The Stow Lake Boat House

I read an article this morning on the San Francisco Citizen blog about someone committing yelp fraud by posting a review that really wasn’t a review or correct. This prompted me to take a drive over to the boat house to see how things were since the change in concessionaires. Well, pretty much it looks the same as it did before. A bit cleaner with newer boats and what appears to be a fresh coat of paint, but otherwise there wasn’t any difference.

Here’s what the yelp reviewer had to say:

What happened to the cool local people that worked there? Everyone we saw was white, which is weird for SF. We drove over from the East Bay to rent boats with my 2 kids and my mom. The kids couldn’t reach the pedals in the boat we rented. Howsthat? It’s for kids,right? After a unhappy boatride, my mom tripped on the crappy stairs in front of the boathouse. She was bleeding, the kids were crying, and no one bothered to help us. An old man sitting on a bench helped us and said the boathouse was just taken over by a New Mexico chain. We won’t be back.

Yes, if everyone was white that would be weird for SF. That’s not what I saw. What I saw were a mix of roughly 75% Chinese and 25% white people who were all out for a good old fashion morning stroll. It was also pretty clean and nice. I walked up to the paddle boats and judging from the distance between the seat and a pedals my almost 5 year old daughter could have peddled it. I doubt she would have wanted to, but Les L. of Oakland, CA got it wrong. As for the crappy stairs in front, they’re the same crappy stairs that have been there since I was a kid. Les, you apparently have a case of Keyboard Lycanthropy because you’re anonymous and no one can put a cap in your ass when you CAPS LOCK THEIR ASS.

Change in San Francisco is inevitable, but San Franciscans don’t really like change until after it happens then they love it. Remember how ugly the observation tower at the De Young museum was? Now I hear people referring to it as a gem of Golden Gate Park.

While they’ve spruced the place up a bit there’s still a lot of work that is anticipated to take another 90 days or so. The boathouse part of the boathouse is still that, the door was open and I saw a couple of boats stored in there. The menu of food has changed a bit for the better and at least you can still get the Wright’s Pink Popcorn I’ve talked about before.

Pink Popcorn: The San Francisco Treat

Pink popcorn was always something I had taken for granted. You would go to the ballpark and get it. You could go to the zoo and get it. Any event that occurred within the Bay Area you would find Wrights pink popcorn. It was like Coke™, where ever you went it was there. What I didn’t realize in my very San Francisco-centric thinking was that it was a San Francisco creation.

Since finding this information I’ve been trying to track down the history of this confection that is taken for granted. I’ve heard stories that the chemicals used to coat the popcorn causes cancer [just like everything else you eat] to it being first made in the 1800’s in San Francisco. I have even called the company that’s located now on Potrero Avenue in the City as well as emailed them, but have yet to hear from them directly.

From Wrights website they mention that they started in the 40’s and that’s as much of a history as I can get about them. I’m not sure who Mr. or Mrs. Wrights is, but they don’t really want you to know about them. I was able to find a couple of guys who did an interview with NPR who were flavor agents that made the flavorings for many high profile food products which I cannot mention, but they did say that they were the ones who created the pink glaze for the popcorn and it was bubble gum flavored. Somehow bubble gum flavored popcorn doesn’t sound as good as it tasted as a kid. Bubble gum was something you chewed and spit out, not chewed and swallowed as my mother always reminded me when I would chew and swallow a piece of Bazooka Joe [as an adult I used to buy tubs of the stuff along with red vines just to satisfy the kid still in me struggling to get out].

I think it’s about time that our Interim Mayor, Ed Lee recognize Wrights pink popcorn as a official San Francisco Treat. When public officials come  to San Francisco Wrights pink popcorn should be in the baskets he presents to them not organic hot dogs like he’s given in the past. This is a company unlike others that started in San Francisco like the It’s-it and Sees candy that have moved to the peninsula, but a San Francisco company that has actually stayed in San Francisco. Sure we have Twitter, but compared to a company started in the 40’s Twitter is an infant.

While Wrights website could use an update they’re more about the product we all take for granted. While I hadn’t seen it at my last trip to the San Francisco Zoo I understand you can still get it there and I was pleased to hear that the Stow Lake boat house will still be selling it. I think I’ll have to find some and share it with my daughter so she can get a taste of old San Francisco.