It was a bit of a sad day when I read that Carol Doda had died. She was one of those people who left her mark on San Francisco in a big way on June 19th, 1964 when she was the first topless go-go dancer in San Francisco. She was 26 years old and probably had no idea how much she would become a fixture in San Francisco for many years to come.
I have to say I’m pretty glad that San Francisco is remembering her at her best. Shen she stopped dancing in the 80’s she opened a lingerie shop in a little back alleyway on Union Street. My girlfriend and I happened to be over there and saw the sign and decided to drop in for the hell of it. There she was, Carol Doda, fully clothed sitting right inside the front door. Geez, the stories she probably could have told then.
She was looking a little rough though. I had only seen some of the pin up photos of her when I was a kid and that’s what I always thought she looked liked, but I could see the lines on her face that told a story all by themselves and I could still see that young girl who was in all the pin ups I had seen. My Dad had one tucked away in his dresser that I’d sneak a look at before I was even ten [BOOBIES!]. I wasn’t even two when she first went on stage topless.
It really sucks when we get old. My Mom always used to read the obituaries and complain that people who died used pictures in their obituaries from when they were young. I don’t know why she didn’t understand it’s a drag getting old for lots of people. In Carol Doda’s case, I’m glad they’re focusing on the young Carol in the photo memories of her. That’s the way she should be remembered and I’m sure the way she would have wanted to be remembered.
Carol wasn’t born in San Francisco, but she made it her home and left a mark on the City. I’m glad San Francisco did it right.
Irving street is a funny mix of stores. There’s a produce place just about every other storefront and then there some electronic/kids clothes/candy/XXX Vcd places. Yes, I did say XXX VCD’s and they were right next to the kid stuff, but at least they had cardboard in front of them and I didn’t get smacked by my wife when I pulled a piece of cardboard up to reveal the perfect asian boobies behind the cardboard.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’d like to talk about my two favorite places to go on Irving street that concern food. The first is the 22nd Avenue Market. It’s been there for years and is mostly a produce market, but it also sells canned and bottled food in the back that you won’t find in your average grocery store. A lot of it comes from the Mediteranean. Greece, Turkey, that kind of thing with some Russian stuff thrown in. What I especially like is big aisle of nut sacks they sell. Yes, you heard me right. There nothing like a huge Irving street nut sack and they have all kinds of nut sacks to choose from. They have colored nut sacks, white nut sacks, raw nut sacks, even roasted salty nut sacks.
The list is mind boggling, but their also very inexpensive. I’ve recently found a new snack food I love called cacahuates or “Japanese Peanuts”. These are salty peanuts covered in a slightly sweet hard coating. You can think of them as Mexican M&M’s without chocolate. I have a huge bag of them now and they’ll probably last me at least a week. I was tempted to purchase some Turkish Delights, but I couldn’t find a price on the box so I figured I’d hold off for now.
After a trip to the 22nd Avenue Market you have to go next door to the Sunrise Deli. This is a great Mediterranean Deli that has THE BEST falafel in the city. You can get a half dozen falafel for $2.99, now that’s a deal. They’ve opened another place downtown, but it’s more expensive because of the neighborhood. This is still the best and most inexpensive place to get mediterranean food I’ve found. Their hummus and baba ganoush is always fresh and cheaper than you could get it at a big chain grocery store. We feed about 40 people on less than $75 with food from here for my daughter’s first birthday. You can also sit down and enjoy a nice shawarma plate or one of their other fine plates that will run you around $6.95 and you probably won’t finish it. Incidentally, the plates come with these little pink things [That I don’t know what they’re properly called] that are pickled turnips. They taste much better than they sound and are worth a try. I would recommend you back away from the myrrh flavored chewing gum as it’s a rather odd taste that the Western palate probably isn’t quite ready for yet. Now time to run off and eat my falafel and hummus!