November 29, 2014

This Week in Noe Valley: The Wishing Tree, 24th St HoliDAYS, And Porcellino Closes

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: The Wishing Tree via NVSF]

November 26, 2014

Closed: Porcellino

After a very brief run as a local all-day restaurant/market serving small plates, sandwiches and pasta in the old Incanto space, Porcellino is closed for good.

A sign in the restaurant window and a brief post on the Porcellino site today announced the sad news:
Porcellino is now closed. Please accept our sincere thanks for the 12+ years of support and friendship. For salumi, please visit Boccalone in the Ferry Building or online at For great Italian food and hospitality, we encourage you to visit our friends down the street at La Ciccia and La Nebbia. Wishing you and your families a holiday season filled with health, joy and laughter.
The closing is a sudden but not entirely unexpected (we’ve never seen a crowd there for lunch). No word on what’s going into the space next but chef and partner Chris Cosentino’s newest restaurant, Cockscomb, will be opening very soon in SOMA – which may have something to do with the timing of Porcellino's demise.

One bright spot: Locals looking for prepared meals will soon have another option nearby. The owners of Bom Dia Market at Sanchez and 29th tell us they hope to open this weekend and will have pre-made Mediterranean dishes for sale as well as organic produce, beer and wine. Eater has uploaded the opening menu here.

November 24, 2014

New Mural On 24th St By Shawn Bullen

The side of the Radio Shack building on 24th Street is getting a new look this week with the addition of a giant greenish blue, black and gold mural. The project is part of a citywide celebration of small business and a promotion involving the American Express national #ShopSmall promotion plus major San Francisco partners including SF Travel, the Office of Small Business, Invest in Neighborhoods, and the SF Chamber of Commerce. We asked around, and Carol Yenne of Small Frys connected us with Dani Sheehan-Meyer of Cliché Noe who in turn connected us to a representative of Small Business Saturday Coalition based in Washington, DC.

The artist, Shawn Bullen, is an accomplished muralist who has painted hundreds of pieces around the country. The artist claims he’s created murals in most cities in North America and plans to create works on every continent in the next five years. He’s also been teaching mural painting for 8 years. You can see some his work on his personal site - - or follow him on Instagram: @shawnbullen1.

We asked the organizers a few questions about the mural and here’s what we learned:

How did you choose the artist for this project? The mural was created through a partnership between American Express and the SF Arts Commission. The artist, Shawn Bullen, was selected by the SF Arts Commission.

How was the design was chosen - was it the artist's discretion or did you give him some guidelines? The artist was free and open to create his own design, representative of his work to include the “Shop Small” icon.  The concept and initial sketches were approved by the Commission, building owner etc.

How is the building owner involved in the project if at all? And is it meant to be a permanent mural? The building owner was involved, and the mural is permanent.

We were also able to connect with Shawn today while he was painting. Shouting up to the lift he was working from, we asked if his mural has a name. He thought for a few seconds and replied: “Dream Big.” Love it.

The mural is a work in progress but looks like it will be done in plenty of time for Small Business Saturday – which is this Saturday - November 29.

[Photos: Murals via NVSF; Shawn selfie via shawnbullen1]

November 20, 2014

Crime Beat: Is Violent Crime in Noe Valley On The Rise?

The big crime news this week is the suspected attempted abduction of a 12-year-old boy from outside St. Philip School. Details are still a bit fuzzy, but the story is pretty scary:
Officials at a school in San Francisco’s Noe Valley are warning students and parents to be vigilant after a man chased a seventh-grader outside the campus.

The incident happened outside Saint Philip the Apostle School at 665 Elizabeth St. about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday. A 12-year-old boy was walking on Elizabeth and turning onto Diamond Street when he sensed someone “rushing toward him” from behind, said Principal Remy Everett. He turned around and saw a man coming straight at him, Everett said. The boy ran and screamed and took cover in a cafe half a block away, Everett said. The man fled. Everett said she believes the man wanted to kidnap the boy.

The incident was witnessed by a girl who is in sixth grade at the school, she said. The assailant never touched the boy, and there was no verbal exchange, “but the very fact that he was chased half a block down is a strong indication of a very dangerous situation,” Everett said.

In a note to parents late Wednesday, Everett wrote that “there was an attempted abduction” outside the school. “Our student did everything correctly when he felt he was in a bad situation, running, screaming and going to the nearest business,” she wrote.

The boy and his grandmother returned to school to report the incident, which is under investigation by police. The case is being classified as a “suspicious act toward a child,” and police can’t confirm that the person intended to kidnap the boy, said Officer Grace Gatpandan, a San Francisco police spokeswoman.

Officers are hoping to speak to more witnesses and obtain video surveillance footage, she said. The assailant was described as a Latino man, about 5 feet 9 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, wearing a white or light gray sweatshirt with a hoodie and navy or gray sweatpants.
Scary, and as stated, actual motivation is unknown. But parents are understandably spooked:

Other crime in the last few weeks or so has us wondering if there is a trend in our little village. Assaults have been reported, as have bank robberies and a recent unexplained cops with shotguns incident.

