Dieting Drunk

"A Mean Nut" Turning Cafe Que Tal Into "Healthy Tacos & Wine Bar"

Last summer, we were bummed to hear that the undeniably chill Cafe Que Tal was forced to close by their landlord jacking the rent by 200% with two weeks notice.  Now the same landlord is turning the beloved coffee shop into a “healthy tacos and wine bar” spot. (Which makes perfect sense because nothing quite compliments being healthy like getting shitfaced on wine.)

According to Tablehopper, the boring tacos/wine bingeing gimmick is from Luisa Hanson, a landowner dubbed “ruthlessly nutty” and “a mean nut” (she’s a nut!) by the many restaurant and bar tenants she’s preyed on over the years.

Much like Que Tal’s situation, when San Francisco was going through its last dive bar purge in 2007, Hanson had a dragged out fight with now-closed John Barleycorn Pub.  The Guardian summed up her sleaze at the time:

Unfortunately for the Barleycorn, its lease is up, and it’s part of a building that was recently purchased by Luisa Hanson, a controversial local entrepreneur who owns several other properties in the area, including Luisa’s on Union Street and Delaney’s in the Marina. Hanson refuses to renew the Barleycorn’s lease, and it’s rumored she plans to turn the building into a new restaurant. […]

But the notoriously elusive Hanson — who’s obtained licenses for more than 22 businesses in the past two decades, most of which closed within two years or never opened at all — wouldn’t discuss the future of the ‘Corn, much less consider their [patron’s] pleas.

She then tried to reopen the space as Duffy’s Irish Pub, but it ultimately became Contraband Coffee.

So here we go again: another half-assed attempt at foodie relevance from a serial failure.  Only this time, the predatory shit is dumped in our backyard.

[Photo: WBTC]

It Lives!

La Rondalla Actually Opens

We never thought it would actually happen but, here we are: La Rondalla has made good on their latest “coming soon” claim.  Their front door is wide open (although no one was inside), and the place is decked out in “Grand Opening” regalia.

As previously reported, they definitely did dial down the kitsch (it’s mostly Corona promotional hand-outs), but considering the jury-rigged, college dorm-quality bedsheet banner flopping down their wall, we imagine the place will be livened up in no time.

Naturally, we’re intent on slamming our faces with enchiladas as soon as possible.  We’ll let you know how it goes.

Wheel Rights

Have You Registered Your Bike Serial Number?

If you’ve lost a few bikes to the city over the years, you can probably be excused for your fatalism.  Chained together outside an RV parked on Shotwell next to the FoodsCo the other day were three Bay Area Bike Share bikes, all of which are reportedly equipped with GPS transponders.  If they can’t keep those bikes secure or recover them when stolen (and let’s face it, they’re not even particularly nice bikes) then what hope do you have?  

Unfortunately, even if you keep your ride locked up indoors or thoroughly secure it on the street, at best you can only hope to slow down a dedicated thief.  If your bicycle is stolen in San Francisco, you may be able to improve your otherwise dismal chances of ever getting it back by registering it with SAFE Bikes.  A project of local non-profit Safety Awareness for Everyone in partnership with the San Francisco Police Department, simply fill out the web form to add your bike to the local database.

According to Bob Mionske, a lawyer who specializes in cycling-related cases, while 48 percent of stolen bikes are recovered, only five percent are returned to their owners.  And that’s presumably just the bike thefts that are even reported, many of which aren’t. SAFE Bikes won’t necessarily help keep your bike from getting nabbed, but if the police do find it, the chances you’ll be reunited may be somewhat increased.

Even if you don’t have much faith in the SFPD, it’s a good exercise in taking care of your bike in case the worst does happen.  That includes taking photos, writing down the serial number and keeping documentation like purchase and repair receipts to prove it’s yours.  You should probably consider also sending the info to the National Bike Registry, because once a bike is stolen from the streets of San Francisco it might be shipped to another market for resale, and there’s no guarantee the police in Los Angeles, Portland or even Oakland are going to check San Francisco’s list.

Besides, you’re also going to need all that information handy anyway when you file your police report, which is often a necessary step if you want to collect on a bike lock or renter’s insurance policy.  So while it’s boring and possibly futile, consider it anyway!  Theoretically, anything that increases the risks associated with bike theft will decrease its current popularity, helping everyone hold on to their sweet rides.

Alternatively, you can try meditating for years to cultivate a sense of bemused detachment to the phenomenal world of “things” like bikes.  Might help cut down on the vain outrage inspired by loss and a sense of vulnerability!  Definitely won’t help get your bike back, though.

