I was reading one of those bullshit lists the other day about the best burrito in the city. I eagerly clicked on the article, only to see a whole entire article of specious bullshit. My issues ranged from the fact it only covered about three districts–omitted entirely the Excelsior, the Bayview, and the Sunset, and it lost all credibility at the notation of giving La Taqueria on Mission and 25th a spot on the list. That place makes the best tacos on the planet, but their burritos? Not worth it. Not even close.

 

(One of such lists, but not the exact one I’m referring to: http://sfist.com/2013/10/09/best_places_to_get_a_burrito_in_san.php )

I know I’m usually prone to complaints about the neighborhood–and I have a fucking ton. But one constant is our lack of exposure on lists like these–because this is our fucking bread and butter. How the shit do you leave one of the only neighborhoods that still has a sizable Latino population and talk about how the best burrito place is on Union street?

Here’s my rundown:

Best Burrito: Taqueria Guadalajara–so here’s the rub–this place definitely serves best burrito for my tastes in the hood, assuredly one of the best in the city. Service is quick, staff is fine, prices are awesome. Pretty hard to shit on this place–it only loses points in that the flavor isn’t exactly consistent–it ranges from one of the best flavors to ever pass my lips to “fuck man, I wanted sushi. Should have totally just gotten sushi.”

Honorable mentions: El Farolito, Don Chuys.

One I’ve never tried but should have to keep the list honest: Taqueria Vallarta.

Worst Burrito: La Iguana Azul

This one, was, sadly easier than expected. If I looked past everything about this past that was shady (a lot is shady) and it is shady-the burrito is objectively bad. Chewy meat (bit down on a piece of cartilage too–that’s not great for experiencing mediocre flavoring), overall bland outside of the cheese flavoring of which there was enough of…or more than enough of.

I’ve been here three times, and I can say the staff here is almost ironically the most friendly–considering. But I have to say this place hasn’t killed me or anything, some really hold no ill will for the spot. But even the Yelp pictures don’t exactly do the place favors–EVEN when paired with good reviews: https://i1.wp.com/s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/BWjkMoGIGToJR511IXpJiw/ls.jpg

“MMM…Shrimp covered in mustardy jizzy looking stuff. And a 90% foil background? GET OUT. WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE READING THIS?!?! I GOTTA GO EAT HERE!”

 

But let me clear this: I’ve not had any other food here. So if this place is worth it’s shit in other arenas–I’m NOT your huckleberry.

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(I’M your Huckleberry, dummy)

So as an open end: did I miss anything? In this nice summer weather, I’m actually willing to engage an open mind instead of cursing at you–what is our best Burrito place? And more hilariously, what’s the worst and why?

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Thank you, EOMM

Posted: May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Firstly: http://m.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/lee-celebrating-the-success-of-small-business/Content?oid=2930606

That’s relevant.

What’s so goddamned shocking is that these people made real changes, in a tangible way, and they’ve been paid zero fucking dollars and all have other day jobs.
Take note EAG. It’s a good idea to burn some calories if you want something done. Maybe get a day job too. Might help?

Thank you EOMM.

I often notice in neighborhood dialogues–the most feared word and welcomed word of modern Cities: Gentrification. On one hand–it forces out old residents, it makes neighborhoods stale and unaffordable. On the other, it does, without doubt clean them up, add some new restaurants, and get push out stores that frankly fucking suck.

I was looking for some sort of outline–is the Excelsior gentrifying? Are the local fears justified? Are the new, would be gentrifiers (they exist) seeing any success? So I found a list from SF Gate–Accessible here: http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2015/03/21/you-know-youre-in-a-gentrified-neighborhood-when/#photo-414416

You can look at it yourself–but from 1-36 this is how I see it:

1: Google Buses: I’m pretty sure no. I’ve seen some tech buses up at Balboa, but that’s it. So save your protest banners, people.

2: Trash that contains tons of IPA bottles, Del Fina Pizza Boxes, etc: No. Just absolutely not. Most of our trash consists of soiled furniture, flattened fast food cups, and broken bottles of beer you’d normally serve guests when you wanted them the fuck out of your house.

3. Construction Cranes: Hopefully someday. But the closest thing we have to construction cranes is…uh…we have nothing at all that is even close to those. I don’t even have some shitbag witticism to remark here.

