Monthly Archives: November 2009

NYT: Glen Park

From the New York Times Travel Section, an article about our hood (sorta).

Seeing San Francisco From a Different Angle
By NAN K. CHASE
SAN FRANCISCO — As fires raged downtown after the 1906 earthquake, residents of this city fled to two nearby districts to the south, Bernal Heights and Glen Park. Though part of San Francisco, both areas looked more like countryside then, with open ranchland, vineyards and orchards, dirt roads and wetlands, and a few houses. The windswept peaks above Glen Park were called Little Switzerland.
Many of the earthquake refugees wound up settling there, and both neighborhoods also attracted waves of new immigrants. Today, Glen Park and Bernal Heights, two distinctive communities little more than a mile apart and accessible on foot from the Glen Park BART train station, retain a self-contained village atmosphere as well as some of their wild, open vistas.
Visitors to San Francisco can linger two or three days off the tourist track in this hilly and little-known tangle of streets, hiking, picnicking on fresh California fare and working up an appetite for the dozens of international restaurants and cafes they’ll find.
With a jog to trendy Noe Valley to the north and a side trip to the nearby Mission Dolores, the itinerary includes both the hip and the historical. It’s a San Francisco even some natives don’t know. Hotels are scarce, but house and apartment rentals are even better, since they make it possible to shop at local specialty food shops and cook at home.
Bernal Heights Natural Area, a 24-acre knob of red Franciscan chert that rises from a sea of colorful row houses like the prow of a ship, has a 360-degree view of San Francisco in its pastel glory. The city ripples into the distance in all directions: from the downtown skyscrapers and Golden Gate mist to Candlestick Park and the industrial East Bay, and to San Bruno Mountain to the south.
As one of the city’s largest off-leash dog parks, this park, elevation 433 feet, attracts mostly locals who come to get a daily dose of fresh air for themselves or their pets. Wildflowers around the margin shelter small birds and mammals and butterflies. Hawks hunt overhead (and owls at night), and the whole area lies in the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds.
There are many approaches to the Bernal Heights park, notably from the south and west on the many side streets off Cortland Avenue — the neighborhood’s commercial artery — or off Mission Street, its western boundary (except for Mitchell’s Ice Cream parlor a block farther west, at 688 San Jose Avenue). An easy approach is Bernal Heights Boulevard which circles the park. The 24th Street Mission BART stop is actually closer to Bernal Heights than is the Glen Park station, but the walk from there has little scenic appeal.
Highlights of Cortland Avenue include Good Life Grocery, which stocks sourdough bread, cheese, chocolate, fruit, wine and other picnic supplies; Moonlight Cafe and Crepe House for a hearty brunch; and the sunny Red Hill Books for an upbeat selection of new and used titles.
More so than Bernal Heights, Glen Park feels like a real town, with a dry cleaner, a hardware store, a library branch, liquor stores and a first-rate greasy-spoon diner. But there are also superb restaurants, specialty groceries large and small, and a landmark bookstore and performance space.
The neighborhood’s main attraction, however, is Glen Canyon Park, a 70-acre swath of city-owned wilderness nestled in a sweeping ravine and just out of sight of several major roads.
Beginning about six blocks up from the Glen Park BART station, at the end of Bosworth Street, a trail just under a mile long ascends steadily through dense creekside forest, then over a meadow dotted with trees and boulders — a place for sunbathing or bird-watching — and finally to a nearly hidden shopping center with yet more good eating and million-dollar views of downtown San Francisco far below.
