A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

scooter

my sunday scoot: scoot ms.teriosa!

 

ms.teriosa on 24th Street near Folsom

ms.teriosa on 24th Street near Folsom

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Best of 2010, scooter rides to the Marina

Nothing beats exploring the 7 Hills of San Francisco on two wheels. Here are some highlights from the year’s rides, 2010. Our favorite route? Castro to the Marina. . .

 

 

The 6 Sisters of Alamo Square

The 6 Sisters of Alamo Square

approaching the Marina

approaching the Marina

closer to the Marina, SF

closer to the Marina, SF

a gorgeous day for a ride, get a load of that view!

a gorgeous day for a ride, get a load of that view!

Alcatraz, surrounded by happy little boats on a gorgeous day

Alcatraz, surrounded by happy little boats on a gorgeous day

a pretty spot to stop and take in the scenery, the Bay alive with boats

a pretty spot to stop and take in the scenery, the Bay alive with boats

Checking out the "Union Street Fair" with my friend C. having just left the bakery, "That Takes the Cake"

Checking out the "Union Street Fair" with bff C. having just left the bakery, "That Takes the Cake" - home of our favorite cupcakes in SF

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

When you're so close, you just have to ride over to the Golden Gate Bridge. . .

When you're so close to it, you just have to ride over to the Golden Gate Bridge. . .

headed home to the Castro from the Marina and Golden Gate Bridge

headed home to the Castro from the Marina and Golden Gate Bridge

"Fay Park", a historic Thomas Church Garden, (Leavenworth and Chestnut Street)

"Fay Park", a historic Thomas Church Garden, (Leavenworth and Chestnut Street)

Roses of "Fay Garden", Leavenworth at Chestnut, Russian Hill, San Francisco

Roses of "Fay Garden", Leavenworth at Chestnut, Russian Hill, San Francisco

flowers of Fay Gardens, Russian Hill, San Francisco

flowers of Fay Gardens, Russian Hill, San Francisco

Scott Street at Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA

Scott Street at Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA

 

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall

almost home- the Castro, SF

almost home- the Castro, SF

Photo of Sarah Palin looking wistfully to the Rainbow Flag. . .

Photo of Sarah Palin looking wistfully to the Rainbow Flag. . .

Castro Street, San Francisco

Castro Street, San Francisco

Kaiju rests

Kaiju rests


scooter expedition, Presidio: Goldsworthy’s Wood Line and Spire

Andy Goldsworthy’s art is candy for the eyes and food for the soul. His work makes real the magic that I like to think lives just under the surface of the earth, almost like there’s been a tear in the veneer of “the Normal” and a little magic has erupted from it, from the invisible to the visible.

Goldsworthy installation in the Presidio, SF: "The Spire"

Goldsworthy installation in the Presidio, SF: "The Spire"

So, when I read via Matte Gray’s journals the tantalizing first-hand report of a new Goldsworthy art piece under construction here in San Francisco, I had to jump on the scooter and get over to the Presidio to check the site out for myself, with the tantalizing possibility of meeting Goldsworthy himself in the back of my mind. (Gray did, after all.) That didn’t happen, but I did meet the Bird Lady, which was fantastic! And I found two solid bakeries along the way. Yum.

the Cinderella Bakery and Cafe, SF

the Cinderella Bakery and Cafe, SF

The ride took me very close to a Russian bakery that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so I took a slight detour to check it out. The name is Cinderella and it’s located at 436 Balboa St (between 5th Ave & 6th Ave). The space is small and wide, with sweet pastries generally on the left and savory on the right. Standouts include gorgeous danishes, hamentashen and other fruit-topped pastries but the distinguishing feature of this place appears to be the savory, especially the extensive variety of piroshki, hand pies sort of like British pasties. I bought a potato piroshki for later that night.

Kaiju at Kaju cafe, Balboa and 6th, SF

Kaiju at Kaju cafe, Balboa and 6th, SF

Then, to my surprise, near the intersection of 7th and California, I saw a bakery with a familiar name, similar to that of my scooter. The place was Kaju and I stopped in to check it out. While the interior is rather nondescript, (uninviting in fact) the owner was friendly and a glance at the food suggested an interesting mix of standard coffee and cookies, scones and the like as well as some uniquely Asian offerings. As a  sample, I picked up a triangle of sushi-styled rice stuffed with avocado called onigiri. Wrapped, it was the size of a sandwich and an interesting alternative to the same, easy to throw into my backpack. I also got a house-baked organic chocolate chip cookie. The onigiri has the same mouth feel as the sticky rice used for sushi and was tasty and filling, great fuel for the rest of the afternoon. The cookie was the prize, one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had all year. Nicely chunky, medium sized, crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. There was a ’roundness’ to the flavor that I loved, but which couldn’t quite identify, that made every bite irresistible. . . could there be a secret ingredient in there?