4. Dive Bars Closing: Nope. We have some dive bars. For fucking sure. Some of which are divier than Greg Louganis. And thankfully.

5. Whole Foods Opens: Are you high? We have a Pacific Super, a Safeway, a Manilla Market, and a…Whole Foods up the road. Okay, got us there.

6. People are using Dating Apps: Maybe they are…

7. A Trendy Farm to Table Restaurant or two: Sort of–I mean, the Dark Horse does a fucking great job of making some really great and different food. But it’s not pretentious–not like this. I feel like I’d be dick punched if I asked them about how they felt about a “Farm to Table” Experience.

8. Even new Restaurants are Closing due to High Rents: AHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA. No. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Ah.

9. Progressive publications shutter: Okay–so this doesn’t apply. But I left it in there for consistency. POINTS!

10. Brunch Spots Appear: Brunch? You mean the only excuse to get drunk outside of an airport before noon without being called an alcoholic? Sadly, SADLY, no.

11. Increased Rents and Evictions: Not much. Real Estate Values indeed–but to my knowledge evictions aren’t up in the neighborhood just publicly shared as the cheapest rent in the city. Perhaps I’m wrong? Well, no I’m not.

http://www.antievictionmappingproject.net/ellis.html?hc_location=ufi

and:

http://blog.zumper.com/2015/03/san-francisco-rent-prices-continue-rapid-rise-february/

12-13. Bike Shops open, more bike lanes appear: Nope. Would be a welcome addition. I saw a homeless guy carrying a bike tire the other day at Ocean and Mission. Perhaps he was scoping real estate?

14. Coffee Shops filled with Macbooks: We have some decent Coffee Shops in the Excelsior. They are not filled with Macbooks.

15. Fitness Stores: Well–the personal training studio closed…so no.

16. Promising Housing Skeletons (ie-old Victorians to attract new buyers): Yes-fucking finally. Yes. It’s limited, but undoubtedly exists.

17. Gentrification seeps into the opposing hoods: I wish someone would remind the Mission or Bernal of this. Not in our fucking case.

18. Influx of Young Professionals: Actually yes. In real estate buyers. This we do have in droves. But they don’t shop on Mission. Who shops on Mission?

19. Parklets and such: We have one. We also have a pretty…okay “Persia Triangle”. But don’t call home about the latter…it’s basically a parking lot surrounded with benches.

20. Expensive Strollers: Okay–this is stupid.

21. Pampered Pets: The rooster next door to me sure sounds pampered, but I can’t be sure.

22. Not even addressing this one. It’s dumb.

23. Murals: Supposed to be a starting point. We’re sort of beginning that.

24. Bakeries: We have Chinese and Salvadorean bakeries. Does that count? I mean, Moon Cakes and sliced hot dog rolls don’t appeal to everyone, but I’d actually say our existent bakeries are not awful. Some are. Some aren’t. But in the end–I’m not sure these are the bakeries the list is talking about. Actually, I’m 100% sure.

25: I don’t even understand this one. It’s stupid, so it’s skipped.

26: Niche Craft Shops: 100% no. The most crafty shop we have is a pinata shop, and then next was a Radio Shack. The Radio Shack closed though. Sadness.

27. Small, Pricey Grocers: SURE! We have little stores that sell 11 dollar bud lite six packs! Oh…wait…is Bud Lite not considered local fair? Kraft cheese rolls not artisan? That’s not what you meant? Forget it.

28. Consignment Shops Replace Goodwill: Nope. Our Goodwill is alive and well. I do sometimes see piles of clothes that look thoroughly used sitting on corners throughout the neighborhood. Is that Consignment?

29. Boutiques: No. We don’t have boutiques. We have more beauty parlors per square mile than Detroit has blight. Does that mean anything? No. Ah fuck. Okay. Then definitely no.

30. Home Deliveries Pick up: Maybe. I work. I order shit though. Perhaps, I guess. Anyone have any input here?

31. Private School Enrollment Soars, picking up public school standards: Do we have private schools outside of the weird Seventh Day Adventist one near Geneva and Ocean? The one that just says “Private School” behind a wrought iron gate? Is that place helping?

