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Cities Are Good For Kids - and Kids Are Good For Cities

My son was a colicky baby, wailing for hours and up before dawn. To comfort him—and escape our cramped apartment—we would take long walks. Fortifying coffee in hand and baby in pouch, I’d scale Folsom Street and then spiral up to Bernal Heights, where we could find nature without leaving San Francisco. Once I saw an owl gripping a branch, looking back at us with agate eyes. We kept up the ritual after the fussy baby turned into a happier toddler, and we would walk side by side. Max was just 2 when he surveyed the view and said, “Our city.” Some people argue that SF is no place to raise a kid, but I’ve always felt differently.

Cherries Top Off A Bunch Of Local Menus

Newsflash: it's cherry season in San Francisco. Local chef Robert Leva says they've been getting progressively better each week. He gets his at the Marin Farmer's Market, then uses their natural sugary-sour hit to play with the rich meaty flavors in a Liberty duck dish now on the menu at Salt House. Pretty to look at, sweet but not overly so, cherries work equally well in desserts and savory dishes. So don't be surprised if you see them popping up all over the place right now. Here's how some other local pros are cooking them.  

Local Start-Up Munchery Makes the Luxury of a Personal Chef Affordable

When you launch a company, timing can be everything, and in that respect the timing looks to be perfect for the geek team of three at Munchery, who launched their intriguing service in San Francisco on April 23rd. 

The idea behind this startup is to match you with your own personal chef.

It's even better than that. Because your own personal chef will turn out to be someone who's committed to using locally grown, sustainable, seasonal ingredients to turn out high-quality, nutritious meals delivered right to your door at a total cost around $20 per person per meal.

The New San Francisco Tech Boom is On (and Google Wants to Hire You)

Yesterday, Mozilla, the developer of the popular Firefox browser, became the latest tech sector star to announce that it will soon be opening an office in San Francisco.

So it's probably time to state the obvious, and that is that around here, the rush is on. Yep, we've got another full-fledged tech boom on our hands.

Over at CNET headquarters in Soma yesterday, I was marveling at the array of top-notch correspondents and bloggers they employ, which easily rivals Bloomberg TV's growing team down on The Embarcadero, which I profiled here recently.

The journalists at CNET, Bloomberg, and elsewhere I've spoken with all say that the pace of innovation occurring here in the city easily matches what they witnessed in the mid-90s during the original Internet boom, and that it may well soon surpass it.

Why?

Corn Dogs in San Francisco: Not Just Carnie Fare

Leave it to San Francisco to turn something as humble as a corn meal-batter-coated hot dog into an exercise in culinary wit. At its best, a corn dog should be hand-dipped and deep-fried to order—none of this pre-frozen business. At its purest, the meal should be eaten standing up, or while perched on a stool, al fresco, of course. But after asking around town, it's clear that corn dogs have broken free from their carnie stereotype, graduating onto many a San Francisco menu. Here goes our list, running the gamut from quick and dirty deliciousness to posh, dine-in "dogs."

Scenes of the City: Gardening in SF: Alemany Farm and Beyond

For this week's Scenes of the City we visited Alemany Farm on the southern slope of Bernal Heights and several other gardens in SF and checked out spring planting, cleaning and maintaining. Also check out details of the Alemany Farm Earth Day Celebration here (scheduled for April 23). Enjoy.

Pineapple Sage grows readily in the cool SF climate and smells like, you guessed it, a pungent pineapple.

From Umami to Nombe: Restaurants Step Up Tsunami Relief Efforts Across Town

A local posse of Bay Area restaurants are leaping to action to help Japan recover from Friday's earthquake, tsunami and devastating after effects. Twenty-seat La Lengua sushi spot, Ichi Sushi, was among the first to rally for the cause this past weekend, raising $550 for American Red Cross over the course of two nights. Now, a look at other San Francisco restaurants where you can help out by dining out.

As Startups Proliferate, SF Beta's Mixer Becomes One of the Hottest Tickets in Town

San Francisco is experiencing another explosion in startups, and one of the best ways to visualize that is at at the local tech community's hottest recurring event, which is the "startup mixer" held by SF Beta every other month at 111 Minna.

SF Beta is the brainchild of Christian Perry, now 26. He launched it when he first moved here from Chicago after finishing college back in 2006.  Perry notes that his meetups are attracting record crowds these days.

"There is a big spike this year, up to 650-700 attendees, or more than twice as many as in the past," says Perry.

Almost all of that growth, he says, is due to the rise of social networking companies like Twitter, mobile app developers, and new advertising startups, which have catapulted San Francisco into the new center of tech innovation -- more than anyplace else, including Silicon Valley.

Scenes of the City: Street Portraits in the Castro District

For this week's Scenes of the City, we went to the Castro District and captured a dozen or so street portraits of the people passing by near Castro and Market streets.

 

All photos and words by Joseph Schell

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