A good day’s outing from Glen Park starts with breakfast at Tyger’s, a coffee shop at the corner of Diamond and Chenery Streets, north of the BART station, or at the fragrant and light-washed Destination Baking Company, a block east. Then, shop for picnic provisions at Canyon Market, on Diamond, followed by a leisurely hike up Glen Canyon.
Next, descend steep walkways around Diamond Heights Boulevard and Gold Mine Drive, through the rainbow-hued residential streets of Noe Valley for a coffee break on 24th Street or lower Castro, then back to Glen Park for dinner.
The 24th Street and adjacent Church Street commercial districts in Noe Valley are home to specialty groceries like Drewes Brothers Meats, 24th Street Cheese Company and Church Produce.
For a very different Glen Park tour, walk downhill (east) on Bosworth Street from the BART station, then left on Mission Street to St. Mary’s Avenue. There, the impressive Old World profile of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church towers over quiet streets where thousands of recent immigrants have made their homes alongside generations of longtime San Franciscans.
The nearby Manila Oriental Market on Mission Street offers a supermarket-size assortment of Asian groceries for this new population, including a selection of exotic seafood, both in tanks and on ice.
It’s another example that away from San Francisco’s worthwhile but overcrowded tourist stops, the city remains fresh and unpredictable in these two ever-changing and compact communities.
IF YOU GO
WHERE TO EAT
Le P’tit Laurent Bistrot Français, 699 Chenery Street (Glen Park); (415) 334-3235, leptitlaurent.com, serves dinner daily.
La Corneta Taqueria, 2834 Diamond Street (Glen Park); (415) 469-8757, lacorneta.com, serves lunch and dinner daily, eat in or take out. Seafood and other Mexican specialties; tacos are $1.65 to $5.50, combination plates $9.25 to $13.75.
Osha Thai Cafe, 2922 Diamond Street (Glen Park); (415) 586-6742, oshathai.com, lunch and dinner daily; lunch $11-13, dinner $13-17, extensive noodle soup menu.
Moonlight Cafe and Crepe House, 634 Cortland Avenue (Bernal); , serves breakfast and lunch daily until 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sweet or savory crepes, $6 to $9; cheeseburger with caramelized onions and port-wine cheddar, $10.
Clay Oven Indian Cuisine, 1689 Church Street (near Bernal Heights); (415) 826-2400, clayovensf.com, serves lunch and dinner daily. Clay-oven-cooked entrees are $11 to $17.
El Paisa Restaurante, 3322 Mission Street (Bernal Heights); (415) 550-0557, elpaisasf.com, serves a hearty Honduran and Salvadoran menu with friendly service; breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Breakfast $6 to $10, soups $7 to $14, seafood entrees $11 to $25.
LOCAL FOOD SHOPS
Good Life Grocery, 448 Cortland Avenue (Bernal); Canyon Market, 2815 Diamond Street (Glen Park); Destination Baking Company, 598 Chenery Street (Glen Park); Manila Oriental Market, 4175 Mission Street (near Glen Park); 24th Street Cheese Company, 3893 24th Street (Noe Valley); Drewes Brothers Meats, 1706 Church Street; and Church Produce, 1798 Church St.
WHERE TO STAY
The Noe Valley Voice online (noevalleyvoice.com) lists homes to rent, as does Vacation Rentals by Owner (vrbo.com).
WHAT TO DO
Bird & Beckett Books & Records, 653 Chenery Street (Glen Park), (415) 586-3733, birdbeckett.com. New and used books, specializing in San Francisco history and culture, and appearances by poets and musicians.
Mission Dolores, 3321 16th Street (near Bernal); (415) 621-8203, missiondolores.org, founded in 1776, is open daily. Suggested donation is $5.
Neighborhood festivals include Fiesta on the Hill, usually in October, sponsored by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center(bhnc.org), and the Glen Park Festival (glenparkfestival.com), usually in April, both with lots of music.

