Travels and Tales

Silly Danish Brewery Still Thinks Mission Kids Are Called Hipsters

Gray sends us this alluring photo of a crowded refrigerator and a quick review of Evil Twin's unfortunately named Mission Hipster Ale: “It's like a typical Dolores kid: brightly colored, proud on the outside, but somewhat boring and bitter on the inside.”

(For what it's worth, the brewery describes their creation a bit more favorably: “This super-exclusive, counter-culture pale ale is dedicated to ‘The Mish’ aka Mission District in San Francisco. It’s an homage to skinny jeans, tote-bags, fixie bikes with drop handlebars and Dolores Park.”)

Anyway, if you're looking for some somewhat boring and bitter beer, you can grab a pack at City Beer Store in San Francisco's 'NoMi' aka North of the Mission neighborhood.

Mexican Fernet: A New Way to Melt Your Face

Fernet is San Francisco's ultimate meme.  Most move here having never heard of it, only to have a newfound friend order them a shot and watch their face curdle upon impact. And yet, miraculously, most snarl “I like it!” after swallowing their revulsion and go on to order it again and again.

It's a beautifully foul tradition, really.

But like most memes, it has to keep developing or risk losing the interest of its most flighty fans.  So, following on the imported success of Mexican Coke, some San Franciscans are now importing Mexican Fernet for those of you bored of the commonalty of Fernet-Branca.

CHOW's John Birdsall has the marketing material-ready backstory on Fernet-Vallet, discovered in some edgy Guadalajara taverna “where tourists rarely go” and conveniently imported to the safe confines of your favorite mixologist hang-out:

Epic saga short, [Jake Lustig of Haas Brothers importers] eventually persuaded the Vallet family to allow him to import Fernet-Vallet, along with their angostura bitters. The Vallets have distilled Fernet since the 1860s, when Napoleon III was trying to make Mexico a protectorate of France’s colonial empire. Fernet-Vallet arrived here last summer, and it’s started to percolate up through cocktail bars in New York. It’s caught the attention of a subset of LA mixologists, guys, Lustig says, “interested in developing Latin cocktails beyond the margarita and the daiquiri.” I noticed Mexican Fernet a couple weeks ago on the menu of little Nido in Oakland, California, where it’s set up as a shot with a beer.

Of course, it's more than mixologist droolings.  As Birdsall notes, “Vallet is smoother than Branca, lacks the latter’s blast of peppermint oil and breathes baking spice, though it's just as antiseptically bitter.”  And we're sure that smoothness will be welcome relief to the many left reeling in shock by the taste of Branca, although this blogger has always found the accompanying jolt of consciousness that Fernet provides after a hard night of alcohol guzzling to be a pleasing side-effect.

Anyway, if Mexican Fernet is found in the Mission (or elsewhere in San Francisco, I guess), do let us know.  We're eager to shove some in our faces.

[CHOW, via Grub Street]

Here's Ed Lee Getting Sneezed On at the Obama Inauguration

While Barack Obama was declaring an end to perpetual war and doubling down on gay marriage, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was getting ready to bring the flu back to SF while perched up in the bleachers.  Adorable, really.

Should you wish to play your own game of Inaugural Where's Waldo, you can find Ed in the top left, five seats in.


SFC Podcast EP01: Finally, Comedy Pays Off...

San Francisco is a city of storytellers.  From our countless bloggers, novelists, videographers, journalists, comedians, musicians, photographers, poets, the crazy dudes on the corner, and everything in between, we've explored how to share our insights and experiences.  However, the rise of the podcast has seemed to have left San Francisco behind.  Despite all the brilliant programs dedicated to storytelling, there's no definitive podcast devoted to the Bay. Make no mistake: this isn't intended to be the definitive podcast, but, rather, a step in exploring the medium.

First up is Cameron Vannini, a young stand-up comedian who finds an oasis after wandering the dessert in search of physical satisfaction.

If you have a story you'd like to tell, be it funny, sad, hopeful, poetry, or just plain crude, drop us a line at  And, without further ado, I give you the first episode of the SFC Podcast: Stories From the City.


You can now subscribe to the SFC Podcast here: SFC Podcast on iTunes

Show Credits

  • Producer: Daniel Jarvis
  • Story: Cameron Vannini
  • Voice: Michelle Teslik
  • Intro Sequence: Jon Bates

The Mission Has the Best Food in All of NYC

At least, that's the word from food critic and amateur Kent Brockman impersonator Anthony Bourdain, who apparently visited Mission Chinese's new East Village outpost:

And the foodie backlash is already building:

The California Burrito Was Actually Invented in Australia

That's the bold claim from The Original California Burrito Company in the middle of Sydney, where you can get a “Fishermans' Wharf” shrimp burrito instead of the famed “Mission Burrito” more commonly found in San Francisco, the oft-mistakenly claimed birthplace of the burrito.

