Posts Tagged ‘sanfrancisco’

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.

Differences

October 8th, 2014

The other evening while waiting for a train, I decided to write an intentionally terrible rap song about a relationship gone sour due to irreconcilable differences. Here it is in all its glory:

You ride Muni and I ride BART
That’s why we’ll always be apart
I like the Giants, you don’t like baseball
There’s no chance we’ll get along at all
You smoke pot, and I, crack
The differences between us are a fact

 
[chorus]
I say “SF” but you say “Frisco”
The only word that rhymes here is “disco”
At first I liked you, you made me feel at ease
Until I found out you still like Thee Oh Sees
Our differences are tall as Sutro Tower
I give you zero stars like Michael Bauer

 
I live in the Mission but you’re in West Portal
My love for you will never be immortal
Your startup is funded, I’m at the loan shark
We’re as unnatural as Golden Gate Park
Sorry baby but we have to disband
I’m flat broke, I’m moving to Oakland

 

I’m looking forward to my Grammy nomination.

Black rectangle to be removed from Moscone West

September 26th, 2014

"Facsimile" at Moscone West

Since it opening day Moscone West at 4th and Howard has been adorned by a large black rectangle on the side of the building. Careful observers might notice that this rectangle is attached to a somewhat rusty track that goes around the entire building. Soon, this rectangle will be removed.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When the building was first proposed in the early 2000s art firm Diller and Scofidio (now Diller Scofidio + Renfro) was hired to develop a public art element. And design they did. Their piece is called Facsimile. It was intended to show images of inside the conference center intermixed with playful videos of life in the surrounding hotels, while the screen moved back and forth across the track. While it’s certainly an interesting design, that design never quite translated to the real world.

Despite spending hours scouring the internet for evidence of the piece working as intended, I was only able to find conceptual renderings of what the piece was intended to look like. In practice, on the rare occasions it was switched on the screen didn’t move and only displayed occasional flashes of light.

SF Arts Commission voted to remove Facsimile on September 8th partly due to ongoing maintenance costs associated with preserving the non-functioning art. But if the Bay Area can’t get a piece of technology to work, it’s probably broken beyond repair.

 
UPDATE: Walked by Moscone West the other day, and it appears they finally got around to removing the black rectangle.

You are being influenced with remote-based computer programmed conversational skits

September 19th, 2014

Mind control

For the past year or so, schizo rants similar to the one above have occasionally graced utility polls in downtown San Francisco. Exactly who is putting these up is unknown — the person in question has access to office supplies and seems capable of formulating grammatically correct sentences, which rules out many of SF’s best known colorful eccentrics.

So while it’s an amusingly bizarre read, it’s also a bit sad that the person behind this appears to be in the early stages of losing their grip.

 
Here’s the full text of the unhinged rant:

You are being influenced with remote-based computer programmed conversational skits when (1) you talk to yourself excessively with imaginary persons, (2) the discussion is with supervisors, friends, or famous people (for better influencing impact), and (3) it seems like you can almost feel what the other person feels like.
 
How it is done: Each person’s natural & distinct electrical cerebral emissions are assigned human tracking numbers. Our emissions are then constantly attached to thru usage of tracking medium (such as radiowave) which also has an open channel for transferring speech into and from our heads (i.e., our emissions are thus used like a transistor inside a radio – chip implants are not needed). Computers, programmed by operators for conversational manipulation, are at the other end of the tracker medium where our tracking numbers, name, sex, family members, likes, dislikes, and, all of our thoughts and statements are recorded. Libraried conversational skits, are applied into our hearing reception centers. Web query: Mind control and US Patents (beware, many sites include speculation).
 
Those of our leaders who are still with us and the law, are too manipulated to have sufficiently met and conferred on how to stop this; otherwise they would have informed us of more facts on the topic. WE MUST PUT OUT THE WORD and make this crime more public to enable the leg work by leaders necessary for a solution that entails the cessation of our manipulation.

Why San Francisco is not 7 by 7 miles

January 15th, 2014

San Francisco is seven by seven miles. Everyone who lives here knows that. There’s even a magazine named after this fact.

Problem is, it’s not exactly true.

While the land area is about 49 square miles, as Wikipedia points out the total area is a much larger 232 square miles when you include water. Aside from a sizable portion of the bay and some of its islands, San Francisco also includes the Farallon Islands and surrounding water in the Pacific.

The city’s actual borders are easy to visualize using OpenStreetMap:

In case you’re wondering where OpenStreetMap is getting this data, it’s straight from the US Census TIGER data. The same information can be viewed on their website, albeit with some difficulty.

One more thing: (Spoiler alert!) Despite what many seem to think, SFO is not located in San Francisco; it’s entirely in San Mateo County. So if you’re ever wondering why the airport doesn’t have SF’s trademark urine, pot, and beer smell, that’s probably why.