NYT: Glen Park

From the New York Times Travel Section, an article about our hood (sorta).

Seeing San Francisco From a Different Angle
By NAN K. CHASE
SAN FRANCISCO — As fires raged downtown after the 1906 earthquake, residents of this city fled to two nearby districts to the south, Bernal Heights and Glen Park. Though part of San Francisco, both areas looked more like countryside then, with open ranchland, vineyards and orchards, dirt roads and wetlands, and a few houses. The windswept peaks above Glen Park were called Little Switzerland.
Many of the earthquake refugees wound up settling there, and both neighborhoods also attracted waves of new immigrants. Today, Glen Park and Bernal Heights, two distinctive communities little more than a mile apart and accessible on foot from the Glen Park BART train station, retain a self-contained village atmosphere as well as some of their wild, open vistas.
Visitors to San Francisco can linger two or three days off the tourist track in this hilly and little-known tangle of streets, hiking, picnicking on fresh California fare and working up an appetite for the dozens of international restaurants and cafes they’ll find.
With a jog to trendy Noe Valley to the north and a side trip to the nearby Mission Dolores, the itinerary includes both the hip and the historical. It’s a San Francisco even some natives don’t know. Hotels are scarce, but house and apartment rentals are even better, since they make it possible to shop at local specialty food shops and cook at home.
Bernal Heights Natural Area, a 24-acre knob of red Franciscan chert that rises from a sea of colorful row houses like the prow of a ship, has a 360-degree view of San Francisco in its pastel glory. The city ripples into the distance in all directions: from the downtown skyscrapers and Golden Gate mist to Candlestick Park and the industrial East Bay, and to San Bruno Mountain to the south.
As one of the city’s largest off-leash dog parks, this park, elevation 433 feet, attracts mostly locals who come to get a daily dose of fresh air for themselves or their pets. Wildflowers around the margin shelter small birds and mammals and butterflies. Hawks hunt overhead (and owls at night), and the whole area lies in the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds.
There are many approaches to the Bernal Heights park, notably from the south and west on the many side streets off Cortland Avenue — the neighborhood’s commercial artery — or off Mission Street, its western boundary (except for Mitchell’s Ice Cream parlor a block farther west, at 688 San Jose Avenue). An easy approach is Bernal Heights Boulevard which circles the park. The 24th Street Mission BART stop is actually closer to Bernal Heights than is the Glen Park station, but the walk from there has little scenic appeal.
Highlights of Cortland Avenue include Good Life Grocery, which stocks sourdough bread, cheese, chocolate, fruit, wine and other picnic supplies; Moonlight Cafe and Crepe House for a hearty brunch; and the sunny Red Hill Books for an upbeat selection of new and used titles.
More so than Bernal Heights, Glen Park feels like a real town, with a dry cleaner, a hardware store, a library branch, liquor stores and a first-rate greasy-spoon diner. But there are also superb restaurants, specialty groceries large and small, and a landmark bookstore and performance space.
The neighborhood’s main attraction, however, is Glen Canyon Park, a 70-acre swath of city-owned wilderness nestled in a sweeping ravine and just out of sight of several major roads.
Beginning about six blocks up from the Glen Park BART station, at the end of Bosworth Street, a trail just under a mile long ascends steadily through dense creekside forest, then over a meadow dotted with trees and boulders — a place for sunbathing or bird-watching — and finally to a nearly hidden shopping center with yet more good eating and million-dollar views of downtown San Francisco far below.
A good day’s outing from Glen Park starts with breakfast at Tyger’s, a coffee shop at the corner of Diamond and Chenery Streets, north of the BART station, or at the fragrant and light-washed Destination Baking Company, a block east. Then, shop for picnic provisions at Canyon Market, on Diamond, followed by a leisurely hike up Glen Canyon.
Next, descend steep walkways around Diamond Heights Boulevard and Gold Mine Drive, through the rainbow-hued residential streets of Noe Valley for a coffee break on 24th Street or lower Castro, then back to Glen Park for dinner.
The 24th Street and adjacent Church Street commercial districts in Noe Valley are home to specialty groceries like Drewes Brothers Meats, 24th Street Cheese Company and Church Produce.
For a very different Glen Park tour, walk downhill (east) on Bosworth Street from the BART station, then left on Mission Street to St. Mary’s Avenue. There, the impressive Old World profile of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church towers over quiet streets where thousands of recent immigrants have made their homes alongside generations of longtime San Franciscans.
The nearby Manila Oriental Market on Mission Street offers a supermarket-size assortment of Asian groceries for this new population, including a selection of exotic seafood, both in tanks and on ice.
It’s another example that away from San Francisco’s worthwhile but overcrowded tourist stops, the city remains fresh and unpredictable in these two ever-changing and compact communities.
IF YOU GO
WHERE TO EAT
Le P’tit Laurent Bistrot Français, 699 Chenery Street (Glen Park); (415) 334-3235, leptitlaurent.com, serves dinner daily.
La Corneta Taqueria, 2834 Diamond Street (Glen Park); (415) 469-8757, lacorneta.com, serves lunch and dinner daily, eat in or take out. Seafood and other Mexican specialties; tacos are $1.65 to $5.50, combination plates $9.25 to $13.75.
Osha Thai Cafe, 2922 Diamond Street (Glen Park); (415) 586-6742, oshathai.com, lunch and dinner daily; lunch $11-13, dinner $13-17, extensive noodle soup menu.
Moonlight Cafe and Crepe House, 634 Cortland Avenue (Bernal); , serves breakfast and lunch daily until 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sweet or savory crepes, $6 to $9; cheeseburger with caramelized onions and port-wine cheddar, $10.
Clay Oven Indian Cuisine, 1689 Church Street (near Bernal Heights); (415) 826-2400, clayovensf.com, serves lunch and dinner daily. Clay-oven-cooked entrees are $11 to $17.
El Paisa Restaurante, 3322 Mission Street (Bernal Heights); (415) 550-0557, elpaisasf.com, serves a hearty Honduran and Salvadoran menu with friendly service; breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Breakfast $6 to $10, soups $7 to $14, seafood entrees $11 to $25.
LOCAL FOOD SHOPS
Good Life Grocery, 448 Cortland Avenue (Bernal); Canyon Market, 2815 Diamond Street (Glen Park); Destination Baking Company, 598 Chenery Street (Glen Park); Manila Oriental Market, 4175 Mission Street (near Glen Park); 24th Street Cheese Company, 3893 24th Street (Noe Valley); Drewes Brothers Meats, 1706 Church Street; and Church Produce, 1798 Church St.
WHERE TO STAY
The Noe Valley Voice online (noevalleyvoice.com) lists homes to rent, as does Vacation Rentals by Owner (vrbo.com).
WHAT TO DO
Bird & Beckett Books & Records, 653 Chenery Street (Glen Park), (415) 586-3733, birdbeckett.com. New and used books, specializing in San Francisco history and culture, and appearances by poets and musicians.
Mission Dolores, 3321 16th Street (near Bernal); (415) 621-8203, missiondolores.org, founded in 1776, is open daily. Suggested donation is $5.
Neighborhood festivals include Fiesta on the Hill, usually in October, sponsored by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center(bhnc.org), and the Glen Park Festival (glenparkfestival.com), usually in April, both with lots of music.

