Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Mixt coming to the Mission is old news and here’s why

March 21st, 2018


 

Today Eater SF “revealed” that salad focused mini-chain Mixt (formerly Mixt Greens) is opening a new location in the Mission at the former location of La Rondalla at 901 Valencia. Surprised? Don’t be; this has been public for a couple months if you knew where to look.

For those who genuinely don’t know how to locate this information let me backtrack and explain.

La Rondalla was a Mission institution far longer than I’ve been alive, which Mission Local explains here in the article about their closure. In summary the family owned restaurant spanned three generations but ultimately failed for various reasons.

Fast forward to a couple months ago when construction began at the former restaurant. But what was going on? This isn’t always a simple question to answer by looking at public records but in this case it was trivial to find out.

First, building permits are typically required for any type of construction. San Francisco takes this a step further by putting some details online. So head on over to SF Planning’s San Francisco Property Information Map and enter the address, then click search. Once it locates the property, click the Building Permits tab at the top. Now scroll through the permit applications until you find something that looks related to the work going on.

Permit #201711093626 involves altering “FOOD/BEVERAGE HNDLNG” and is described as “TENANT IMPROVEMENT OF AN EXISTING GROUND FLOOR AND BASEMENT FLOOR RESTAURAND [sic] SPACE TO A NEW RESTAURANT.” It dates back to January of 2018.

Next click on the permit number to head to SFGov’s website, then click Show Authorized Agents, which takes you here. This step is where things get tricky. Not every permit will list a tenant, or “LESSEE” in the Roles column, but this one does. Sometimes there’s multiple permits for the same project and you have to find the right one.

The tenant won’t always have a name you can easily match to a business, like “Bob Smith” or whatever. But more often than not these days it will be a legally established corporation or LLC. And this time we’re in luck, because the applicant is MG RESTAURANTS INC. Gee, who could that be?

Let’s play dumb for a moment and assume we have no idea what this company is. At the time of this writing, a Google search for the company name comes up with many unhelpful results, but a few down the list is a link to their entry in Corporation Wiki. Among other data is this diagram:


 

While this may look like something a conspiracy theorist drew on a chalkboard, the gist is pretty clear — the only restaurant this could be is Mixt.

Now it’s worth pointing out that Mixt’s sister restaurant group Split Bread falls somewhere here under the same Good Food Guys umbrella, but it’s not part of MG Restaurants Inc. as far as I can tell. Besides, who’d open yet another sandwich spot in the Mission? And as Eater SF mentions, Mixt isn’t quite big enough yet to fall under the city’s formula retail restrictions. Split Bread is pretty far away from nudging up to that restriction so there’s no urgency.

I, for one, welcome our new salad overlords. But if you miss La Rondalla there’s always Puerto Alegre for deliciously greasy Mexican food with stiff margaritas.

Paris of the Pacific tour

February 26th, 2018


Photo of ships in San Francisco’s harbor circa 1850 from Wikipedia. Used under public domain.
 

Yesterday afternoon I took a San Francisco City Guides tour I’d never heard of before titled 1850′s San Francisco: Paris of the Pacific. This relatively new tour meets at the same place as the Gold Rush City tour, and compliments it in an unexpected way. Like all City Guides tours it’s 100% free and led by volunteer guides.

Whereas the Gold Rush City tour largely focuses on the crowd of Americans coming west in search of gold, the Paris of the Pacific tour highlights a parallel story. When a French spy in Monterey got wind of the discovery of gold in California he tipped off folks in his home country.

Why was there a French spy in Monterey? Turns out New Spain/Mexico’s weak grip on California was an open secret, and France had an interest in colonizing the territory. While French troops never invaded, French citizens invaded with the most American pastime of them all: business.

Thanks to the tenuous political situation in France at the time with Napoleon III as well as food shortages all over Europe, a number of wealthy French aristocrats and savvy business types chartered a ship and sailed to San Francisco. Unlike their peers from the US, the French immigrants to California weren’t interested in seeking out gold directly. Instead they operated businesses catering to gold seekers including bars, casinos, and brothels.

If you’d arrived via ship in San Francisco in the 1850′s you probably would have disembarked at or near the Commercial Street pier, which led directly to San Francisco’s French Quarter, meeting French-speaking people and their businesses in the area.

While little remains of the French Quarter, the direct French influence in San Francisco continues to this day. Isidore Boudin started his Boudin Bakery during the Gold Rush. The Notre Dame Des Victoires church near Chinatown began shortly after the Gold Rush as well.

But the influence of those early French settlers in San Francisco goes deeper. Importers bought in goods from France including clothing and alcohol, and the first restaurants in the area were operated by French chefs. To this day if you want to dine out lavishly in San Francisco there’s a good chance you’ll visit a French restaurant, if not a French-inspired one.

Department stores selling imported French goods lasted from the mid 19th century up until the mid to late 20th century in San Francisco. Some relics of these stores still exist if you know where to look. And where would those be? You’ll have to take the tour yourself to find out.

Breaking down San Francisco landmarks in the Watch Dogs 2 trailer

June 10th, 2016

This week Ubisoft launched a trailer for their upcoming game, Watch Dogs 2. While I wasn’t particularly impressed by the first entry in the series, a 3rd person action/hacking game, the sequel immediately interested me due to the setting: San Francisco and the Bay Area at large.

You can watch the trailer below or here. For those unfamiliar with the world of video games, this is a “cinematic” trailer, which means it’s CGI concept art intended to advertise the game — in other words, this isn’t gameplay footage, but rather what producers intend the game to look like when it’s finished.

