Two old cranes loom large over the Dogpatch. You simply can’t miss them.
I actually think these old cranes are very cool. Well, I think the Dogpatch is very cool. It is a bit rough but, definitely, in a good way. Old Victorians and old industrial and commercial buildings that survived the 1906 fire and earthquake mixed with new and modern loft apartments and cool cafes and restaurants give this tiny nine-block neighborhood a really interesting character.
The Dogpatch is an enclave of industrial worker’s housing in the once-booming San Francisco Central Waterfront district. The city recognized it as a Historic District in 2003. It still feels industrial but it also feels neighborly. It was recently hailed as one of America’s best neighborhoods by Men’s Journal and recently featured in the New York Times.
I love its dog-friendly Esprit Park surrounded by quiet streets where dogs can run and play. I love its 260 sunny days in a year, on average. And I love its burgeoning dining scene. Fried eggs and cornbread with strawberry jam for breakfast at Just for You. House-smoked pastrami sandwich with bacon snickerdoodle for lunch at Kitchenette. A cup of Blue Bottle Coffee at Piccino Coffee Bar. A bottle of Malbec with cheese and olives at Yield Wine Bar. And a plateful of fried chicken with red beans and rice and yams for dinner at Hard Knox Cafe.
And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the equally cool 18th Street in Potrero Hill is just a quick brisk walk away. Hop on the T to get to downtown or on the 22 to get to the Mission. The choices are endless.
Here is a link to read more about the story behind the city’s working class historic district. It is a great resource about the history and architecture of the Dogpatch. And here are more information about the restaurants mentioned in this blog.
Just For You Cafe
Piccino Coffee Bar
Yield Wine Bar
Hard Knox Cafe
A walk in the city to take photos is always fun.
But a walk in the city with fellow photography enthusiasts on Halloween night is way more fun. Organized by CaliberSF, the group meandered its way from downtown to the Castro snapping photos of fire exits, graffitis and the city’s craziest costumes. Kudos to CaliberSF for organizing the photowalk.
On top of Potrero Hill, at 20th and San Bruno, near McKinley Square Park, sits a lovely community garden. It overlooks the western side of the city, from Twin Peaks to downtown San Francisco. On a clear day, you can see Sutro Tower and if you’re lucky, even the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.
All 50 plots in the garden are maintained by local residents using only organic methods. The sunny Potrero weather is great for growing a variety of fruits and vegetables like grapes, rhubarb, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, corn and lots more.
It also has the prettiest dahlias and sunflowers. And it has a beehive, too!
Our trek up the hill to check out the Potrero garden actually reminded me of my mom’s own garden back home in Manila. She has a guava tree, a papaya tree, peppers and herbs in her backyard. She would make nilaga, a Filipino beef stew, and garnish it with fresh green papayas picked right out of her garden. Lately, she started growing pineapples and when I phoned her the last time she was so excited to tell me that her pineapples turned out sweet and that my 5-year old niece loved them.
I’ve always wanted my own vegetable garden. I think growing your own vegetables at home like tomatoes for a caprese salad or basil for pesto is such a cool thing to do. But I’ve always lived in tiny living spaces, which really makes it almost impossible to maintain one. This makes community gardens perfect for those who are space-challenged like me. The very popular Potrero garden, however, has a very long waiting list. The current count is 74 people waiting to get in, which may take about a few years! So while waiting for a spot to open (or while saving for a country home) I’m going to start a small garden in our loft in the Dogpatch. I’m actually very excited that the new apartment has a pretty big-size patio that gets a good enough share of sun and shade. I think it’ll be perfect for a small herb garden. And maybe some tomatoes, too.
To know more about community gardens in the city and to find a garden in your neighborhood, follow this link.
On a clear sunny day, the views of San Francisco on-board a DUKW on the Bay are simply wonderful.
But what is a DUKW?
Bay Quackers gives a very cool 80-minute tour of San Francisco and the Bay on-board an original, refurbished World War II amphibious landing craft, known as the DUKW or simply the “Duck”. It may sound like a military pun but the letters D-U-K-W actually mean something: “D” indicates that the vehicle was designed in 1942, “U” means utility, meaning amphibious, “K” is for all-wheel drive and “W” refers to its two powered rear axles. Here is a link to know more about these six-wheel-drive amphibious trucks.
The surf and turf Duck tour starts out at Fisherman’s Wharf, goes through North Beach, Chinatown, Coit Tower, Union Square, SoMa and then Mission Bay, where the tour goes from land to sea at San Francisco’s only public boat ramp at Pier 52. On the bay, the “Duck” takes you to McCovey Cove, which gives you a cool view of M/V Cape Hudson, the Bay Bridge, downtown San Francisco, and the ballpark.
Aside from the cool views, the tour also gives interesting little-known facts about the city like the 24 palm trees in front of the ballpark, for example. Those were planted in honor of Willie Mays’ number: 24. I guess if I were a baseball fan I would’ve known that!
Undeniably, Bay Quackers is a very touristy thing to do but I love touristy things! And that’s what I love about living in San Francisco, I can be a tourist anytime I wish because the city never runs out of cool places to see and cool things to do.