.

Not only is the beer significantly better, the atmosphere of this place is significantly more friendly and in touch with the neighborhood. The staff are friendly and funny, the vibe of the place is relaxed and unpretentious. and from the looks of their website they are planning special events and other attractions in the future.

Once again, the Inner Sunset's nightlife just took a turn for the better, and took a once-dull and cold space and turned it into somewhere you'd want to be. Whether it's having a drink after a craptacular N commute, or meeting up with friends for a night out, your best best is another locally owned, fun, and reasonably priced venue here on the N Judah line.

September 13, 2007

The Birds of Java Beach Cafe, at the End of the N Judah Line


Lately I've been trying out a new exercise plan which basically consists of leaving an Undisclosed Location near UCSF, and walking all the way to the beach every morning. Since I don't have a dog anymore, I don't have that little reminder to get outside and do a dedicated walk in addition to all the other walking I do every day (dogs have a way of making their point that is rather unique if you DON'T walk them).

More often than not, I end up getting a small coffee at Java Beach, conveniently located at the end of the N Judah line. It's a fun place I have grown to look forward to as I come to the end of my walk, and it usually has a line out the door because it's so popular with the locals. If I have time, I like to sit down and read something before hopping on the train home.

Also, various species of bird have discovered the cafe as a great place to get something for free. One day I spotted these industrious little birds using the rails as a bird bar. Today, however, I not only spotted some rather odd looking little birds, but had one sit down at my table, eye my protein bar, and regale me with his take on the day's events.

A nice way to start the day, for sure!

August 28, 2007

Pub Trivia Superheroes At the Blackthorn

I've just returned home from a fun evening at the Blackthorn Tavern, the unofficial bar of the N Judah Chronicles. Thanks to the pub trivia superheroes, recruited by Anna from SF Metblogs, we not only had a great time, we won! Woo hoo!

If you're in to pub trivia and have a free Monday, the Blackthorn's deal, co-sponsored by Brainstormer, is a pretty good one. Not only do they offer a drink special, and free food (tonight's was chicken curry!), you have the chance to win fabulous prizes. Most importantly, the vibe of the crowd is fun, and win or lose, you're bound to have a great time.

We made a bit of a splash when we named our team Stop Global Warming, Ban Burning Man, which was kind of funny. Plus, I got to meet several of the Loyal Readers in person, which was even more fun, including the wonderful person who bought our first BBM t-shirt. Thanks for reading the site!

It's always nice to meet folks who read the site and offer some feedback, and it's especially fun after a Pilsner Urquell and racking one's brain about James Bond trivia, and figuring out who the oldest Rolling Stone is.

Most importantly, it was an evening of good fun in a good locally owned business with good people. Can I use the word "good" any more times in one sentence? Yes? Good. .

UPDATE: I got a nice note from Quizmaster (and Loyal Reader) Stan, who hosted last night's event! Check it out!
Hi Greg,

Thanks for the great writeup of the quiz last night at the Blackthorn. Thomas had mentioned to me after the quiz that the blogger of the N Judah Chronicles was one of the guys who I'd called out for a prize. I'm a semi-regular reader of your blog (I live on 21st and Judah), so I was thrilled. I'm glad you had a good time. Did I say "good?"

Come by and say hello when you're in the Blackthorn for the quiz again. I'm enclosing the pic I took of your team last night, which will be posted this week on the Blackthorn quiz page. You can use it on your blog if you wish, since you're in this one.

http://www.brainstormer.com/venueDisplay.aspx?venueID=170&state=ca
Take care, Stan the quizmaster

April 6, 2007

Don't Forget! Starting Tomorrow, NO N-Judah Service To Caltrain & The Ballpark!

UPDATE JUNE 29th: N-Judah service HAS BEEN RESTORED TO THE BALLPARK! If you found this page on Google, please disregard it and read this update instead!

Hey Giants Fans! Don't forget - if you're going to the game tomorrow, the N Judah will no longer take you to PacBell/AT&T/SBC park!

Our friends at MUNI have posted this easy to read and understand page chock full of information, for your review! (

Well, let me amend that last statement. Yes, there is lots of information there, but it's arranged in such an incoherent manner, it might prove a bit confusing. Esp. the downloadable map - which is completely wrong!

You'd think in a city that's at the center of all sorts of internet innovation, MUNI might have a website that's at least somewhat easy to use.

March 21, 2007

N-Judah Business Review: The Duboce Park Cafe!

When the weather starts to turn as nice as it did today, I just can't stand to be cooped up inside with work. So, I decided to spend a few hours at the Duboce Park Cafe, instead of my usual cafes, mostly because I wanted to give the place another visit before I wrote a review.

Overall, it's OK. Most cafes in good locations can get away with being rather mediocre in the coffee department, simply because It's The Only Place Near The (insert landmark here). DPC, being right next to Duboce Park, could have easily slid into that category. However, the coffee here is actually quite good, and the bagel I had was great - most times a "bagel" in San Francisco is nothing more than a hamburger bun with a hole in the middle - not here, though!

Continue reading "N-Judah Business Review: The Duboce Park Cafe!" »

August 20, 2006

Local Business Roundup on the N-Judah Line - First in an Occasional Series

One of the things I like about living in San Francisco is the number of good small businesses that operate in town, and so many of them are easily accessible by the Mighty N-Judah line. Don't get me wrong - I shop at the Safeway as much as the next person, thanks to the bargains on pricier items offered by their Club Card, but sometimes it's nice to to hike all the way from the Sunset to the Safeway for a handful of items.

Up until recently, if you wanted to shop at any sort of an organic or non-mainstream market in this area, your options were rather limited. Either you had to go to the nice (but pricey) Andronico's on Irving and Funston, or you had to go all the way out to the end of the N Judah line at Ocean Beachfor anything not pesticided to death. Now, I'm no purist when it comes to organic foods and all, but not everyone shares my view, and not everyone has time to go all the way to Ocean Beach during a busy workweek.

Now a new store has opened this summer, Essential Foods, at Irving and 4th Avenue, right on the N-Judah line. It's funny how I missed this place since the storefront has been vacant for years, but one day when I was walking instead of riding the train, I saw it and walked in.

Not only were their prices better than Andronico's, they had more than just "organic" food - they also had a decent selection of imported foods and noodles and whatnots. Best of all was the friendly, non-haughty atmosphere of the place, which is the result of the personable and friendly attitude of the owners.

In an era when sometimes in SF I feel like an "alternative" store should be asking me "would you like a dose of 'tude with your order" Essential Foods had none of that. They're just nice people who want to run a nice store that serves the neighborhood well. Best of all, it is one of the few stores open until 10pm - a nice change from the "roll up the sidewalks at 9pm" vibe many stores have.

Continue reading "Local Business Roundup on the N-Judah Line - First in an Occasional Series" »

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