Pinhole Coffee Has Finally Opened, and It Is Awesome


It was nine months ago when we first noticed the papered-over windows of 231 Cortland foretelling the coming of an intriguing-sounding cafe. Late last week, Pinhole Coffee’s doors officially opened for business, and by all reports, it is awesome.

Founded by JoEllen Depakakibo, Pinhole carries coffee from Linea Caffe, the baby of coffee-world superstar Andrew Barnett. This reporter was rather enamored of the Piccolo, a 1:1 ratio of milk and espresso in one of these pleasing little glasses.

The new kid on the block is also quite lovely, with stools made of acacia stumps, a mural by JoEllen’s brother Joey D, a wall of colorful stripes by local artist Leah Rosenberg, and a pegboard of succulents by Bernal’s own Succulence.

Speaking of Cortland connections, among the treats on offer at Pinhole is Anna’s Daughters Chocolate Rye Bark (yum!), made by the mother of New Wheel co-owner Karen Weiner.

And for those wondering where the cafe’s name comes from, as JoEllen explained it to coffee blog Sprudge,

Pinhole takes its name from photography, another of my appreciations. My brother Joey D in Chicago created my logo, and his wife Jen designed my business cards out of a thin strip of walnut–they have a pinhole that you can put over your camera or phone and it creates a pinhole image. I individually hole punch the cards each morning before I start my day.

Pinhole is open 6:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekdays; 7:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekends.

PHOTOS: JoEllen, by Telstar Logistics. Piccolo glasses and Leah Rosenberg wall, via Facebook.

Thursday: Bernal Filmmaker to Have Glamorous SF Premiere for New Documentary


Neighbor Samantha Grant feels like she’s hardly been in the neighborhood for the past 10 months, because she’s hardly been in the neighborhood for the past 10 months. Instead, she’s been busy jetting from film fest to film fest with her new documentary, A Fragile Trust. Luckily, now we can enjoy the fruits of her labor much closer to home, at the film’s San Francisco premiere this Thursday, April 17 at the Roxie Theater.

A Fragile Trust chronicles the infamous Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times. (Remember that? New York Times! Plagiarism! Fabrication of facts!) Grant describes it as “a character-driven narrative” about “power, ethics, representation, race, and accountability in the mainstream media.” Stay home if you’re looking for fluff, because this one promises to be thought-provoking:

If you can’t make it to the Roxie, never fear: A Fragile Trust also screens at the Rafael Film Center on Wednesday, April 23 (tickets here), and it airs nationally on PBS on May 5.

Also on the theme of ethics in journalism (and also on May 5), Neighbor Samantha and team are launching a browser-based, iPad-friendly game called Decisions on Deadline, in which players navigate “the complex and shifting world of journalism ethics as they collect facts and information to report a story.” While aimed at journalists and journalism educators, the game’s goal is “to get regular people interested in these issues,” she says.

Because after all, everyone’s a journalist these days.

Hot Item at Safeway: Shopping Carts

Safeway's empty shopping-cart corral

Sometimes you just have make a Safeway run at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday. And when you do, you generally expect to be able to shop with the help of, you know, a shopping cart.

But this past Saturday, despite there being plenty of empty parking spaces, there were no carts to be seen anywhere outside the building. (Unless you count a couple of locked off-brand ones sitting by the 29th Street cut-through.) Lucky for me, someone had abandoned a cart inside, near a cash register.

I asked courtesy clerk Derek what the story was. He said (very courteously), “They’re probably all in use. We don’t have much. Sorry about that.”

Hmm, is this some sort of Taoist simplicity thing?

PHOTO: Bronwyn Ximm

Fashionable Bernal Heights Mini-Citizens Shake Their Groove Things at Gala Community Celebration


It was quite the happening scene at the Bernal Rec Center on Saturday. The Junior Citizens of Bernalwood jumped, splashed, goat- and chicken-petted, munched, and rocked out as the Bernal Library’s new Cortland- and Moultrie-facing murals sparkled in the sun.

Among the musical guests were Jonathan Bayer, who duly kicked out the jams for kids and parents alike (despite an initial lack of amplification). For those who missed it, here’s a snippet of Bayer’s original “I Rhyme,” performed with Ben Chinn.

See if you can guess all the clever words you would have heard if only my phone hadn’t run out of space three seconds before the end of the song:

Parents of Future Kindergartners, You Need a Drink! Drown Your Anxieties During ‘SFUS-D-Day’ at the Lucky Horseshoe

lottery.jittersAs the ides of March draw near, anyone planning to send their kid to public school in San Francisco is getting a bit nervous right about now. For those not in the know, the school district will soon tell parents which school their child will attend this fall. Might be a school you requested; might not be. You just don’t know.

But know this, parents: You are not alone. So line up those nanas, nannies, or sitters now, because you’re coming (we hope) to the all-too-aptly-named Lucky Horseshoe on Cortland to cele-miserate “SFUS-D-Day” on Thursday, March 14.

