January 30, 2011

Noe Valley: Home to the Best Regional Italian Food in the US

The secret is out. One of the best Italian restaurants in the country is right here in the neighborhood. Mark Bittman wrote in the New York Times this Friday what many in the area have known for some time:
On my last visit to San Francisco I found myself near the once-remote corner of 30th and Church (I think this is called Upper Noe Valley, though there are disagreements) three times. One visit was to Incanto — which is good — and to Tataki, my friend Casson Trenor’s excellent “sustainable sushi” restaurant. The third was my now-regular visit to La Ciccia, the Sardinian restaurant that holds close and well to its roots. Its menu, written in the Sardinian dialect (translated, fortunately), is small and appealing.

Start with pani guttiau, a kind of carta musica, or super-thin flatbread baked with oil, rosemary and pecorino. (Sardinia is one of the world’s best places for sheep’s cheese.) It wouldn’t be amiss to order a thin-crusted pizza or two, also; the one with big fat capers, pecorino, a little mozzarella, oil and oregano is a personal favorite. There is good salumi here, too, including cooked pancetta and cured raw bacon, both of which are divine....
You can read the full love letter here.

La Ciccia, 291 30th Street; (415) 550-8114; laciccia.com

[NY Times: My Go-To Places for Regional Italian Food in San Francisco]
[Photo: NY Times]

Town Square: Community Meeting Reminder

The next community meeting regarding the Noe Valley Town Square is this Wednesday, February 2nd. Details here.

What: Town Square Community Meeting
When: Wednesday, February 2, 2011; 7:15pm
Where: Alvarado Elementary School; Enter the cafeteria on 22nd St between Eureka St and Douglass St

January 29, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Chamber Music: NVCM Presents IOCSF

In case you missed it, Noe Valley Chamber Music has changed venues while Noe Valley Ministry undergoes renovations. The third concert of the 2010-2011 season is Sunday, January 30th (tomorrow), and tickets are still available. All concerts this season are at Holy Innocents Church on Fair Oaks near 26th St.

Sunday's concert features International Orange Chorale of San Francisco, performing "...new music for unaccompanied chamber choir including one of the first performances of new works by Milton Babbitt, Joshua Saulle, and David Harris." (Update: The New York Times just published Milton Babbitt's obituary.)

NVCM's Executive Director Tiffany Loewenberg tells us that "refreshments will be served, and free childcare will be provided. Tickets are $15-$18, children 12 & under free, and can be purchased online at www.nvcm.org, by phone at 415.648.5236 or at the door."

(Tiffany would also like to acknowledge Circle Bank for sponsoring the move of NVCM's Steinway grand piano. The "last hurrah" for the piano before heading to storage will be the February concert featuring pianist Robin Sutherland.)

What: International Orange Chorale of San Francisco in concert at Noe Valley Chamber Music.

When: Sunday, January 30, 2011; 4:00 pm

Where: Holy Innocents Episcopal Church
455 Fair Oaks Street (between 25th and 26th Streets)

January 28, 2011

Scam Alert: Curb Number Painters Target Noe Valley

An old scam is back. The economy must be improving if the dregs of the con artist world can afford to flyer the neighborhood and buy stencils and spray paint. Murphstahoe tweeted (with photo) the first reference to this go-around and we've seen many since. Today we received the above image of the succinct notice left on L's door (typos and grammar errors preserved):

Tomorrow fresh new address numbers will be painted on the curb in front of all the homes on your block, this is an important service as this is where Police, Fire, Delivery and Emergency personnel first look for your home. We estimate the value of the curb number to be $15.00, however, all donations, large or small, are greatly appreciated, if you do not wish to have this paint service performed, please tape a Notice to your curb and we will bypass your home.

Thank you!
Community Services
We couldn't find anything on the SFGov website to explain the process for painting curb numbers (however if you'd like to paint the curb around your driveway red check this out). But there are plenty of references to this scam around the country: Los Angeles (2009); Cleveland (2008); Gilroy (2006); Houston (2002); and (originally?) Los Angeles (1997) with the comment: "The scam has been going on sporadically for more than 20 years." Even Yelpers are on to this one.

So when you see address numbers painted on the curb...Is that resident a rube? A target?

January 26, 2011

Noe Valley: Home to the Best Home-Style Fried Chicken in the Bay Area

We love our fried food in Noe. In addition to the best glazed donut in SF, Bay Area Bites says Noe Valley is also home to the Bay Area's best home-style fried chicken:

Firefly knows how to do homey. Their menu changes regularly, so keep an eye out for this nostalgic gem, The Fried Chicken of Your Dreams with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Peas & Carrots and a Damn Fine Buttermilk Biscuit. Yes, that is what it's really called. The chicken is tender and well-seasoned, and the skin has that magic quality of sticking to the meat so that you get a mouthful of crunchy goodness in each bite. The sides are classic wins, and the biscuit served with local honey is damn fine, just as advertised.

