A blog providing you with all things Haight-Ashbury

Java on Ocean: Coffee for the People

Taking a step outside of the Haight and into one of Ingleside’s most popular coffee shops, Java on Ocean on Ocean Avenue.

TONIGHT: Hapa Ramen Taco Pop-Up at Wings Wings

Head on over to Wings Wings (422 Haight) tonight between 6 and 10 p.m. to enjoy one of Hapa Ramen’s notorious pop-up events. Only this time, they won’t be serving ramen, they’ll be offering up three types of tacos, four unique salsas, and Mai Tais and Margaritas for those who give donations.

So if you’re in the mood for some fancy, mouth watering tacos, head over to Wings Wings and get your fix!

The full menu for Hapa Ramen’s pop-up event at Wings Wings. Photo Courtesy of Hapa Ramen’s Tumblr Page (haparamen.tumblr.com)

Things Lucky: Haight’s Hidden Treasure

While strolling down Haight Street this weekend, I noticed the street crowd wasn’t very out of the ordinary. I passed the flocks of turned around tourists, wandering travelers, and brisk-walking locals and soon decided to go off the beaten path and check out the neighboring streets I so often forget about.

I hit Cole Street and turned left towards the Panhandle and the number of colorful souvenir shops seemed to diminish quickly.I walked up Page Street and there wasn’t much to see, just residential homes, but I began to appreciate the calm, quiet air, the packs of fluffy dogs and the pleasant locals just enjoying a stroll on a sunny day. Something seemingly out of place caught my eye up ahead.

A corner that seemed littered with wood carvings, instruments, colorful beads, and a number of other trinkets that definitely belonged about two blocks up on Haight-Ashbury. For the amount of spread they had displayed, the shop itself seemed extremely small and, as I walked through the door, I realized how ridiculously stuffed to the brim this place was with Indonesian and African art.

Stringed beads made from crystal, wood, and other assorted stones hang on a wall in Things Lucky on Page and Ashbury Street

Stringed beads made from crystal, wood, and other assorted stones hang on a wall in Things Lucky on Page and Ashbury Street

A room full of wooden art pieces, instruments, headpieces, and masks sits in the back room of the shop Things Lucky on Page and Ashbury Street in San Francisco, Calif.

A room full of wooden art pieces, instruments, headpieces, and masks sits in the back room of the shop Things Lucky on Page and Ashbury Street in San Francisco, Calif.

It was almost dizzying, trying to figure out where to focus my eyes first. I was overwhelmed by the amount of things that seemed precariously stacked into this shop, you could no longer even see the tables that trinkets were placed in. I spotted movement through the stringed crystal beads and then saw Peter.

Peter sits in the trinket shop, Things Lucky, and strings skull beads into bracelets.

Peter sits in the trinket shop, Things Lucky, and strings skull beads into bracelets.

Peter was sitting on wooden stool that looked hand-made and imported, stringing skull beads into a bracelet with a basket of the finished product lying at his feet. He looked up at me and smiled, making me feel welcome right away. He greeted me and told me to take a look around, so I did just that. The ceiling was low and the aisles were narrow. The shop itself seemed like an old home that had been taking over, with four rooms completely full of statues, crystals, figurines, wooden masks, jewelry, and hundreds of other hand-made items that left me in awe.

I started talking with Peter and he told me how he makes all of the beaded bracelets and jewelry himself in the store. He moved here from Ghana in 1996 and has lived in San Francisco ever since. “I love the process of beading bracelets, it calms me. It is a nice way to live and I am extremely grateful that this is what I do for a living” said Peter. He talked about the characters that come through the store, the tourists from all over the world that he gets to see daily, and the stories that he’s gained working in the shop for the past few months.

Trinkets and boxes line shelves in the side room of Things Lucky, a bohemian souvenir shop on Page and Ashbury Street in San Francisco, Calif.

Trinkets and boxes line shelves in the side room of Things Lucky, a bohemian souvenir shop on Page and Ashbury Street in San Francisco, Calif.

