Tag Archives: san francisco

It’s Not a Cafe, It’s Tart to Tart

imageThere’s a place near me in the Inner Sunset called Tart to Tart. It’s a bakery/coffee place/Mexican food distributor (kind of.)

Nothing cool has happened here in years. Maybe nothing cool has ever happened here. I don’t know how long this place has been open, but I do remember seeing it the first time I came to San Francisco. I was walking along Irving street in January 2012 and I saw this place and I thought to myself, “That looks so cute.” But I didn’t know anything then, even about the things I thought I knew something. About those things I was especially ignorant.

Tart to Tart is not cute. It’s not adorable, or whimsical. All cuteness about it stops at the name. Keep in mind that I’m speaking only of the Inner Sunset location, and not about any other one. Nowadays I don’t talk so much about things I don’t know, or at least I try to avoid it.

Tart to Tart is a place of supreme function. It stretches out behind its windows into a dark, cave-like interior where all the furniture wobbles and has either been here a long time or was purchased second-hand. Students can camp out here safely. Old friends meet and talk and see other people they know. They say hello and describe the road trip they just took through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and some other places.

There are no pretensions here. If you have pretensions, they will be ignored. Maybe that makes it a place where you’re safe from the person you pretend to be sometimes, and that’s kind of nice.

This is a place to come if you love coffee so much you don’t care what it tastes like, where you like looking at pastries almost as much as eating a pastry that actually tastes good, where you don’t mind a bathroom that reminds you of gas stations in middle America. Even the word cafe doesn’t really fit – it’s just Tart to Tart, a place you go when you need to go somewhere. That’s all.

Bring cash if you’re buying something that costs less than $3. Or maybe it’s $5. Just bring some cash. It’s the right thing to do.

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San Francisco: Where the Bison Roam

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I’m back in San Francisco for good (for now), and from hereon out, I will continue to do what I do most often/best, which is write about daily experiences in a way that is humorous and hopefully touching. Since I’m San Francisco based, I will most often write about the things I see and do in this city.

Speaking of which, there’s something you should know about. Some of you might already know about it. Others have heard but think it’s a false rumor. Still others of you will have no idea what I’m talking about. Most will have stopped reding altogether and are looking for new gifs to send their co-workers.

I’m talking about the bison that right now, at this very moment in time, no matter when you’re reading this even if it’s far into the future or even just tomorrow, that there are bison right now quietly grazing in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Some of them are lying down. One might be pooping or thinking about it. Another is standing looking out at the trees that are probably clouded in fog. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re there.

The rumors and park signage about bison in Golden Gate Park are true. They’re there and I have now seen them for myself, with my own eyes.

I was out for one of my now-regular morning jogs and it was almost time to turn around and go back to the house but I’d seen something recently about the bison and they were on my mind. Perhaps I would make my way to the famed Bison Paddock.

Besides, I thought to myself, I don’t really have anything to get back to, so I might as well explore the northwestern side of Golden Gate park which I believed was mostly a myth.

But it is myth no longer. I ventured farther and farther into the unknown regions of the park. I saw a sign for the Bison Paddock, so I knew I was close. I wondered what other scenarios would be appropriate to use the word paddock in. I got tired of running.

Then the road forked and went on a slight incline and all of the sudden I was above a field that spread out to my right and there they were, the giant shaggy beasts that used to roam the plains and make thunder with their hooves. There were about eight of them, gently grazing in the paddock like Twitter had never even been invented.

It was the essence of serenity, just watching these animals graze, totally absorbed in the ground right at their feet and unconcerned with anything else. It was beauty.

I reluctantly jogged on and at the next intersection, a man on a bike started yelling at a car just ahead of him, “Why the f***k are you sitting there?! Why the f***k are you just sitting there!?” The car was turning right and had a red light and a chance to turn but didn’t take it. I guess the biker was just in a hurry.

Maybe he could have learned a lesson from the bison on how to not be an asshole.

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Why I Need to Be More Like My Plant Deb

imageI’ve been back in San Francisco for just shy of a week now – 6 days to be exact – and things are different. It’s not just because of the drought and the fact the trees look darker and slightly depressed, and it’s not just because Burning Man is this week so everyone with enough money for a ticket, pyschedelics in their pocket and carpentry skills is out of town. I also don’t think it had anything to do with the earthquake this morning, though I might be wrong about that. Speaking of which – not only am I completely fine, but I didn’t even wake up for it AND this gigantic stack of magazines in my room didn’t fall down. How is that even possible?

Yes, San Francisco feels different. It’s not as beautiful or perfect as I remembered it to be. It’s foggier than I remember, and smaller, more neighborhood-like. I have two new roommates who are pretty much strangers. They replaced two of my best friends and now they’re in my house, so that’s a big change. There’s a new bookstore in my neighborhood, and I’ve already cooked three different meals to eat. That’s unrelated to the bookstore but just thought I should mention it.