Thanksgiving 2009


This year the Schwirtzs and the Pierces had Thanksgiving together in Santa Rosa. We feasted on a great meal prepared by Meredith, all by herself. We cracked open a few bottles of the homemade hard apple cider that Robert and John had bottled a few weeks before. David liked that. Everyone was left satisfied and full. The men occupied themselves with the Wii, at which Robert II was the self-proclaimed champion. John and Robert Sr. played a round of golf together, and even Batman had a good time. The conversation of the year was a lively discussion about the definition of “hippy.” The Schwirtzs claimed that it means those who seek change, free-will and who promote fairness without consideration of class, race or other artificial distinction. The Pierces proposed a one-word synonym: freeloader. The debate was officially called a tie.

Photos can be found here.

Thanksgiving 2009


This year the Schwirtzs and the Pierces had Thanksgiving together in Santa Rosa. We feasted on a great meal prepared by Meredith, all by herself. We cracked open a few bottles of the homemade hard apple cider that Robert and John had bottled a few weeks before. David liked that. Everyone was left satisfied and full. The men occupied themselves with the Wii, at which Robert II was the self-proclaimed champion. John and Robert Sr. played a round of golf together, and even Batman had a good time. The conversation of the year was a lively discussion about the definition of “hippy.” The Schwirtzs claimed that it means those who seek change, free-will and who promote fairness without consideration of class, race or other artificial distinction. The Pierces proposed a one-word synonym: freeloader. The debate was officially called a tie.

Photos can be found here.

Plans

There’s been plenty of Pierce Family news during the last few weeks. In addition to the birth of Caedryn, there has been information leaking out about career and lifestyle changes. In order to achieve consistency and stop the rumor mills from generating too many crazy interpretations, we thought we would get our news and plans down in writing in one place. Here they are.

1. Work. After 9.25 years, Robert will resign his position with the Adobe legal department at the conclusion of January 2010. Robert’s ambitions and skills, and the limitations on what Adobe can offer him, make leaving the best option at this time. Robert has interviewed for a few positions recently, but he will remain hyper-selective about taking any new job. If no extremely interesting position is found prior to February, then he will take a break from corporate law practice. We will live off the Pierce Family savings account (formerly known as the New House account) until Robert and/or Mira begins on a satisfying new career vector. Please contact Robert or Mira if you have information about an interesting job opportunity.