Even though I’ve been in shops almost like this almost hundreds of times, the real authenticity of Things Lucky stands out far beyond the cheesy mass-produced tie-dye souvenir shops that litter Haight Street proper. It was the first shop in a long time that really stuck with me and I felt satisfied finding a great new bohemian trinket store that I can waste a few hours browsing in. I highly recommend that on your next trip to Haight-Ashbury, you stop byThings Lucky and see for yourself.

Bringing Back the Bacon Bacon

BaconBacon001

The people of San Francisco have been eagerly waiting the re-opening of Bacon Bacon’s Frederick Street location since July, and they will soon get their wish.

In May of this year, Bacon Bacon closed its doors due to discretionary review filed by a neighbor near the shop. Following this came an immediate hearing with the city Planning Commission. Complaints from neighbors ranged from the extreme bacon smell coming from the shop due to the outdated ventilation. Angelus was unable to obtain the permits he needed while this review was in place, so Bacon Bacon temporarily closed.

Bacon Bacon started as a food truck founded by Jim Angelus that cruised into San Francisco in 2011, exploding with popularity almost overnight. In January 2012, Angelus bought a small storefront in his neighborhood on Frederick Street in the Haight-Ashbury district and opened a small café.

For the most part, residents enjoyed the café and supported its Frederick Street location. “The smell was there, but I didn’t think it was much to complain about,” said neighborhood resident Natalie Brasser. “I mean, who doesn’t love bacon? It could have been something much worse but I suppose people will always find something to complain about when it comes to their own neighborhood.”

“There seemed to be one neighbor across the street who had bullied businesses around me before and kind of made it his M.O. to get me out of there.” said Angelus. According to him, most of the residents around the shop didn’t mind the smell and they lived much closer than the one who filed the discretionary review.

Since closing, Angelus has temporarily relocated at Brick & Mortar Music Hall, where they started out with hours from 11 a.m to 2:30 pm and soon moved to serving breakfast foods and coffee at 7:30 a.m.

On July 11, Angelus attended a hearing where the commission ruled that he may re-open under limited restaurant restrictions and once he obtained the proper permits to operate. Hundreds of neighborhood supporters came to the hearing, speaking their peace and making their case in support for Bacon Bacon. Even prior to the hearing, supporters of the shop gained 3,000 signatures on a petition to re-open on Frederick Street.

Under the new restrictions, Bacon Bacon’s Frederick Street location will be limited to the amount of seating they have and will primarily be a drop-in kind of café. The new shop will also mainly serve as a prep-work kitchen for the truck, so the team will be able to stay within the city and save them plenty of time to feed bacon to the masses.

“The new Frederick Street location will be much more of a cool café feel. We’ve opened up the space for larger groups to come and gather instead of a small intimate feel. With the restrictions, we can have only a certain amount of chairs but we’re excited to serve some coffe, breakfast food, and be a place where people feel more welcome to hang out.” said Angelus.

Initially, Bacon Bacon was scheduled to open at the end of the summer. The date was then moved back to sometime in September, and now, October. Many locals have been craving bacon for months and, even though the food truck is still up and running, can’t wait for the Frederick Street café to return.

“They said the end of summer and I’ve been counting down the days since.” said Bacon Bacon patron Steve Guerro. “I’ve been to the Brick & Mortar location since they’ve closed over here but I really can’t wait to take a short stroll down the street and get my bacon fix!”

Shooting in Lower Haight district leaves two injured and one dead

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last night that three people were shot on the 400 block of Rose Street near Buchanan Street around 7:30 p.m. Not much is known at the moment and no arrests have been made in the shooting, but SFPD have been interviewing witnesses.

Read the full article on SFgate.com here

Amoeba Records: Music Bringing People Together

Steve, a regular Ameoba-goer, sifts through some of the hundreds of vinyls that the store carries.

Steve, a regular Ameoba-goer, sifts through some of the hundreds of vinyls that the store carries.

