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Monday, May 21, 2007
up near Silver Tree at the back end of the park when he was what he
was pretty sure was a mountain lion. The animal was light
yellow/brown and weight about the same as his dog, around 70 pounds.
Then just today another neighbor was walking his dog back past Silver
Tree, just a little ways past the boardwalk at 2 in the afternoon
when he saw a coyote in-between the two paths there.
He said the animal weighed around 40 pound, was grayish-brown with
pointed ears, a long snout and fox-like, with fur about an inch and a
Given these two sightings, I'm wondering if there is in fact
something living in the park? Park and Rec said mountain lions
generally feed on deer and so it wasn't likely that. But is a coyote
Sunday, May 6, 2007
West Portal is a principal shopping street for much of southwestern San Francisco, California, and is also considered a neighborhood itself. Named for the western terminus of the Muni tunnel beneath Twin Peaks that opened in 1918, the street (West Portal Avenue) and adjacent district is still dominated by the frequent trundlings of the three Muni Metro lines (K, L and M) that emerge from the subway to run in the street median. The ride in the subway from West Portal to downtown/Union Square is about fifteen minutes.
In addition to the streetcar tunnel, West Portal's landmarks include a large movie theater, a library, a school, churches (including the prominent West Portal Lutheran Church and School), many good restaurants (Fuji, Roti, El Toreador, Xiao Loong, Fresca, Fuji, Bursa, Spiazzo), bars (Portal's Tavern, Philosophers' Club), bookstores (West Portal Books , BookShop West Portal (, Waldenbooks), drugstores (Walgreens and Rite Aid), markets, coffeeshops (Starbucks, Pete's Cafe, Greenhouse), a bakery (West Portal Bakery), professional offices, a video rental store (Diamond Videos), and many beauty salons.
Despite the semi-recent appearances of larger chain stores, the many unique neighborhood shops give the area a distinctly smaller-city, "retro" charm. The West Portal Muni Metro Station is located at the entrance to the Muni tunnel at the northern end of West Portal Avenue.
Spring is upon us. It was a glorious day today, warm with little wind. No fog to be seen (meaning that it is preparing to return as I write this). I cleaned up the backyard a little and thought I would show you a picture of part of the backyard as seen from my back porch. You can see a tall pear tree, an apple tree and in the back, a plum tree. There is also a peach tree and persimmon tree in the way back, by the hot tub.
We spent a couple of hours at Dolores Park, which is near lots of interesting places, such as the Castro, the Dolores Mission, the Mission District. It has a fantastic view of the city skyline. Yesterday was the Cinco de Mayo festival, which was fine, just not amazing, really. My son likes this park alot because the play structure is very tall. On the upper part of this park is a section where lots of people come to sunbathe, although the window of opportunity is short due to fog and such.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Here is a picture of part of the loft bedroom. It is my favorite room of the house. You access it either through the ladder in the living room or from the back porch and through the sliding glass door. Upstairs is where we sleep (Emanuel sleeps downstairs). We also have a satelite dish connected tv upstairs. It is a very quiet and comforting room, a space I really appreciate in this busy city.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Here is a little website info about basic food costs.
I am living here just fine on my teacher's salary (which is likely higher than in other parts of the US as well), so I am used to it.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
In the day, its nice. In the evening, it can be amazing. Or it can be foggy, kind of depends on your luck. Take BART from Glen Park Station down to Embarcadero (through 24th, 16th, Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, and finally, get off @ Embarcadero) and walk west (to the left if facing the Bay).
"In six months, San Francisco will become the first North American city to ban plastic bags. It's likely that Mayor Gavin Newsom will approve the legislation which was voted in by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. The city, which uses 181 million plastic bags annually is set to save 450,000 gallons of oil a year with this move, as well as eliminating the 1400 tons of plastic bag waste currently sent to landfills."
