Monday, October 18, 2010

San Francisco: Mission Mission - Part Two, COLOR

This is a long post Chollos and Chollas!  I'm warning you!  But I hope you think it's worth it.

And after all these Mission posts, I'm going to promise PROMISE that I will only post a maximum ten pictures, and put the rest up on Flickr for you hard core photo junkies.  Cause I know you DO have other blogs to visit.  And other things to do with your lives.

But for the moment, let's just be in the Mission again.  Mission and Valencia Streets, between 17th and 22nd St.  And most specifically, Bombay Bazaar, on Valencia St.

OK.  What is not to like?  (What is it that they call Indian wannabes like moi-meme anyway?  And do I get to blame my Indian babysitter who introduced me to lamb samosas with mustard seeds when I was an impressionable seven years old?)

Stickers to warm the cockles of your heart.

And stick-on bindis.  Am I wrong to want one in every color?

Valencia and Mission are snapshots of the evolution that the Mission is going through.  It has always been an immigrant neighborhood.  On Mission that is still very evident.  Valencia, meanwhile is the strip that has been more gentrified.  It is still very polyglot, in all the best ways.  But it is here that you will find most of the white "professional" people, and the vast second hand furniture shops that cater to their mid-century predilections and pocket books.  The one above is the smallest but the most glam.

The obligatory Belgian restaurant has made it's appearance with it's obligatory frites.

Their saucy chair backs are reminiscent of the dance hall girls of San Francisco's rip-snorting gold-digging tall-tale-telling past.  

Thrift stores and second hand furniture are the righteous life-style option.  As is the happy humble Prius. You do not have enough lifetimes to count the number of Priuses in San Francisco.  If you had a quarter for each one, however, you could buy yourself and your friends a nice lunch!

Street Art = Street Cred

I tried to..........

follow him........


In case you were wondering.  Yes.  Absolutely.  GOURMET MEXICAN in the Mission.  Loca-vore organic at Gracias Madre above.

And at Regalito/Pigalito, your favorite little piggy every kind of way.

And here, I am talking about the layers of culture.  Korean candidates (Ms. Kim), and Caucasian (Ms. Walker) candidates, selling themselves (Ms. Walker in Chinese!) at the Latino grocery.  Across the street at the Middle Eastern convenience store, an extremely scantily clad female minces across the store under the same (above) signs while Arab music blasts out onto the corner LOUDER than I have EVER heard it anywhere on the North American continent.  Which street are we on????  (Mission.)  Where are we?  San Francisco.  In America.

Isn't there something nostalgic about street scenes like these?  Evoking Bukowski or Kerouac.  Or even Dave Eggers.

It looks like ALL these storefronts once used to be Chinese.  Only the bakery remains.  And YES.  There IS  a bar on EVERY street corner in the Mission.

Weird Fish is a fun restaurant!  I ate there last year.  They sort of do cultural fusion pesca-vegetarian cuisine.  It's all original and tasty.  It is here that I first experienced pureed yam with coconut milk and fresh coriander.  You wouldn't be disappointed if you tried this at home.

The universe gave me this picture of the inside of Weird Fish.  I love the blue wall and the reflections in the little round mirrors.  I don't remember the inside at all from last year's visit.  The food and the company must have been too good.

OK again, did someone say cultural mash-up!?

More here at "La Vaquita" supermarket

Owned and operated by Middle Easterners.

Frequented by ALL SORTS......selling the best pinatas in town!

It is entirely possible that the Mexican striped blanket WAS somebody's outfit FOR THE DAY.

And this: identity-confused locale - seemed to be very satisfactorily (to moi - I like a complete picture) filled up with revolution-plotting South Americans.  I'm not making this up!

And I just had to include this picture because of the fabulous, yes, chaotic, exuberant color, AND my homeys pasted on the back of the bus.  Hey! YO, Aloha!

Finally:  Ethiopian restaurant.  Who can tell me what Zeke Mo Bax! means?  I would be grateful.  That's Part Two of my Mission tour.  Colorful yes?  Cultural mash-up DEFINITELY.   I rest my case!


  1. Great Post!!
    You really captured one of my favorite parts of the city.

  2. I am thoroughly enjoying this - seeing the Mission through your eyes. These very familiar places fresh again by your perspective. Bring on the next one, can't wait...

  3. I absolutely LOVE this jaunt!! How fun, Paradis. :-) I feel like I've been on a little vacation while I sit here in my cubicle. :-)

  4. OMG! FAB POST MP!!!!
    can I come?
    I did venture here a long time ago... had 8 fabulous days in this city. Now I want to go back for more after seeing this!!!
    I have to say I thought that street art image was brilliant....and I adored the
    stream of fascinating images of stores and eateries of every kind ... the cutural mash indeed! What Fun!

  5. so glad you all liked it! i really did. ok. for those who've been to tartine what is your favorite thing to eat there? (doesn't have to be just one thing) and any other favorites in the 'hood?

  6. Daniel likes the savory items and I go for the pastry. Hard to narrow it down, and hard to narrow down the good places to eat in SF. Give me a neighborhood, or a type of food, and I'll tell you where we go! no where to find me (email) :^) Now I must get back to packing tout suite! Again I must say, L O V E your writing and perspective...