EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 District | Baghdad By The Bay - Part 2

Posts Tagged 'district'

On Behalf Of John The Waving Guy

Readers, I would like to thank you on behalf of John the Waving Guy. Many of you have made his life happier. Some of you are actually stopping and talking to him and Winston Churchill his dog. This is a great thing to me. You’ve shared my article almost 300 times so far. That makes it the most shared article I’ve written and I can’t think of a better man to have written about.

I even received a comment today that one of the people who waves to him stopped to talk to him and he proudly showed her the article that he had printed out. His sister even wrote to me and told me that before the stroke he was in a Softball league for seniors and was pretty good. I rarely feel like I’m able to do a lot of good, but I think this time I did do something good. I look for him all the time now when I drive past. I saw him working in his front yard yesterday, which for someone who has had a major stroke can be difficult. He just keeps on going and I’m glad some of you have helped make his life a little happier. Now maybe the Chronicle or Examiner will pick this up as a human interest story.

I think it would be a wise move.

That Waving Guy

If you’ve ever driven by 33rd and Vicente on the weekends [sometimes during the week] you’ll see a guy sitting in a wheelchair with a little white dog in his lap. He waves to every car that drives by hoping they’ll wave back. We always do and he always smiles at us. I happened to catch him yesterday and decided to stop and talk to him.

He’s an interesting guy. His name is John and his dog is named Winston Churchill. He told me he’s been sitting out and waving for the past five years when he and his wife Pat were in Mexico and he [like I] suffered a stroke. He can’t do much, so sitting and waving at people is pretty good entertainment for him. His seemed to be a lot worse than mine though as he pointed to his right side when he told me and used his left hand to shake mine. He had a bit of trouble speaking which I remember having as well, but as I said, mine was minor.

I didn’t get to ask him too many questions because he was telling me all about his and Pat’s trip to Mexico and how it was always warm and beautiful and he kept going on about the posole that it was the best in the world. Which I’m sure isn’t hard to deny considering posole in Scotland would probably be awful.

So I finally got to meet him and John is a nice guy. He doesn’t stay out there very long, but I did learn that I’m a good guy which he told me after Winston started trying to climb on me. John’s a happy guy all things considered and Winston knows people. I told him that I was going to write about him and I always hold my promises. Here’s to you John!

Birria de Chivo

Since I’ve been talking about burritos it seems only fitting to continue on with Mexican food for another day and I thought what better to talk about than a sorely missed restaurant in Mission La Rondalla and their specialty dish, Birria de Chivo.

For those who don’t speak Spanish, Birria de Chivo is goat stew [sometimes complete with goat head]. Me being allergic to lamb I decided it would be fitting for me to give it a go one day. I had never eaten goat before so this would be a new experience. I didn’t realize how popular a dish this was until the day after when I was talking with some of my Mexican friends at work who laughed at me for just ordering it and not adding in, lean and clean.

When my bowl arrived it had an over powering smell of well, goat. The other Hispanics at the restaurant looked at me with a bit of surprise. I guess they didn’t expect a white person to ever order it. On my first bite I tasted a bit of the peppers and well, goat. Everything about this dish was goat. I felt like I was in a barnyard, but it had a very hearty rustic feel down to the bones in the stew. The part that caught me off guard was the fat and gristle in the stew. After eating about half the dish and having the rest boxed up to take home and after talking to my friend José the next day I learned what lean and clean meant. No bones, no fat, no gristle. I never thought while eating this where do they buy goat meat in San Francisco? I’ve been to many of the Mexican carnecerias in the city and I’ve never seen Chivo in the meat cases. Sometimes it’s better not to ask questions.

Sadly, La Rondalla went out of business sometime ago and for that I’m sad because it was the first place after a long night out partying that I had my first vegetarian burrito thanks to the girl I was dating at the time. I don’t know of any other places in the city that sell Birria de Chivo, but at least I know that if I find one an order it again I’ll remember to add lean and clean to the order. I was glad I stepped a little outside my comfort zone for a day.