Castro - Considered the center of alternative living in San Francisco, the Castro district offers some of the most colorful and vibrant settings in the city. The neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, Castro Street, is home to many restaurants, alternative bookstores and diverse shops. Architecture in the Castro is contemporary, with Victorians and apartment buildings lining its side streets. The Castro is the center for the city’s gay-lesbian-transgendered population.
Downtown/Financial District - Some call San Francisco’s downtown “Wall Street West” because it is ranked as one of the top four financial centers in the nation. The Financial District begins at Montgomery Street and extends east toward the Embarcadero, comprising of only a few city blocks. Montgomery Street has been linked to banking since the Gold Rush and, today, continues to be a bustling business area. Two easily recognizable landmarks distinguish the Financial District. Rising to 858 feet, the Transamerica Pyramid is one of San Francisco’s famous icons and a dominant feature in the city’s skyline. The 52nd floor of the Bank of America Building offers breathtaking views of the city.
Duboce Triangle (near Castro)- Beautifully restored Victorian homes line Duboce Triangle. Bordered by Market Street it’s a shockingly quite neighborhood within a stones throw of restaurants, coffee houses, pubs and boutiques, and other forms of entertainment. Also, Duboce Park is perfect for those with dogs. Nearby Noe Valley provides public transportation and a lively 24th Street.
Glen Park - On the lower slopes of Diamond Heights, just south of Noe Valley, sits the charming and quiet neighborhood of Glen Park. Victorians and architecturally interesting modern homes line Laidley Street. Coffee shops, bookstores, pizza parlors and boutiques line Chenery and Diamond Streets. The neighborhood feels worlds away from downtown, but with a BART station at Diamond and Bosworth streets, locals can reach the city center in 20 minutes. Glen Park was once a dairy capital in the 1850s. Today, the rural area is confined to beautiful Glen Canyon Park, a haven for dogs, Frisbee throwing and picnics.
Haight Ashbury - Universally known for its 60s flair, Haight Ashbury is still recognized for its creativity and diversity. Haight Ashbury is home to colorful Victorians, eclectic shops, sidewalk cafes and popular night clubs. In 1870, California Governor Henry H. Haight formed the San Francisco Park Commission to develop Golden Gate Park, which is adjacent to Haight Ashbury. Haight Ashbury is also famous for its residents of the past, including Jerry Garcia, the Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin, to name a few.
Marina - Once marshland, the Marina is now home to many young professionals and is recognized by the landmark Palace of Fine Arts. In 1915, the Palace of Fine Arts was built to host the Pan Pacific Exhibition, celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, as well as San Francisco’s recovery from the physical and economic devastation of the 1906 earthquake. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, the palace became the focal point of the fair. Deeded to the city by the Army after World War II, the once-temporary structure fell to ruin. By the 1950s, a movement to save the palace emerged, and funds were raised to tear down the entire building and rebuild using permanent materials. The unique San Francisco landmark is owned by the city and is leased to the Exploratorium and the Palace of Fine Arts Theater. The Marina attracts many people who are seeking the pleasures of jogging, sunbathing and strolling by the bay. The Marina Green is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors, with a pedestrian path that is perfect for rollerblading, walking or running. For shopping enthusiasts, Chestnut Street has many fashionable shops and boutiques. Fort Mason is also nearby and hosts many cultural events, including the San Francisco Blues and Jazz Festival. With views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, the Marina offers a quaint, upscale neighborhood with a relaxed lifestyle.
Mission - The Mission is home to the city’s oldest structure, Mission Dolores, the sixth Franciscan mission built along El Camino Real. Located nearby is the ornate Mission Dolores Basilica. Within the Mission District, it is easy to find spicy taquerias, Mexican bakeries and colorful murals depicting Mexican and Latino history. The original Levi Strauss factory was located in this area at 250 Valencia Street. Today, the Mission is a popular area for a mix of working-class Latino families, young professionals, artists and others who enjoy its culturally diverse atmosphere. (There is a fun old fashioned ice cream parlor for the kids, 24th and Folsom.)
