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

Posts Tagged 'sunset'

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!

Tony Does Frisco

I know I hate using the word Frisco for San Francisco, but I was trying to do a riff on the old Debbie Does Dallas, so I thought I’d give it a go. Anthony Bourdain’s the Layover aired last night and was about San Francisco. He used to hate us and thought we were obnoxiously smug twits. Well, he came by and saw us once and changed his mind. This time I have to say he did San Francisco proud.

While he hit almost every neighborhood of San Francisco, he did leave out the Sunset District, but I’ll let him slide on that one because he did a good job by staying away from the trendy places and focusing on more middle class fare this time. Swan Oyster Depot was probably the most expensive place he ate at, but he also tried one of the Mission District’s bacon wrapped hot dogs that they sell on the streets.

The only touristy thing he did was ride a cable car, but at least in doing that he understood how cool the cable cars are. The funniest was him telling us how cool they are a phony cable car with wheels drove past him in the background.

Bars, Bars, Bars. I think Tony was drunk about four hours after landing. After the hitting the Swan Oyster Depot it was onto the bars and the Tonga Room was a spot where he seriously got his drink on. He hit a bar in the Haight and Li Po’s in Chinatown where I’m surprised he didn’t sample the Uhn Kapay [I have no idea how that’s really spelled, but I have received a bottle for my birthday a few years ago and it’s something only for serious drinkers].

I think the best part of the show was when they interviewed locals who gave very good descriptions of what life in SF is like. Wear layers, expect overlaps in cultural cuisine, etc. I do wish he had made a trip out to the Sunset because we have some excellent places to eat. If he did I only wish that Pacific Sunset was still in business on Judah Street because what would he love more than to meet Klaus Loos who was the Executive Chef at Maxim’s in Paris and one day said, f*ck it I’m out of here to open a small restaurant in SF. He made some awesome food by the way and if you never got to eat there before they closed in the 90’s you really missed out.

Tony, hats off to you. You did a great job in San Francisco even though you ignored the Sunset District. I hope you survived your hangover and I think you should have gone to Trader Sam’s in the Richmond over the Tonga Room [which technically, the Tonga Room is a tourist attraction].

The General Store

I like living in the Westside. We’re starting to change the Sunset district and Richmond over to the Westside because we both have Ocean Beach in common. Once you pass Sunset Boulevard the vibe changes and you just get a laid-back beach vibe from the things you encounter. You see it most down on Judah street with Noriega and Taraval starting to get into the game and Judah street was where I ended up yesterday.

There’s a little parklet across from the 7-11 that made me stop and take a look and I noticed a new store that I hadn’t seen before. It’s called the General Store, yes I agree it could have a better name, but it’s a well, general store. It carries thing you would need like clothes and flashlights and books, etc. They tend to be a bit more on the upscale side of things, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’ve been in business for a year and a half which is good by business standards in the Westside because businesses don’t usually last too long as you get near the beach. At least in the past.

The beach area used to be a no man’s land that the only thing that lasted more than a year was the corner liquor store. Restaurants out there were pretty beat up looking and you would want to choose them unless you had to. I’m glad it’s changing. Judah street from 44th Avenue down to Great Highway is becoming a vibrant place to visit. The General Store just adds to this.

When I walked in I was surprised at the artistic quality of many of the items for sale. There was a calendar that  had each month printed in a spiral showing the phase of the moon each day and was printed using an old method called letterpress wherein metallic versions of the letters are actually pressed into the paper after being coated with ink. It gives a debossed look even though the printers tried to avoid this when they first started doing it.

There were wooden handmade implements that upon further inspection turned out to to be flashlights. They were pretty impressively made and if you had one sitting on a table you wouldn’t even know what it was. There were also a collection of handmade soaps and jewelry for those so inclined. The books and notecards available while few had a distinct Westside vibe.

All in all it was a nice place to visit and with the parklet outside the two blended in together quite nicely. It’s a warm and inviting place that makes you feel welcome when you step inside. You should stop by and take a look. It’s a nice place to visit.

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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Businesses are Coming to the Sunset

While it may not be a perfect method to see that things are coming back, I have been noticing a distinct trend lately out here in the Sunset — businesses are coming in that are a little bit different than what we had before. These new places have an appealing look to them that makes up want to come inside. Even some of the older businesses are giving themselves a new paint job as well.

My wife saw a place today as we were driving back from a decadent trip to Andronico’s and it’s a little bakery called, Let’s Cupcake. I don’t know how long they’ve been open, but I haven’t noticed them before so it must have been fairly recent. We stopped by and picked up their chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream. At first site, it reminded me a lot like the cupcakes at American Cupcake. It looked like them and the price was the same, $3.00 and they were even packaged the same. It’s a good sized cupcake that my wife and I could share.

We got home and scooped into it. Not bad actually, for the Sunset district I’d have to give it a WOW because you don’t find cupcakes like that out here. We usually only have the Safeway or Lucky’s cupcakes that taste like bad homemade cupcakes. I’ll give them a 3/5 for potential to get even better. The cupcake itself is dense, but moist. There was an intense chocolate flavor that probably came from the chocolate chips inside it. The buttercream frosting was more like a foam than a real frosting which counter balanced the density of the cupcake. Many people don’t like buttercream frostings because they’re usually too sweet, but this was pretty good and not overly sweet.

The place looks like a very nice coffee shop inside with two large flat screen TV’s and free wi-fi [bonus!] The staff is nice and accommodating and while you’d think they’re just cupcakes they have a few other pastries to choose from. They also serve breakfast, but our daughter had fallen asleep in the car and woke up a little grouchy so we didn’t really have time to look around too much. From doing a little google snooping I also found out that the owner, Genesis gives cupcakes to local organizations. Good for him!

Nice place give it a try. I’m glad to see there are a few hipper businesses coming to the Westside. We need to pull in the hip start up crowd out here so most of the people who live here don’t have to travel so far to get to work.

 

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