I am sure we do not have to remind you that this date is nominally the night before the district computer drops the fate of your future Einstein or Earhart into the mail with all the clatter and clang of a latter-day Linotype machine… and exactly as much empathy.

We’re hoping the good folks at the Horseshoe will offer a custom cocktail lineup featuring such classics-for-one-night as:

  • The First Choice Fizz (champagne, egg white, and Goldschläger)
  • The CTIPsy Gypsy (rose water and smokey scotch)
  • The Dual Immersion Bender (a jigger each of two bottles picked blind from the top shelf)
  • The Attendance Aria (shot of PBR dropped into half-pint of vodka)

…and perhaps some nonalcoholic counterparts as well. But whether it’s for the water or the whine, come on down and look your competition in the eye one last time as equals!

We’ll try to come up with a mechanism for gathering some anecdotal information from attendees, but this is really about forging a moment of defiant collective non-silence in the face of a dehumanizing and exhausting process that, for better and worse, is soon to come to… well, only the first of many notional endings.

WHERE: The Lucky Horseshoe, 453 Cortland Avenue

WHEN: After the kiddies are tucked in bed

WHO: Pre-K parents and those who love them

PHOTO: Aaron Ximm

UPDATED: Vandals Wreck Beloved Slide at Bernal Library Playground




Visitors to the playground behind the Bernal Heights Library this past weekend were greeted by yellow caution tape wrapped around one of the park’s main play structures.

An ulcer-like hole now mars two upper sections of the park’s beloved tunnel slide, rendering it unusable. Pretty depressing.

Anyone see this happen? If you have pertinent information, please call the Ingleside Police Station at 404-4000.

If Dante’s Inferno offers any clue to the vandals’ fate, they will be dispatched to the outer ring of the seventh circle of hell, where they will be immersed in the boiling blood of the fiery River Phlegethon.

UPDATE 2/25/13 4 pm:  Captain Tim Falvey of the Ingleside Police Station says any witnesses should call the Arson Task Force, which is investigating, at 920-2944. In the meantime, police patrols are being increased in the area, and beat officers are checking to see if any cameras along Cortland might have captured anything useful.

PHOTOS: First and last, via Neighbor Andy. Middle by Neighbor JoAnn

BYO-Bagism Up in Bernal Heights, Plus: Get a Free Canvas Tote This Weekend

It’s been three weeks since the city instituted its 10-cent minimum charge for compostable, recycled paper, or reusable sacks at the checkout counter, and so far the policy seems to be an easy pill for Bernal Heights to swallow. (No big surprise there, since green is, after all, glamorous.)

A micro-interview with cashier Alex at the Good Life on Cortland indicates that the ordinance is having its intended effect:

Bernalwood: Have you noticed any difference in the bag situation recently?

Cashier Alex: We’re definitely seeing a lot more people bringing their own bags.

Bernalwood: What happens when they don’t?

Cashier Alex: Then we have to count up all the bags at the end and charge for them.

Bernalwood: Sounds like kind of a pain. Is it? 

Cashier Alex: A little bit.

If you need to add to your collection of reusable bags, make sure to find SF Environment’s booth at Fiesta on the Hill on Cortland Street this Sunday starting at 11 a.m. The fine folks there will be handing out nice ones as part of their consumer education campaign.

PHOTO: Bronwyn Ximm

Simple, Courteous Parking Note Discovered on West Slope

Nice parking notes: They exist!

As the parking wars rage in some parts of Bernalwood, a neighbor on Elsie Street recently expressed him/herself rather more courteously in this vehicular memorandum:

Please be [considerate] next time [of] limited parking space[s] by parking in rear closer to driveway thereby allowing more space in front of you.

Could the lack of passive-aggressiveness be due to… the lovely weather we’ve been having? The civilizing influence of the nifty new Bernal-based service CurbTxt? The effects of the pharmaceutical substance on the note’s letterhead (Fluoxetine = Prozac)?

Whatever the cause, point is: Nice parking notes are possible!

Valiant 4-Year-Old Rescues Baby Snail From Compost Bin

Oh, babies. They just get into everything, don’t they? Case in point: This juvenile gastropod was spotted gliding along the outside of an illegally-left-by-the-curb green bin earlier this week.

Had it managed to gain ingress, it would no doubt have been pleased by the seemingly endless all-you-can-eat buffet… before facing certain death in the Bay Area’s industrial composting facility.

Luckily for this creature, it was airlifted to a nearby bush by one Ember, age 4, of Elsie Street. Crisis averted!

How To Get Free Family Admission to City Museums

Though they look glamorous, this is not another Bernalwood fashion shoot. Instead, here we see Laura (8), Hanna (11), Max (1), and mother Lene waiting for the Bernal Heights Branch Library to open, so they can check out a Family Pass and get complimentary admission (for the whole kit and caboodle!) to the California Academy of Sciences.