Bonus: All Firefly meats are hormone and antibiotic free. And in case you're craving it after reading this, it's not on the menu tonight.

[Bay Area Bites: Bay Area Fried Chicken Guide]

[Photo: Bay Area Bites]

January 21, 2011

Plant*SF Wants to Green Your Sidewalk in Noe Valley

The parklet idea is spreading to a sidewalk near you. Jersey Street resident Tamar writes to tell us about a Plant*SF grant in Noe:
Plant*SF was awarded a Community Challenge Grant from the City to install demonstration sidewalk gardens in Noe Valley by May 31st. These gardens will transform concrete into beautiful landscapes that will highlight a variety of edging options and different planting choices.

The minimum requirements are that you have sidewalk in front of your property that can be removed to make way for a garden. Drought tolerant plants are usually selected for these gardens so that very little (if any) watering is required once plants are established, which makes maintenance very easy.

Costs? In some cases, the garden might be fully paid for with the grant, but in other cases, the grant would pay for half the costs, asking property owners to match with at least 50%. It usually costs about $1000 to put in a sidewalk garden (includes getting permit, removing concrete, bringing in dirt, plants, river rock mulch, edging treatments, and then doing the planting itself). Property owners will ultimately be responsible for the gardens.
Wondering how they look? Tamar also reports:
I worked with Plant*SF when I had a place on Harrison Street and I can't tell you what a HUGE difference those gardens made on our street. They are just lovely, and I'm certain that once these gardens start popping up, it will set a great example for other residents to follow. These sidewalk gardens serve an important function in collecting rainwater that might otherwise go into storm drains and overflow our system during heavy rains. By absorbing the water into the ground, these gardens help recharge our groundwater supply as well.
If you're interested in learning more and submitting your property as a potential site for one of these sidewalk garden grants, email: Tamar Hurwitz.

Update: A PDF of the application is available here.

[NVSF: Green Your Sidewalk]

Crime Beat: Not Just The Facts, Ma'am

The Mission District Police Station Newsletter came back online after a long hiatus / technical glitch (...we have finally fixed our months-long computer problem, which prevented us from transmitting the newsletter to most of you).

The wait has been worth it. A sample of the prose you'll see every week:

On the many posts about prostitution (née faux amour): ...a soiled dove ...a wannabe paramour...

On assault and robbery: ...a truculent thug ...a surly scoundrel ...remorseless reprobates...

On vagrancy and warrant arrests: ...a sinister subject skulking sinisterly ...an aggressive and obnoxious beggar ...a glib and cunning prevaricator...

On questionable gender: ...arrested an alleged man for verbally and physically abusing his girlfriend...

On contraband and drugs: ...the pernicious poison they were peddling...

Frustrated English major or aspiring novelist? Either way, it's an entertaining way to get your crime news for parts of Noe and the Mission. If you'd like to subscribe here's how.

January 17, 2011

Noe Valley: Home of the Best Glazed Doughnut in SF

File this under "not good for you." 7x7 magazine says it has found the best glazed doughnut in SF and it's in Noe Valley:

Happy Donuts, 3801 24th St. (Noe Valley)
Appearance: Big and puffy, with a crackly glaze.
Sweetness level: Pretty darn sweet, but not achingly so.
Melt-in-mouth factor: Excellent. It’s light, airy, and super fresh.
Happy Donuts is also one of the few (only?) places in Noe that's open 24 hours.

[Refreshingly Unhip: The Best Glazed Doughnuts in SF]

January 16, 2011

Noe Valley's Super Bowl Celebrity

Today's LA Times has a charming item on Noe Valley resident Larry Jacobson - a member of the Never Miss a Super Bowl Club. According to the newspaper, the 71-year old former math teacher has been to all 44 games, starting with the NFL showcase event in 1967 at the Coliseum. He'll also be featured in a national ad campaign promoting Visa's "Super Bowl Trip for Life" sweepstakes - so you may see him on TV these days too. He's pictured here in his Noe Valley living room with souvenir footballs from 24 games.

[LA Times: Larry Jacobson is the Super Bowl's can't miss kid]
[Photo: LA Times]

Crime Beat: Armed Robbery

Gwen sent us the anecdote below preceded by this note: "Please put the word out for people to keep their devices put away and their eyes open right now. There's definitely a crime increase in Noe Valley. I've heard of several other instances and there may be more I haven't heard of."
Tonight our kidsitter witnessed (thank goodness from a distance) a mugging that occurred at gunpoint on the corner of 24th and Chattanooga. She was too far away to see any distinguishing characteristics besides the fact that there were two tall hooded men pointing a gun at another man on this corner. The muggers escaped down Chattanooga onto Jersey St. before the police arrived.