But I was losing the afternoon light by now so I didn’t linger. I started scooting around the edges of the Presidio and first, had to stop at the older Goldsworthy there, the Spire. Seeing it is a spiritual experience for me, a temple among the trees.

I’d found enough information about Wood Line to know that I was fairly close, but I had to travel from the Arguelo Gate (site of the Spire) to the Presidio Gate. I could have walked, it’s about half a mile, but I was losing the light fast by now. Back to the scooter! But not before checking out a beautiful, natural grove of majestic (magical) trees right across the street from the Arguelo Gate.

presidio forest

presidio forest

Presidio forest

Presidio forest

road to the Goldsworthy "Wood Line", Presidio

road to the Goldsworthy "Wood Line", Presidio

From here, I followed a winding road to the Presidio Gate and found the Wood Line immediately. Or rather, the sign for it. The installation wasn’t apparent until I got off the scooter and went over to the sign and, from that vantage point, saw a gap in the forest dead ahead along a single sight line.

didactic material for "the Wood Line", by Andy Goldsworthy

didactic material for "the Wood Line", by Andy Goldsworthy

the Wood Line, by Andy Goldsworthy in the Presidio, San Francisco

the Wood Line, by Andy Goldsworthy in the Presidio, San Francisco

Felled timber creates a lovely, snaking curve on the forest floor, with the trees reaching upward on both sides like the support columns of a gothic cathedral. It’s a spiritual place. It’s ephemeral, too. The forest will reclaim the wood through natural decay in about 25 years or so. . .

Kaiju and I at the Wood Line

Kaiju and I at the Wood Line

And I almost forgot, while I was enjoying the Wood Line, a woman offered to take my picture in front of it on my scooter. We started to chat and I soon realized the woman was more fairy than person. Her questions were punctuated by her quick looks up to the treetops, and the occasional bird call. She explained she’s a birder, and visits and follows the birds of the Presidio daily. Or, they visit and follow her. She talks to them. They talk to her. And as fast as she appeared she vanished; she heard the tweet of a bird and with that, had to go. She danced-skipped-floated away, down the dirt path into the forest, and was gone! The light was nearly gone, too, so with that, I mounted Kaiju and . . . vanished.

the Bird Lady of the Presidio

the Bird Lady of the Presidio


my favorite coffee shops; seesaw in Hayes Valley

scooter ride, Octavia Street and Seesaw Cafe

scooter ride, Octavia St

My first weekend back in San Francisco has been gorgeous, an unseasonably warm weekend with lots and lots of sun.

After ten days back east I was itchin’ to get back on my scooter and take a long ride. As per usual, I didn’t have much more of a plan, other than to find some coffee, snap some photos, hit a bakery and the Heart of the City Farmer’s Market on the way home.

My ride just happened to include a stretch of Octavia, and I’m glad it did. Driving the block between Grove and Birch, and I couldn’t help but spot a huge cartoon frog painted on wall of a business. I took note but kept going, but at Grove Street I decided to turn around and take a closer look, on foot.

Seesaw Cafe, hayes valley, S

Seesaw Cafe, hayes valley, S

Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street

Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street

I discovered that the space next to the cartoon is called Seesaw and a quick inspection of the board outside indicated they served Four Barrel Coffee and light bites- Score… what a great find! A friendly voice said “come on inside” and I was greeted by the owner, Sabrina, a lovely woman who gave me the lowdown on the cafe. Relatively new, it’s a coffee shop that also has toys, books and a (separate and supervised) playspace for kids, making it perfect for parents in need of an oasis. And grown-up kids, like me!

Seesaw Cafe

Seesaw Cafe

I walked in and was blown away by the design. This is a beautiful cafe, clean and minimal in aesthetic, with clearly delineated areas for children, interesting toys and art objects on floating shelves (some of which are for sale), tables of various height, and a gorgeous playroom off to the side. (Parents take note, you can enjoy your coffee while the kids play in the supervised playroom, staffed with a ‘sitter’. ) That playroom by the way is separated from the dining area with a gorgeous fir rolling barn door, custom-made, which deserves a close look in and of itself. Beautiful. It was no surprise to learn the owners took inspiration both from Asian and Scandinavian design, representative of their combined heritage, and it’s a perfect expression in white and natural wood. The light is amazing here and the space is quite airy. And how fun, they have a calendar of events that include children’s book readings in Danish, and Korean!