Mission Bay - Mission Bay, also known as Mission Rock, Mission Creek and China Basin, is a rapidly evolving area of the city, thanks in part to the new San Francisco Giants’ stadium and the Mission Bay development project. This eclectic neighborhood features San Francisco’s houseboat enclave, as well as the Lefty O’Doul drawbridge. The current development is transforming 303 acres of former rail yards and warehouses, into a new neighborhood of apartments, office buildings, retail shops and the University of California, San Francisco’s medical research campus, including 49 acres of parks and the neighborhood’s first supermarket.
Noe Valley - Nestled in the lowland between Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights, Noe Valley is a quaint neighborhood, centered around 24th Street, with its coffee shops, boutiques, bookstores and multitude of ethnic restaurants. The architecture of Noe Valley is predominantly Victorian. Noe Valley is named after Jose De Jesus Noe, a Spanish colonist who formed the Hyar and Padres colony in 1884. Noe was also the last Mexican Mayor of San Francisco. Numerous Irish and German immigrants moved to Noe Valley over the years, and the international influence is evident in the Irish pubs and the specialty food stores lining 24th Street.
North Beach - North Beach is known as “Little Italy”, with its abundant Italian restaurants, cafes and bakeries. The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul gracefully sits on the northern side of Washington Square, a grassy piazza and center to North Beach’s energy and cultural buss. Every dawn, Washington Square hosts anywhere from a handful to a hundred people greeting the day with the practice of Tai Chi. The main attractions of North Beach are its restaurants, which include fine dining, traditional cafes and Italian delicatessens. The oldest street in the city, Grant Avenue, extends into North Beach and offers several Barbary Coast saloons, second-hand shops, pizza parlors and clothing boutiques.
Potrero Hill - Potrero Hill sits south of 16th Street and is framed by Potrero Avenue, Cesar Chavez Street and Highway 280. The neighborhood has a community feel all its own; it even has its own weekly newspaper, the Potrero Hill. Pleasant window shopping and café dining is popular with locals. The Potrero Hill Neighborhood House has existed for almost a century and is used by residents for various occasions, such as town meetings and recitals.
This area of the city gets more sun than most, and has attracted a lively mix of professionals and artists. Residences are comprised of free-standing houses (many built in Victorian architecture), town homes, flat-style condominiums, warehouse spaces, lofts, and multi-unit buildings. Many enjoy outstanding city views from the 300-foot high hill.
Santa Cruz is about 1.5 hours south of San Francisco. I would recommend driving along the coast on Highway 1. I went to university in this town and love the area. It has beaches, mountains and the great feel of an university town. The beaches are nice and there is an amusement park, the Beach Boardwalk, for the kids.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
My son loves to go to the beach here. I once had a brazilian friend that found our beaches perverse. It can be perfectly warm and sunny in the city, but you had better put on a jacket, scarf and cap if you are going to the beach. It can easily be 10-15 degrees cooler at the beach than in the interior of the city. In the summer, it is almost always at least 20-30 degrees cooler in SF than the interior of California only 30-45 minutes away in a car. This temperature difference can cause a lot of fog along the coast and lots of wind during the summer.
Our neighborhood is considered a "transition zone" between the sunny Mission and the foggy Sunset District. Often in the summer I can see the "sun line" only a few blocks down from my house. Be sure to come with sweaters and jackets, especially for the little ones.
Mark Twain apparently said:
"The coldest winter I've spent is a summer in San Francisco".
Anyway, here is THE beach of SF:
"There are quiet beaches, and there are family beaches. Just off Seacliff Avenue, China Beach somehow manages to be both. Walk past the picnic tables and descend to the beach via a ramp, where the cove is enclosed by towering cliffs, parting to reveal brilliant blue water and the rocky Headlands rising above the Bay."