According to the Mission Police District newsletter, this happened around 7:50pm on January 12th. But there is some good news: "Two citizens were robbed at gunpoint. Officers Bernal & Margreiter broadcast the suspect descriptions and possible location. Sergeant Burke and Officers Hui. Ferreira, Acosta, Norris, Gray, & Gonzalez located and arrested the two robbers, and recovered the victims’ property."

January 14, 2011

Crime Beat: Home Invasion

Rebecca wrote to let us know:
...my home was invaded by an intruder about 3:00am this morning. My fiance and I were asleep and woke up with someone in our bedroom. Luckily we weren't hurt but they did get away with a few items. We live at 23rd between Dolores and Chattanooga (closer to Dolores). We have always felt very safe...but now, not so much.
She also explained that the intruder went through the front door.

Whether or not it's relevant in this case, it's worth pointing out that keys are easily copied. Got a nanny? Gardener? Are you a new renter? Change the locks. Oh but you trust your nanny/gardener/landlord? What about everyone they know?

Waking up to a stranger in your bedroom is frightening. Protect yourself.

January 13, 2011

Sign Up! NERT In Noe Valley

Vicki Rosen is hoping people are interested in NERT training here in Noe Valley:
Hi all,

The purpose of this email is to gauge your interest in signing up for NERT training (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) at the Upper Noe Rec Center. This training provides an invaluable education in how to help our neighbors, families and ourselves in a disaster situation (earthquake especially).

We have been given two options by the SF Fire Dept. which provides this training:
  • Thursday evenings, 6:30-9:30 pm, February 24 - March 31 (6 sessions), or
  • Saturdays, 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, March 12 and 26 (2 sessions)
Please let me and Olga Howells know if you are interested and which session will work for you. Olga is coordinating this so it is important that you to copy her on your reply.

Other NERT sessions are available throughout the city, but this is an opportunity to take it in our neighborhood.
Contact: Vicki Rosen and Olga Howells.

LOLA To Make A Run Of It

It's confirmed. LOLA is here to stay. She writes:

I received an awesome reception from the neighbors and have decided to stay. I managed to move out of my mission studio somehow between Christmas (in the RAIN) and New Years Day (more RAIN). Okay, so I am High and Dry now...feeling very much at home now with my dressform, the window, and my machines!! At present, I am open 7 days a week from 12-6 p.m. and otherwise by appointment.

[NVSF: 12 Days of Christmas Pop-Up Store]

Bye Christmas

Yup, holidays are over. Last day for Christmas tree pickup is nigh. Can't be bothered to dispose of your dead holiday cheer before tomorrow's deadline? Just drag it to the corner and someone will get rid of it. Don't worry - no one will know it was you.

[Photo: elainewigzell]

Community Meeting: Noe Valley Town Square

The following is from Todd David:


Landscape Architect, Chris Guillard will present 3 different "plans" for the Town Square. We hope to have discussions regarding all three options. And possibly vote on which option we should move forward with.

We will also have updates as to where we are in the acquisition process as well as fund raising process.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Todd David
Residents for Noe Valley Town Square
Glad to see the process moving forward, but hope there's more to it than talking about designs for an as-yet-unfunded project.

January 5, 2011

J-Church: Muni Is Burning

A reader sent in this item about another hazard of riding an incident today on the J-Church:
Outbound train torn overhead wires at Clipper street. We can see the giant burn mark on the rear window where the wire made contact with the train. We can also see the power line (the lowest on the right side) stopping at the train power grip before going to the ground.

No comments from the MUNI driver. Hearsay is that everybody is fine and was successfully disembarqued. Power line crew at the scene at 3:30pm.

Photo: Burn-scarred train at the corner of Church @ Clipper.

Noe Valley: Most Expensive Neighborhood in SF?

What's the best neighborhood in SF? Depends on what you're looking for, but if it's the least house for your money Noe is err... notable. From a 7x7 article about the 7 best neighborhoods in the city, Noe gets only this quick mention:
Most House for Your Money: NOPA ($243 per square foot, $635,000 median selling price) We all want to know where to buy. And SF’s newest neighborhood, replete with everything an urban dweller needs ... shakes out at only $243 per square foot. Compare that to $712 in Pac Heights and $899 in Noe Valley. It’s not surprising that nearby Western Addition, with its gritty image, closely trails Nopa at $322 per square foot, but it is surprising that chichi Nob Hill comes in at only $346. (That $346 probably won’t get you parking or green space, but hey, you can’t have everything.)
NOB HILL: $346 per square foot
[7x7: The 7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco]

Announced: Two Birds Boutique in Former Cooks Boulevard Space

Just spotted this evening - a new women's clothing store is moving into the old Cook's Boulevard space (CB closed in March 2010). The windows are papered over with fashion magazine pages and a sign in the window says:
two birds boutique
Flying in mid-February
(we're getting our nest ready!)
Also on that stretch of Castro at 24th, the pop-up boutique LOLA hung a more permanent shingle and appears to be staying awhile.