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Christine Ryan

Pickles: Send out the Clowns (and Send in the Burgers)

The clowns have left the building. On our last visit to this Columbus Avenue burger joint—which was soon after the Myth folks took over and changed its name from Clown Alley to Pickles—the burgers were terrific, but some of those creepy clowns still lurked about the place. Now, restaurant designer Michael Brennan has done his magic and, along with adding upholstered booths and a gas fireplace, has banished the Ronalds. 

Hot Mama-To-Be (Jen Siebel Newsom, That Is)

Although Valleywag broke the story today, we had a hint as early as last October that the patter of little mayoral feet wouldn’t be far off. From our interview with SF’s First Lady:

Slumdog Millionaire-esque "Dystopia Chic" at the Robert Koch Gallery

We ducked into 49 Geary at lunchtime today—having missed First Thursday, for, like, the millionth month in a row—and had time to hit one gallery, Robert Koch. (We'll be reporting from more in days to come...) We have a bit of a weakness for photography, and for big color prints of massively detailed images in particular and, even more specifically, for Edward Burtynsky's lush yet grim scenes from the shipbreaking beaches of Bangladesh. Imagine our joy, then, to discover we'd wandered into "Dystopia," a group show at Koch that features, among a slew of cool photos, a Burtynsky diptych.

Olive-Oil Ice Cream Comes to the Mission. Really.

And what's even more surprising, it's good. What's not surprising is the fact that the place—Humphry Slocombe, owned by Jake Godby, formerly of Coi, etc. etc.—is using McEvoy Ranch olive oil. The result reminds me of times I've had real, super-expensive balsamic vinegar dribbled onto vanilla ice cream...not shockingly savory but subtly vegetal, in a good way.

Has Muji Come to SF? Well, Not Quite...

Sometime in the last year or two, we noticed a new store at Serramonte: Daiso. Took us a while to check it out, but in the Christmas stocking-stuffing rush, we finally did. At first, the "livingwear" store (that's what the sign on the door says—it's kind of like a Japanese Target, only without clothing) seems chaotic and schlocky, but when you dive into the kitchenware sections, you realize that it's basically Muji gone Hello Kitty. (Which is an idea that would, no doubt, quietly horrify the philosopher-retailers at Muji.) And plenty of the cool little containers and mysterious gadgets are decal-free.

Not in the Holiday Spirit Yet? Chanticleer Can Help.

At 8 p.m. last Saturday, in a pitch-black St. Ignatius Church, an audience of some 1,300 people sat motionless in the dark. What kept us that way was was 12 male voices, unaccompanied by anything but candlelight and including one astonishing soprano, singing 15th-century plainsong. I couldn't get a photo, of course, so the above shot (of Chanticleer rehearsing before the show) will have to do. There's something about this music that made me think, Why bother with anything else that's been composed in the last, oh, six hundred years?

Dreidels, Israeli Folk-Dancing and...Charlton Heston?

Is it something in the air? This morning, we got a heads-up about an exhibit coming to the CJM called "Jews on Vinyl"—which is about pretty much what you'd think it'd be about. Then, about five minutes later, we heard that Rob Tannenbaum (music editor of Blender) and David Fagin are coming to town with their latest revue, Good for the Jews. Coincidence?

World Premiere of "The Entrepreneur" (aka "Malcolm & Me")

On December 10, 7x7 and the SF Arts Fund cohosted the world premiere of a documentary called The Entrepreneur, the story of Malcolm Bricklin—the man who brought both the Yugo and the Subaru to America—as seen through his four-year quest (ultimately thwarted) to introduce a stylish, low-cost Chinese car called the Chery to the US market.

Sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? And maybe it might have been, if a) the subject hadn’t been the very model of a modern American dreamer and b) if the filmmakers hadn’t included Malcolm’s son Jonathan, from, as Bricklin said in his pre-screening remarks, “my third marriage.” (Jonathan then corrected him: “Um, second wife, Malcolm.”)

Make Santa Happy with Eco-Friendly Stockings

Just because we’re all grown up now and have our own chimneys doesn’t mean we’re not still waiting for santa. But perhaps (and not to be ungrateful) he could fill one of these organic-cotton/hemp stockings ($55) from L.A.’s Amenity Home for us instead of the usual polyester sock? Snatch 'em up at Spring on Polk Street. 2162 Polk St., 415-673-2065

The Black Nativity: A Gospel Celebration of Christmas

Thanks to PG&E, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre has a home for its holiday musical, The Black Nativity—it’ll run in the utility’s downtown auditorium Dec. 11 to 28.

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