The Neighborhood Snippet Series: North Beach

You are where you live. 

San Francisco is a city full of the most diverse and talented individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  It’s not uncommon to get into a conversation about an app someone developed last night.  San Francisco – with all its wonder and uniqueness – is also a city that defines and stereotypes its residents greatly by where they live.

These stereotypes have led to hilarious Facebook pages such as Marina Girl Says, Marina Guy Says, and Russian Girl Says.  Despite the funny stereotypes of some of the neighborhoods, each neighborhood has its own unique culture and offers something so San Franciscan.

And with that, I like to introduce to you… The Neighborhood Snippet Series starting with North Beach.

North Beach, located north east of the city, is the Little Italy of the city.  Situated between China Town and Fisherman’s Wharf, this little neighborhood is always bustling with tourists and locals alike.  A jaunt down Columbus St. will take you back to Europe.  There are plenty of places to eat but only a few that are suitable.

Restaurants

Despite the endless amount of options available in North Beach, there are only a few places I would go in the neighborhood.  Here are some of my favorites in the area.

1) Tony’s PizzaIMG_0827 – While you’re there, can you save me a seat?

2) Don Pisto’s – Most likely one of my top places in SF

3) Mama’s – Great brunch spot if you have time to wait for an hour

4) Brioche Bakery and Cafe – I have a special place for Brioche.  When I was visiting SF for the first time, it was my go to place for breakfast before I started my day.

Sotto Mare, Park Tavern, Comstock, and The Station are on my list to try still.

Shops

One of my favorite areas to roam around in the neighborhood starts at Filbert and Grant and ends around the time you cross Columbus St.  In particular, I’m a fan of Therapy near Green and Grant.

Nightlife

North Beach has a great, low-key scene near Green and Grant.  There are about 4 bars in that area that offers an easy pub crawl.  Venture a little south of Grant, past Columbus, and you’ll be hit with neon GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS sign.  North Beach offers a variety of fun for whatever tickles your fancy or other parts of your body.

Maggie McGarrys, Tope are a few favs and if you see me there, come say hi… but actually don’t because of this, I’m super fearful of strangers.

Beaches

Ah!  The misleading-ness of North Beach.  Despite its name, there are no beaches in sight unless you want to swim with the sea lions at Pier 39.  So hence, I’ve nicknamed the neighborhood, NoBeach.  As in there are no beaches in North Beach.

Interested in getting other neighborhood snippets?  Subscribe to my blog on the right.

SIDE NOTE:  A super important question crept up as I was writing this post… why do we crawl pubs and hop bars?  Why not pub hop and bar crawl?  Who wants to adopt club roll with me?

What are you doing tonight?  Rolling to a club.

Give it a few years… club roll will catch on.

Severe Weather Alert! A Canadianism vs. Californianism post

I’m always reminded that my SoCal born and raised roommate and I had completely different upbringings every time we have a conversation about our childhood.

Take the most recent conversation for example.  She was sharing a story of a time she got caught trying to sneak off-campus during her junior year in high school with a few friends to grab some food.

Me:  Wait a second, what do you mean you were running away from the security guard?  Can’t you just go grab lunch and come back?

Roommate:  You can’t go off campus unless you have written parental permission or have like a school activity to go to.

Me:  Seriously? That was the best thing about high school… the fact that we could leave and go as we want for lunch and also during the day minus the risk of getting a phone call for missing class…. did you guys have like security scanners and locker searches as well?  You’re from Chino right?  The same town that Ryan in the OC is from?

Roommate:  Hills.  Chino Hills.  It’s different.

weather alertOr another example was in December when San Francisco was dipping in the low 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) and the Bay Area news was warning residents of severe weather alerts.   As we were getting ready for work one morning and I was heading out the door, my roommate looks at me in a panic.

Roommate:  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT… I don’t know what to wear.

Me:  I see a pile of wearable clothes on the floor

Roommate:  I don’t know what to wear in this weather.  I’ve never experienced this level of cold unless I was on a mountain. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WEAR OR DO.  *looks around like she wants to curl up in the fetal position*

Me:  Reeeeeeeeeeeallllly???  Is this really a moment to panic?  *my thoughts:  Seriously?  Seriously!  10 year old me staying out in 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) for recess is shaking her head at you.*

But by far my favourite conversation about our childhood was when the concept of indoor shoes was brought up.

