There are certain blocks in this city that seem like mini-universes. Each week, we'll highlight a stretch of pavement where you could spend an entire day and night. Next up? 9th and Irving.
Where to caffeinate yourself and eat breakfast: You can smell the worker-owned Arizmendi Bakery before you see it. Grab some coffee or tea while you're here, and one of their famous pastries or two...or three. Or maybe even a slice of their ever-changing gourmet pizza. Who ever said pizza for breakfast was a bad idea?
Where to drink: If you need a post-museum drink (or something to fight this neighborhood's frequent fog) head to the unpretentious Mucky Duck. If there's a sports game you want to see, they're likely playing it, and they've got sweet drink deals every day of the week (not to mention their happy hour!): On Sundays, they make special bloody marys, Monday's industry night, which means free food and specially priced shots of Jim Beam and PBR cans. Tuesdays and Thursdays mean $2 Tecates, while Wednesday offers specials on pints.
Where to shop: Oriental Art Gallery is one place I'm hesistant to recommend, only because it's a little secret gem I hold near and dear to my heart. It has collectibles of all kinds, but I go there for its immaculate enamel pin collection. They've got several glass cases filled with quirky, hilarious, and dirty enamel pins that look awesome on denim jackets, and make for super cool gifts. Plus, it's run by an adorable older lady who cracks jokes and has photos of herself posing with Eddie Debartolo, Steve Young, and other 49ers players. Urban Bazaar is another adorable neighborhood stop. They specialize in ethically sourced, handmade things, from jewelry to home decor to bath and body stuff. Be sure to check out their succulent selection.
Lunch: Sometimes a heaping plate of Indian curry is literally the only thing that can warm your body against cold weather. That's where Curry Village comes in. But you have to control yourself, because this place is scrumptious AND all-you-can-eat, so certain danger lies ahead. Beyond the garlic naan and chai the waiter will bring you, they've got some of the best lamb, veggie, seafood, and chicken curry in the city.
Dinner: Kill two birds with one stone and head to Social Kitchen & Brewery. They've got a relatively new brewmaster on board (Kim Sturdavant), which undoubtedly means exciting and different beers will be on tap when you sit down for a taste. And don't forget that they're experts in blending their craft brews right into their food menu.
Where to do yoga: If you're into the special practice of Iyengar yoga, Bija Yoga Studio is your spot. The classes are small and intimate, so you'll never feel rushed as your get into the groove. Their instructors come highly recommended, and they've even got a special Sunday class labeled "Restorative," so you can close out your week on a better-than-good note.