December 14, 2009

Monday Night Yuks at Cafe Royale

We heard about a monthly free comedy happy hour at Cafe Royale on FunCheapSFFunCheapSF is one of my go to sources for information on offbeat events in San Francisco.  I highly recommend their email newsletter.  

Tonight, we ventured into the "Trendy Nob" for some stand-up comedy at Cafe Royale's Monday Night Happy Hour.  The venue was cozy with a large red velvet couch ringing the stage.  We arrived right at 7 pm when the show was scheduled to start and nabbed two seats in the back.  We soon realized that we were sitting elbow-to-elbow with the performers. Very cool.  

The show featured 10-15 minute riffs from Cara Tramontano, Jason Armenio , Nate Blanchard , Jill Bourque , Sheila BrysonJason Downs, Drew Harmon, and Reggie Steele.  All were entertaining, especially given the low price of admission.  Topics ranged from weight loss to the perils of dating (gay and straight) to Craigslist to magical black men.  The show was free aside from any libations you chose to indulge in and a strategically placed tip jar.  Definitely good value.  There was even some imaginative art on the walls which extended into the bathroom.  We're looking forward to the next show!

Bazaar Bizarre

We decided to do a little holiday shopping at an unusual venue on Saturday -- the Bazaar Bizarre. Held in the San Francisco County Fair Building, it was a bit of a trip for us to get there from Pacific Heights -- especially since it was raining really hard for most of the day. We didn't let the rain get us down and neither did a large number of santa-clad revelers. We caught a glimpse of Santa headed to the infamous SantaCon.

I opted to throw fashion out the window and wore rain pants, a raincoat and wellies.  I was dry and comfy the whole day.

We stopped for coffee in the Inner Sunset at Tart to Tart and were shocked when the sun actually came out for a few minutes -- who says the sun never shines in the Sunset?

We made our way to the craft fair. There were lots of interesting and unique items for sale.  I bought a ceramic cuttlefish necklace and a robot picture printed onto old engineering diagrams.  We also saw a lot of artwork made from reclaimed materials and imaginative stuffed creations like a porkchop pillow and ice cream sandwich pillow.  It was definitely worth the trip to find some holiday gifts for myself and those hard to buy for people on my shopping list.

From here, we took the bus to Clement Street and stopped into Green Apple BooksGreen Apple is one of the best places to while away a rainy Saturday afternoon.  About two hours later and about 20 pounds heavier, we emerged and headed up the street for a quick early dinner. 

We had been meaning to try Burma Superstar for months now. We were walking by right as they were about to open and on impulse hopped into the line for a table. We weren't disappointed. The Samusa soup and pumpkin pork stew really hit the spot

Here's a quick snapshot of the route we took for this Sidewalk Safari.  Most of it was by bus rather than on foot which is a bit unusual for us but necessary because of the rain.

View Bazaar Bizarre in a larger map

December 13, 2009


Sliders on Polk is a tempting diversion every time we take the Muni #3 bus. They have fantastic, highly customizable burgers.

Check out that toppings bar!

I opted for a black bean veggie burger with a variety of bell peppers, hot peppers, and more beans. Yum!

December 11, 2009

Ice Cold Safari

We've been having quite the cold snap in San Francisco this week and my commute to work has been particularly brisk. Undaunted, I walked to work every day last week. Here are some of the chilly Safari-worthy sights that I saw.

Tadich Grill claims to be "The Original Cold Day Restaurant". Their marketing team must have been waiting for a week like this.

Fall foliage comes to San Francisco -- better late than never.

'Tis the season for petite Christmas trees at Rincon Flowers.

Chilly Willy peers out from a building in the Financial District.

The piece de resistance?--Snow melting into a storm drain. Not sure where this came from but it was certainly fitting.

December 10, 2009

Post-It Origami III

I've been walking on the opposite side of the street lately and haven't been past my favorite window that sports post-it origami. I made it a point to pass the window today and was rewarded with a glimpse of new imaginative creations.

Tis the season for post-it origami turkey!

Here's another elaborate bird. Keep those creations coming!

December 8, 2009

Going Green - New Safari Mug

Part of my daily commute ritual is to stop for a latte and drink it as I walk to work. In the past, I would typically use the disposable cups and heat-guards provided by the cafe. This adds up to a lot of waste over time. On a recent trip to Southeast Asia, I found this ceramic replica of the traditional cafe cup at Tangs Department Store in Singapore. Check it out on its first Sidewalk Safari on a foggy San Francisco morning! I feel like I can continue my daily ritual but feel better about cutting out the paper waste stream.

December 6, 2009

Union Street Fantasy of Lights

Last night before our Hip Hop Vaudeville soiree, we walked down to Union Street to get some vittles before the show. We happened upon the Union Street Fantasy of Lights. Targeted to children and families, Santa Claus was the main attraction. There were a number of activities spread out along the street including the requisite free popcorn, face painting, and balloon animals. A bit more unusual was the pony dressed up as a reindeer giving rides to children and BoBo the monkey strutting his stuff for tips. I especially felt bad for BoBo. Instead of a life swinging through the trees, he was taking dollars, tipping his hat, and shaking hands with people on the street for the entertainment of passersby.

