Tuesday: Celebrate 17 Years of Heartfelt with Neighbor Darcy

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Some things change, some things stay the same, and some things stay the same because they change a lot. The fabulous Heartfelt store on Cortland has been able to stick around for a long time because its proprietor, Neighbor Darcy Lee, is obsessively focused on making sure her “contemporary five-and-dime” store always feels fresh and new.

This week, Neighbor Darcy is celebrating 17 years of Hearffelt, with an in-store party on Tuesday, July 26:

I recently looked up to see when I bought the store, and discovered it was 1999. I was a retail newbie at that time, and I jumped in with both feet.

We would like to thank the neighborhood that made 17 years possible on Tuesday, July 26th from 6-8 pm. We hope to party like its 1999, and thus are asking folks to wear purple in honor of my favorite rock star of all time. First 50 folks that wear purple get a door prize.

We’l have cookies champagne, and Mariachi Jalisco will be playing!

Congratulations, Darcy!

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PHOTO: Darcy Lee during a rainstorm, 2015, by Telstar Logistics. Poster, artwork by Reuben Rude

El Buen Comer Is Now Open for Dinner (and It’s Amazing)

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Last week, your Bernalwood editor visited El Buen Comer, the much-acclaimed new restaurant at 3435 Mission Street (@Kingston) in the La Lengua Autonomous Zone. El Buen Comer is now open for dinner, and our meal there sent us into a state of guisado-induced rapture.

What’s a guisado? Well, think of it sort of like a Mexican version of a Thai or Indian curry. Anna Roth from the San Francisco Chronicle had a similar moment of guisado rapture at El Buen Comer recently, and she explains:

The plate arrived with six pieces of stewed pork in a sea of green sauce. I’ve never been one to forgo pork products, but the mole verde, not the meat, wholly captivated my attention. It was richly layered and bright-tasting from fresh cilantro and epazote, with just a whisper of heat from green chiles. As I sopped up the last of the sauce with a house-made tortilla, I realized that I’d be doing the same thing with naan at an Indian restaurant; mole, like curry, is just a complicated stew.

Puerco en mole verde is just one of several remarkable dishes being turned out by Isabel Caudillo at her 6-week-old Bernal Heights restaurant, El Buen Comer. The daily changing menu centers on guisados — stews from Caudillo’s native Mexico City, where they can be served at home for weekday dinner or spooned into tacos for workers on the go.

Guisados have recently become trendy in food circles north of the border, but Caudillo has been serving them in San Francisco for more than a decade. She began selling comida corrida, simple fixed-price lunches of soup, tortillas, rice, beans and guisados, out of her Tenderloin apartment in 2001.

Bernalwood ate at El Buen Comer a few days after Anna Roth’s article was published, and the resulting crush of customers who flocked to the restaurant threatened to overwhelm the staff, which is largely comprised of chef Isabel Caudillo’s family. But we hardly cared, because teething pains are to be expected, and everyone was friendly, charming, and attentive.

Most of all, the food was revelatory and delicious.

Welcome to Bernal, El Buen Comer! We’re very lucky to have you here.

PHOTO: Puerco en mole verde at El Buen Comer, by Bernalwood

RIP Bernal Neighbor Thea Anderson, 24

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Neighbor Leigh brings Bernalwood heartbreaking news about Neighbor Thea Anderson, age 24, who died last month after a collision in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Neighbor Thea had been working as volunteer at a New Zealand school for children with intellectual disabilities.

Neighbor Leigh says:

I’m emailing on behalf of dear friends of mine, Consuelo and Thor Anderson, who are fellow Bernalites. They wanted to share the news of their daughter death a few weeks ago. Thea Faust Anderson died the day after her 24th birthday in a car crash in New Zealand, where she had been living and working.

Thea and her older sister Madeleine were born and raised in Bernal Heights, spending countless hours at the Bernal branch library, exploring the hill, and gaining newfound independence walking to Holly Park on their own. Consuelo remembers trick or treating with them back when there was only one cafe on Cortland.

As a fellow parent raising kids here in Bernal, I can imagine all the memories, milestones, and experiences Consuelo and Thor shared with Thea as she blossomed from her Bernal roots into an adventurous, vibrant and deeply caring young woman.

Here is a link to a beautiful obituary for her in last Sunday’s Chronicle.

There will be a celebration of Thea’s life at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco, on Saturday, July 23rd at noon. Gifts in memory of Thea may be sent to the Thea Faust Anderson Fund for Dance, Mills College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, California, 94613, or online.

Please join Bernalwood in extending  our deepest condolences to Neighbors Consuelo, Thor, and Madeleine, on behalf of our Bernal community.

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PHOTO: Top, Thea Faust Anderson. Below, Thea Anderson at Phia Beach, NZ, via The Dominion Post.

Donate for a Mosaic at Your Fabulously Renovated Esmeralda Slide Park

Rendering of proposed mosaic

Rendering of proposed mosaic

Neighbors Joan and Nancy, the dynamic duo that has been organizing the (rather impressive) efforts to restore and renovate the iconic Esmeralda Slide Park, just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $14,000 for a public art installation at the site. Neighbor Nancy says:

You may have seen our freshly poured Esmeralda Slide Park Plaza. It’s all done in beautiful aggregate concrete, except for a 9 ft. diameter smooth, cement circle. All kinds of theories have been circulating as to what that circle is for. Some people think it is for tetherball, others still think it is awaiting plumbing. NO, it is awaiting Public Art. Namely, “The Locator”.  Please see the GoFundMe campaign below and GIVE GIVE GIVE!

