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? 18th St between Connecticut and Missouri
Where to embark on a digital detox: The demise of the independent bookstore has been hitting headlines for years, but the beloved Christopher's Books is still a stalwart in the community (as their Twitter profile states "We sell, read and love books. Yes, books made with paper, they still exist, especially here."). Stocking a litte bit of everything (including local lit and books on SF), Christopher's is seriously the perfect place to browse and linger, and they've even got that elusive thing called good customer service. 1400 18th St.
Where to sip on the sidewalk: Teeny wine merchant Ruby Wine boasts an impressive selection of well-curated, high-quality, small production wines. On Fridays, head over for Friday Night Flights where you can sample a variety of top notch grape juice along with cheese and charcuterie. If it's crowded, just spill out on to the sidewalk and take in the neighborhood evening scene.
Where to take the family: The best unknown view award goes to Goat Hill Pizza, where sitting along the northeast-facing windows grants you gorgeous sunset views while you chow down. Potrero Hill's oldest restaurant, this pizza parlor is one of those all-around welcoming neighborhood spots. The walls are plastered with drawings created by kids of all ages declaring their love for Goat Hill's pizza, not surprising since they make their own delicious sourdough crust (as well as homemade marinara for their satisfying pastas). There's even live jazz on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. 300 Connecticut St.
Where to take your date: If you're attempting to turn up the romance, cute Aperto should be your go to. Serving up traditional flavors without being super heavy, the restaurant uses only local, seasonal, organic ingredients in its Cali-Italian cuisine. Try the signature dish, Tagliolini Pepati, a decadent red sauce pasta amped up with bacon and jalapeños. They take reservations too. 1434 18th St.
Where to get your Mexican on: Tacos are the name of the game at cheery Papito. Sure, they've got a full menu of enchilads, quesadillas, burritos, and entrées like grilled rock cod and hanger steak, but for under $10 you can nosh on two towering tacos piled high with your choice of ten fillings from the traditional (pastor, carne asada) to the adventurous (duck confit). The outdoor seating is a nice touch. 317 Connecticut St.
Tacos at Papito. Photo courtesy of SFGate.
Where to personalize your two-year anniversary gift: The traditional mark of a two year commitment is cotton, and what better way to add personal flair to your gift (linens, towels, clothing) than embroidering the piece? Barbara's Embroidery is a makeshift studio out her own garage, but Barbara gets mad props from everyone who crosses her machine's path with her expert embroidery and detailing. Check Babs out. 341 Arkansas St. @ Connecticut.
Where to slurp noodles: Vegetarians, rejoice: Sunflower is one of the few places to serve pho with a truly vegetarian broth (for real!). Seems most folks know about the Valencia St. location and, though both are good with similar menus, the Potrero venue is more upscale, airy, and decked out in black and crimson. Try one of the clay pots or the garlic noodles. 288 Connecticut St.
Where to go for retail therapy:Kate's Closet is owned by a sweet local with long ties to Potrero Hill (her grandfather settled here to work in the shipyards in the 40s). Find high-quality vintage and consignment items for women, men, and children as well as a few local designers on offer. 1331 18th St.
Where to get your caffeine fix: The SF outpost of Farley's has a nice community vibe, displays and sells locally produced art on its walls, recently declared August to be national meet-a-friend-for-coffee month, and has a sick magazine section that will suck you in for hours (these Potrero businesses lover their print!). The chai is recommended and they have a small selection of food too. 1315 18th St. Chatz, nearby, has a wicked hot chocolate and ridiculously cheap coffee served up in a cozy (read: tight) space, but worth it for the inexpensive lattes. 301 Arkansas @ 18th.
Where to be a Francophile: If in need of a solid dinner option, eat at Chez Papa Bistrot, where the heavenly French food is a cut above. We were sad when the Mint plaza location shut its doors, but the same Kobe beef tartar, mussels, and delectable grands assiettes are found on the Potrero menu. For the love of God, save room for dessert. The prix fixe dinner is a good deal and keep this one on your radar for celebrations, the team here has always been extremely accomodating for larger groups. From the same family, Chez Maman (half a block away) is more recommended for brunch (but only if you can't stand the wait at Plow further up the road).