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December 15, 2008

SF Urban Holiday 2008

by guest writer, Brooke Cheshier

Book Review; Seeing Through The Fog: A Gateway to San Francisco
What to do When the Fog Clears

Forget Citywalks. If you want a real San Francisco experience this holiday season, let the 72 voices of this inspirational anthology guide you through the beloved Bay Area metropolis known as Fog City.

Pulitzer Prize finalist, ace raconteur, accidental parent, and the man behind McSweeney’s. Over the last decade the many, slightly manic, personae of Dave Eggers have manifested themselves for readers through personal works like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and magazines like The Believer. 

Now meet Dave Eggers, the tutor and mentor to high school kids in San Francisco and across the nation. The founder of a nonprofit writing and teaching organization called 826 Valencia, he is the man behind this combination city guide, historic chronicle and inspirational memoir. Well, he and three high school teachers, 82 tutors and 72 high school students.

>A collection of essays written by seniors from Gateway High School, Seeing Through the Fog is one of several books created by 826’s Young Author’s Book Series, an annual project that allows students to serve as both editors and authors as they learn the ropes of the publishing industry. The results of the series are timely anthologies like Seeing Through the Fog, one of the most original and moving San Francisco “travel guides” in the market to date.
Comprised of 72 surprisingly astute perspectives on life, travel and passion in the Bay Area, these essays will lure you off the beaten path and introduce you to some of the city’s most delicious pleasures. We’re not just talking about the pink popcorn at Stow Lake. Although it is a treat.

This holiday season, why don’t you let the kids of Gateway High be your guide through the neighborhoods, bridges and back alleys of San Francisco. Set off  on madcap adventures through Chinatown’s Pacific Fish Market, take archery lessons in Golden Gate Park and learn to survive in the Mission on just $22 a day. You won’t want to miss Conor Murphy-Hoffman’s poignant take on the neighborhood's gentrification. muralart2.jpg Of course, seeing the city from these young, animated perspectives may just inspire you to look at San Francisco with fresh eyes.  Once you feel steady, you can take off the training wheels and do some creative merry-making of your own.

Christmas Bonus: You can find copies of Seeing Through the Fog on Amazon.com and on Valencia.org , but don’t buy it used! Proceeds from the sale of new books go toward free student programming at 826 Valencia, an educational nonprofit serving the Bay Area and with satellites across the U.S. For more information go to www.826valencia.org.  Remember, giving to others is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Eat Like a Kid Again icecream.JPG Gateway High School Students, it seems, are like a lot of San Franciscans. They love to eat! And their tastes are as diverse as their personalities. Here are a few of their favorite places. NOTE: Most of them are pocket-book friendly!

Taqueria Cancun; Mission and 19th  Street (with several other locations): Grab your super burrito “to go” and head across the street to Dolores Park to watch some soccer. San Francisco’s a soccer city. Didn’t you know?

Sushi Zone; in a small alley off Market Street called Pearl: Put your name on the list and then head down the street to Martuni’s or Octavia for a drink. Or two. The super fresh fish is worth the wait.

San Tung: Irving Street between 11th and 12th Avenues: Go for kimchi and dry fried chicken, which is actually drenched in a sauce of Chinese peppers and molasses. If they sell out of the chicken, try the pork dumplings. Or the shrimp and leek dumplings, the black bean noodles, the fried green beans or just about anything else on the menu.

El Majahual; Valencia near 22nd Street: Forget Mexican in the Mission and think Colombian. This is your cozy, eclectic and delicious date place. Try the empanadas and  a Colombian soda.

Blondie’s Pizza; Powell Street near Ellis: Go on Monday. Order the Carnivore and hang out with all the crazy teenagers. It’ll make you feel young again.

Khan Toke Thai House; Geary Boulevard near 24th Avenue:  Take your shoes off, soak in the atmosphere and order the Tom Yum soup. But, don’t order your food “Thai Hot” unless you mean it.

Slider’s; 9th Avenue between Irving and Lincoln: The burgers are juicy and cheap. Order an extra side of steak fries, wrap it all up and enjoy a picnic in Golden Gate Park.

Memphis Minnie’s; Haight Street between Fillmore and Steiner: Order the briscuit. If you have Southern friends visiting, throw in some greens and a few bottles of beer (my suggestion, not the teens’). Watch their eyes tear up as they think of home.

Sweet Endings. Three great places to satisfy your sweet tooth. Warning: They might inspire you to skip dinner altogether.
Bi-Rite Creamery; 18th Street between Dolores and Oakwood: The key is to order two flavors and eat them together. The caramel and lavender are addictive. So is the strawberry balsamic. If you’re a vegan, try the sorbet or the soy chocolate and lemon ice creams.

The Hot Cookie; Castro Street between 17th and 18th Streets: , Conservatives may want to ignore the Venus cookies and penis cookies, although the Butch Bar, two slabs of Scharffenberger chocolate stuffed with peanut butter is hard to just blindly glide by. As are the oatmeal and walnut cookies.

Arizmendi Bakery; 9th Avenue between Irving and Judah: Pizza and pecan rolls?! This is carbohydrate heaven. It’s all homemade at this local cooperative bakery. Grab a coffee and a cherry scone. It’s a great way to start – or finish – your day.

Brooke Cheshier spends most weekends watching SEC Football and stealing blackberries from the neighbor's She is the wine correspondent for G -The Magazine of Greenville, making heavenly matches between southern eats and the world of drinks. Visit her blog at:  http://aficionada.squarespace.com.

Posted by Pamela at December 15, 2008 3:08 PM| Share on Facebook | Art Education, Books

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