Here are the details, from the GoFundMe page:

We’d like to bring Public Art to Esmeralda Slide Park. A couple of months ago, the concrete Plaza was demolished to install an underground irrigation system for the Park. Joan Carson and Nancy Windesheim (local artists/neighbors) asked the City if they could design a mosaic tile inlay for the newly-poured Plaza. Permission was granted, but with no committed funds.

They designed a 9 ft. diameter inlay, “The Locator”,  to be installed in the Park’s plaza. The Park is adjacent to the middle of three stairways leading from The Mission to the top of Bernal Hill. The mosaic tile design will be directional signage. “It is our response to the navigational challenges we’ve witnessed when people come and go from Esmeralda Slide Park.”

The design features a compass surrounded by “Esmeralda Slide Park” with arrows pointing in 4 directions: Cortland Ave., Bernal Hill, Downtown, and Mission Street. The color blue signifies the sky, the greens represent open space and trees, and the textured grey rings suggest the surrounding urban landscape. The exterior smooth grey surface is temporary and will be completed to complement the mosaic tile and surrounding concrete aggregate.

Our target of $14,000 is for the fabrication and installation of the mosaic by Rachel Rodi, a leading professional in the field of “mosaic art”. Her firm, Rachel Rodi Mosaics, is based in the Bay Area and creates mosaics throughout Northern California and beyond. Her recent projects include outdoor murals, fountains, garden mosaics, and playgrounds.

This is a cool art installation that would come at an eminently reasonable cost, so please donate right here.

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PHOTOS: via the GoFundMe page

Tonight: The History of One Building in Bernal Heights

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Vicky Walker invites you to a meeting of the Bernal Heights History Project happening TONIGHT, Wednesday, July 20 at 7 pm at the lovely Bernal Library. Tonight’s episode will  look at the history of one building here in Bernal:

Patrick Silk lived in Bernal Heights for 15 years, more than a hundred years ago. His great-grandson will talk about how a family history project turned into a research project about the history of the building Patrick built, and how it has fared and changed over the next century.

This is also a show-and-tell get-together. Bring your photos, stories, and artifacts and we’ll talk! We have handouts on how to research your Bernal home, so come to the meeting if you’d like one of those. (And we’d love to hear your stories.)

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. sharp in the downstairs meeting room; turn left at the bottom of the stairs. As always, it is free and open to all.

PHOTO: View West From Bernal Heights 1930s. Overlooking Noe Valley, with elevated railway. In lower right corner, 29th and Mission St. car barn, Lyceum Theatre. Fairmount School at center-left.  Image courtesy OpenSFHistory

Thieves Smash Healthy Spirits Door to Steal Cash Register

healthyspiritsdoor

Grrrrrrrr. Rami from Healthy Spirits tells Bernalwood:

Healthy Spirits located at 249 Cortland Ave  was broken into at 5:30 AM this morning. Two robbers broke the glass on the front door and entered the shop. They stole the cash register with the small sum of money and proceeded to exit. Thankfully the damage was only financial and no one was hurt in anyway.

PHOTO: Smashed door, via Healthy Spirits

Cole Hardware Hopes to Return to Mission Street

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At this point, it happens almost daily: I’m doing the Life Thing, trying to keep everything working, and inevitably there’s some small item required. Like a replacement key. Or a picture hangar. Or a rubber grommet thingy that goes between this thingy and that thingy. And inevitably I have a habitual thought: “Oh, I’ll just go get that at Cole Hardware.”

Except, that’s not possible anymore.* Sigh.*

In the wake of the June 18 Cole Hardware Fire,  a great many Bernalese have wondered if our neighborhood hardware store will one day return to our fabulous stretch of Mission Street. Last week, our friends at Hoodline interviewed Cole Hardware owner Rick Karp to learn more about the history of the business and the future of Cole Hardware in La Lengua:

On June 18th, the night of the fire, Karp gathered with his Mission store employees in the Safeway parking lot to discuss finding them new jobs. “We wanted to make sure that everyone continued to work, and we emailed them that night to tell them where they would be working the next day.” Sure enough, the next day, all employees had jobs. With help from his son, Dave, and daughter, Adrianna, who both help run the business, Karp was able to quickly divvy the staff up to the other four other locations. “Everyone is now working and they seem to be very appreciative with their new digs,” he said. “They’re all disappointed that they are not working together anymore. That’s a tough thing for the staff to be broken up. They were a cohesive group, but everyone from the other stores has welcomed them with open arms.”

“We are lucky that nobody got hurt [in the Mission fire],” said Karp. “We try to look at the good side.” Karp is actively looking for another site to relocate the Mission Street store. He told us that he really wants to stay connected to the neighborhood and get back in as soon as possible, because the loss of the hardware store impacts people’s lives daily.

“We want to continue to keep serving our customers there and stay connected. In fact, the burnt-out building is coming down this week. This is San Francisco, so we will be lucky if it’s built in a year. It could be a couple years [to get the building back up to speed].”

Karp is seeking a new location in Mission/Bernal/Noe Valley area, but hasn’t yet found a suitable space. He is also looking citywide to open another store, and is currently considering a spot in North Beach and another in SoMa. “We are open to any opportunity, as well. When the Mission building is ultimately rebuilt, whether that is two years or three years from now, whatever it is, we would like to move back into our Mission Street location. We don’t want to abandon that neighborhood, by any means. In fact, we are working with some Bernal folks to do a pop-up store here and there.”

Cole Hardware has been around since 1961. It all began when founder David Karp purchased the business on Cole. In 1984, he and his son, Rick, expanded the business to the Mission.

There’s a lot more to the story of Cole Hardware and Rick Karp, so read the whole thing.

PHOTO: Former site of Cole Hardware, July 16, 2016, photographed by Neighbor Valerie