Tamales, love to eat them, pain in the arse to make them.
My favorite place in town to get a tamale remains the unlikely little Sutter Cafe (330 Sutter St.) in the Sutter Stockton garage across from the elevators. Nice and small, stuffed with chicken, green olives and chilies, they're made there by a Chinese woman who lived in Mexico.
But if you're looking to buy more than one or two, Mijita—at both locations—is taking orders now for their homemade tamales. I've never had them but by the looks of this photo above, they look mighty fine.
San Francisco has a Christmas tradition that you may not know about, but if you love The Golden Girls, drag shows, or both, you've been missing out. What apparently started as a parlor performance has earned itself a legitimate performance space at the Mission's CounterPULSE. Of note, the lovely Pollo del Mar fills Betty White's shoes as Rose Nylund, as the 4-person drag queen cast takes on two Christmas episodes of the 80s sitcom—dare I call it a cult classic—at each performance: “Twas The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Marinara.” The show runs Thursday through Saturday, tomorrow through December 23rd. Tickets are $25 a piece, available through Ticketfly.
Okay, there might not be a lot of snow right now in the Bay Area (Seattle is another story), but post-Thanksgiving marks the time to bundle up, grab some bungee cords and head out to find your perfect Christmas tree. Here are some places to chop a dandy.
WallinFarm 840 Ferguson Road, Sebastopol, (707) 823-6973
Opening on Black Friday, avoid the city chaos and head to this cozy, 6-acre mom-and-pop farm in rural Sebastopol. It's a peaceful setting, perfect for spotting a picturesque Douglas fir for your living room. And you won't have to sacrifice a few Christmas presents to be able to afford one of their trees. For a tree about 9 feet tall, you won't have to pay more than $70. Their last day of chopping is on the 22nd of December.
If anyone has the inside sccop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers market it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll be giving us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.
Bestow random acts of kindness, and you may be rewarded in unexpected ways. No, we’re not recalling a message from our last fortune cookie, but the latest holiday promotion from Macy’s.
On Friday, Dec. 11, two street teams (dubbed the Macy’s Believe Newsboys) will be roving through downtown San Francisco looking for people doing good acts in their daily lives. When they spot a deserving individual, street teams will reward them for their positive deeds and acts of kindness with $25 Macy’s Believe Bonus cards, good toward future purchases at the department store.
The promotion is part of Macy’s National Believe Day, which encourages the spirit of the season through various charitable initiatives.
If you're not from California, chances are you're one of the projected 8.1 million travelers who will be heading home by plane this holiday season. Which means--sorry to break it to you--you'll likely be spending more time than necessary sitting in the airport or on the tarmac, dealing with weather delays, air traffic, mechanical issues or overbookings. But your experience doesn't have to be miserable. Here are a few tips that will hopefully make your holiday travel a little less painful.
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?
A very merry Upper West Side Jewish Christmas usually meant dinner at the Hunan Balcony and a not too long line at the new Woody Allen movie.
Here in San Francisco, the city pretty near closes down on December 25 as families cocoon around a dead tree and the Jews often find themselves left out in the cold.
For those who eschew all things Christmas in favor of Hebrew delights such as egg rolls and wanton soup, “An Evening of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy’’ answers the age-old question: "What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?" Jewish Comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant is a swell solution.
“It can’t be all cheer and happiness, there has to be some suicidal depression and family hatred and alcoholism,” Aimee Mann told the crowd at Bimbo’s Sunday night at the scene of her Third Annual Christmas show. She then launched into her “hit” of sullen melancholy, “Save Me.”
Depression, alcoholism and hatred are what you might expect from Aimee Mann, holiday cheer and jovial whimsy, not so much. But apparently she’s been doing these Christmastime variety shows all over the place and it’s a charming way to espy another side of the subdued singer songwriter.
It's been one strange year for the travel industry. First, gas prices rose to an all-time high, topping out above $5 a gallon here in California. Then, they were the lowest they have been in years, but thanks in part to a recession (and perhaps a heightened awareness of the environment), people have been driving less, thus keeping the supply-and-demand factor in favor of the consumer. Air travel became increasingly more difficult, what with the ridiculous addition of fees--baggage fees, paying-for-exit-row-seat fees, purchasing-tickets-via-phone fees, sky-high fuel surcharge fees, anything the airlines could come up with really. And long-distance buses...well, who takes those anyhow? They're crowded, slow and unreliable.