32: Playgrounds begin getting upgrades: An unequivocal yes. We do, surely have playground upgrades happening. I can’t even be cynical about this one.¬† Now how about some trail upgrades in McLaren?

33. Less Available Parking because of Dog Walkers, Maids, and Nannies: Many streets in the E are beginning to experience less parking. But it’s mostly due to assholes who aren’t using their fucking garages. And those who own 6 cars and park them on any adjacent street. But Nannies or dogwalkers? I’m pretty sure we are mostly taking care of our own kids and walking our own dogs (and apparently not picking up their shit) in our hood.

34. No one is working under a car hood: See number 33. The explanation defies this one. Or should. You do the fucking math.

35. Valet Parking, More Audis and BMWs, Less Hondas and Toyotas: No. And to speak more about number 34–a lot of these assholes work on their shitty cars and park all four of them on my street.

36. Walgreens moves the SPF 50 to the front aisle: Because white people like the sun. So no.

So–considering this–can we please shut the fuck up about keeping the neighborhood, depressing as it is, being gentrified or changing?

I talk a lot of shit about the Excelsior. Some of it is productive, some of it isn’t. But as a matter of simple fact, let’s discuss a few business issues we have in the neighborhood:

 

Dual Businesses: What the shit is a dual business, one might ask? A dual business is a place in the neighborhood where you could, say, purchase donuts from the man who is siding your house, or having your car repairman also offer sensual oil massages. See how fucking dumb that sounds?

 

I can think of three I saw walking the other day down Mission. I shall leave their business names out, because I don’t want to disparage them–I only want to shit on the neighborhood for being the group that is the enabler.

 

I saw:

 

1 Sandwich Shop/Tailor.

1 Tax Preparation Business/Shop Repair

1 Remittance Service/ Barbeque.

 

What the actual fuck? At least a sandwich shop at the Tailor could be argued to make one fat–therefore needing to let out just a little from one’s waist. But it’s still a goddamned bizarre idea. And let’s be honest–those who are getting their shoes repaired are probably those who also have a shit ton of issues getting their taxes. Or perhaps it’s an awful idea because they may be the least likely to pay them. I haven’t concluded there yet. I cannot think of a single time, however, that I craved both sending a foreign relative money and a honey glazed drumstick with such equal ferocity AND such limited time that only one stop would be allowed.

 

But don’t be alarmed–this isn’t just about the absurdity of our businesses that exist–it’s also about the absurdity of the similar business that continually open in the neighborhood. If there were Vegas odds¬† on what would open in any of our open storefronts–they would have to take Beauty Salons off the table in order to produce any money. I mean, the house always wins, right? How the fuck do they win this one?

 

We’ve had a moratorium set on pot clubs. It doesn’t seem to do shit to stop pot clubs. But the issue isn’t the clubs, it’s the people within them–which is why, in spite of sort of needing one–we will never rationally get a ban on beauty parlors. But fuck if we need another one.

 

I feel like the district is the spouse of the alcoholic addict. We are the biggest enablers of what goes on here because of a few reasons–most notably that there isn’t shit for most of us buy outside of the grocery store with a vermin problem (and admittedly a few other places–but let’s be honest–it’s pretty limited). But we basically sit and bitch to our friends about how we are dealing with our drunk husband as he metaphorically comes in and passes out through the glass on the coffee table. As everyone else observes the horror, I reassure my ladyfriends this is totally normal behavior. Then it happens again. Then again. Then again. I may see a shrink or write bitchy blog–but the behavior continues. It’s amazing how complacent one can be while still being bothered by all the bullshit going on around them.

I-Live-in-a-Van-Down-by-the-River-broken-coffee-table

(He always does this–he’s just tired)

 

The hood is honestly getting a lot prettier. Except for assholes who dump their fucking garbage in parks or in front of their houses, it’s cleaner. The homes are really nice in our neighborhood. But we gotta knock the fuck off being angry about being ignored down here if our main artery is littered with dual businesses, empty storefronts, and beauty parlors. We are that alcoholic spouse–also because we have fucking idea what to do about it in spite of there being a fairly rational and obvious solution.