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Here is a view of "downtown" Glen Park neighborhood from the corner of Diamond and Bosworth (where the underground train BART station is). Here is where most of the business' I have been showcasing are. Go to the end of this block and take a left on Chenery St, go up 3 blocks and you will find our house, the red one.
By the way, as you can see, Glen Park is like a small valley of sorts. It is one of three "valleys", the first being the Castro District, then Noe Valley and finally Glen Park. We used to be "third tier" in terms of desireability and such, but you know how that goes. Now when I say that I own my house in Glen Park, the general reaction is of envy "what a great neighborhood."
I like to get some exercise in the pm's after work. If I can't make it to the gym, I go running/hiking around this area. On the hill above our house a lots of great houses, interesting configurations and interesting gardens. It can be an envigorating hike, though.
When we moved here, in short order I went to the SPCA and found Jeffrey, a one year old with lots of friendly energy. He is now upwards of 12 years old and has significantly less energy. He doesn't stay in the house when there are renters.
Joker, the cat, is about 3 years old. He was born here from a cat we found abandoned on a trip to Montana. His two brothers died of complications to their kidneys (apparently congenital) and Montana, their mother, decided not to stay with us once she weaned her kittens. Joker is named for the "painted" mouth that reminded me of Jack Nicholson in the Batman movie. He generally has free reign in the house, upstairs and down, but can easily be kept out of the downstairs. He has a "cat" door upstairs, with a feeder and waterer. He is very, very friendly with guests, from what I have heard.
The turtle has no name. Watch out, he bites. He was given to my son's mother about a year ago and has lived here ever since. Next to no care necesarily.
Here is a picture of the newly painted lower bedroom (the upper one is a loft accessed through a ladder in the living room). I painted it blue in part because my son, Emanuel (6 yrs. old), is fanatical about the color blue. It also looks great in this well lit room!
Monday, March 26, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Here is another pretty well known restaurant in "downtown" Glen Park, right up from the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop.
At Chenery Park, we’re devoted to robust, contemporary American cuisine. Taste is our foremost priority. Our expert chefs inventively combine local ingredients to produce flavorful, satisfying meals. Our menu is regularly updated to reflect fresh, seasonal supplies. We also offer an ample selection of fine wines, champagnes, aperitifs and specialty cocktails.
We’re nestled in one of the City’s nicest little neighborhoods, Glen Park. It’s easy to find us, and parking is generally plentiful. If you prefer public transit, we’re just 2 blocks from the Glen Park BART station, as well as 4 different SF Muni bus lines.
Children are welcome, especially on Tuesday evenings at our Kids Club. And if you’re on the go, feel free to call ahead and order anything on our menu to take out.
Artful interiors and comfortable tables await you at Chenery Park. Dedicated to providing a memorable dining experience at a moderate price, we’ve become a favorite destination for patrons near and far. In fact, SF Weekly named us the City’s “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” for 2006!
Reservations are recommended. Call us at 415 337 8537 or reserve online.
Tuesday–Thursday, 5:30–9:15 PM
Friday–Saturday, 5:30–9:45 PM
Sundays, 5:30–8:45 PM
683 Chenery Street at Diamond San Francisco, California 94131
I really recommend you consider not using a car much in SF, but using the public transportation. You will save yourself money and headaches with parking, which is a real "bear" here in SF. There are at least four bus lines through our neighborhood, a BART station and a streetcar line. In other words, we are very well connected to the city.
San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). Founded in 1912, the Muni is one of America’s oldest public transit agencies and today carries over 200 million riders per year. Muni provides transit service within the city and county of San Francisco 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Operating Historic streetcars, modern light rail vehicles, diesel buses, alternative fuel vehicles, electric trolley coaches and the world famous cable cars, Muni’s fleet is among the most diverse in the world.
Muni’s Street & Transit Map is a comprehensive guide to public transit in the city. The map may be purchased for $3.00 at various locations, including the Muni kiosks at the Powell &amp; Market and Beach & Hyde cable car terminals and most everywhere in town that sells books and periodicals. A version of the map can be viewed at most Muni bus shelters and in Muni Metro stations.