2. Home. The Pierce Family cannot live in the Bay Area without employment income. Thus, we will give up our rental pink cupcake house at the end of February 2010. Hopefully, the tenant living in our own condo will continue to pay rent.
3. Travel. After January, we plan to spend time with Mira and Robert’s families, in Sonoma County and Shasta County. Then, almost certainly we will travel overseas for an extended period of time in 2010 and 2011. One of our goals is to immerse ourselves and our children in a foreign culture, living abroad for as long a practical. This is a good chance to achieve that goal.

4. Charity. The Mustardseed Schoolhouse Project is in full swing. We have nearly competed funding of construction of a two-room schoolhouse in Nicaragua, the exact location of which will be decided upon in the Summer of 2010. The 2-3 month construction will begin in Fall 2010 and we will certainly be there for that. We have partnered with a large charitable organization, BuildOn, to achieve this goal. Please contact us if you would like to make a donation or would like to join us at the construction site.

5. Plans Change. Plans change and we may find ourselves doing something completely different in the next 1-2 years. But we will always be a family with goals that we are passionate about.

Plans

There’s been plenty of Pierce Family news during the last few weeks. In addition to the birth of Caedryn, there has been information leaking out about career and lifestyle changes. In order to achieve consistency and stop the rumor mills from generating too many crazy interpretations, we thought we would get our news and plans down in writing in one place. Here they are.

1. Work. After 9.25 years, Robert will resign his position with the Adobe legal department at the conclusion of January 2010. Robert’s ambitions and skills, and the limitations on what Adobe can offer him, make leaving the best option at this time. Robert has interviewed for a few positions recently, but he will remain hyper-selective about taking any new job. If no extremely interesting position is found prior to February, then he will take a break from corporate law practice. We will live off the Pierce Family savings account (formerly known as the New House account) until Robert and/or Mira begins on a satisfying new career vector. Please contact Robert or Mira if you have information about an interesting job opportunity.

2. Home. The Pierce Family cannot live in the Bay Area without employment income. Thus, we will give up our rental pink cupcake house at the end of February 2010. Hopefully, the tenant living in our own condo will continue to pay rent.
3. Travel. After January, we plan to spend time with Mira and Robert’s families, in Sonoma County and Shasta County. Then, almost certainly we will travel overseas for an extended period of time in 2010 and 2011. One of our goals is to immerse ourselves and our children in a foreign culture, living abroad for as long a practical. This is a good chance to achieve that goal.

4. Charity. The Mustardseed Schoolhouse Project is in full swing. We have nearly competed funding of construction of a two-room schoolhouse in Nicaragua, the exact location of which will be decided upon in the Summer of 2010. The 2-3 month construction will begin in Fall 2010 and we will certainly be there for that. We have partnered with a large charitable organization, BuildOn, to achieve this goal. Please contact us if you would like to make a donation or would like to join us at the construction site.
5. Plans Change. Plans change and we may find ourselves doing something completely different in the next 1-2 years. But we will always be a family with goals that we are passionate about.

Adobe Guy Lawyer Alum

Robert had dinner last night with some good friends who are all either members of the Adobe legal department or former members. We all keep leading interesting lives, and after a few drinks we all have some fanciful things to say. Lots of hidden and not-so-hidden wisdom in this group. From left to right: Gary Spiegel, Sun Microsystems; Jim Markwith, Greenberg Taurig; Phillips Sweet, Adobe; Robert; Jeff Myers, Adobe; Kevin O’Neill, Daddy, Inc.

Adobe Guy Lawyer Alum

Robert had dinner last night with some good friends who are all either members of the Adobe legal department or former members. We all keep leading interesting lives, and after a few drinks we all have some fanciful things to say. Lots of hidden and not-so-hidden wisdom in this group. From left to right: Gary Spiegel, Sun Microsystems; Jim Markwith, Greenberg Taurig; Phillips Sweet, Adobe; Robert; Jeff Myers, Adobe; Kevin O’Neill, Daddy, Inc.