At least the guts don't look tthhaattt bad:

[Signage shot by Katherine, Burrito porn by Moira Clunie]

The Hip Sameness of Brooklyn and the Mission

As you might have heard, Rosamunde is opening another Mission Street-style sausage bar on Williamsburg's ever-popular Bedford Ave later this month.  While this news doesn't really seem to impact us here in San Francisco, Olu Johnson opines that this trend of bi-coastal urban neighborhood gems could be worse than the “endless drag of chain dining” found in bland suburbs:

When Blue Bottle, Mission Chinese, Rosamunde, (and to a lesser extent 826 Valencia) open up in Brooklyn and Austin, (and Detroit? Capitol Hill?, U Street?)- it creates a parallel urban universe of hip sameness. And worse, it means there is no more reason to travel. Why go to Billy'sburg or Red Hook if i'm just going to see the same bands, eat the same food, drink the same coffee, and be surrounded by graduates of the same 30 institutions, that I am when I'm in Lower Noe (aka Hayes Valley East aka the Mission)?

Maybe Olu's right—who needs Blue Bottle when there's Second Stop? Or Rosamunde when there's Bushwick Country Club serving complimentary Cheetos?  Brooklyn is obviously a world-class bohemian sandbox that doesn't need San Francisco institutions to make it worthwhile. (Although, as someone who recently spent a lot of time in Williamsburg, to say it's starting to look like the Mission because of a few restaurants is a huge stretch.  They still have a thriving street art scene, and warehouse parties, and a music scene.  Also, no one there wears messenger bags.  So, yeah, pretty different.)

But on the flip side, there's always that sameness, that comfort, people seek out when traveling.  Like how we gravitate towards the same 10 restaurants every time we pull off the highway, who wants to risk a questionable meal at some unknown Bedford hotspot when the tried-and-true Rosamunde is Right Down The Street?  If anything, Rosamunde is saving us from the risk and horror of experimentation while on the road, all while getting us drunk on “fun sausagey cocktails.”

[Butterfly Stories]

A One Way Ticket To Homicidal Cabbie Land

We've all been there — it's raining out, you have somewhere to go, your buddy doesn't want to ride bikes because of the aforementioned rain, so you sack up and hail a cab, prepared to fork over a mini-forturne for a short 10 block ride. This was the case last night as Shmindsay* and I hopped in a cab at 19th and Valencia on our way up to Cafe du Nord. Alas, this was not to be your a-typical cab ride; little did we know that behind the wheel was a cab driver with a serious anger management problem and a dislike for cyclists.

Granted, the cyclist did not have lights on his bike, and it was an honest accident. The cab driver came within centimeters of ending this cyclists life, and naturally, the cyclist was pissed. Words were exchanged between the driver and the cyclist, and then the unthinkable: THE CAB DRIVER SLAMS ON THE GAS AND TRIES TO RUN THE CYCLIST DOWN. The cyclist is screaming at the cabbie, we're in the backseat screaming at the cabbie, and he won't stop. The cyclist maneuvers himself next to the cab and takes a swing at the cab driver and connects. Now the cabbie is super pissed and tries to run him down again, this time by repeatedly throwing the car in reverse then forward again. At this point Shmindsay and I bail out of the cab by doing a barrel roll (literally) and watch the scene unfold. The cyclist is trying to get to the sidewalk out of harms way and the cabbie is still trying to run him over. All parties involved are screaming at each other, I'm frantically writing down license plate, cab number, anything I can get.

After about 5 minutes the cyclist is able to call the cops and the cab driver pulls to the other side of the road and presumably does the same. We stick around, give the cyclist our names and numbers to give to the cops, then decide to walk to rest of the way.

The moral of the story is never take cabs. If you do, ask to see their anger management certificate of completion/marijuana prescription.

*names have been changed to protect those who barrel roll out of moving cabs like a boss/rookie.

[Unrelated topical photo by Hal Bergman]

Things SF and NYC Have in Common: Hating LA

I'm in NYC for a quick spell (in Williamsburg, of course—obviously) and I'm finding that the two dueling cool cultural capitals of their respective coasts have a lot more in common than they might expect.  Like hating LA.  Sure, everyone from NYC and SF might poke fun at each other, but goddamnit, we all hate LA more.  It's smoggy and car-centric and gross and people invest money in sizing up their boobs and jesusfuckingchrist their weather is perfect—who does LA think it is?

Mobile Sex Confessional Headed to Lost Weekend Video

San Francisco is one giant twisted sex story, and Salon's sex writer Tracy Clark-Flory is capturing our sordid saga. How? By filming people's “juicy” stories in a guilt and fear-free mobile sex confessional, all for an upcoming web series.

Oh yes.

Liam from Salon fills us in on what they're looking for when they set up shop at Lost Weekend Video:

Instead of pure titillation, we're going for a range of stories revolving around all aspects of sex, not just the dirty details of the physical act itself (but a bit of that too). During our shoot at Mission Bowling Club on Monday, we found that people were more than willing to share personal stories about everything from being chastised for masturbating on the playground as a child to exploring bisexual desires as an adult. These tales were funny, sad, poignant, bizarre, etc., so it should be an interesting time at Lost Weekend…

And if you don't have any memories worthy of sharing, you could probably masturbate in there to make some new ones to confess about…

Ahem. Anyway, should you want to confess (and, hopefully, not be a pervert right there on the spot), swing by Lost Weekend tomorrow (Friday!) from 7-11pm and lay it out.