Me:  My first time ever getting in trouble in school was in gr. 7 when I lied to the teacher about not wearing my indoor shoes outdoors but I did wear my indoor shoes outdoors because my outdoor shoes were so hard to put on and he was checking my soles…

Roommate interrupts:  Backup.  What are indoor shoes?

Me:  Indoor shoes… when late fall hits you have to bring an extra pair of shoes to school to wear indoors.  So you walk to school in your outdoor shoes, then you take then off and store your outdoor shoes in your cubby, and then wear your indoor shoes around so you don’t track snow and mud into the school but my outdoor shoes were so hard to take off and he was…

Roommate:  HAHAHAHAHAHA

Me:  … I don’t know why you’re laughing.  But anyhow, so I wore my indoor shoes outdoors and obvi they’re dirty now and he’s checking my soles because obvi I lied… Stop laughing… indoor shoes aren’t that funny…  Really?  Is it really that funny of a concept?  You’re still laughing.

I think the best way to illustrate the difference in our childhood is through this wonderfully drawn image I conjured up on paint.

roommate vs. my childhood

My childhood on the left vs. roommate’s childhood… yes I ripped off a “polar bear in Canada” t-shirt but that’s how my childhood felt

Any other East Coasters get in trouble with wearing indoor shoes outside?

How to hold my iPhone when out and about in San Francisco

2012 was a great learning year.  I learned to bake, learned more about the SEO/SEM world, went to my first yoga class… but my biggest, most important lesson of 2012 was “How to hold my iPhone when out and about in San Francisco”.

Late last year, I left house and went for a walk in my lovely, safe neighbourhood of Nob Hill carrying with me only my iPhone in one hand, headphones in ear, and my other hand free to do cool hand gestures such as

tumblr_lol5d6IMEH1qd23jbo1_500

and this

tumblr_m26hbwHHrR1rp934bo1_400

Yes… I’m one of those embarrassing walkers. 

And this folks is what brings the story of “The Day I got Mugged in San Francisco” or “The Day I Got Mugged Ever”.  You pick your own heading for this story.

It started off as a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  An usual 80+ degrees (high 20s for my lovely canucks), I was giddy on life and sun.  Music was blasting through my phone as I hopped down a hill heading towards my friend’s place.  Beep beep!   An incoming text comes through so I slowed down my pace to check the message.  Then it happened.

… … … wait a second something’s wrong.

Someone brushes up against me.  My headphones are coming loose.  Both of my hands are empty.

Phone?  Where art thou?  What is this kid doing?  What is going on?  Where am I?  This is a joke right?  These things don’t happen in real life.

My phone along with my headphones were in the hands of a 17 year old brat running like hell downhill.  After processing the situation in my head for 10 seconds, I promptly chased after him for a few blocks, screaming bloody murder at him with the lovely residents of North Beach looking at me like I was the crazy one in the situation.  Ultimately at the end, my phone became his new phone and I walked away with an unexpected workout.  Not the kind where I was able to get high off of endorphins but a workout nonetheless.  #positivethinking

So tourists and residents of San Francisco, here is what I’ve learned from this situation or as I like to call it, how to hold my iPhone when out and about in San Francisco:

If you’re using your phone publicly on the streets of San Francisco, hold it tightly to your chest, look slightly crazy and deranged, and if someone even comes close to you when you’re using your phone, sneer at them.  You will scare off potential robbers and in my case, scare off a few poor tourists that just wanted directions… but in my defense, that French family look like they were going to rob me.

Are you there blog? It’s me, L.

Oh… hi old friend.  It’s been awhile eh?  This is a bit awkward.  We haven’t spoken in like 8 months and I know you’re hurt that I forgot about you, haven’t checked up on you, and basically just went MIA.  But there’s a reaaaaaalllly, really, really good reason for that.

