Monday, December 20, 2010

3.7 miles in Noe Valley/Mission

Seek and you shall find.  I was on the hunt for Christmas decorations and friends said to head to Noe Valley.  It delivered!

The stores and restaurants along 24th Street were nicely decorated.

Here are the standouts:

Best Use of Pine Cones: The Urban Nest SF

Best San Francisco Theme: PlumpJack Wines

Best Use of Retro Lightbulbs: WinkSF

Best Use of a Snoopy Inflatable.

Creepiest Use of Holiday "Ho Ho Ho" Paper: San Francisco Mystery Bookstore

And then there was this mural.  It has nothing to do with the holidays, but it's cool.  It deserves an award too.  How about: Best Use of Teal Spray Paint.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2.7 miles in Tendernob

Yeah, I said it...Tendernob.  This neighborhood is smashed between Nob Hill and the Tenderloin and stuffed full of art students.  Let's start with the awesome and work our way down... 

So the primary purpose of this walk was to check out the monstrous gingerbread house in the lobby of the world-famous Fairmont Hotel on Sacramento and Mason Streets.

Read all the fun facts - hundreds of pounds of icing, etc....then wait for it.

Wait for it.....


This house is two stories tall, has smoke coming out of the chimney
and is fully electrified.  It's amazing that it is entirely baked
and built by the kitchen of this hotel.

This is my friend, Mai sitting inside the house,
pondering all things processed sugar.

Here's a close-up of the candy details around the door frame.

Yes, there were candies missing.

Okay, now on with the rest of the walk.  Mai was an awesome tour guide.  She lived in this neighborhood while attending the Academy of Art University, so was able to identify cool points of interest.  Like this building which used to be a mosque.

And she pointed out the many MANY buildings owned by the Academy (the largest private landowner in San Francisco, btw).

As well as fancy restaurants like Fleur de lys...

and Le Colonial. This place intrigues me.  It's set way back in a tiny alley, but has a beautiful courtyard and open dance sessions during the week.  It looks like the ultimate first date restaurant.

Sons and Daughters looks like a great any date restaurant.  Very romantic!

I spotted this place and realized I haven't eaten any Indonesian food before.  Note to self.  

This, ladies and gentlemen, is reported to be the smalled Blockbuster store in the United States.  I think it's fair to call it a MINI Blockbuster.  And you know how I feel about mini things.  Score!

As we zigged and zagged down the side of the hill toward the Tenderloin, it became more apparent that I should put my camera away.  So, I'll leave you with these very cool sidewalk koi.  Have a great night!

Monday, December 13, 2010

1.7 miles in Outer Sunset

 This walk was originally posted in the Ocean Beach Bulletin.  I recommend taking a minute to read the comment thread over there since the locals have posted some nifty insider info about this neighborhood.

Hello, Judah!  I've walked on Judah Street before, but haven't had time to enjoy the local establishments.  So this walk was short but full of shopping and snacking inside the neighborhood stores and restaurants.

Well, first things start out on the right foot, I had to get a chicken enchilada at Celia's Restaurant. I've eaten at the big Celia's in Daly City before when a huge mariachi band was playing.  Locals have confirmed that a band does indeed play at this location as well.

The next stop was inside Mango Medley to get a Mango Bliss dessert.  Unfortunately, they only take cash and I had zero dollars on me. :/  I'm intrigued by the menu and plan to come back soon, bearing paper currency, of course.  In the meantime, I'm taking suggestions on what to order.

To mix things up, I hung a right on 44th Ave. to walk along Irving to the beach.  This is one sleepy street, but there are few spots I highly recommend visiting.

 First, you should stop in A Happy Planet and take a look at the nifty organic mattresses and bedding.  it is, without a doubt, the most relaxed store I've ever been in.  So, if you are feeling stressed, stop in and just look at the white towels and you'll calm right down.

When you are done napping testing out the mattresses at A Happy Planet, walk across the street to Mollusk Surf Shop and peruse the racks of surfboards, t-shirts, movies and books.  If you can't make it to their store (which you should, because it's fun), you can buy everything they offer, including the surfboards, right on their website.  ooooOOoooohhh.

 The last place worth noting on Irving Street is The Last Straw, a super cute teeny tiny art gallery/store.  This place sells all things girly - jewelry, soaps and trinkets - in one super compact space.  This is definitely the place to head on your search for the perfect gift for your mother.  But heads-up, like Mango Medley, this place only takes cash.

I have already publicly professed my love for Java Beach Cafe.  However, I must say that it just multiplied exponentially with the discovery of their new travel lid!  As I'm demonstrating (poorly) in the photo, the new lid is equipped with a lever that pushes a flap in the lid back and forth to open and close the mouth hole, thus preventing unwanted spills and keeping the coffee (or in my case, chai) warmer longer.  BRILLIANT.

 The last stop on this tour was at The General Store's one year anniversary party, in full swing when I arrived.  People were milling outside, inside, in the back yard and around the corner.  There was even a band rocking out on the back porch.  And you want to know why?  Because this store is really cool.

The General Store is a neat space stocked with an eclectic mix of artisan kitchen and decor products, clothes and shoes.  There are also shelves of super nifty books, maps and notecards.  Most of their items are available for purchase through their website, but if you can make it to the store, it's worth it.  The space is inviting in a way that only general stores can be.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

1.8 miles on Nob Hill

I don't want to jump the gun or anything, but I think this was the last walk I needed to take on Nob Hill. 

Positively no offense to the lovely people who live on Leavenworth, Hyde, and Larkin, but the establishments in this neighborhood are very retro.

I was beginning to question the appeal of this neighborhood until...

...I hit Polk Street.

[Queue angelic chorus now.]
This street rules!

Window shopping is tons of fun with these Christmas displays.

But nothing beats a good cheese display like this one at Cheese Plus.  The customer service is super duper here and the selection is great.  I couldn't leave empty-handed, so I picked up a tub of Haloumi and a chunk of Gruyere.  Yum!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


NOVEMBER: 18 miles

Dang, I am so close! Can we all just say that this is 450 miles?  Good.  Then it's settled - I've walked 450 miles of San Francisco streets!  Despite the rain, cold and darkness, I got some decent mileage in.  It was a big month.  Besides taking some fun walks, I started experimenting with making videos.  If you haven't seen them yet, go to my Youtube channel: AllisonWalksSF and check them out.