How many local landmarks did you discover in the video? Here’s what I spotted — click any image for full size.

Golden Gate Bridge, Karl the Fog, and the Transamerica Pyramid:

The Ferry Building and the Embarcadero Center:

Alcatraz:

A cable car working its way up a hill:

Not technically a landmark, but a guy wearing Google Cardboard on Muni is good enough IMO:

Again, technically a homeless guy with a shopping card isn’t a “landmark” but it had might as well be:

Lombard Street, which someone’s taking a photo of on their phone for the sake of accuracy:

Sea Lions at Pier 39, complete with tourists utilizing a selfie stick:

3D printing a gun — okay so again this isn’t a landmark at all, but I imagine there’s more 3D printers than guns in San Francisco so I’ll let it slide:

Chinatown chase scene:

AT&T Park, or whichever phone company it’s named after right now:

“Nudle” is clearly a stand in for Google’s Mountain View campus:

The Bay Bridge serves as a backdrop for a chase scene:

Hangar One at Moffett Field in Mountain View:

Well there you have it. I’m sure there’s a few I missed, feel free to e-mail me an angry rant if that’s the case. Regardless I may have to buy the game when it comes out in November to see how it portrays the Bay Area.

Why Muni charging more for riders paying cash is NOT an outrage

April 7th, 2016

Need I say more?

 
SF Muni tokens

San Francisco’s city hall 100th anniversary celebration

June 20th, 2015

San Francisco’s city hall building celebrated its 100th anniversary today, complete with a visit from mayors from around the country as well as the president. But this is a city that knows how to party — there was also live music, food trucks, various sculptures, and a light show projected on city hall itself.

I recorded the light show nearest the northern wing of the building, so for the most part my videos reflect what was projected on that half. Without further ado, here’s my YouTube videos.
 

First part: 100 years of history


 

Second part: City hall glitches out

11 Christmas gifts for a San Franciscan

December 10th, 2014

Holiday shopping is stressful enough without troubling yourself with figuring out what to buy for people. I mean, does your grandmother want a red scarf, or a green hat? Does your kid want a toy dump truck, or a Lego set? I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

Fortunately for you, I’ve pre-assembled a listicle of eleven excellent Christmas gifts for the San Franciscan(s) in your life. Read on.

 
1. Lunchbox shaped like an Uber vehicle

If you want to get ahead in life, you have to break some rules — the more, the better. Teach your kids how staying several steps ahead of local regulations can net them billions in venture capital with this cute lunchbox.

 
2. Cisgender Barbie

Cisgender Barbie loves makeup and expensive shoes, but that’s because of who she is on the inside, not because of society’s expectations for someone assigned her gender at birth. Does that make her “normal”? No; let’s be honest, Barbie is a freak for entirely different reasons. And don’t get me started on Ken.
 

3. Officially-licensed Ed Lee mustache trimmer

Mayor Ed Lee had this mustache trimmer designed just for his own ‘stache. Only with this officially-licensed trimmer will you be able to achieve Lee’s timeless, manly look. Order today and we’ll throw in an autographed copy of Lee’s best selling men’s grooming book, “Mustache 2.0.”
 

4. “ZUCK”, aka Mark Zuckerberg cologne

The man… the legend… the scent. New from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: ZUCK cologne. It’s a scent like no other: a dash of figs, a pinch of sweat, a splash of Mountain Dew. Hack together a PHP script and accidentally fall into a pile of money? It could be you; you smell like ZUCK.
 

5. Four dollar toast-shaped earrings

Commemorate San Francisco’s boldest move yet into overpriced foodie hedonism with a pair of earrings patterned after The Mill’s infamous toast. Don’t settle for a cronut necklace, I hear those are already at Ross.
 

6. My first bicycle chop shop

What? These bikes I’m taking apart right here on the sidewalk? They’re mine, man! Of course I don’t have a receipt, don’t be ridiculous. I just take apart my own bikes on the sidewalk all the time, there’s no law against it. Have a nice day, officer.
 

7. Gingerbread luxury condo

Sure, it’s a fifth floor studio with no elevator, and your only view is a candy cane freeway overpass. But it has gumdrop countertops, and exposed M&M walls! Is it worth two million chocolate coins? Don’t bother asking, another kid just showed up with two and a half million chocolate coins, and now you don’t get to eat it. That’s life, kid.
 

8. Incoherent Gibberish or Possibly References You’re Not Hip Enough to Get by Dave Eggers

“I open the door and she’s standing in her nightgown facing me. She scowls. I’m reminded of my aunt. Those cold summer nights, gargling mouthwash. She turns on the radio but nothing happens. I get on the slide. We enter the drugstore. Seven.”
 

9. Gift basket from Dolores Park’s Weed Truffle Guy

Dude, did you leave the PBR at home again? Ah, fuck dude. But don’t worry, I got us covered bro — the Truffle Guy made me this sweet gift basket, it’s got like mad edibles dude. Hey man is that the Cold Beer Cold Water guy over there? Let’s grab some beer too bro. Get all our bases covered.
 

10. Talking Leland Yee plush toy

The Talking Leland Yee plush toy will say anything you want! Want him to endorse an assault rifle ban? Just stick $20 in his mouth! Want him to help purchase a grenade launcher from a shady Russian mobster? That’ll be another $20! But make sure you’re out of earshot of the authorities, or Talking Leland Yee may wind up in time out.
 

11. Christmas tree made entirely of kale

Real or artificial; how about neither? This Christmas tree is handmade from locally sourced, organic kale. While you can’t hang ornaments on it and it wilts after a couple of days, it contains far more micronutrients and antioxidants than a traditional tree.