We continued past the crowds and stopped in for a cupcake at That Takes the Cake -- my peanut butter chocolate cupcake was divine. We washed it down with a latte from the Union Street Coffee Roastery. After having dessert first (is there any better way?), we decided we needed something a bit more savory to round out our dinner. We stopped in at Crepes-A-Go-Go.

The shop feels like a large chain joint from the outside but once you go in, it has a smaller mom and pop ambiance with kitschy decor items to transport diners to Paris. We opted to share the cheddar and apples crepe which really hit the spot. We'd definitely go back again sometime.

December 5, 2009

Stateless: Hip-Hop Vaudeville

A Hip-Hop Vaudeville style show is just the sort of thing that naturally piques my attention. We took in the performance of Stateless tonight at the Jewish Theatre of San Francisco in Potrero Hill. The show was energetic and entertaining. Edgy at times, Stateless included dialog that hinted about the world history of race and religious persecution. The performance included a round the world tour and featured a song about "Shieser" set in Hamburg which made the audience chuckle. My favorite part had to be the Shepherd's accordion accompanied beatbox. If you have a chance to see Dan Wolf and Tommy Shepherd in action, I highly recommend it.

December 4, 2009

Well Measured Fun

This goes to show that science can be fun. I saw this graduated cylinder with frosted glass bubbles in the window of Area in Jackson Square on my way to work.

December 1, 2009

Commute Chronicles: Mouse House

I saw these fantastic mice recently in the window of Eden and Eden along Columbus near Jackson on my way to work. From Einstein to Elvis, they cover a range of personalities.

November 28, 2009

Cable Car Funicular

We were walking in Russian Hill one cloudy Saturday afternoon when we spied this cable car funicular serving an apartment complex on the hillside. Sweet! I want to live here. It would be awesome to ride the cable car down to the street each day. Then again, it may be faster simply to take the stairs. It's nice to have options.

November 25, 2009

Commute Chronicles: Smashing Pumpkins

If I can't reach the coin slot, does that mean the meter is free?

November 22, 2009

Commute Chronicles: Cutie Patootie

I pass the Groom Room often on my way to work. It's usually too early to see any of the doggies coming in to be coiffed. Lately, that's changed. It made my day to see this cutie patootie peering out at me as I walked by. On a different day, I saw two dogs. So cute.

November 20, 2009

Creative Commuting

I saw a couple of creative commuting accouterments on a recent walk to work. This hamburger bike bell caught my eye.

I was also entertained to see a guy wearing a sport coat riding to work on an old school skateboard. This definitely made me smile.

November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Countdown in San Francisco

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Miette Patisserie on Chestnut St. had an attractive display of chocolate gobblers in their window.

Some aren't as excited about the upcoming holiday. Halloween has past (sigh). Could the look of horror on this Jack-o-Lantern be due to thoughts of pumpkin pie season? Regardless, I love this mug. The carver really captured a life like expression on this gourd.

November 17, 2009

New York City Walks: Sidewalk Safari I

This post is long overdue. I spent 2 weeks in New York City in October and there was plenty of Sidewalk Safari fodder to be found. I took a long walk on a rainy Saturday morning to get bagels at Ess-A Bagel. Ess-a is the place for bagels in Manhattan. On the way, I stopped in Madison Square Park to check out the art installations...

...and the food and craft vendors set-up along the perimeter as part of Madison Square Market. In a bit of edgy contrast, Fatty Crab had a blow up doll riding a pink goat outside their stall next to a traditional fall scarecrow from the bakery next door.

Another amazing display that I passed on my walk was Artistic Tile. Some of the mannequins were wearing clothes (and even a wedding dress!) crafted from gorgeous tiles.

Olde Good Things was close to where I was staying and they had some fun life-sized statues out in front of their store.
This cop looks like he's ready to take down a perp.

Open wide for these lion bird baths.

Why not take home a replica of the Statue of Liberty?

Continuing on, I saw this graffiti silhouette on the side of a pharmacy in Chelsea. Very romantic.

Dogs need to see and be seen in New York City. Make sure to dress them up in duds from Trixie and Peanut. Check out these cute Halloween costumes!

Seasonal baked goods were everywhere. These ghosts were adorable but I imagine they would have been difficult to eat while standing and holding an umbrella. I opted for a simply latte and no snack.

Yuengling beer is a staple in Philadelphia. This old-fashioned sign in a window on the East Side caught my eye.
Interesting graffiti art was everywhere. Check out this mural.

...and this truck...
The bagel shop was on 1st Avenue and I was curious what existed beyond the numbered avenues in Manhattan so decided to keep heading east. I ended up in the East Village and learned that the numbered avenues give way to letters. I found this cute gift store, Sustainable NYC on Avenue A. I bought a necklace made from beads that were crafted from recycled paper. Very cool and colorful.

I saw a restaurant, Permanent Brunch, that featured an "Artisanal Bacon Bar". Apparently they have 5 different kinds of bacon. Mmmm, bacon. Too bad I was super full from my Ess-A Bagel and decided to pass on a second meal.

More imaginative graffiti was nestled in among the brownstones in the East Village.

The homes in this neighborhood was striking...

...with neat architectural touches like this well-weathered stone dog.

I spotted one final mural and then headed back to my hotel as the rain began to fall more heavily.