Oh–and in closing–I wanted everyone to know an illegal gaming place–like the many all over the Excelsior–was closed by the City Attorney in Bernal Heights (http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/City-sues-to-shut-down-gambling-house-in-Bernal-6090199.php). Sensing a theme here? It seems anything legally goes down here. And we aren’t better for it. It’s not cute. It’s not quaint. And we’re all sort of watching it happen. But I guess on some legal level someone cares. I’m just not sure how to call that person. Do they take calls from the Excelsior? What if I invite them out for shoe repair and tax completion?

IMG_0611

So I’m up at the BART station the other day–and I notice that finally, fucking finally, someone decided to open a Cafe in that space on the corner of Geneva and San Jose. I’ve never, ever understood what kind of shitty mismanagement resulted in the last place failing. A coffee shop in this location–how exactly does that fail?

 

Well finally, someone decided to undertake this seeming “sure thing” –which seems to be a relevant theme from the Excelsior. And before you go nut to cite this place isn’t in the Excelsior? Shut up. You get what I’m writing about this.

 

surethingI dunno. This came to mind.

 

 

But anyway: the huge loss of potential sort of resonates all over the district. It’s a goddamned theme. And we while we might not be EXACTLY analogous to a super attractive girl who will sleep with a 19 year old virginal John Cusack…it’s close right?

 

One of the places I always want to cite in these articles is The Dark Horse Inn. I realize my love of this place is apparent–but that place represents one of the only new ideas to come to the Excelsior, and it appears to be pretty goddamned successful, or at least successful enough. The food is great, generally sexier than pub grub but goddamned delicious–and it’s open to fucking everyone (ie-not 21+). It’s not just a pub, but it’s a great place. And underappreciated. I can’t find enough write ups that cite how important that place is to the neighborhood–aside from there being no place like it–it’s revered in a way a place that’s been there for 50 years is by it’s patrons.

 

And so why isn’t there more people seeing this type of potential in the Excelsior? It’s not like it’s particularly dangerous, it’s not like it’s particularly out of the way, and it isn’t as if it doesn’t have a business corridor that could support businesses that aren’t frequented by no one–or enough vacant store fronts for more types of businesses than beauty parlors.

 

And here come the accusations of gentrification, I’m sure. But I’m pretty sure there is a middle ground between blight and gentrification.

 

I wonder if this Excelsior adjacent coffee shop is any type of metaphor for patience. If we just wait for another 10 years perhaps the corner of Mission and Geneva won’t be littered with shops that sell illegally produced handbags, jack off parlors (although admittedly this IS the least of our problems), illegal gambling dens and shuttered butcher shops. And maybe time is all it will take–I mean Daly City was just named one of the most desirable neighborhoods in SF by Curbed ( http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2015/01/26/the_hottest_neighborhood_of_the_year_is_in_daly_city.php)–and it’s business corridors are admittedly shittier than ours.

 

I don’t know. I have no idea how to end this rant. So here goes: We really did a kick ass job directing our shit leadership with the Pot Shop, green corridor issue. At least–our district did. And good on you guys. We can steer this motherfucker away from the rocks–we’ve proven that with that issue alone. But man–we really can’t seem to turn THIS corner.

So for better or for worse–I was having trouble writing recently. I was struck with writer’s block, nor was I sleeping off a hangover. I’m not dead or sick–but let’s just say from October through now not only was I having trouble material not otherwise covered in the hood–but some life events even prohibited me from getting my fingers to the keyboard.

So here’s the highlights of the past few months:

1. We won “Neighborhood of the Year” from Curbed:

I seriously don’t know what this means. I voted for it though. Between us and the Portola as finalists, I’m pretty sure people who live in other neighborhoods were a little too busy enjoying their hood to sit at home and vote. Instead–between us and the Portola more than 1000 people voted for a title that basically translates into “Who can get more people to vote from a specific district FOR their district?!?!”

But it’s a good thing. Any recognition is good for the fucking neighborhood. I tell people where I live sometimes–and I get two responses:

1: “Oh, down by Daly City?”

2: “Where?”

And it’s a good neighborhood. Despite those resistant to ANY change–I like the place. And perhaps we get some of the attention the Portola has received since it’s victory last year–a new brewery, Blue Bottle Coffee–etc. No one is asking for the neighborhood to do anything more than change a little.