Reports detailed in the Ingleside Station Newsletter range from bikes stolen, GPS systems left out in the open, etc. But lately there have also been a string of more violent crimes. (We'd love to see reports from the Mission Station, which protects the northern part of Noe Valley, but it hasn't provided quality and timely crime data for years now.) Here are some recent Ingleside entries:
November 8

Aggravated Assault
-- 11:30pm, 29th/Church. A woman walking home was assaulted by a stranger. The victim told Ingleside Officers Ferronato and Kikuchi that she was walking westbound on 29th street, near Church, when she walked past a young man traveling in the opposite direction. A short time after she passed him she felt a shove in her back causing her to fall face first onto the sidewalk. Then she said she was kicked several times in the back before the suspect ran away.

Aggravated Assault of a Police Officer -- 11:57pm, 1700 Blk Dolores. Ingleside Officers Busalacchi and Hackard were dispatched to a call of an auto burglary in progress in the area of 30th and Dolores Streets. When they arrived they noticed a man, matching the description of the burglar, walking northbound on Dolores Street near 30th. The officers told the man to stop but instead of stopping, he took off running. The officers chased the suspect in their patrol car and watched as he jumped into a parked Nissan on the 1700 block of Dolores. The officers stopped their patrol car next to the Nissan, exited their patrol car, and ordered the suspect to get out of the car. Instead of complying, the suspect started the vehicle and drove directly at officer Busalacchi just missing her. The suspect continued driving south on Dolores to San Jose Avenue almost striking another marked police car. The suspects then escaped at a high rate of speed down San Jose and onto southbound #280.
November 9

Hot Prowl Burglary
-- 7:00pm, 1800 Blk Church. A homeowner called police to report a burglary. The victim told Ingleside Officers Wong and Chang that she woke up earlier that day and found her garage door open and two bicycles missing. She said that she remembers closing the garage door the night before with the bicycles in the garage on a rack. The victim said the garage is shared with an upstairs neighbor.
November 15

Aggravated Assault
-- 8:00pm, Valley & Church. A woman walking her dog late at night was attacked by an unknown assailant. The victim told Ingleside Officers Morrow and Siracusa that a man walked up behind her, grabbed her dog leash, and threw it into the street with the dog attached. The victim then turned and grabbed the man’s face while falling to the ground. The suspect then kicked the victim several times in the back while she was on the sidewalk before running away. She got up and went home and called police. She told Morrow and Siracusa that fortunately she and her dog didn’t suffer significant injuries from the attack. She provided a description of the assailant and said she could possibly recognize him.
So what do you think Noe Valley - are we seeing an uptick? Or is it just better reporting thanks to social media? Or, (and more nefarious), are news organizations throwing the Noe Valley label on anything like yesterday's three car arson fire in the Castro to get attention? And if we are seeing an uptick, what should we do about it?

November 16, 2014

Foodie Bridge To Valencia At The Edge Of Noe Valley

There are three new restaurants opening on the edge of Noe Valley that promise to be welcome additions to the dining options between here and Valencia Street. Valencia St. has become a go-to for some of the most innovative (and fun!) restaurants in the City, and now it looks like local chefs are looking for spaces nearby that promise to expand the number of quality restaurants for a great night out.

22nd and Guerrero isn't downtown Noe Valley, but according to the map we use for our 'hood it's right on the edge. Some sources call it the Mission, but that's not quite right. Let's go ahead and call it Noe Gulch. The new restaurants there ...

The restaurant formerly known as Company (and at one time home to the foodie Mecca Flying Saucer) has become Hoffman's Grill & Rotisserie. Chef/owner Karen Hoffman, who has worked at Spago and the Four Seasons, has created a casual restaurant "serving comfort food at its finest." Everything is made in-house including bread, pasta and sausages and the focus is on "the quality of the ingredients." Early visitors on Yelp give it 4.5 stars.

Across the street in what used to be Beast and the Hare, Brett Cooper (formerly of Outerlands and with help from the Daniel Patterson Group) is working on Aster, which Inside Scoop reports is a 45 seat restaurant that will serve ingredient-driven Californian fare sourced from small but emerging local farms. (Fittingly, the name Aster means small local flower.) Opening date was reportedly this November, although on a recent walk past the space it didn't appear an opening was imminent.

Slightly south, but still close by, former Ubuntu chef Aaron London is planning to open an as yet unnamed restaurant on Valencia at 26th (formerly Toad's and more recently South End Grill n' Bar). Inside Scoop has the lowdown here too: It seats 49 and will cater to more than vegetarians (although "veggie heavy") and will serve fish, meat and seafood too. Look for that to open this Spring.