Seesaw Cafe

Seesaw Cafe

The food menu is still being devised but will reflect both the Asian and Scandinavian influences. Yum. In the meantime, get your fill of the Four Barrel, hand-brewed a cup at a time, and load up on cookies from my FAVORITE place, Goody Goodie. (I was pleased to learn the owners are friends, Remi of Goody Goodie is a total star;-) And, they serve cookies by Batter Bakery, too, home of the amazing sand angel cookie and the one I sampled today, a salted lavender shortbread cookie, which was divine paired with the coffee: perfumy, not too sweet, and just salty enough. Everything is served by an equally awesome barista, who also lights up the room.

coffee and shortbread cookies at Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street, hayes valley

coffee and shortbread cookies at Seesaw Cafe, Octavia Street, hayes valley

Now, disclosure, I don’t have kids. That said, this space is one of the most pleasing, and creatively inspiring, I’ve encountered-  a third space to sit, relax and enjoy a coffee. If you want a little break from working at home, this is a great spot. While the facilities for children are there, clean and well-stocked, the space is delineated in a way as to allow the kids to play in a separate, supervised area while adults can relax and enjoy their coffee, and free wi-fi.

Personally, I love art and children’s’ books so being surrounded by that inspiration, as well as the shear beauty of the interior design, is an added bonus.

Seesaw “We’re a one-of-a-kind café, play studio and shop inspiring curiosity, creativity, and connection.”

600A Octavia St
(between Grove St & Birch St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley

(415) 553-8070

Hours: Tue-Fri 9 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am – 5 pm

radioactive

my ride is radioactive

kaiju

kaiju

 


my ride

 

Kaiju

Kaiju

 

 


scooter ride, Bernal Heights

Bernal Heights is a such a cool neighborhood. Slightly squished between the Mission, Potrero Hill and Alemaney Blvd, Bernal is a sweet spot that’s a little less traveled, and a little less known. It is sort of a frontier outpost of the City, and a lot laid-back. A week before my birthday, I thought I’d treat myself to a trip here. My itinerary included most of my favorite things: scooter exploring, a nature walk, a bakery (ok, two), succulents and a farmer’s market. Here are some of the sights:

 

the view from home before leaving for Bernal

the view from home before leaving for Bernal

 

 

Succulence, a great plant shop in Bernal Heights

Succulence, a great indoor/outdoor plant shop in Bernal Heights

 

 

early birthday gift to myself, a succulent from the plant store, Succulence (crassulaceae diagremontiana)

early birthday gift to myself, a succulent from the plant store, Succulence (crassulaceae diagremontiana)

 

 

the designer installing new benches at Sandbox; gorgeous work!

the designer installing new benches at Sandbox; gorgeous work!

 

 

pastries at Sandbox Bakery, bBernal Heights

pastries at Sandbox Bakery, bBernal Heights

 

 

I went with the chocolate, hazelnut, almond cream and sea salt bun. It was really good.

I went with the chocolate, hazelnut, almond cream and sea salt bun. It was really good.

 

 

Bernal Heights Park, San Francisco

Exploring Bernal Heights Park, San Francisco

 

 

View from one bridge to the other at the top of Bernal Heights park

You can see both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge from the top of Bernal Heights park

 

 

shopping at the Collective, 6 retailers share one business storefront space

shopping at the Bernal Heights Co-op, where 6 retailers share one business storefront space

 

 

A woman after my own heart, the super-friendly owner of Wholesome Bakery is also into motorcycle rider, -heart!!

A woman after my own heart, the super-friendly and beautiful owner of Wholesome Bakery is also a motorcycle rider, -heart!! The goods here are wheat, dairy and egg free.

 

 

why yes, I'll have a snickerdoodle sandwich to go with my chai, thank you!

why yes, I'll have a snickerdoodle sandwich to go with my chai, thank you!

 

 

if you're in Bernal Heights on a Saturday morning, check out the Alemaney Farmer's Market!

if you're in Bernal Heights on a Saturday morning, check out the Alemaney Farmer's Market!

 

 

persimmons and pomegranates in season at Alemaney Farmer's Market

persimmons and pomegranates in season at Alemaney Farmer's Market

 


scooter ride: hills of San Francisco, Steiner Street to the Marina

Riding the scooter up and down the hills of San Francisco is always a thrill. The views of the Bay from the crests of our many hills can’t be beat (when the view isn’t hopelessly obscured by a blanket of fog, that is) and when you’re on a scooter, it’s easy to pull over on a whim and take a moment to enjoy the surroundings. . .

