Four stops for the perfect meal

In a perfect world, these foods and drinks would all be served in one restaurant. Nonetheless, Nopa restaurant, Herbivore, Bean Bag Coffee House, and Cafe Divis are all conveniently located within blocks of one another. It’s not an impossible task to hit all four restaurants in one day, but four times as time consuming. I’m going to go ahead and say it just might be worth it.

Blue Bottle Coffee Martini at Nopa Restaurant, photo by: Angelica G.

The Palms Salad at Cafe Divis: mixed greens, goat cheese, avocado, cucumber, tomato, pecans, and balsamic dressing.

Dinner at Creme De La Crepe 101509Th

Nutella crepe at Bean Bag Coffee House, photo by vmiramontes.

Shish kebab at Herbivire: char-broiled vegetables with tofu, served with lemon-garlic sauce over brown rice.

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New Politics bring beats and break dancing to The Fillmore

New Politics is a rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark and is made up of members David Boyd, Soren Hansen and Louis Vecchio. The three members moved to New York in 2009 after signing with RCA Records.

New Politics performed at The Fillmore Sunday, marking the last stop of the two and a half month tour with The Dirty Heads.

The Fillmore is a beautiful venue with an impeccable sound system. The ground floor is an expansive square providing ample space for the audience to move around.

New Politics could take over the world with the energy they embody in a live performance setting. I expected a very lively show based on having seen their music videos, but their stage presence blew those short films out of the water. In the last few months, Boyd has become well-known for the combination of dance moves he incorporates into the live performance. The interaction between Boyd and Hansen was fluid and entertaining. During one song, Soren held up his guitar to imitate a machine gun and put it to David’s head. It was quite like a short theatrical play. The performance was amazing, beginning to end.

Many fans who came to the show specifically to see The Dirty Heads walked away with a newfound appreciation for New Politics.


Streets littered with art

The age long question remains: is creative energy expressed on public property truly art or simply vandalism?

The walls and sidewalks in Nopa and Western Addition are filled with drawings, spray painted images, paintings and posters. Some represent the outcome of spontaneous artistic expression, while other pieces of work reflect a political or social statement.

Street art became a subject of public debate when the notorious British stencil artist Banksy released the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. The film exposes the previously secret world of sought after street vandals who consider city streets as their personal canvas.

After the film was released, people began spotting street art and guessing the identity of the artist behind the creations. Banksy imitators were popping up right and left. A revolution had emerged.

San Francisco is no stranger to the street art phenomenon. The city is an always changing, never ending art show. Odd Wall is one of the many websites that follows this trend and documents the gallery of the streets.



New rules to control record crowd at 100th Bay to Breakers

As the centennial Bay to Breakers approaches, the question lingers whether it may be the last.

Bay to Breakers is a 12k foot race that starts near The Embarcadero and ends in Ocean Beach. It was created to lift civic morale after the 1906 earthquake and has been a San Francisco tradition since 1912. Race organizers announced restrictions for this year’s race to take place May 15, leading to an outcry from citizens and neighborhood organizations alike.

In past years, Bay to Breakers has left a significantly unpleasant impact on the North of Panhandle and Western Addition neighborhoods with instances of property destruction, excessive littering, and alcohol abuse.

“I work in this neighborhood and I’ve worked Bay to Breakers for the past probably four years straight and it’s just out of control,” said Ruth LeBeau. “It’s a good time, but it’s like too much of a good time.”

Many people feel that the race owner and organizer Anschutz Entertainment Group is to blame.

When AEG claimed ownership of the event in 2006, registration prices increased and resources such as a police force, port-a-potties and trash receptacles were reduced to cut costs.

Prior to 2006, non-profit groups were responsible for organizing the event. Conor Johnston, co-chair of the Citizens for the Preservation of Bay to Breakers, an organization founded to assure that the traditions of the race are preserved, believes that ownership should be restored to non-profit associations.

“Rather than targeting those resources toward resolving specific problems, as we suggest, AEG continually chooses to govern by prohibition,” said Johnston. “They throw the fun, the floats, the uniqueness of Bay to Breakers out with the proverbial bathwater.”

AEG is disorganized and motivated only by a desire to make profits, according to Johnston.

“They don’t care about the culture of the event or what it represents to San Francisco,” said Johnston. “They care about making the event more profitable for them.”

President of the North Panhandle Neighborhood Association Jarie Bolander has been working closely with eight other organizations, city offices and departments to implement improvements and guidelines for this year’s Bay to Breakers. The nine organizations came together in June 2010 and created the Neighborhood Task Force to protect neighbors from disorderly conduct and unsafe conditions. Bolander agrees that proper management is lacking and is the root cause of the chaos from the past few years.

Bay to Breakers has been steadily becoming more and more out of hand each year since 2007, according to Bolander.

“I think what started to happen was that the attitude of the crowd changed to a little bit more aggressive and violent,” said Bolander. “People were banging on neighbors’ doors and misbehaving. They were urinating in the middle of the street and getting into fights.”