All told, Noe Valley dining options continue to attract attention. Add the above to La Ciccia, Contigo, Firefly, Saru Sushi and other options, and it's looking good for quality fare expanding on the edge of Noe Valley.

[Photo: Hoffman's Grill & Rotisserie on Yelp]

November 12, 2014

Kids Selling Magazine Subscriptions - Should We Worry?

Passed along without comment:
Hi Editors,
I was wondering if you had had any reports of a door to door magazine sales scam going around? A young man from an organization called PS Circulation rang our door bell today and the scenario was this: a well dressed young man (with a tie on) rings your bell, he asks you about your hobbies, your interests, tells you he is working on his people skills, he eventually tells you he is selling magazines and he gets "points" for each sale - and that part of this is a fundraiser for the Third St. Children's Center In Mission Bay. Next thing, he asks you for a drink of water (and some people have invited them in!) and eventually convinces you to buy some magazines and give him a check.

Just curious if anyone else had written in about concerns with this organization because it seems like a scam from what I read online.

**** (Noe Valley resident for 36 years)
What say you, Noe Valley?

November 9, 2014

Open: L’Atelier Artist Collective

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, L’Atelier on 24th St. opened its doors today. L'Atelier (which means workshop in French) is a collective of “upcycling” artists from the Bay Area and Oregon. It sells everything from jewelry, clothing and accessories to refurbished furniture. The shop is in the newly created space between Heroine and the UPS store on 24th at Castro.

Owned by artists Cynthia and Anthony Webb, the store is reminiscent of the once-popular Urban Nest with an eco-friendly local artist twist. And no, it's not on Yelp yet.

4102 24th St
San Francisco

November 7, 2014

Local Author Alexis Coe Reads At Folio Books This Sunday

Alright so who is Alexis Coe? She's kind of a big deal, actually:
Alexis Coe has contributed to The Atlantic, Slate, the Paris Review Daily, The Hairpin, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Modern Farmer, and many others. She is a columnist at The Awl and The Toast, and holds an MA in American history. Before moving to San Francisco, Alexis was a research curator at the New York Public Library.
And the book? It's her first, and it's garnering great reviews. Here's the description of Alice + Freda Forever from Amazon:
In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation—it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again.

Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter—and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail—including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.

Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes—painting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world.
Alexis will be at Folio Books on Sunday, November 9th, at 4pm. She promises erotomania and murder:

[Official Site: Alexis Coe]

November 6, 2014

Open: Mapamundi Kids

Peekaboutique, the used children’s clothing and consignment store has been for sale for some time – and this week a new shop is in place. The new store is called Mapamundi Kids and a sign in the window reads:
Introducing a children’s store with an eye for design; curating a selection of the best toys, books, and gifts from the world over. 
Mapamundi Kids
1306 Castro St (at 24th St)
San Francisco, CA 94114

 And of course it’s already got a 4 star review on Yelp.

NVV Nov 2014: We Read It So You Don't Have To

The Noe Valley Voice is published ten times a year and has been a neighborhood fixture since 1977. Here are notable highlights from the latest issue. Links are to stories we've covered here on NVSF or other resources. Follow the NVV link at the bottom for full articles and all the ads.

November 2014

Front Page: Neighborhood jittery after a rash of serious crimes; Local author Ruthanne Lum McCunn self-publishes a new novel, Chinese Yankee; Local journalist Joshua Davis' new book Spare Parts launches Dec 2 - catching a reading at Folio Books.

Letters: Two condolence letters for Bruno, "a dog who loved food."

Feature: In memory of Nancy Roddick, esteemed member of the local community and wife of NVMPA President Bob Roddick, who died in August.

Cost of Living in Noe: $1.4 million to $3.7 million if you want to buy a house right now.

Store Trek: Blue Ova Health (1414 Castro St at Jersey and 24th)

Rumors: Pasta Pomodoro is no more - the owner is doing seismic upgrades and confirms that the building will reopen as a difference restaurant with a new operator early next year; The Hooters ABC License Application posted on the old Bliss Bar was a hoax - the location is being renovated and will become a restaurant that is "family-friendly with food and cocktails" but no word on timing; The rumor of the the fortress-like home at 801 Sanchez which hasn't been occupied for 40 years being sold for $10 million was just that - a rumor (it's not for sale and still owned by Jean K. Tinsley, a famous aviatrix that lives in Atherton and hopes to some day return); Peekaboutique has sold - the owner is not disclosing the buyer until the transfer is complete; Independent Nature has been evicted and is not planning to reopen a retail store - although the owner will continue her landscaping services [Ed.-- No mention of "greedy landlords"]; Tacolicious on Church St added to their sign - "Office" (no tacos are served there); A bomb threat on Sanchez in Oct turned out to be just training grenades; One-Stop Party Shop on Church St reports the most popular costumes this year were any character in Frozen and the Malificent Dragon Hoodie.

[The Noe Valley Voice]