Saturday was both sunny and cool, a great day for a ride. Here’s the view from Pacific Street, moving downhill on Steiner Street. . . note the pretty melange of sailboats traversing the Bay in the distance.

pacific street and steiner street, view San Francisco Bay

pacific street and steiner street, view San Francisco Bay

view of San Francisco Bay from Steiner Street

view of San Francisco Bay from Steiner Street

view of the SF Bay from Steiner Street

view of the SF Bay from Steiner Street

view of the Marina and San Francisco Bay from Steiner Street

view of the Marina and San Francisco Bay from Steiner Street


scooter road trip, Alemaney Farmers Market, Flora Grubb Gardens and the Dogpatch

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tomatoes at Alemaney Farmers market

Yesterday was a beautiful day, and when there’s ample sun in San Francisco, one has to capitalize on the opportunity to be outdoors before the FOG rolls back in. After a workout at the gym Saturday, I hopped on the scooter and made myself a little itinerary. From SOMA I would head south to Bernal Heights via Folsom, check out the oldest still-running farmers market in San Francisco, then head east to the Dogpatch, home of Flora Grubb Garden Center. Heading back from Flora on Third, I spontaneously decided to take Evens to Bayview, and explored the hinterlands along the all-but-unknown India Basin shoreline there, studded with warehouses, powerplants, junkyards and the like. I was delighted to see an amazing view of the city skyline from there, to boot!

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swiss chard at Alemaney Farmers market

The Itinerary:

If you’re a fan of farmers markets, you’ll love Alemaney. The selection of produce is extensive and varied enough to include lots of fruits and veg I ‘d never encountered, and all of quite high quality. I bought some cherries and strawberries for the crisp I’m going to make tomorrow.

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cherries at Alemaney Farmers Market

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summer squash at Alemaney Farmers market

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colored cauliflower at Alemaney Farmers market

I discovered something called the tay berry, billed as a cross between a black berry and a raspberry, so I bought some of those, too.

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tay berries at Alemaney Farmers market

And the donut peach. . . ! It’s sort of short and wide and does look like a doughnut, and it’s incredibly sweet. I will toss a few slices of those in the crisp, too. The prepared food vendors are topnotch, including great soul food, MEXICAN and wood fired pizzas made to order. . . I had a salvadoran mushroom and cheese papusa for breakfast. . .

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Salvadoran papusas at Alemaney Farmers market

From here I wound my way to the Dogpatch. It’s a neighborhood of heavy industry, warehouses and a nasty reputation for being rough. It’s not pretty but there’s something I find kinda cool about the aesthetic, the rusted metal, huge cargo ships just off shore and the bare bones of the power plants. Lots of abandoned buildings which is a shame because as I said, the view of the San Francisco skyline from here is pretty cool.   Some say this neighborhood could be the next up-and-coming success story and I hope it can be revitalized. The City extended light rail service to the neighborhood and some artists and small business owners are gradually moving in, like Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, of my previous post!

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Flora Grubb Garden Center

Flora Grubb is another star of the neighborhood, with her gorgeous store that celebrates the idea of reclaiming discarded materials and making art of them. More than rare plants and an amazing succulent collection, she’s educating people on new and creative ways to pot and display plants, a talent which has earned her recognition beyond the city.

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Flora Grubb Garden Center

Check out this centerpiece of the store, an old car that Flora turned into a huge planter.

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Flora Grubb Garden Center

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Car as Planter, Flora Grubb Garden Center

Flora Grubb must have been celebrating a sunny day as well- there was a food vendor tent set up in her garden selling huckleberry lemonade and fried chicken sandwiches, and even whoopie pies. I was happily surprised to see my buddy Michael waiting in line for plants, we haven’t seen eachother since last year, so we had a spontaneous lunch and caught up right there in the garden.

The ride ended with a leisurely exploration of the industrial coastline before heading back into the city. Thank God for gorgeous days, and for scooters!


one less car . . .

Kaiju


20080613_scooter_GGB_3 (8)

Originally uploaded by markevnic72

No doubt the scooter is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. And yes, I’ve named him. I call him Kaiju.

Having spent years using public transit (which was a fine, if time consuming option) life on two wheels of my own has made getting around San Francisco a dream. It’s given me a newfound feeling of freedom. It’s my wings.

I never realized until I had one just how FUN they are. I originally bought Kaiju to get to and from work quickly, putting behind me the hassles of waiting for bus connections, or waiting through service delays of the subway system. The gas is cheap relative to using a car; I use a gallon every ten days or so. And parking is far easier than it is for a car; I can utilize the gaps between parked cars, or the tiny bits of sidewalk between the driveways of houses, or any of the plentiful motorcycle parking places in the city.

But all those eminently useful arguments aside, riding on two wheels is just plain fun. And going for a ride has become an aim, in and of itself.

San Francisco is made for it. As cars inch block to block, stuck in a city not made for traffic, the scooter can leap ahead, when it is safe of course, getting you there just a little bit faster. Riding along the beach or over the hills, the scooter becomes a means to explore. There are seven hills in San Francisco and I believe I’ve ridden every one of them. It’s nice to be able to pull over easily whenever you want to take in the view. It’s nice to be able to feel the air as you ride.

2006 Blur

2006 Blur

I ride a 2006 Blur, a 150cc bike made by Genuine Scooter Company.

2006 Blur

2006 Blur