Any San Francisco resident who has a library card and kids in their family can do this, at any branch library. Individual branches have passes for a rotating selection of 15 “Participating Attractions,” which include SFMOMA and the zoo, at different times. A single pass is good for one or two adults accompanied by up to four children under 18.

Check out or the S.F. Public Library’s website for more information.

Beer and Wine Now on the Menu at Progressive Grounds

To some, this will certainly represent progress: you can now enjoy a glass of beer or wine with your lunch at venerable Cortland Street cafe Progressive Grounds.

Technically speaking, you could enjoy the same with your morning bagel, starting at 10 a.m., but staffers say that hasn’t been happening. (Phew!) It’s been about a month since the cafe has been offering such brews as Blue Moon, Anchor Steam, and  Fat Tire, and the word is that it’s been a slow, gradual ramp-up in terms of actual consumption.

You gotta hand it to Progressive for covering its bases: coffee, food, Mitchell’s ice cream, a killer patio, and now this.

PHOTO: Bronwyn Ximm

The Right Way to Dispose of Big Stuff (Hint: Don’t Just Leave It Outside)

Dumped mattress in Bernal Heights

Why do this when Recology will take it from your curb at no extra charge?

It goes without saying that the citizenry of Bernalwood was outraged by the recent rash of dumping incidents on Bernal Hill.

But while we’re on the topic of dumping, the Bernalwood Research Department has uncovered an interesting litter-related fact: The majority of the 20 million pounds of abandoned crap our cash-strapped city cleans up every year, to the tune of four million dollars, does not come from piles of construction debris left by miscreants skulking about under cover of darkness.

Nope. “The bulk of what we pick up is innocent household items just set out on sidewalk,” says Greg Crump of the Department of Public Works.

We’ve all seen this kind of small-scale dumping: that splotchy mattress slouching against the side of a building, or that lopsided media cabinet optimistically adorned with a “Free” sign in the mini-park.

Which means that some inhabitants of our fair dominion are, apparently, doing it.

Not that you ever would, of course. But if you happen to see or know of anyone whose idea of spring cleaning is leaving their oversize clutter on the sidewalk, please spread the word: THERE IS A BETTER WAY, and it’s EASY.

Just go to or call 330-1300 and tell the fine folks at Recology Sunset Scavenger what you’ve got and when you want them to haul it away. (I recommend calling, despite the annoying recording you have to listen to, because even if you fill out the online form, you’ll still have to call later.)

Why expend the very minimal effort required to do this?

Reason #1: It’ll probably be free, because—get this—if you have garbage pickup, you’re already paying for this service (more on that later).

Reason #2: Your stuff is less likely to end up in the landfill. Over 60% of what Recology collects is recycled, public relations manager (and Bernalwood resident!) Robert Reed told me. “If you illegally dump, you’re creating an environmental problem,” he says. “Let’s say you abandon a mattress. How long before a dog comes along and lifts a leg, or it rains? If it gets moldy or something, at least part of that thing is going to just get tossed.”

Properly-disposed-of mattresses, by the way, are taken to … the largest mattress recycler in North America(!), a place called DR3, which happens to be in the East Bay. Between 85 and 90 percent of each mattress DR3 gets its hands on finds a new life, including the wood, the steel springs, and the outside material. “The foam gets turned into carpet padding, and a portion of the cotton actually ends up in the oil industry, to help clean up oil spills,” says DR3 manager Robert Jaco.

Reason #3: You won’t be inviting yet more blight to our glamorous neighborhood. Nuff said.

But what if you don’t have any bulky-item pickups left? This can happen. If you live in a single-family home, you’re entitled to two collections of up to 10 big items a year at no extra charge. If you live in a multi-unit building, you only get one.

But not to worry! If you’re out of curbside collections and you can’t sweet-talk your neighbor into letting you share one of theirs, you can still schedule a pickup. It won’t be free, but it won’t break the bank either. And if you can’t or don’t want to schlep your cast-offs to the curb, Recology will handle the lugging. “We collect stuff from garages,  houses, storage rooms,” Reed says. “We even carry mattresses right out of the bedroom.”

A bevy of free options exist for getting rid of non-broken furniture, appliances, etc. The Salvation Army has a conveniently close drop-off location at 26th and San Jose, but you can also have them come to you. United Cerebral Palsy of the Golden Gate will also come to you — and they send also trucks to our neighborhood every few months to pick up usable items and even e-waste; watch for their flyers in your mailbox to get a heads-up.

But whatever you do, don’t just abandon your stuff outside, or the dumping terrorists have already won!

PHOTO: Bronwyn Ximm

Carnaval Dancers Shake Their Stuff in Precita Park

Precita Park is never a bad place to spend a glorious weekend afternoon. But it got even better yesterday with the arrival of Fogo na Roupa, a Bay Area-based Brazilian Carnaval dance and percussion troupe whose members young and old were producing some mighty fine hip-shaking rhythms.

Here they are (well, about a quarter of the full group, according to one dancer), preparing for San Francisco’s big Carnaval parade, which takes place in the Mission on May 27.