When I first started you, it was to document my new life in San Francisco and it was easy back then.  Back in 2011 when I first moved and had no friends.  But things are different now.  Instead of talking to myself, I’ve made friends.  A network.  People who appreciate or at least put up with my antics.  That’s no excuse to forget about you and cast you aside like yesterday’s garbage but it happened.  Forgive, forget, accept it and move on.  I’ll start blogging again and tell you stories about getting mugged in San Francisco and how I’ve slowly morphed into an organic, chemical-free, wannabe yogi and runner hippie, and on your end you’ll start bringing in traffic and readers again.  Deal?

xx.

L

7×7 Food List

Someone recently shared with me 7×7 The Big Eat 2012 List.  Needless to say, all I could think was “Challenge Accepted!”

I will, over the next few months, be entertaining you with stories of my hunt to complete this list alongside my stories on visiting all 50 states (by the way, I’m finally off to Vegas… and this time of USA legal age so no stories of me being yelled at by casino workers!!!).  I’ve done a few already so I’ll use my trusty brain to recall the experience and share it with you.  Be excited for the food porn photos to come… also let me define what food porn is because I had a coworker once where the conversation went something like this (verbatim of conversation may have been affected by time and memory lapse):

Whit:  What are you doing?

Me:  Oh looking at food porn.

Whit:  What?  Eww  why are you looking at that at work?

Me:  What?  How is food porn inappropriate… wait back up, what do you think food porn is?

Whit:  *she hesitates to speak”

Me:  It’s not naked people posing with food or doing things to food… it’s just photos and photos and photos of food and food alone.  OMG who do you think I am?  What do you think I do at work?  What kind of fetish do you think I have?

Whit:  *speechless and then tries to defend herself… other colleagues’ heads start to life up at this point listening to our conversation*

Since then, it has concerned me what my friends think I do at work… I don’t know what an appropriate picture would be to express my concern but it would go something like this:

Image courtesy of http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com/… and I guess Jersey Shores.

7×7 The Big Eat 2012 List

Volunteers and Fellow Food Hunters are welcome to join!

1. Salt cod fried rice at Mission Chinese Food*
2. Roasted chicken and bread salad at Zuni Cafe
3. Dry-fried chicken wings at San Tung*
4. Carnitas taco at La Taqueria
5. Chasu ramen at Katana-Ya
6. Custard French toast at Nopa*
7. Morning bun at Tartine Bakery
8. Cellophane noodles with crab at The Slanted Door
9. Eggs in Jail at Outerlands
10. Kelvin-made ice cream at Smitten*
11. Pork sugo with pappardelle at Delfina
12. Porchetta sandwich at RoliRoti
13. Soup dumplings at Kingdom of Dumpling
14. Warm egg salad sandwich at Il Cane Rosso
15. Any seasonal flavor at Scream Sorbet
16. Katsu curry at Muracci’s Japanese Curry & Grill
17. Pizza margherita at Pizzeria Delfina
18. The $24 prix fixe at Cotogna
19. Benwaffles at Bar Jules (monthly)*
20. Salumi misti plate at Perbacco
21. Tonkotsu ramen at Izakaya Sozai
22. Vietnamese roasted pork sandwich at Saigon Sandwich
23. Duck and sausage jambalaya 
at Boxing Room (Thursdays)*
24. Loaf of bread straight out of the oven 
at Tartine Bakery
25. Pistachio meatballs at Zaré at Fly Trap
26. Spicy baby octopus stew at La Ciccia
27. Tuna tartare at Bix
28. Clam chowder at Anchor Oyster Bar
29. Amatriciana pizza at Ragazza*
30. Pupusas at Balompie Cafe
31. Prime rib at House of Prime Rib
32. Pork belly bun at Chairman Bao Bun’s truck
33. The Little Star at Little Star Pizza
34. Argentine beef empanadas 
at Venga Empanadas*
35. Salted caramel ice cream 
at Bi-Rite Creamery
36. Soft garlic pretzels 
at Absinthe’s bar
37. Whole wheat pasta with hen and liver at Flour + Water*
38. Burger and fries at Spruce’s bar
39. Egg custard tart at Golden 
Gate Bakery
40. Pierna enchilada torta 
at La Torta Gorda
41. Langos at Bar Tartine*
42. Maccaronara with ricotta salata at A16
43. Nojo sundae at Nojo*
44. Beer sausage 
at Rosamunde Sausage Grill
45. Duck larb at Lers Ros Thai
46. Secret Breakfast 
at Humphry Slocombe
47. Chips and salsa at Papalote
48. Seafood chowder at Bar Crudo*
49. Ginger snaps at Miette