Blockboard: Know Your Neighborhood

An old friend of mine who I haven’t seen in probably close to 30 years, Ian Kallen contacted me a few months ago about an iPhone app he was working on called Blockboard. It’s a type of social networking app, but more micro-social networking that helps bring together people in your neighborhood. At the time they were focusing on the Mission District because that’s where they were started, but now they’ve expanded to cover all of San Francisco and are moving on to cover other cities.

What’s nice about the app is that it’s just more than a Howdy neighbor and then you get back to browsing the web or playing some game by Zynga. People in your neighborhood can actually post about things going on that could be anything from police reports, suspected illegal activities or local street fairs and meet up parties. I can honestly say that in all my time with twitter and Facebook I’ve hooked up with some old friends and we’ve talked about the old times, etc, but I’ve only met face to face with about maybe 20 of the close to 1000 people I’ve amassed between the two.

I’m going to start checking daily with blockboard now after I received an email from my twitter friend [who I’ve yet to meet] Bre Lambert of ScoutMob. She wrote to me to remind me that Blockboard is running a contest where five neighborhoods can win $5000 by getting 500 members to sign up. That money will go to fixing up things in the area, making improvements, etc. So now I’m making my pitch to get you to join up in the Sunset. Well, since I cover all of San Francisco you all should download the app and join up actually, but I’m always a little partial to the Sunset seeing as I live here.

Checking in this morning I also found there were coupon offers for local businesses in the area that you could take advantage of through blockboard. The app also appears to aggregate relevant blog postings and articles from the web about the neighborhoods of San Francisco. I was kind of surprised that many of my articles actually had links there that I didn’t have to share with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this article shows up there.

As I said before, I’m going to be paying more attention to this app as it looks like it has real promise for the districts of San Francisco and I hope you check it out because with your help you’ll help bring about some change within the city better than a bunch of people clogging up the Financial District chanting.

The 17th Annual Sunset Community Festival

I got to go to the local Sunset Community Festival on Saturday which was actually called the Playland at the Beach Festival as well even though there was only a single sign up with info on the long defunct Playland. I have to admit that it was one of the better local gatherings I’ve seen. This is probably due to the fact that it was at the newly renovated West Sunset Playground which as I expected in the previous article on it, the mulch was being trashed by kids everywhere.

Because this is a community focused event that pulls political powers from around the city there were booths for just about every person running for Mayor of San Francisco. I got to meet with John Avalos [of course], Joanna Rees and Mayor Ed Lee, who I must say is much taller than he looks in pictures. Phil Ting was there, but had no booth and ran off shortly after I arrived. I was especially surprised to see that Carmen Chu, Fiona Ma and Leland Yee who tend to be all over the Sunset district had unmanned tables and were no shows. I would have liked to have a chance to bend Carmen’s ear for a few minutes to an hour to let her know what needed some attention in the Sunset District. Tony Hall has several older, conservative cronies out to push him as well, but he too was a no show which was odd considering his connection to the Sunset District. All in all I was surprised to hear John Avalos’ name mentioned by many of the people there. I think he may have a real shot at getting it since he’s staying away from the political infighting going on with other candidates for Mayor.

The day wasn’t all about politics though and I was glad to run into Tom Prete of Ocean Beach Bulletin and Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods group who had booths as well. I’ve included lots of pictures which you’ll see at the end in the slideshow and it was a fun, but crowded day. I do have to admit that the only downside I saw at the event was Bank of America’s booth that was handing out free stuff for spinning a wheel which had people lined up blocking the comcast and Run Ed Run booth so you couldn’t even get close since people wanted to win a frizbee, caramel corn or a few other things [like I said, they were lined up thick and I couldn’t really see.

The games arcade for the kids was packed to the gills with kids flying around in the multi-tiered bouncy houses they provided and there was also a flea market sort of set up near by where you could get anything from vintage vinyl to clothes to well, garage sale junk people wanted to get rid of. I was pleased to meet Pat and Virginia of the local NERT group that I’ll be writing about soon. If you need to know what to do in an emergency, NERT will teach you in 6 short, free classes. Other Avenues, the health food store that I’ve written about previously was there and I had to introduce myself so they had a face to put with the article I wrote.