Up a block from Diamond/Chenery (the heart of Glen Park) is Destination Bakery. My son's mother (Maria) works there in the evenings. The owner is Joe, a very friendly guy. Mostly a bakery, but they do sell coffee and great baked items. Very unassuming but nice locale.
"Hidden away on Chenery Street, this bakery has some of the best scones and tarts. Like any other junkie, I've had to change my route, take the bus and impose a restraining order on myself so that I don't give in to the italian coffee cake. It's rich, buttery taste with just the right amount of sweetness still calls out to me. I may have to move away."
Do you know that incredible sensation? The one that begins when the smell of baking butter and croissant dough enters your body, speeds to your brain, considers orgasmic-like gestures, moves on to other pleasure centers, then makes your mouth water? That's what Destination is all about. They make their croissant dough, and everything else, from scratch, and use very seasonal ingredients/preparations. For instance - their pies reflect the fruits in season. And as a great lover of pies, I must tell you they have the greatest strawberry rhubarb pie I have ever tasted. They also make hot cross buns around easter, with fruit they candy themselves. *Everything* here is outstanding. The chocolate and fruit tartletts will make you smile. The chocolate crossiants, with their outstanding coffee will make you feel like curling up in their sunny window seats and snuggle with strangers. Their baguettes are the best in the city, in my opinion, and the pies...mmmmmmmm.....they might make you cry if you love them like I do. In my opinion, Destination is actually better than Tartine. AND their service is outstanding - incredibly friendly folks who know this is a neighborhood joint. Lots of locals and regulars who adore the place and would probably be upset if they knew I was sharing this secret. (But you deserve the joy this place wil provide...you really do...)
They some of their baked items in the Canyon Market as well.
598 Chenery Street
(between Castro St & Natick St)
San Francisco, CA 94131
This is really a great place to go have a coffee, an omelette, or an amazing crepe. Just as this reviewer says:
"A great little coffee spot with amazing crepes. They have numerous options from Italian - Indian or you can build your own. Plus the owner/operator is awesome. If you come by more than twice he will probably remember your name and your order!"
It can get really crowded there on the weekends and it is amazing to see the speed with which the owner churns out the orders. On Sundays there is often music playing on the sidewalk.
Higher Grounds Coffee House
691 Chenery St
San Francisco, CA 94131
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Ok, so if you don't already know this about SF: it is a very crowded American city. I think it rates up there with many larger cities in terms of number of inhabitants per square mile. However, Glen Park is not nearly as crowded. It is like a little get away. There are nearly no apartment buildings or condos, mostly single family housing. This gives the neighborhood an interesting advantage: there is usually plenty of parking space. I almost always park in front of my house or at most, across the street. There is a 4 hour parking limit in this zone without a parking permit, so if you come with a car, you either have to move it or park it a few blocks away, which in SF terms, is still amazing.
Here is my son and my son's mother (we are not married but she lives in our house) eating breakfast the other day in our back patio. One thing you might like to know is that I have an absolutely HUGE backyard by SF standards. It climbs up a gently sloping hillside and I have it divided into sections. It is not a meticulously well kept garden paradise, but it is full of different blooming plants, two apple trees, a plum tree, a baby lime tree, a new peach tree and the newest addition: a persimmon. There is also a grape vine back there, a redwood, several Eucalyptus and bushes galore. I like the "wild" look and don't like to worry about every little detail. You might already know this, but there is a hot tub in the back part of my yard.
Here is a review:
Every neighborhood needs good pizza. San Francisco's Glen Park has a new place for pizza pie with Gialina's Monday opening.
The narrow storefront space is the brainchild of chef-owner Sharon Ardiana, who named it after her Italian nonna, Lina. Ardiana was previously executive chef at Lime, Dine, the Last Supper Club and the Slow Club.
