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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Sep-17-2014

Local links: U-Lee coming, shipwrecks, music @ the Neck, Parking Day & more


The Frank H. Buck tanker ship that wrecked near Lands End in 1937. Courtesy of NOAA

Here are some local links to get you through hump day…

  • Maritime researchers are using underwater vehicles, cameras and sonar to identify shipwrecks off the west coast of San Francisco and around the Farallones. They’ve already found remains from an 1863 and a 1910 shipwreck. “These and other shipwreck investigations mark the first mission of a two-year project to locate, identify and better understand some of the estimated 300 wrecks in Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and the adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area.” Their photo archives have some great shots of wrecks off just off of Lands End.
  • Scootch over, Shanghai Dumpling King… U-Lee Chinese restaurant is departing Nob Hill after decades of serving its infamous, giant potstickers no thanks to a rent hike. But we get to benefit – owner Kenneth Lee is at work on a new location at 36th and Balboa, which he plans to open in early 2015.
  • Like live music? Then you might want to keep an eye on the schedule at Clement Street’s Neck of the Woods (formerly Rockit Room). The Bay Bridged did a nice writeup on the new owner and his passion for booking bands. “At Neck of the Woods, there really is something for everyone: Monday night salsa lessons, Tuesday night open mic comedy, Wednesday open mic nights, Thursday night shows upstairs, Friday and Saturday nights there are shows upstairs and downstairs.” Not to mention that the club has been safer and a better neighbor since the ownership change.
  • Up the street at 540 Club (540 Clement) you’ll find a new photography exhibition from John Agoncillo featuring some photos from the Richmond District (like this gem of someone sleeping it off on an abandoned sofa…). Photos will be up until the end of September.
  • Been wondering why that Highway 1 NB exit to Doyle Drive isn’t open yet, even though it appears completely done and is one of the quickest ways to get to the Marina / 101 South on Lombard from the Richmond District? Mercury News asked and was told “the ramp will open when major construction is completed late next year. This ramp must remain closed until then for safety purposes. Currently, both directions of traffic are temporarily on the future southbound roadway, and there is not enough space for traffic to merge safely from the Highway 1/Park Presidio ramp onto south 101/Doyle Drive… The connection between the Marina and Richmond district will open when the hook ramp connecting north 101 to south Highway 1 is done. This depends on the completion of the new northbound High Viaduct by early 2016.” So now you know. We didn’t say it would be a pleasant answer ;)
  • The National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park has been the target of a persistent vandal recently. SFWeekly interviewed John D. Cunningham, Executive Director of the grove to get more details. When asked what it would cost to repair the damage, Cunningham said, “At the present time, the low end is $100,000-$125,000, and the high end, which would be having to do a full replacement of the Circle of Friends, would be $1 million.”
  • A new law was passed that prohibits overnight parking for large vehicles along Fulton Street and other corridors in the city. CBS5 found that some of those oversized vehicles found a clear patch in Potrero Hill and the neighbors there are none too pleased.
  • A very detailed, hand-drawn map of San Francisco was just released from artist Jenni Sparks. We can’t see the Richmond District portion is great detail, but she certainly got the important landmarks in there like Green Apple Books. :)
  • Before there were parklets there was Parking Day which takes place this Friday. People take over a parking spot for a day and transform it into a public, outdoor space. The map on the website doesn’t seem to be working, so hard to say if there will be any in the Richmond District. But if you see someone lounging in a meter space on Friday, you now know why. Or, you can always get creative and participate in Parking Day. The website has a license and manual you can download (note you still have to pay your meter during Parking Day).
5:10 am | Posted under Events, Food, Golden Gate Park, History, Lands End | 4 comments
Jul-28-2014

Local links: 38L-ove, new “Spicy Legend”, ladies join the Urination & more


The 38L. By Lucia Garcia. Click to enlarge.

Here’s hoping that you’re not having a Manic Monday. But in case you are, here are some local links to get you through…

  • Local designer Lucia Garcia sent us the above poster, for which she says “Just wanted to share a project I created, a poster showing the road section and landmarks for Muni 38L route.” Thanks Lucia – we love it (along with this graphic of the Outer Richmond)!

    In other MUNI-related news, there is a new iPhone app called MuniStops that not only shows you the data on upcoming MUNI buses, but also estimates your walking time from your current location to bus stop of choice. ‘Tis free.