Yes, this is a different San Francisco. I don’t wake up at 6 in the morning to commute to a job where people are overpaid to do things that don’t matter that much. I don’t have to pretend to care about jargon or posturing. I see daytime people, the people who have flexible schedules and are not extensions of a brand. I go running, which is really insane. I mean honestly, me, running? Can you imagine it? Shouldn’t I be doing improv? But yes, there’s improv too and it’s delicious and challenging.

Perhaps you’re familiar with botany or gardening, and you’ve at some time or another pruned a plant. That is, you cut off the branches of the plant so that its energy could be devoted to writing, or maybe ceramics.

imageI’m see this time in my life as the post-prune-period, or Phase 3. I’ve cut away some things from my life. Some things in my life have been cut away from me. And now it’s time to grow towards the sun. What could be simpler or more terrifying?

If I were as noble as a plant, as steadfast and forthright as my plant Deb for instance, there would be no question as to what to do next. There would be no baggage, none of this stupid and useless fear of failure that dogs human lives- that dogs my life.

No, if I were a plant like Deb, with my dead leaves gone, I would throw everything I was into growing new leaves to replace them and getting into a sketch troupe that created really compelling material.

At this time when old routines are broken and new ones are being formed, I hope that I can be like Deb and throw myself into the work that I need to be doing, into the work that no one else can do. That’s her lesson for me, and for us all.

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Hey You. Yeah, You. I Smell Your Sandwich.

imageSo it looks like we both got on the same MUNI stop – 4th and King, near AT&T Park in San Francisco. I don’t know about you, but I was just leeching off of Panera’s free wi-fi for a couple hours and enjoying the sunlight in SoMa before heading back into the fog that’s now spilling over Twin Peaks like a fleece blanket made of water droplets from hell.

It also appears that you sat directly behind me and that you brought a little snacky-poo. Because here’s what you don’t know: I’m starving right now and as a result, I have olfactory abilities that rival most predatory animals. In this moment, cheetah snouts ain’t got nothing on this nose. I can’t see you but I can smell you. I can smell you and that mesquite turkey sandwich on ciabatta bread and local provolone cheese with house-made chipotle aioli, crunchy romaine lettuce and thinly sliced red onion to boot. No tomatoes.

I can smell it all. I can smell that you’re wearing the hoodie your startup gave you, the human version of cattle branding, and I can smell your straight cut dark jeans, your thick-rimmed glasses and your sneakers – the popular kind. I smell your haircut, your five o’clock shadow, and the guilt you have for not keeping in better touch with your college roommates.

I smell your insecurity, your fear of failure, and your desire to be accepted. I smell the nervousness that you feel when you enter a room full of people who expect something from you and the fact you hit your snooze button twice this morning and that earlier this week, you cracked the screen of your iPhone when you dropped it on the sidewalk in front of Philz coffee.

I smell your doubt and the creeping sensation that you’re somehow missing the point of it all and the embarrassment you felt earlier today when you thought a cute girl was checking you out but it turned out she was just looking to see if the bus was coming. It wasn’t coming, but that didn’t matter because it wasn’t your bus. I know that because I can smell the numbers of the buses you usually ride wafting off your breath as you exhale the sweet scent of fresh bread and chipotle mayo, because that’s all aioli is. It’s mayonnaise.

And I can smell that you know that. You know that aioli is just mayo. You learned about aioli shortly after you moved here from Wisconsin, and shortly after that you learned the two condiments are essentially one in the same but you still say aioli whenever you can because you want to believe that you’re different now, and that despite the fact you might be missing the point of it all and despite the fact that girl didn’t even see you or your fancy haircut, despite all of it you want to believe that you’ve made something more of yourself.

So it’s aioli, not mayo, because this is San Francisco and this is the MUNI and this is your evening meal on your commute home.

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23 Things That Are Easy to Forget About When You’re Just Living Life in San Francisco

This is not normal.

This is not normal.

1. Weather.

2. Styrofoam.

3. Bugs, specifically mosquitoes and lightening bugs.

4. Free parking.

5. Warm summer nights when you can sit outside in a short-sleeved shirt and enjoy an ice cold beer.

6. Industries besides the tech industry.

7. Conservatives.

8. Free plastic bags at Target.

9. Unkempt facial hair.

10. The midwest.

11. Bad food.

12. Rainfall.

13. Bricks.

14. Restaurants without a vegetarian option.

15. Shirt collars.

16. Humidity.

17. The freedom and responsibility to judge others for all personal choices without any guilt.

18. Sandals. It’s always too cold for my poor little toesies.

19. Seasons.

20. Common sense.

21. The morals you grew up with.

22. Rent under $1,000 a month for a room in a crappy apartment in a less-than-ideal area of town.

23. Adulthood.

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