The pizza is Neapolitan style, with a thin crust and light toppings such as clams brightened with fresh parsley and chiles and dandelion greens with sausage and fontina. An antipasto plate includes marinated mushrooms and Fra'Mani salumi, and salads can be ordered in half or full portions.
Dessert features lemon ice and a chocolate hazelnut pizza with mascarpone. Ten Italian wines can be ordered by the glass, carafe or bottle. Second courses and lunch service will be added soon.
Gialina, 2842 Diamond St. (at Kern), S.F.; (415) 239-8500 or www.gialina.com. Dinner nightly. Starters, $7-$14; pizzas, $9-$16; desserts, $6-$9.
2842 Diamond Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
Gialina is located on the corner of Diamond Street and Kern Alley,
across from the Glen Park BART station.
We love our taquería. If you haven't been to SF before, or even if you have, I bet you didn't have a "Mission Style" burrito. They are large, full of whatever Mexican style or "gringoized" Mexican style food, and very good. Very popular with kids. Very, very popular in the evenings. Here is their website. They have a location in Glen Park, in front of the market, on Diamond St., which is only 3 blocks from our house. My son's favorite:
Only three blocks from our house. I LOVE that we once again have a market. It has a great deli and fabulous coffee. Love their fresh baked bread as well. Here is a news report on the history of this development (long in coming)
There were no brass bands or balloons or politicians making speeches at this morning's opening of Canyon Market in San Francisco's charming Glen Park neighborhood. But maybe there should have been. The story of the market is a story of San Francisco at its finest and its worst. It began in 1998 when the Diamond grocery store burned down, leaving the neighborhood with no full-service market. Large chains, including Walgreens, eyed the Diamond Street property, located just one block from a busy BART station. Neighbors rose up in protest, not wanting to see their "village" of independent cheese, book, wine and hardware stores, diners and bakeries turned into an Anywhere, USA. The neighbors prevailed. But then the real battle began over what to put in its place. In the end, the project developed into a multi-use development of housing, a market and the neighborhood branch library - but not before skirmishes over parking (the city said there could be none because it was so close to mass transit) and building height and density (neighbors were concerned about altering the character of the neighborhood.) There were lawsuits, problems with the project's financing and the hair-pulling dance with city regulations. The people first tapped to create the grocery store dropped out, frustrated with the delays. In stepped Richard and Janet Tarlov, who have a long history in the food business. He with the Oakville Grocery and Dean & DeLuca, she with Zingerman's deli in Ann Arbor, Mich. The couple showed patience and determination as the opening of the store kept getting pushed back, but this morning their hard work paid off. "It's been an adventure," Janet Tarlov said a half-hour after the market opened, watching customers work their way through the aisles, checking out coffee bar and deli case. "The financing, the permits, working with the neighbors was quite a process." The Tarlovs hired about 35 full-time and part-time workers, most who live in Glen Park or an adjoining neighborhood, to staff the 7,200-square-foot market. "We've come a long way," Janet Tarlov said. "It's been a very busy few weeks."
Glen Park seems to inspire its residents to own dogs. I know that within 3 months of moving here, I suddenly had one. His name is Jeffrey and this is not him (I'll post some pic of him later). Seems like there are dogs waiting for their owners in front of stores, cafes and restaurants at all hours. Kind of nice, by the way. Also, in a city that is not know for being "child friendly", there are lots of kids, especially babies. I suspect we are in the midst of a mini baby boom right now.
The Glen Park neighborhood has a really great and huge city park with feels like a wild hiking area in the back. It is called the Glen Canyon Park. In the front are playing fields and tennis courts. In the center is a children's park and community rec. center and in the back is the canyon with lots of trails to hike on. This park is only two blocks away from our house.
Our house is only 3 blocks away from the BART train system that can take you around the Bay Area, to the SFO Airport and to Downtown. The Glen Park BART Station serves our neighborhood, which is also known as Glen Park (due to Glen Canyon Park)