  • And in the “we can never get enough neighborhood love” department, now you can get your very own Neighborhood Love Patch. Iron on the heart on the Richmond District (or other fave ‘hood) and then attach the patch to whatever you want – $7. The same online store also has a Neighborhoods by the Zodiac Poster but for some reason, the Richmond District was not worthy of being on it. Boo. So we’ll ask you – which Zodiac sign are we?
  • Listen up, upcoming lady attendees of Outside Lands! If the porta-potties at outdoor festivals get you down, look no further than the Stand Up, described as “your first disposable, biodegradable, clutch-purse-fittable, pocket-slippable peeing accessory.” Different packs range from $6 to $16. Now you can pee like the boys! Hooray…?
  • The former Pho Garden restaurant (2109 Clement), known for its nausea-inducing Pho Challenge has been replaced by a new spot called Spicy Legend. We haven’t been by yet so we’re not sure if it’s open; nothing on Yelp yet. UPDATE: Reader Jon C. reports that they’re now open daily, 11-3:30 and 4:30 to 10pm, and that “it looks like they’re specializing in Szechuan dishes”.
  • The skee-ball league known as Brewskee-Ball got a feature in the Chronicle recently. “Three nights a week, a total of 32 teams with names like the Lionel Richskees and the Skeemosexuals compete against each other at the Buckshot.” Hopefully this positive publicity for the game will help in their lawsuit with the makers of Skee-Ball.
  • We’re guessing this Subaru driver was more than surprised to find their front nose under a 38 Geary bus last Thursday at 45th Avenue and Point Lobos. The photo was tweeted by @bonanos who said “no injuries apparent”.

5:15 am | Posted under Art, Food, Muni, Recreation | 13 comments
Jun-20-2014

Local links: Beach Chalet, Marla Bakery opens, Sushi Wako, tree planting & more


Inside the new Marla Bakery on outer Balboa

Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to dance you into the weekend…

  • Marla Bakery is finally open at 3619 Balboa near 37th Avenue. The Chronicle says it “will be open as a cafe all day and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner most weeknights, and brunch weekends, along with a Sunday supper that will happen at one long table, with a prix-fixe menu and wine pairings.” Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!
  • Just when you thought the debate over the artificial turf fields at Beach Chalet was done… In the upcoming November election, it’s likely that voters will be faced with two dueling ballot measures. One from a group of environmentalists, neighbors and others that want to prohibit artificial turf and field lights at Beach Chalet, and another measure from the city that is designed to override the opponents’ measure. The opponents of the fields have until July 7 to get the 9,702 valid signatures they need to qualify for the ballot.
  • Friends of the Urban Forest are planning another tree planting event in the Richmond District in August. If you’re interested in planting a tree in front of your property, the deadline to apply is July 16. Get all the details here
  • A new sushi spot is open at 211 Clement Street called Sushi Wako. They remodeled a former sushi spot and expanded into the space next door, resulting in a lovely rebuild. According to their website, Wako, which means “Japanese Fragrance” was started by two chef buddies. Reviews on Yelp so far are very good with one reviewer writing, “I have a feeling this place is going to be packed once the word gets out. So shhh…keep it down.” Oops, sorry. :)
  • Into Playland history? Author James Smith, whose latest book “San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach: The Golden Years” recently came out, will be speaking at the Sunset Branch Library (1305 18th Avenue) next Tuesday, June 24 at 7pm. Smith will speak and show photos from his latest book which is an illustrated history of the much-loved park from 1940 until its closing in 1972. We’ve got the book, it’s snazzy.
  • There’s a poignant piece about a duck needing a mate at Mountain Lake Park. “But duck does not live by bread alone. Duck should not, in fact and in the natural state of things, live alone. And Musco is all alone. I am on a one-woman campaign to find him a Muscovy mate.”
5:03 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, History, Politics, Shopping | Add comments
Jun-4-2014

Local links: Muni sickout, Surfcraft, new Vietnamese, Yee nearly elected & more


Transit Accident at Euclid & Arguello Boulevard with onlookers | November 17, 1915. Courtesy of SFMTA Archives

Not too many links to share this week, but like a good loaf of bread, we don’t want them to go stale…