2. According to PropertyShark.com: 974 Geneva has been sold.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.57.44 AM

Thank. Fucking. Christ.

I walked by there a few weeks back, and saw the typical, toothless shitbags outside. And not that dental work means you AREN’T a shitbag–but it sure helps. But anyway–it wasn’t just the shitbags–but there were shitbagettes–and bags of shit too. Literally–(okay, well the bags and such weren’t filled with shit, but metaphorically literally) there were packed up bags littering the sidewalk. I was overjoyed–but tempered. A place like 974 might just be doing what they normally do–leave their shit out for all the rest of us to simply deal with. But no…as I check my sources…or public record…It seems it has been sold. And this, my friends is exciting.

The Excelsior has issues with this type of place–because it isn’t as if this place operated quietly–this was the kind of illegal establishment that stepped on everyone’s toes. It was raided by the police, people entered and exited at all hours of the day, some notably carrying weapons. The stories as to what exactly happened there ranged from prostitution to drugs and so forth–and the people entering and exiting definitely fit the profile. Essentially–it was a beehive of shitbirds. The police were amazingly slow to respond–and it seems it really wasn’t even their fault. We watched NetStop get shut down BECAUSE it was operating legally. When you operate outside of the law, well, it’s harder to document what the shit you are doing, and harder to nail you for doing it. And sadly–it isn’t the only one. But it’s one more gone.

So good-bye, losers. You won’t be missed. And man, those dudes were fucking losers. You couldn’t help but wonder what sort of awful shit happened to these guys in the past when you saw them–and I am saying this without humor in mind–that put them into the position to become those losers. But fuck them. That’s with a huge smile on my face.

3. Live Sushi turned into “Tao Sushi”.

I can’t find a single person who knows why. The menu is basically unchanged and that place deserves credit for being pretty damned good.

4. Our Neighborhood Xmas Tree went up–and was stolen…

Mostly out of catharsis, I just want to be the first to put into writing that whomever stole that tree is just an unforgivable asshole. Haven’t you ever seen “The Grinch”? There are certain things that are sacred–this could be viewed as one, but then there are others that are simply off the table because you are an asshole for being involved, which this is also one.

I hope you took that tree into your home. I hope it sprouted a single, miraculous pine cone. I hope that pine cone fell unnoticed onto the stolen milk crates you call furniture, and you sat on it. I hope it slid through your Goodwill purchased Seattle Supersonics shorts (or as you call them, your dress shorts), right up your ass. And whether you enjoy it or not, I hope it’s still there.

Happy New Year everyone.

So another Medical Marijuana Dispensary is opening…wait–didn’t we just fucking work to try to prevent this bullshit from happening?

Politics again. This is the Excelsior’s version of “Support the Troops”. It seems impossible to criticize the statement without being labelled as some sort of turncoat traitor.

We live in San Francisco. No one hates pot. However–this is growing fucking absurd. Avalos supports Medical Marijuana. And because he supports medical marijuana, if the entire fucking corridor becomes Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, that’s apparently totally cool with him. Because being anti-weed in San Francisco? That’s the same frame as orally shitting on the troops. No one seems to have the nuanced brain to say “OH–that person supports troops, but that doesn’t mean this war was a good way to fucking use them.”

Nuanced thinking, people. We don’t need to conceptually loathe or love everything surrounding any given thing. Think about cops. They can be pretty fucking awful. But I can tell you if my house were being robbed (in progress of course–I know better than to try and get a cop to respond with no perp on premises–it’s like trying to get a dog to lick peanut butter off the floor you cleaned up a month ago) I’d love cops.

Why is it that we have to be pro or con on this? Here’s my overall take:

1–Weed is a good thing. No one hates weed.
2–Grocery Stores are also a good thing.
3–That doesn’t mean we need 5 more grocery stores in the fucking neighborhood.
4–Not advocating for more unnecessary grocery stores in a place sufficiently staffed with grocery stores does not mean I hate saltines.

Reminder: While this has become another thing that IS happening in our neighborhood, nothing has been done about illegal gambling in our neighborhood. Nothing. They are all still open with an additional one open on Mission Street.

This is becoming extremely frustrating.