There was also food from local places such as North Beach Pizza and oddly enough there was one booth selling deep fried oreo’s. I wanted to give it a shot, but I didn’t have any cash on me and apparently some of these booths haven’t heard of square that I’ve talked about before to allow them to take credit cards cheap.

For a community get together this was one that was done right. I was surprised that all I had to do for many of the booths there was mention  Baghdad By The Bay and they knew who I was immediately. I plan on visiting more of these local events in the future.

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Meatball Sub Thursdays

I’m getting a bit nostalgic again after talking with some of the people I grew up with in the Sunset District. The one thing we all have in common is Herb’s Meatball sub.

Herb’s deli was the place to go in the Sunset to get a sandwich. It wasn’t all bright and clean like other delis, but Herb’s was, well, Herb’s. The meatball sub consisted of two huge almost tennis ball sized meatballs that were slow cooked and sliced up like meatloaf with extra Italian sauce [or ketchup depending on who or when you talk to or went]. Sometimes I remember parmesan cheese shredded not grated on the sandwich and it wasn’t served in a hot dog bun like some other places serve it.

Herb did it up San Francisco style on a sourdough roll. I honestly have to admit that I never tried one of these sandwiches that everyone raves about. I always went for the Herbie Burpy which consisted of pretty much everything they had behind the counter stuffed into a roll. I could never eat one by myself and I remember a friend of mine would always get one and split it between us. The weird thing about Herb’s is that it closed probably close to thirty years ago, yet no one has rented the place out.  I’m not sure what’s going on there, but it looks like someone might be living there now which I’m sure breaks numerous code violations. They’ve put up bars in front as you can see and inside there’s a wall with a door that looks like it says, get the hell away from here. I live here. Something ain’t right with the place now, but Herb’s was a part of San Francisco that was near and dear to everyone’s heart int he Sunset.

P.S.: Thanks to Michael Flynn who corrected me when I originally said Meatball Sub Tuesdays. Slainte!

Doggie Diner to be Demolished

I was a little sad Friday afternoon when I heard that the building that used to be known as Doggie Diner, yet another icon of San Francisco is to be demolished.

After thinking about it for a bit, it isn’t so bad because it’s been vacant for years and there will never be a Doggie Diner again. We’ll still have the head, but Sloat Garden Center who owns it will be tearing it down to make way for more room to sell their plants and supplies.

I can’t for the life of me remember what the food at Doggie Diner tasted like, but at least I can remember I loved going to the place. We’d always eat there after a trip to the zoo because the food was better. I guess that tells you something about zoo food back in the 60’s and 70’s.

I also remembered that while they sold hot dogs, Doggie Diner was more known for its burgers. While Mayor Ed Lee sees it fit to hand out organic hot dogs to traveling dignitaries, San Francisco was never known for its hot dogs, except for the dog that sat high above Doggie Diner.

So iconic was the dog that a movie was made in 2005 called Head Trip that lots of alt-culture artists made a trip from San Francisco to New York carrying three of the heads as some sort of art project. The Dog had an effect on people.

Started in 1949 and giving it a good run until 1986 the disappearance has sort of left a mystery behind it. There are few artifacts other than the head and I can’t find a menu anywhere to remind me of what they used to serve. The inside had a fully tiled drive in feel to it, yet it wasn’t really a drive in. More of a walk-in would be appropriate. The original owner Al Ross passed away last year and aside from a few remarks on Laughing Squid there’s very little about it. This leads me to believe that the end of Doggie Diner can be linked to a government cover up.

Were they inserting mind control drugs into the food to control people who were attending the zoo? There are no menus. The death of its owner has been covered up only mentioning that he has passed away. Yet if you visit the Doggie Diner historical site you will find a small link to the Dogminican Order and a sermon posted from the Deacon Melmouth.

DD-MENU-2-004After reading it I have realized that it is not the skull and bones society or trilateral commission that is running the country, but a group hiding behind the head of a dog.