Places in SF

Leif Johnson — 27 Aug 2003, 03:08

i've found many really quality stores here where i can spend lots of money i don't have. i'm glad i don't have a credit card. some places that i've found and remembered :

  • there's a goodwill on haight and cole, with lots of quality old navy, gap, and j. crew in the men's section. they also have nice electronics, like 5 disc cd changers and such, and a decent selection of books (particularly if you're into john lecarr√© ...).
  • a rad japanese futon shop called momen futon, on the north side of union between gough and octavia. this one woman owns the place and makes pretty much all the futon and pillow covers in the store ; they are beautiful. it's certainly not a bargain store, but the aesthetics just seep out of the walls. i'm such a sucker for powerful design.
  • green apple books, on clement at 6th, is a used book store that's just bursting at the seams with good stuff to buy and read (and i haven't even been to the “fiction and music annex” next door ...). it's really insane how many good, used books they have.
  • cookin is a used gourmet cooking stuff store on the west side of divisadero between page and oak. they have tons of pyrex, cast iron, glasses, plates, and cups. the store doesn't exactly boast goodwill prices (self–described as a place to get “used gourmet appartenances") but the goods are very nice as kitchen equipment goes. they even had an old, all–metal, kitchenaid mixer.
  • a ninja supply store that i haven't actually gone into yet, on the east side of mission between 16th and 17th.
  • san miguel is a really good guatemalan restaurant on the east side of mission just north of 29th. the woman working when i went there with a friend seemed pleased to speak spanish, even with a couple of poor–spanish–speaking gringos, but she was also very good with english when we got into unknown spanish territory.
  • bob's donuts, a donut store of the 1950's persuasion, on the west side of polk near sacramento. i didn't get a chance to sample the fare, but it looked very homemade, very authentic, and acceptably eatable.
  • the view from the intersection at jones and green is quite nice, with alcatraz dominating the bay and (when i was there) cargo ships and sailboats coming and going. pretty cool place.
  • i've checked out three aikido dojos in a small area here : the aikido center is on laguna at bush, the san francisco aikikai is on bush at van ness, and city aikido is on eddy at van ness. all of them are pretty quality.
  • the view from the west end of the number 6 bus is fantastic. don't remember the streets offhand.
  • i've been hanging out a lot at the coffee shop on the corner of central and hayes. it's a quality place, with lots of employees who enjoy different, and good, music. they also have free internet access, if you have a laptop.


there are a couple streets i've found that i'm just pleased to walk up and down. for a real cross section of the northeastern side of san francisco, try starting out at polk and market and walking north on polk. i'd do this one during the day : there's more to see, and the southern areas of polk are a bit sketchy at night.

another quality walk is longer, but gives you a good idea of the size and diversity of san francisco. start at market and geary and walk west on geary. this street is probably 6 miles long, and it's a large 4 lanes for most of the way. nonetheless, it contains a fantastic array of restaurants, mattress shops, and bars. if you want a slight change of pace walk north one block between 1st and 12th to check out clement street.

if you're more into the cheesy scene, try walking from market and haight up west on haight. the lower haight is quite interesting, and the upper haight is an almost comical mix of tourists, tourist traps, and quality random stores and apartments.

life in north beach

around the corner from our apartment are a few streets lined with typical chinatown stores : i went out looking for rice noodles and dark soy sauce yesterday but couldn't read any of the signs in the store and had to settle for just the things that i could identify by sight. i'm going to have to get a chinese–english dictionary to go shopping with.

last night we went out to a place just down the street (amante, on green just east of columbus) to see a friend of nicole's play bass in a “rock and roll band with soul” : good stuff, that band ... the pbr street gang. but it's too easy to spend money here. one martini down seems to hamper communication with the bartender ...

this neighborhood is trippy. between about 11 in the morning and 2 in the morning, the streets are packed with tourists. it's funny, though, how the tourists here don't annoy me as much as the ones in small tourist towns. something about there being so many of them makes me just want to shrug. and i'm new here myself, so i can't really get mad at folks for not knowing what the heck is going on. but, especially at night, there are an absurd number of toolboxes (as nicole brands them), stupid white guys who are essentially out to get their look on at one of the numerous strip joints that line the east side of columbus. odd, that, living in between strip joints, classy italian restaurants, and chinatown markets.