[Photo Diane Yee]

The Rig Economy

Bike Messengers Given New Life by Lazy Yuppies

They heyday of delivering documents from business to business around San Francisco may be over, with Ellen Huet at the Chronicle reporting only around 250 bike messengers are prowling downtown these days (half the number from the dot-boom).  But as app developers continue to develop ideas inspired by the concerns of people with high incomes and poor work-life balance, TCB Courier has managed to successfully pivot by providing hot meals and other deliveries.

They have even developed their own technology for assigning orders in the process and poaching riders getting paid nearly minimum wage by better-funded competitors like Postmates.  Of course, maybe they’ll all be replaced by autonomous drones soon enough.

[Photo Richard Masoner]

Naming Nabes

Judging Judgemental Maps of San Francisco

If you’re a standup comedian in town for a show and looking to pander to San Francisco stereotypes, 40 Going on 28 has given you a handy guide on which neighborhoods to direct your jokes about broad caricatures at.  In other follow-up to the Judgemental Map of San Francisco, Burrito Justice has dialed the time machine back to Mark Twain’s era.  I mean, Australians, am I right? What is up with them?


Local Street Artist Pretty Much Over Everyone

The ever-edgy Valencia Street unleashed a frenzy of eye-rolls the other week as some street artist attempted to segregate the sidewalk between “techies” and “real San Franciscans.”  But that list was recently added to, and the stenciler has added a long list of folks not deemed ‘real’ enough.

Hippies, hipsters and yuppies?  Nope.  9ers and gigantes?  Sorry.  Even renters, home owners, homeless, and the Tanner family don’t make the cut.  In all, 42 groups of people fall in the techie camp.

Is the artist buying into the “We Are All Techies Now” trope being pushed by the besieged maker community, alleging they are victims of the same xenophobic discrimination faced by Latinos?  Perhaps.  But I prefer to think the artist is just fucking over everyone.

Maps Maps Maps

Judgmental Map Of San Francisco Shows You How to Avoid Harvard Grads, Find Hobo Blowjobs

San Francisco has no shortage of maps to tell us who belongs where, but the Judgmental Maps project has finally tackled our fine city and it’s surprisingly funny. From the worst supermarkets, to where to find the best dogs and drag races, this serves as a pretty spot on analysis of SF’s cultural landscape.  And if you’re feeling curious, do check out the rest of Judgmental Maps for other cities you might’ve heard of but will never visit, like Chattanooga and Dayton!

[Map by Dan Steiner, via Judgmental Maps]


If You Can't Afford SF, You Probably Can't Afford This T-Shirt

Looking to displace all those shitty Hanes v-necks out of your wardrobe with some epic #swagification?  DSF has you covered:

Yea, we’re the most expensive city in the country right now. Not sure if that is something to brag about. If you got pushed out, or you’re working seven jobs to keep up with your $2000 rent in a 4 bedroom apartment where 8 people are living, this is the tee of the town.

Of course, if you’re scrambling to hustle together rent checks, the $26 price tag is almost certainly more mint than you can spare. But you can always dream?

Vaporware on a Plate

La Rondalla Claims It'll Reopen Next Week

La Rondalla’s sign illuminated, as seen in February of last year.

La Rondalla has been threatening to reopen ever since they closed—which was so damn long ago, no one really remembers when that was (was Bush still in office?  Had Google Buses been invented yet?  Was PBR still a “thing”?).  At this point, they’ve claimed they’d be opening “soon” so many times, their perpetual opening impotency has become something of a neighborhood joke.

But here we go again: La Rondalla says they’re opening next week.  According to Inside Scoop, the restaurant is back in business starting next Thursday, May 1st.  They’re even taking reservations!  Is it actually true this time?

We swung by this afternoon and, yes, the place looks like they’re getting things together ahead of a opening—tables being setup, a kitchen being prepped, a half dozen employees milling about… their neon signs were even blinking and buzzing.  Of course, we’ve been hoodwinked before.

Here’s what Inside Scoop says we can (might?) expect:

For the most part, the new La Rondalla will feature a similar menu as the last incarnation of La Rondalla, albeit with a few new dishes like chicharrones appetizers, shrimp cocktails, corn on the cob with cheese, and something that was never on the menu before: carnitas. Many of the favorites — botanas, enchiladas and margaritas — will be returning to 901 Valencia.

There are some tweaks. The kitsch has been dialed down, with only “some” Christmas lights lining the walls. There won’t be a full mariachi band either; citing space constrictions, the Barrios family opted instead to have a trio of musicians play on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Dialing down the kitsch is a bummer sitch, but with the rest of Valencia embracing the maddenimg sameness of Edison-lit wood, any place that even imitates campy weirdness is welcome.