  • How are you all handling the MUNI sickout? We’ve seen hoards of waiting passengers at stops in the neighborhood these past few mornings, and one (handsome!) reader tweeted us that he ran home 5.5 miles from his job to avoid it. Leave a comment to let us know.
  • Congrats to the Balboa Theater (which is screening Purple Rain this Sunday night!) for being named among 7 best movie house in the Bay Area by KQED. We could have done without the “just decrepit and seedy enough” descriptor though…
  • Despite his legal troubles and pulling out of the election, Senator Leland Yee STILL received just over 287k votes in yesterday’s election primary for California Secretary of State – enough for a third place finish. We’re gonna chalk to this up to people lazily voting for a name they recognize… Sigh.
  • This outer Richmond District resident is crafting a new kind of surfboard made specifically for bodysurfing. He came up with the idea after his traditional surfboard broke in half.
  • Reader Emily F. tells us that the old Barley Cafe at 343 Clement near 5th Avenue, which closed abruptly after a few months, will soon be taken over by a new Vietnamese restaurant. She chatted with the owners who were on site who told her that “there that will focus on noodle soups and fresh spring roll wraps. They expect to be open by the end of June.”
12:35 pm | Posted under Business, Food, History, Movies, Politics | 15 comments
Jun-2-2014

Q Restaurant closing June 29 after 16 years of serving “funky comfort food”

Late last week, Q Restaurant hung a banner above their front door announcing their upcoming shutdown on June 29. The restaurant has been a Clement Street institution for 16 years, serving up “funky comfort food” ranging from tater tots to duck confit.

Owners Brinn and Andrew wrote a long letter to their customers (full text below), explaining that they are calling it quits after “years of disabling back problems, it is time to give Andrew the opportunity to focus on his health”.

In a neighborhood full of ethnic restaurants, Q was one of the few spots where you could always get a good hamburger, mac and cheese and other American comfort foods. Guy Fieri featured Q on an episode of his “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” show on the Food Network.

Owner Brinn says that the closing is “definitely a sad thing for us”, but after 16 years she feels good about “the comfort that we brought, the friendliness that we brought to the neighborhood.”

“I’m sad to see that end. It’s an end of an era. It was Andrew’s dream, he worked on this for his whole life. His mom taught him to cook. This was his passion,” Brinn told us.

Much of Q’s staff are long-timers as well. The first employee is still working at Q, and a lot of the kitchen staff have been there over 6 years.

“It is so rare to find such a dedicated, hardworking, and friendly staff anywhere. We became a family. We took care of each other. We are so grateful for the love and tremendous efforts by our amazing staff,” they wrote in their farewell letter.

Brinn said they never dreamed that Q would last as long as it did. “We had no idea we’d be there for 16 years. We were stoked we made it through 2 or 3,” she told us.

And while Q didn’t change much in its 16 years, Clement Street has.

“The street has changed so much in 16 years. We started at same time as April in Paris. Busvan for Bargains Furniture store was open when we first opened! There’s still a lot of diversity, maybe it’s even more diverse now,” Brinn said.

Brinn had no specifics on what their next chapter or venture would be, other than to say that Q is definitely closing and will not be coming back. She says she thinks another restaurant may open in the Q space but doesn’t know more than that.

Q’s last day of business will be on Sunday, June 29.

“We’re hoping people will come in one more time, let’s have one more meal together,” Brinn said.

Sarah B.

===============================================

Q’S LETTER TO ITS CUSTOMERS:

Farewell San Francisco
It is with a heavy heart that after almost 16 years of great food, delicious wine, wonderful people, fun times, hard work, ups and downs, (and a few Hokey Pokeys thrown into the mix), Q owners Andrew and Brinn have decided it’s time to move on to the next life adventure. After years of disabling back problems, it is time to give Andrew the opportunity to focus on his health. This has been a very difficult and emotional decision and we are so sad to say goodbye, but health takes priority.

Q gave us all a place to feel at home. It was the site of first dates, marriage proposals, graduation celebrations, wedding rehearsal dinners, children growing up, epic parties, Q Balls, Crab and Champagne Feasts, Sunday brunch with friends, and many other completely routine and sometimes totally extraordinary moments. Q was the friend you knew would be there when you needed them. Q was comforting. Q was a welcoming, smiling face. Q was home.

Q is greater than the sum of its parts. To make a list of the regular customers would be a 1000 page book. Thank you to all of our customers. We loved taking care of you, and thank you for taking care of us too. The spirit of Q is something we all can keep alive by maintaining the connections of the people we met and grew to love there. Have crab and champagne feasts in your homes at Thanksgiving, say hello when you pass people on the street, share wine with your neighbors. You have the power to keep the spirit alive.

