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Panda Country Kitchen named in Top 100 Chinese restaurants

Via SF Citizen comes the news that one of our neigborhood restaurants was named to the national Top 100 Chinese Restaurants list.

The list was compiled by Chinese Restaurant News, and I’m not sure what the criteria was (e.g. did the restaurant have to be an advertiser?). Another SF restaurant, Ana Mandara (891 Beach), made the top 10.

Reviews on Yelp are mixed for Panda Country Kitchen, but average out to 4 of 5 stars.

Any RichmondSFBlog readers eaten there? Give us your review in the comments!

Sarah B.

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 7:02 pm | Posted under Food | 4 comments

Slip n’ slide at Sutro Baths (video)

Came across these fun clips of Sutro Baths from the Library of Congress Edison films catalog. Filmed August 22, 1897. Looks like fun!

Sarah B.

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 11:11 am | Posted under History | 5 comments

Get in the swing with dance classes at the YMCA

Want to try something new this year? Sign up for a dance class at the Richmond District YMCA!

Both the East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop classes will be taught on Friday nights by Catrine Ljunggren, world renowned Lindy Hop Revivalist and master dance instructor.

Each class meets every Friday night for 12 weeks, beginning February 5. The cost is $79 for YMCA facility members, $89 for program members, and $109 for community members.

For more information or to sign up, stop by the front desk at the Richmond District YMCA, 360 18th Avenue (666-9622).

East Coast Swing, Friday nights
February 5 – April 30, 2010, 7-8pm

Lindy Hop, Friday nights
February 5 – April 30, 2010, 8-9pm

Sarah B.

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 6:43 am | Posted under Recreation | Comments Off

Safeway shares plans for La Playa store expansion

A rendering of the new Safeway entrance at Fulton and La Playa

At tonight’s Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR) quarterly meeting, a representative from Safeway shared the latest plans for the expansion of their outer Richmond store on Fulton between La Playa and 48th Avenue.

About two years ago, Safeway purchased the entire plot of land on which it currently sits. Since then, they have been working on plans to expand the current store, including a residential component.

Natalie Mattei, a Real Estate Manager for Safeway, handed out copies of the latest drawings of the proposed development and took questions and comments from the audience.

The new Safeway store would be roughly double the square footage of the current one, with walls extending all the way to the sidewalk on all sides. Currently, the store is set back by its ground level parking. The new store will feature a single level of underground parking. View the architectural plan

The back quarter of the lot that borders on Cabrillo would not be developed initially. Once the project is complete and as Mattei put it, “we recover from the recession”, Safeway will sell the land to a residential housing developer.

Mattei says they were challenged to design a Safeway that better blends in with its surroundings like Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park, both of which sit just across from the market. Safeway architects looked to the Cliff House and Beach Chalet restaurants for inspiration, as well as to Sea Ranch in Mendocino for attractive yet durable materials that would better weather its seaside location.

The main focal point of the building is a 66 foot high entrance topped with a half barrel roof that slopes into the building. The front part would be mostly glass with aluminum accents. Above the entrance is a protected, outdoor seating area with umbrella tables that enjoys views of the beach and the GGP windmill.

To offer more commercial options for the outer Richmond, Safeway is also considering alotting some of the Fulton Street storefont to smaller, local retailers. Note “Sunshine” and “Surf Shop” in the drawing below.

View from Fulton Street (click to enlarge)

Several residents that live next to or very near the Safeway attended the meeting, and raised concerns about the project. One neighbor worried that the new, taller structure would block her view of Ocean Beach from her 48th Avenue home. Other neighbors that live on 48th expressed concern over the larger scale of the new building and its potential for blocking light and views along the street.

As was the case with the Safeway renovation on Cabrillo and 7th Avenue, 48th Avenue neighbors raised concerns about the location of the loading dock in the new plans. It currently sits on 48th Avenue, but the large ground level parking lot allows overflow trucks to park rather than idle in the street when the dock bays are full.