In the Haight-Ashbury district, the hang out spots most frequented range from family friendly Panhandle Park to the bus stop in front of McDonald’s at Haight and Stayan. You can find tourists hanging out in exaggerated hippie-style souvenir shops and most locals will be spotted chatting and chowing down on their lunch outside of Haight Street Market. It’s rare to find an eclectic mix of the diverse population all in one spot. The one exception to this would be Amoeba Records. Amoeba on Haight is one of three record stores in California, the others being in Berkeley and Los Angeles. Since it’s such a rare find, tourists flock here to sift through vinyls and marvel at the vast size of the store itself. This also seems to be a spot to find a number of San Francisco local music lovers, despite it’s touristy location. Vinyls are just one of the few golden finds you’ll come across at Amoeba. A person could spend hours looking through all of the DVDs, CDs, posters, and Amoeba apparel. Some swear that they have the best luck finding the one of a kind vinyls they’ve been looking for for years at this record store, and it really can’t be beat. “I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life and music is a huge part of my life. I’m lucky to live near such an iconic record store in one of the best cities in the world. I always find what I’m looking for and yeah, I’d say I’m a loyal customer.” said Michael Roberts, 55. Art enthusiasts and lovers of “vintage” come to Amoeba to admire the original print show posters and go through hundreds of others that come from local venues. “You don’t find good band posters unless they’ve come from a specific show, from my experience,” says Academy of Art student Kimberly Cohen. “I love the artwork on the Fillmore posters and you can’t really find them anywhere else unless you went to the show, so I always take a look at them when I’m in here.” It’s been said that music has the ability to bring people together, and Amoeba Records is living proof.

A Day in Haight-Ashbury

Haight street pedestrians take a second look at a teddy bear tied to a tree on Monday, September 2nd 2013 in San Francisco, Calif.

Haight street pedestrians take a second look at a teddy bear tied to a tree on Monday, September 2nd 2013 in San Francisco, Calif.

Being a Bay Area native, I’d like to think that I know a little something about San Francisco culture. While living in the city for the past three years, the Haight-Ashbury district has been a neighborhood that I regularly visit. At first, I was a young high schooler with dreams of going to college in the city and eager to explore the neighborhood that was the birthplace of the infamous “Summer of Love”. It grew from there to the essential sightseeing spot for all my friends who would visit me at SF State from far away places, and then the home of some of my favorite thrift shops and coffee joints.

This past week, I set out to the colorful neighborhood with my notepad, excited to hear the word on the street and talk to some locals. I knew what to expect, some homeless people, a guy selling drugs, flocks of eager tourists, but I never realized how difficult it would be to approach them with a few simple questions. Almost everyone I tried to talk to ignored me, thinking I was selling something or trying to fight for a cause. From there, I decided to head into the local shops and talk to some business owners. Who better to talk about the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to then the people who work there every day?

I tried to ask as many questions as I could about the general neighborhood, just to get a feel of what it’s about, what the draws the people to this area, and the community vibe that exists. After walking into Amoeba Records, I spoke with employee Allen Lewites, 60, about what it is that’s so attractive about this SF neighborhood. “The history. People are fascinated by the so-called ‘hippie culture’ and this was such a landmark neighborhood for that.” In Haight-Ashbury, any local can name over a handful of famous events that occurred back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The “Summer of Love”, as it  is more famously known, was born in this area and even people today flock to take a peek at history.

There are many reasons people come to this area whether it be the history, the interesting residents, or the unique shopping experience. Margret Taylor, manager at Earthsong boutique, shared with me what her favorite part of Haight-Ashbury.  “I really like to believe that it has that energy from the 60’s,” said Taylor. “Despite what some think, the people are so nice and are caring. One woman walked in here one time and just gave me her suede coat because she had no use for it any more.” Even though the neighborhood is extremely touristy, Taylor said that she sees a lot of young teenagers who travel the country that are somewhat regulars during the summertime. Haight-Ashbury seems to be some sort of cultural and colorful oasis that attracts all kinds of people.

Amidst all this kindness and appeal, I had to ask the more hard-hitting question about the issues that come up in the area. Owner of Fan Clothing, James Leonard, gave me his opinion on what the real issues are currently. “ You see a lot of street population and some really aggressive panhandlers. Many shop-owners aren’t happy about it because it drives business away almost daily.” Along with panhandling, I also heard of problems between the police and the homeless, with the police doing their best to clear the streets so not to scare away the many tourists that populate the neighborhood constantly.

Everyone that I was able to speak to in Haight was extremely friendly and very excited about my blog project. I am excited to go back out onto the streets and find some stories that will inform the community and inform me more on this vivacious neighborhood that is Haight-Ashbury.