There are no words that clearly express the love and gratitude we feel for our staff that worked so hard to keep the vision alive. Restaurant work is not easy. It takes commitment, thick skin, and a really good sense of humor. It is so rare to find such a dedicated, hardworking, and friendly staff anywhere. We became a family. We took care of each other. We are so grateful for the love and tremendous efforts by our amazing staff. We wish everyone the best of luck in whatever path they chose in their future and look forward to lifelong friendships with you.

Deep gratitude and credit goes to Andrew for creating and developing a vision that supported ours and many other families while serving up over a million delicious plates of Funky American Comfort food. The flavors you created made all of our taste buds dance. Thank you Andrew for the heart, body and soul you poured into Q.

This corner of San Francisco has something special – warm and welcoming neighbors, support for individuality, a comfortable place to nurture ones dreams, dedicated small business owners and a safe neighborhood for families to grow. It has truly been an honor to live and serve here. We sincerely hope the strong sense of community in the Inner Richmond continues and thrives forever.

Q’s last day will be Sunday, June 29, 2014. Please come see us over the next month to get a last few Q meals, share stories, write on our memory wall, and say goodbye.

Thank you for 16 wonderful years San Francisco, we will miss you tremendously. Now, go out and save the world!

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 27 comments
Apr-4-2014

Local links: MUNIhack, Bubble tea wars, hot wings, greenbates & more


Photo by Bolditalic

Farewell Friday, hello weekend! Here are some local links to ease you into it…

  • #MUNIhack – Nope, you’re not seeing things. That is a Prius with trolley poles on its roof so it can run off the power from MUNI lines. Bolditalic got’s the story about the car’s creator, an outer Richmond District resident named Jon. “You know it, dude! 150 miles of free energy courtesy of Mr. MTA!”
  • #Springblooms – The Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is hosting a Spring Bloom sale this Saturday from 10am to 1pm. Featuring many varieties of Grevillea, Abutilon and the garden’s native Ceanothus, Iris and assorted annual native wildflower starts.
  • #HotWings – Wings fans will be finding their way to Hot Sauce and Panko (1545 Clement) soon after a nice review in the Chronicle. “But it would be a shame not to make Hot Sauce and Panko part of the weekly routine. With a dozen varieties of the handheld chicken pieces at any given time, not to mention a couple of seriously decadent sandwiches, this place is worth a visit.”
  • #GreenBates – The SF Dept of Energy is hosting a Energy Upgrade California workshop at the Anza branch library on Saturday, April 12 from 2-3pm. Learn how to increase your home’s energy efficiency with energy upgrades such as sealing air leaks or installing insulation, a new furnace, or energy efficient window – moves that could yield you $1,000 to $4,500 in rebates. A neighborhood resident will there to talk about his experience in the program.
  • #BubbleTeaWars – Share Tea recently opened on Geary near 18th Avenue in what used to be the Samila Thai restaurant space. They have two other locations in Berkeley and San Mateo. The 5336 Geary location is open Sunday – Thursday from 12noon to 9pm, and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. We may have a bubble tea war on our hands – InfiniTea is just across the street.
11:17 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, Green, Muni | 11 comments
Mar-27-2014

Local links: Pho closing, Saturday events, Farmer’s Market extended & more


Even the dogs can’t help smiling at Lands End. Photo by Jonathan Fleming

While you’re trying to fathom the litany of charges in State Senator Yee’s indictment, take a moment to check out these less threatening local links:

  • No mo’ pho: Reader Chet informed us that Pho Garden (2109 Clement), home of the infamous (and nausea inducing) Pho challenge, has closed. A call to their business phone number ends in a disconnected message.
  • Looks like Clement Street’s Barley Cafe has met the same fate. Eater SF reports that after only six months, Barley (343 Clement) has called it quits. The cafe has been locked up for the past couple of weeks and a phone call goes straight to voicemail.
  • Good news for fans of the Clement Street Farmer’s Market – The market’s life has been extended for another year until June 2015. The market will also add another block beginning April 6th, so it will run from Arguello Street to 4th Avenue every Sunday from 9am until 2pm.
  • Want to help your neighbors and community in a time of crisis? Enroll in a free NERT (SFFD Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) course on Wednesday June 11, 2014 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Richmond Branch Library. Learn skills to be prepared for emergencies big or small, and get to know your neighbors on your block to maximize resiliency after a disaster. Register online – it’s free!
  • A skateboard park at Ocean Beach? Radical, dude. It could happen if the San Francisco Skateboarding Association‘s vision comes to live. They were behind the successful Balboa Skate Park and have set their sights on Ocean Beach. Rec & Park is into it. Might not be Playland but sounds like a fun idea! [CurbedSF]
  • Fredy’s Deli near Ocean Beach has a new owner and a new lease on life. The Ocean Bulletin profiled new owners David “Kawika” Nottage and his wife, Joanne who are “trying to keep the best parts of what made Fredy’s Ocean Beach Deli a neighborhood favorite, while introducing some additions such as gluten-free menu items and an expanded selection of wine.”