50. Chicken soup with dumplings at Leopold’s*
51.  Pho ga at Turtle Tower
52. Carnitas at Nopalito
53. Tika masala burrito at Curry Up Now’s truck*
54.  Kouign Amann at Four Barrel*
55. A dozen Sweetwater 
oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co.
56. Chicken porridge at Bush Street’s Out the Door
57. Sandwich No. 1 
at Lucca Delicatessen
58. Pork shoulder fried rice 
at Sai Jai Thai
59. Hamburger at 4505 Meats
60. Huarache with cactus salad 
at El Huarache Loco
61. Spaghettini with tuna heart 
at Incanto*
62. Dim sum at Ton Kiang
63. Pozole at San Jalisco (Fridays)
64. Sand dabs at Tadich Grill
65. Cookies-and-cream cookie 
at Anthony’s Cookies
66. Paper masala dosa at Dosa
67. Meatloaf sandwich at Fatted Calf
68. Foccacia at Liguria Bakery
69. Omakase menu at Kiss*
70. Calamari with chorizo and black rice at Contigo*
71. Fried green beans at Coco500
72. Peanut brittle cookie 
at Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous*
73. Munsoned at Deli Board*
74. Faux shark’s fin soup at Benu*
75. Super carne asada burrito 
at El Farolito
76. Steak frites at L’Ardoise*
77. Fried chicken at Foreign Cinema
78. Bone marrow at Alembic*
79. Crawfish beignets at Brenda’s French Soul Food*
80. Potato latke with pickled beets
at Baker & Banker*
81. Pickled egg at Comstock Saloon
82. Breakfast eggs at Boulettes Larder*
83. Rice burger at Sandbox Bakery*
84. A cheese slice at Arinell Pizza
85. Sesame balls at Yank Sing
86. Fried chicken sandwich 
at Marlowe*
87. Coconut buns from King’s Bakery
88. Malaysian curry laksa soup at Betelnut*
89. Korean taco at Namu’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand
90. Albondigas soup at Mijita
91. Bacon-wrapped hot dog at a cart in the Mission
92. Chicken liver on toast at Frances*
93. Seven flavors of beef at Pagolac
94. Hawaiian Hangover cake 
at Bluestem Brasserie*
95. Deviled eggs at Park Tavern*
96. Ube ice cream at Mitchell’s Ice Cream
97. Green goddess salad at Prospect*
98. Chicken curry lunch special 
at Punjab Kabab House
99. Fried chicken and waffles 
at Little Skillet
100. Cracked Dungeness crab 
at Swan Oyster Depot

Curious to hear how the list fares out?  Want to learn more about San Francisco?  Just in a need for a good, sometimes bad, but never horrendous time waster?  Follow my blog!!!

Where’s Waldo? A First Timer Recap of Bay to Breakers

This past weekend I celebrated Bay to Breakers with a group of friends.  Bay to Breakers is a marathon, race thing in the city where… actually to be honest I’m not sure what the purpose is.  Regardless, over the years the event has turned into a drunk debacle where people around the city come together, dress up in costumes (although some opted to go nude) and drink from 7am onwards.

My friends and I had planned our costume theme weeks in advance.  We were going to go as a safari with an animal hunter because animal costumes are easy and I really just wanted to dress up like a safari hunter.  But the day before and after a long visit to Target, we couldn’t get our act together to pull off animal costumes.  So while standing on the street corner somewhere in Berkeley, we decided the easiest costume to put together last minute was “Where’s Waldo?” or “Where’s Wally?” for my UK readers.

The event started way early Sunday morning but we decided that 6am was just a little wee to early to start dressing up and drinking.  The Waldo crew decided to meet at 10am instead.  By the time we arrived at Hayes and Lyon, everyone around us was intoxicated and openly drinking on the streets.  There were various other Waldo groups roaming around, lots of Party Rock-inspired outfits, a few smurfs, several blind mice, and numerous cops grabbing open drinks out of party people’s hands.  This reminded me of my college’s homecoming but with costumes, nudity, and san tear gas (erhmmm… my school became unfortunately infamous for street parties).  At one point, my group of friends and I got caught in several rounds of flip cup on Fell St.  My favourite story of the day was when my poor roommate got sandwiched in the crowd and ended up getting too close for comfort with a hairy, nude man… her recap of the story and where her hands at one point unfortunately ended up near made for a good story Sunday night as we tried to recover from the events of the day.