In the new design, the loading dock is still on 48th Avenue and neighbors worry that trucks would be backed up on the street, idling, during peak delivery times. Mattei assured neighbors that the amount of traffic would not increase, saying “they’ll just put more pallets on each Safeway truck; there would still only be 4 Safeway trucks per day”.

She further explained that the new loading dock would be enclosed and could also include a retractable screen wall which would close off the dock and its idling inhabitants. There is also additional room inside the loading dock for Safeway.com trucks to park, along with smaller delivery trucks. “Our goal is to not have trucks on 48th Avenue,” Mattei said.

Missing from the plans was a view from the 48th Avenue side of the store, which concerned many of the neighbors. Mattei said it was so early in the process that they had not drawn them yet, and that they were hoping for more input from neighbors on what they’d like to see. It could be designed like the La Playa side in the plans, with break ups in the sight lines and varied architecture (see picture below). Or it could be a simpler design with a large scale mural, perhaps commemorating Playland as one neighbor suggested.

The side view from La Playa Street (click to enlarge)

Mattei said that Safeway will file a pre-applicaton with the Planning Department soon, and they will continue to meet with neighbors to gather feedback on the design.

What do you think? Do you like the design? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Sarah B.

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 10:19 pm | Posted under Real Estate, Shopping | 26 comments

Basketball Invitational at Star of the Sea School, Jan. 30

On Saturday, January 30, Star of the Sea continues their centennial celebrations with a Basketball Invitational featuring some of the oldest Catholic elementary schools in the city.

The all-day event will feature exhibition basketball games, free throw shoot-a-thons, raffles, prizes, food, and limited edition T-shirts available for purchase.

Participating schools include Mission Dolores (founded 1852), Saint Peter (1878), Saint Anthony/Immaculate Conception (1894), Saint Charles (1894), and Saint James (1906).

The Invitational will take place from 9am to 9pm at the Star of the Sea Gym, 345 8th Avenue. Admission for students K-8 is $1, and general admission is $2, with all proceeds going to the Star of the Sea Centennial science lab. For more information call 415-221-3399.

Sarah B.

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 6:32 am | Posted under Schools, Sports | Comments Off

Today’s schizophrenic weather

Check out the time lapse video from the ob-kc.com surf cam at Ocean Beach today. This is just a clip from 3 to 4pm.

Hope everyone is staying warm and dry. Batten down the hatches – another one is on the way!

Sarah B.

Music: “Rinse the Raindrops” by Paul McCartney | Driving Rain

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 7:21 pm | Posted under Weather | 1 comment


Photo by Troy McClure SF

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 11:20 am | Posted under Photos | 1 comment

Hey drivers, JFK Drive is closed today

RichmondSFBlog reader Chris sent in a note to me today about the JFK Drive closure in Golden Gate Park. Normally, the area is only closed off to cars on Sundays, but due to the MLK holiday, it was also closed off with barricades this morning.

During his morning jog, Chris noticed the barricades and realized it was due to the holiday. He was looking forward to a car-free run (in the rain?) but said, “I was not long jogging on JFK when I encountered on-coming vehicle traffic! I followed the car back to where I could see it come upon the barrier blocking its egress from the supposed car-free zone, and watched the driver get out, move the barrier, and drive through.”

Chris said he tried to call 311 but they hung up on him. Chris saw several pedestrians in the road, walking, who like him assumed that JFK Drive was closed to traffic.

Chris also called the police and after awhile, they did show up and immediately put the barrier back in place. The cops said that most people don’t think of MLK Day as a holiday that would result in a car-free Golden Gate Park.

So then, why San Francisco, do you leave up the barricades and not enforce the closure? If you don’t have the police to enforce the closure, just leave JFK Drive open to cars. Then pedestrians will know to stay safe on the sidewalks.

And to those drivers out there jumping the barricades I say, really? Really? Wouldn’t it be a clear signal to you that the road is closed when a barrier is strung across it?

Sarah B.

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 1:49 pm | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Traffic | 1 comment