Several members of the organizations expressed concerns of violence, alcohol abuse and public urination in a letter to Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors after last year’s race and asked for his support in implementing regulations for this year’s event.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi addressed these concerns, approving the “zero tolerance policy” on alcohol so that open containers would not be permitted on the course. There will be 1,200 portable toilets located along the race course and Waste Diversion Stations at each mile marker.

“We are optimistic that the changes we’ve made will lead to a central control,” said Bolander. “Things are organized better. We want this event to go on for another 200 years.”

Although CPBB have advocated discontent for the “zero tolerance policy” on alcohol and a ban on floats, city officials, neighborhood associations, police and race organizers have deemed them to be a threat to public safety.

“Last year the enforcement was pretty lax. This year the police have assured us that we are enforcing the open container laws. If you are being belligerent, they will throw you in jail,” said Bolander.

Even though alcohol is officially banned from the race, the enforcement ratio of 200 police officers to 100,000 participants is not sufficient to carry out the regulation, according to CPBB. They suggest that participants who choose to drink be discreet about it.

“I think coming up with a task force is fine. I doubt that they are going to have a lot of ability to really enforce stricter rules,” said Nopa resident Kale Williams. “I doubt that they’re really going to be able to keep people from drinking just because they are so vastly outnumbered.”

Bay to Breakers organizers have been responding to citizens’ concerns. They plan to tackle the issue of alcohol consumption by setting up “sobering tents” along the race path and providing participants with emergency medical workers, free water and juice, and a place to take a nap, according to race spokesman Sam Singer.

Merchants and neighbors are also concerned about the trash that accumulates in the streets during the race, but understand that it is part of the nature of the event.

The neighborhood Task Force has been recruiting volunteers to clean up after participants during and after the race.

DoloresDeals.org has joined the fight to save the race by organizing the Bay to Breakers Pub Crawl Pre-Party and Pit Stop. They are donating $4 for each ticket sold toward neighborhood cleanup efforts.

The outcome of the efforts to make Bay to Breakers a cleaner and safer event will truly be tested as a record number of 55,000 runners have registered for this year’s race and over 100,000 unregistered participants will flood the streets.

Here is a video of the Bay to Breakers course path:


Will Bay to Breakers break the bay area?

The centennial Bay to Breakers is just around the corner. Neighborhood associations, city officials and San Francisco residents have been planning relentlessly to make the race an outrageously fun cultural experience, just a bit safer and cleaner than in past years. Jarie Bolander, president of the North Panhandle Neighborhood Association, teamed up with eight other organizations to create the Neighborhood Task Force on the 100th Bay to Breakers to improve and help preserve the event. Let’s find out what neighbors in North Panhandle and Western Addition had to say about the task force.


Divisadero Farmer’s Market brings the community together

The Divisadero Farmer’s Market is a true neighborhood delight.

Every Sunday, neighbors come out to stock up on fresh, local produce while enjoying hot off the grill burgers, smoothies, coffee and other treats.

The pastry and bread stand is a customer favorite. The guy who runs the stand is extremely energetic and personable. He hands out generous samples of every treat as well as humorous pins that depict happy slices of bread, and the universal hand sign for “cookie.”

The bear claw is unlike any other: flaky on the outside, soft on the inside, filled with almond paste and covered in powdered sugar.

“I just moved into the neighborhood and stumbled upon this Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago. It has a wonderful community feel and can I just say the pain au chocolat is to die for,” said schoolteacher Lin Davis.

There is always live music accompanying the lovely community vibe.

Customers come here to visit specific booths, although new ones always pop up. The ravioli vendor in a favorite of the crowd, offering square cases of dough filled with savory fillings such as butternut squash, cheese, spinach and lobster.

The trail mix and nut stand is also a neighborhood favorite, although it is discontinued until the fall because fruit stands will comprise a majority of the farmer’s market for the summer.

Rain or shine, the Divisadero Farmer’s Market is open for business.

Is it next Sunday yet?

Grove St at Divisadero
San Francisco, CA 94117

hours: Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Update: man with anti-Obama sign attacked in North Panhandle

A man who set up a table of anti-Obama political literature was attacked in North Panhandle on Monday, April 4. The man was holding up a sign depicting the president with a Hitler mustache.

The man who was attacked had set up his table in front of the Bank of America at 1275 Fell Street.
Initial reports described the man to be an Obama supporter, but witnesses have identified the 29-year-old Daly City man to be an activist in support of Lyndon LaRouche, a left-wing politician who opposes the president.

“The initial story was incomplete as the Obama poster depicted the President with a moustache,” said Capt. Denis O’Leary of the Police Department’s Park Station. “That fact changed the theory of the motive in the attack.”

A man and woman approached him, tore one of the signs and shook the table, causing the political literature to fall to the ground.

One of the attackers kicked the victim in the hand, O’Leary said.

Witnesses described the attackers as a white woman with curly brown hair who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and an Asian man with long black hair wearing a gray baseball cap, dark jeans, and a gray sweatshirt, O’Leary told CBS News San Francisco.

“I went to the Bank of America and saw the poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache, but didn’t think much of it,” said Nopa resident Kate DeLaurentiis. “I definitely didn’t think the man would be attacked.”

The attackers have not been located and no arrests have been made. O’Leary encourages anyone with information to contact the police department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575- 4444.