Bay to Breakers-ers enjoying the view of the race from their fire escape.

I’ve had my fair share of weird city events but Bay to Breakers definitely takes the cake.  If you are ever visiting the Bay area when this is going on, I would highly recommend checking it out.  Here’s are some tips from a first-timer:

  • Dress up… normally-dressed individuals stood out like a sore thumb.
  • If you’re visiting the city with your kids, might not be the best idea to bring them if they are of talking age.  I saw some parents walking around with their strollers which was fun but I wouldn’t bring round 5 to 11 year old unless you want to get into an (un)fun conversation about the birds and the bees.
  • Definitely pregame before this or have a little flask with you.  Liquor stores are crazy during this time and why would you want to waste time in line?  #queuehater

Are there any cool city-wide events in your area?  Let me know, I would love to check them out while I’m living in the states.

 

Do a good deed and follow my blog!  It will make my day :)

For You Googlers

I’ve noticed that my blog started picking up quite a number of referrals from Google searches which makes me super happy.  However, taking a closer look at the search words, I feel that when the googler clicks on my link, hoping to find the answer to their search, I leave them with nothing but disappointment because my blog did not provide them with the answer they needed.

So in hopes of being less of a disappointment to you googlers, here are my answers to your frequently searched words.

1) Where is the Full House house?

Somewhere between 1987 to 1995.  Full House is a fictional show.  The house does not exist.  It is not possible for a family of 3 adults and 3 kids where only one of the adult has a real full-time job while the others are a bad comedian and occasional radio host to realistically rent a massive house in San Francisco.

Erm bitter much?  I just wanted to know the address of the house that was used as the exterior.

Sorry.  I have to write my rent check this week and it’s hard not too cry every time I write it. The Full House house neighborhood is located in Alamo Square and the set of houses are the Painted Ladies.

Painted Ladies

If you’re looking for the actual Full House house exterior, you can find that at 1709 Broderick St.

The Painted Ladies are often confused with 1709 Broderick

2) Is Nob Hill safe in an earthquake?

I don’t know.  There was an earthquake a few weeks ago.  I’m alive, nothing fell on me, I didn’t have to grab my earthquake pack so I can only assume it is.  I try not to think about it much or I won’t sleep.

3) Tim Horton’s San Francisco.

Go north of the city, a little past Napa… a little more up, have you passed Oregon?  You’re getting there.  Is it getting colder?  You are on the right track.  A few more miles up, say hi to Seattle… say bye to Seattle.  Look around.  Do you see mountains?  Do you see the ocean?  Is the money coloured?  Congrats, you’re in Vancouver.  A Timmy’s should be around the corner somewhere.

The answer is no, we don’t have Tim Horton’s in San Francisco.

4) How to Make Friends in Your 30s.

I’ll let you know in about 7-10 more years.

5) Typical Charleston Things

Sweet tea, plantation, Magnolia, Southern boys with southern accents, Folly Beach, Coast, Seafood… I’m not really much of a Charleston expert but my fellow blogger, The Unlikely Expat is from Charleston.  I’m sure he would be happy to answer any questions.

6) Losing facebook friends motivational.

Um… I’m not sure.  We can be facebook friends.  I’ll write a motivational quote on your wall everyday.  Deal?

7) Living in Carmel by the Sea.

OMG TAKE ME WITH YOU.  Adopt me, hire me, marry me?  I don’t care.  Let me move there with you.

8) I need to come up with a name for a hotel on a tea plantation.

The Great Tea House

Tea R Us

Little TEAse

Grand Ol Tea

Sweet Tea Hotel

Teacup Inn

9) Muir woods and wine country tour

I really enjoyed this one from Extranomical.  You can read more about the tour here.

Well that was my good deed for the day.  Back to my Hunger Games countdown.  Keep on googling, yahooing, binging, or whatever tickles your fancy.

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