Laurel Village

I had a chance today to walk around Laurel Village. It’s been awhile since I’ve been over there, so I wanted to see what’s changed. Well, not much, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

My wife calls it the Baby Mecca which I can see from all the strollers, er, strolling by. Now I had a lot of replies about the Marina being too white and I pointed out that it wasn’t too white, but too homogenized. You don’t here any accents there. Yoga pants and tight jeans are the style and there aren’t any fat or old people there. Well Laurel Village is a lot like that as well.

You will find older people that are a little over weight and the moms on stroller patrol tend to be older moms, but for the most part it’s very homogenized and the people there have lots of money, but also like the Marina all the non-white mom’s which strollers have white babies, oh wait, those are probably the nannies.

You’d have to just to shop here. There’s an A. G. Ferrari’s, Bryan’s Market [organic asparagus $8.99/lb and I won’t even go into the meat prices there], Cal-Mart, a little cheaper than Bryan’s, but still up there [$6.99/lb for non-organic asparagus]. As for places to eat there’s Rigolo, which is a little above my In-N-Out burger price range, but I’d like to try it some day even though the words artisan and  artisanal are all over the menu. I saw quite a few people sitting out in front around 9:30am eating salads I guess for breakfast [salad for breakfast? I’ll never understand the French especially when they give their restaurant an Italian name].

There’s Asqew Grill which I’ve talked about before that’s in my current once every three month splurge price range, but is pretty inexpensive compared to most restaurants. The food is good there’s hardly any wait during the day and the food comes quick.

For the cheap eats people you’ve got Starbucks and Peet’s for coffee and a snack and Noah’s Bagels for the cheap nosh [Now if I could only get them to bring back their grilled cheese sandwich]. You can also grab a sandwich to go at A. G. Ferrari, but you’ll be paying a little more than at Noah’s.

Oh and did I mention everyone’s like, really nice there. I went into the old Hallmark 5 & 10 store which I suppose now means $5 & $10 and not 5¢ & 10¢. Everyone who worked there was asking if they can help me find anything. It’s the one thing that hasn’t changed too much when I was a kid. It’s kind of a hardware, card, toy and kitchen store. If you get a chance you should definitely check out this neighborhood if you’ve got amount of money in your bank account.

Stonestown Farmer’s Market

I grew up with my family going to farmer’s markets on the weekend. Back then though there was only one in San Francisco out on Alemany Avenue that still is there today. Back then things were a little different from what I remember. There was pretty much only fruits and vegetables and they weren’t organic, but they were good quality. My Mom used to buy pickling cucumbers when they were in season by the crate and make Kosher dills and bread and butter pickles [those are the sliced pickles of today]. She’d also get various wax peppers and pickle them too and there was always the fresh fruit for making pies and cobbler. My Mom could cook to say the least.

Now, the farmer’s markets are focused on organic and artisanal products. Stonestown Farmer’s Market is pretty similar to other farmer’s markets around the city that you’ll see. Most of the vegetables and fruits are trucked up for the day from down South and while the fruits tend to be pretty good I can get a crate of strawberries on one of the corners from a hispanic kid selling them before the police chase them away for less. Not that I’ve had a need to purchase a crate of strawberries anytime in my life, but if I did I know where to get the cheap. Generally the fruits and vegetables are a little bit cheaper than in stores, but the vegetables tend to be lacking in quality. Our trip yesterday yielded us not too much other than some baked goods which specializes in pretzel based breads. The time before that our purchase of vegetables ended up having to be thrown out as after we got rid of the outer bits of leaves the inside tended to be molding and rotting. The potatoes we purchased were pre-bagged and were rotting when we opened them up.

That being said, there are some interesting things you can try and purchase at the farmer’s markets. Baked goods, cheeses, olive oil pretty much anything packaged will be good quality, but beware of the term artisanal in front of it. We had some cheese samples that were very good, but when you have it called artisanal cheese expect to pay a higher price. We tried an aged cheese that was washed in beer, but that meant nothing to be as I didn’t get any taste of beer from it. Another was brine washed called salty dog and while there was a hint of salt, it was a longer aged cheese which could have contributed more than the brine wash.

There are also several jewelry, clothing and art retailers there that while nice wasn’t enough of an attraction. There were several food vendors that were tempting me, except we were going out to lunch so I didn’t want to spend money twice and not be able to eat all of the food I purchased. Stonestown’s Farmer’s Market also had weekly bands that aren’t blasting loud, but entertaining and seem to be enjoyed by the children when they aren’t enjoying the bouncy house at the far end. It’s every Sunday until 1pm and I definitely think you should check it out, but keep in mind that not all fruits and vegetables are in season year round.