Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Michelle Richmond's San Franciso

Thanks to MQ Michelle Richmond for answering our San Francisco Questionnaire. Step into Michelle's world of secret haunts and scenic walks...

Where would you go for an intimate dinner? The Richmond, a great little restaurant at 6th and Balboa. Wonderful ambiance, great service, delicious food.

Best neighborhood cafe? Simple Pleasures in the Outer Richmond, on Balboa Ave. between 37th & 38th. Exceptional paninis also known as Dae-nini, constructed with care by Dae, the dreadlocked hottie behind the counter. Their coffee is some of the best in the city, and the cozy tables and sofas and chairs are always packed with regulars.

People should know... Tourists tend to see the Embarcadero and Chinatown and the Marina and that great travesty known as Fisherman's Wharf, but many of us San Francisco residents love the city in large part because it is so UN-urban. I spend most of my time out in the quiet, windswept avenues of the Outer Richmond, or among the wild gardens of the massive Golden Gate Park, or out at Land's End. SF has the largest percentage of green space of any major city in the world! When folks who "aren't from around here" complain that they just couldn't stand the crowds and the traffic, I want to ask them how many miles of protected beach, how many acres of public gardens, how many duck ponds and walking trails they have where they live.

Do you have a favorite SF view? Looking out toward the bridge and the Marin headlands from a little opening between the trees on the Land's End trail.

If you could own one place... There's a nice mansion for sale in Sea Cliff for 23 million, with sweeping views of the Golden Gate. I think I'd have to choose a more lucrative career, though.

How do you escape summer in the city? Why would you want to escape it? Sure, it's cold and foggy, but that's part of the charm. When we want something warmer, we go to Monte Rio on the Russian River--it's like stepping back into the 1950s, only there are more leather bars.

What is your favorite shop? Ambiance on Haight for clothing and purses, plus a little hole-in-the wall "party supply store" by the post office on Geary where I go to buy balls for Oscar, novelty children's books, storage baskets, yo-yos, stationery, and odd handbags. De la Sole on 18th in the Castro for shoes. The second side of Cliff's Hardware for home decor oddities. Sloat Garden Center for plants and dirt.

What's a San Francisco stereotype that fits? I am just SOOO much greener than you. I make my own sushi from scratch (oh, yes, I breed the tuna myself), I wouldn't dream of owning a car (I'm happy to ride in yours--in fact, could you give me a lift? it's not really out of your way--just across the Bay Bridge--forgive me if I don't contribute to the gas fund, it's against my principles). A stereotype that does fit me is the "buy local" obsession. It's just so much more pleasant to buy lug nuts and duct tape from the little hardware store around the block than to try to brave the crowds at Home Deopt. At my hardware store, they'll pull what you need off the shelves and tell you how to use it--definitely worth paying a little more!


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