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

Posts tagged “Hayes Valley

Bread Puddingwire – Eater SF

BreadPudding central, home of 20+ unique varieties. It’s been in the works a long time and may be a few months off but we have the feeling bread pudding could be the new pie, which was the new donut, which was the new cupcake. And they’ll have Blue Bottle Coffee, too…


Let’s see. See article after the jump:

Bread Puddingwire – Eater SF.



20120615_food_biergarten_1det by markevnic72
biergarten, a photo by markevnic72 on Flickr.

Magical spot in Hayes Valley. If you’ve ever been to Germany you’ll be interested in checking this out, an outdoor biergarten run by the folks who own Suppenkuche, a local German restaurant nearby. Have your soft pretzel and bier with a bratwurst, seated at one of the outdoor picnic tables in the garden. Super social, cheery vibe. Food is served from a repurposed shipping container, a great example of reuse instead of new-build. The food? It’s great, the sausages and pretzels are house made.

Smitten is OPEN…YAY!

We’ve been waiting a while for this one. Smitten, center of a lot of buzz in the local ice cream scene (check out our Smitten post, here), is finally open for business in the fledgling Hayes Valley Proxy project, soon to be THE hot summer foodie destination (coming, a beer garden by Suppenkuche and a pizza kiosk by Delfina, among others) Smitten dishes out the freshest ice cream you can buy anywhere: it’s made to order using a fantastic liquid nitrogen freezing system that whizzes and smokes and delivers decadent deliciousness right before your very eyes!

Check out this article in the Daily Candy and stay tuned for our on-the-ground coverage, coming soon;-) Homemade pizzelle cones…

Smitten Ice Cream Shop Opens in Hayes Valley

Made-to-Order Scoops in 60 Seconds

smitten ice cream san francisco!

Time was, seeing Smitten’s Red Flyer wagon around town meant one thing: sprinting after it for a scoop of ice cream like you hadn’t eaten in days.

Hang up your running shoes and park it on a milk crate in the Hayes Valley Proxy Project instead. That’s where Smitten just opened a shop.

Owner Robyn Sue Goldman’s innovative liquid-nitrogen machine (the Kelvin) means each scoop is made one at a time, in just a minute. The freshest in-season ingredients and creative flavor combos (maple brown sugar butternut squash and candied pecans; banana chocolate chunk; strawberry and white balsamic) top even your childhood ice cream fantasies.

For now, order a cup of the speedy treat; homemade pizzelle cones and cookie sandos are on the way. No matter what flavor you choose, consider Smitten a justifiable detour in your diet.

Smitten Ice Cream, 432 Octavia Street, at Linden Street, suite 1a (415-863-1518 or smittenicecream.com).

Forthcoming Hayes Valley Ice-Creamery Sounds Like a Foodie Event Horizon – SFist

((SHARE from SFist.com))




“This afternoon, EaterSF takes a look at the construction of Smitten, which could very well be the most densely buzzword-packed restaurant to date. Once you start reading the description, it becomes impossible to turn back no matter how badly you want to. Observe:

Smitten is a made-to-order (slow food: check), liquid nitrogen (molecular gastronomy: check) ice cream shop (frozen dairy products: check) built inside of a recycled shipping container (food truck: check, kinda) that has been dropped in to an empty lot in Hayes Valley (neighborhood revitalization by way of dessert: check). What’s more, the shop’s owner started off with just one liquid nitrogen ice cream machine in a red wagon in the park (food cart: check). That was way back in 2009, even. When people still wanted to eat food at tables. And before you ask: Salted Caramel is on the menu (check).

Still, as much as we’d like to be annoyed by all this, the idea of slobbering all over a handmade pizzelle cone topped with “one of the purest commercial ice creams out there”, some sweaty October afternoon does seem kind of pleasant, doesn’t it? At least it’s not another fro-yo place, right? That would be too L.A.”

via Forthcoming Hayes Valley Ice-Creamery Sounds Like a Foodie Event Horizon – SFist.

What To Expect at Smitten, Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Shop – Plywood Special – Eater SF

What To Expect at Smitten, Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Shop – Plywood Special – Eater SF.


Anxiously awaiting the arrival of what could be the best ice cream store in the City… Smitten. Check out the story linked above for the details about this venture, which will entail ice cream made-to-order with one of four liquid nitrogen ice cream machines. Smitten is part of a greater project called the Hayes Valley Proxy, a network of shipping containers that will form a food court of sorts in this very cool SF neighborhood. 


From Delfina Pizza to a Suppenkuche beer garden, this is going to be an excellent foodie destination!

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

san francisco public art, andy goldsworthy’s ‘spire’ and ‘faultline’

Great art inspires. . .


Spire, by Andy Goldsworthy, located in the Presidio, San Francisco

Spire, by Andy Goldsworthy, located in the Presidio, San Francisco



Last year my great friend Deena took me to a favorite spot of hers, a grove in the Presidio National Park where the forest opens to a beautiful panorama of San Francisco, right in front of you. It’s a spiritual spot, and a meditative one. It was easy to see why she brought me here. When it was decided that a monument to should be installed here, only one artist could do a place like this justice, celebrating but not changing it: Andy Goldsworthy.

So, in 2008, he built SPIRE. The amazing thing about this monumental sculpture, made of timber lashed together 90 feet high, is how effortlessly it has become part of the scene. It blends right in. This is a hallmark of Goldsworthy’s work, he incorporates natural materials from the site in which he’s working and from them he creates beautiful, fanciful and ephemeral art.  Here, he took trees that would be felled (for the safety of the environment) and then used only that timber to make the sculpture. Part of the art is not only the finished state, but also the manner in which it is, in turn, reclaimed again by Nature. And will the sculpture last a minute? Two? Months? Years? That part is left to Nature, too.