FREE EVENTS THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 29

  • Got veggies? Master Gardener Jonathan Propp will be at the Richmond District Branch Library this Saturday from 2-3:30pm to lead a free course on how to grow vegetables in your SF backyard. His presentation will cover selection of climate-appropriate varieties, soil and bed preparation, propagation and planting techniques, and plant maintenance.
  • Walk among the flowers: Wildflowers have started to bloom all over our parks including Lands End. The Parks Conservancy leads free walks every Saturday from noon until 1pm through May 31, including a special Mother’s Day walk on May 10. Info & registration here
  • This Saturday, Supervisor Eric Mar is sponsoring a Richmond District Housing Rights Town Hall from 2 to 4pm at the Richmond Recreation Center (251 18th Avenue). Learn about your rights and obligations as San Francisco tenants and landlords, hear from experts and get your questions answered.
9:25 am | Posted under Classes, Eric Mar, Events, Food, Ocean Beach, Parks, Volunteer | 29 comments
Feb-17-2014

Chapeau! staff secrets revealed on episode of “Mystery Diners”

A couple of weeks ago, the Food Network aired an episode of their show Mystery Diners entitled “Pardon My French”, featuring Clement Street’s Chapeau!, a popular French bistro.

Mystery Diners is a reality show in which a crew goes undercover to find out what issues a restaurant may be having with its kitchen, wait staff or other personnel.

Chapeau! owner Philippe Gardelle, who opened the restaurant in 1996, is known for not only his excellent Southern French cuisine, but also for his warm, effusive manner with his patrons. So we were intrigued when the episode teaser said he was concerned that some of his wait staff were being rude with customers. We have only ever heard stellar reviews from readers who have dined there.

Enter Mystery Diners, who after consulting with Philippe, wired the restaurant with multiple cameras and mics, and focused their attention on a few waiters that Philippe thought might be the issue. The vacant space next door to them on Clement was used as the control center.

The episode was really entertaining because not only did it confirm Philippe’s suspicion, but the secret cameras also uncovered a host of other issues going on in the restaurant.

It turns out that Philippe’s own teenage son, Andrew, who is a busboy at the restaurant, was pulling the teenage hostess away from her station so they could lock lips in the alley. He also liked to take smoke breaks and talk down to the wait staff.

In another alarming scene, waiter Michael brazenly steals a $30 tip from another waiter’s table.

Another waiter proved to be hidden camera gold and the source of customer complaints. Renaud, a French waiter, starts out his shift by shirking off his training duties for a new hire, who is part of the Mystery Diners crew. Strike one!

But Renaud really loses it when one of the mystery diners insists on ordering white wine with her filet mignon.

His reaction? To tell her that it will be horrible and that he is bringing her red wine regardless. Owner Philippe watches the uncomfortable interaction unfold on screens in the control room, all the while swearing in French and pulling his hair out. Strike two!

Renaud then proceeds to the back alley to smoke, pace and vent, mumbling under his breath at the customer’s ridiculous order and how white wine would ruin their filet mignon. Meanwhile the diners have already walked out of the restaurant, abandoning their order. Oh mon dieu – strike three!

The end result? The sticky fingered waiter was fired (go Philippe!), son Andrew got a talking to and promised to work harder, and Renaud, after admitting he was stressed out from trying to quit smoking, was given a second chance.

You can watch the full episode for free via Comcast on Demand, or via Youtube ($1.99) or on iTunes ($2.99).

Bon apetit and thanks to reader Chet for the tip!

Sarah B.


Chapeau! owner Philippe Gardelle (L) watches the drama unfold from the control room

4:45 am | Posted under Food | 6 comments
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