Goldsworthy strives, “to make connections between what we call nature and what we call man-made.”

There is another Goldsworthy I want to tell you about, much more subtle than Spire. It’s the crack in the foundation of the de Young museum, Faultline, 2005. For this commission he created a zigzag crack in the hardscape outside the museum. The crack is a ‘path’ from the roadside to the entrance of the museum, but also serves as a subtle reminder of the seismic activity latent in the ground underneath, a characteristic of this place in the world. Unless your eyes are directed to it you might not see it but when it’s pointed out, the impact hits you immediately. Check out this great article about that piece, here.

I’ve since become a fan of his. I was so inspired after having seen Spire I created a mini-version in my backyard garden. For mine I reclaimed dead bamboo shoots from my friend’s garden, and the Hancock Spire was born!


my Spire, built in my back yard from reclaimed bamboo shoots

my Spire, built in my back yard from reclaimed bamboo shoots


Not willing to stop here, I wanted to try another one. I had my opportunity when my neighbor knocked down their retaining wall and threw away the cobblestones. Thus, I gained ‘site-native’ materials for another project, and I built a zigzag ‘Faultline’ of my own by setting the stones directly into the ground, and emanating from my Spire!


my Faultline, a zigzag sculpture made from cobblestones in my back yard

my Faultline, a zigzag sculpture made from cobblestones in my back yard


My exploration of the public art in Hayes Valley, Ecstasy in Patricia’s Green, (link to post here) reminds me of the monumental and inspiring Spire. While the scale of both projects certainly inspires awe, simply by virtue of their height which forces the eye skyward, they also are partnered in my mind because of the artistic process behind them. While they differ in the sourcing of the materials, Ecstasy made from man-made objects while Spire is made from felled trees, both make from found materials sing. These monuments speak to how repurposing an everday object, even a discarded one, can imbue the art with an added significance and intrinsic beauty.

Ecstasy — yours to discover in Hayes Valley


"Ecstasy", public art in Hayes Valley at Patricia's Green, SF

"Ecstasy", public art in Hayes Valley at Patricia's Green, SF


I discovered this IMMENSE six ton, 30-foot figurative sculpture while taking a scooter ride from Civic Center through Hayes Valley back to the Castro. Created by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito, her name is “Ecstasy”. . .

“Her name expresses a sudden change of attitude and belief in hope; a moment of being overcome by passionate optimism” -www.blackrockarts.org


Ecstasy, Patricia's Green, SF

Ecstasy, Patricia's Green, SF


Assembled from discarded pieces of scrap metal, this sculpture has a kind of “recycled” life that transcends the composition of her body.

The statement is powerful. I am always moved when someone makes something new from something old, discarded. It’s what I’ve been trying to do in my own garden, too. All it takes is to allow a change in perspective and context. Imagination. And with that, something gains a new life.


'Ecstasy', Patricia's Green, SF

'Ecstasy', Patricia's Green, SF


As inspiring as it is, the sculpture is just a temporary resident of the park. ‘Ecstasy’ is on loan from the Black Rock Arts Foundation through December 31, 2010.

Patricia’s Green, the park that serves as the home for Ecstasy, is relatively new. Not far from the Hayes Valley Farm, this stretch of Octavia, too, was renovated by the city in 2005 with the goal of beautification, and fostering pedestrian traffic and community-building. Thus Patricia’s Green was born. The Green includes not only benches and food carts, flower beds and playgrounds but, early on, the community decided it should be a venue for significant public art, as well. Residents and business work together via the neighborhood Hayes Valley Arts Coalition to curate the art that will serve as a beating ‘heart’ for the neighborhood.


playgrounds and art share the space at Patricia's Green, Hayes Valley, SF

playgrounds and art share the space at Patricia's Green, Hayes Valley, SF


Thank goodness everyone involved saw the street and overpass that used to cut through this neighborhood and envisioned something. . .else. A farm. A park. Art. Not unlike the Hayes Valley Farm mere blocks away, Patricia’s Green, and the arts program that serves it, provide another good example of how neglected public space can be repurposed by transforming what was “broken” (and “deadening”) into something that is its opposite: one that is beautiful, that is functional (and function-ing) and one that brings people together. I love that. San Franciscans are good at doing it!

Find out more by following this link:

Ecstasy — Black Rock Arts Foundation.

from food cart to store front; Smitten Ice Cream Opening a Shop in Hayes Valley

photo courtesy SFWeekly, Robyn of Smitten Ice Cream, making made to order ice cream

​Made-to-order ice cream. That’s right, ice cream made on-the-spot at the time you order with the amazing liquid nitrogen ice cream maker-on-a-Radio Flyer wagon dubbed the Kelvin.

The process in fantastic, your scoop arrives in a whoosh of white cloud, like a magic trick, or the most memorable science experiment from that high school chemistry class. (Just follow Twitter for the time and location to find the cart, and you’re good to go!)

But this cart has been so popular, it’s been able to cross-over to brick and mortar. (Well, actually repurposed shipping container . . . see the link to the article below.) Future location? Octavia and Linden, Hayes Valley, SF.

Says the proprietor Robyn Sue Goldman, “We will have four ‘Kelvin’ machines, and each one will be used to churn a different flavor,” explained Goldman. “We will be featuring the freshest seasonal flavors and changing two flavors every week based on what’s best at the market. Every scoop will be made to order, and visitors will even be able to order off the menu, based on the ingredients we have, if they think of something that better suits their taste buds.”

via Scoop! Smitten Ice Cream Opening a Shop in Hayes Valley – San Francisco Restaurants and Dining – SFoodie.