Scenes from the 2016 Cortland “Summer” Solstice Stroll

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The sun was out, the fog stalled over Twin Peaks, and last Thursday evening many smiling Bernalese friends and families headed to Cortland Avenue to partake of the ancient ritual of the Solstice Stroll.

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This being summer, of course, was a little chilly. So Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter insisted we head to Pinhole Coffee, where we’d heard there would be Japanese-style curry. The rumors proved true, the curry was warm, hearty, and delicious, and the Cub Reporter was happy and fortified:


One BIG news flash occurred when we realized that celebrity Bernal neighbor Terry Milne…


…. may have actually been separated at birth from his imperial highness Emperor Norton (aka Bernal neighbor Joseph Amster):

2016-06-23 19.57.26Who knew???!!

Although, in the realm of rockstars, no one could touch the little guy we saw jamming with the big kids in front of Healthy Spirits. He was totally feeling it:

Thanks for making it happen, Bernal Business Alliance!

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Thursday: Celebrate Summer at the Cortland Solstice Stroll


The legend is handed down among Bernalese from generation to generation: Tens of thousands of years ago, in the time of the sages and ancients, a race of wizened elves gathered in the area we now call Cortland Avenue for a gala celebration of the summer season. There was celebration. There was food. There was plenty of drink and glad cheer. And it was good.

Today, the Bernal Business Alliance has revived this hallowed ritual for the modern age, and the 2016 Summer Stroll happens this Thursday, June 23, from 6 – 9 pm on historic Cortland Avenue.

Here are the deets:

The Bernal Business Alliance and merchants will celebrate the solstice at the sixth annual Summer Stroll all along Cortland Avenue in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood.

Businesses will stay open later than usual, from 6 to 9 p.m.Thursday, June 23, 2016.Each participant will feature one­night specials, including giveaways, musical guests, treats and food & drink for the evening. Admission is free.

Here are some of the brick­and­mortar and home­based businesses who will be participating:

  • Heartfelt will have Cajun music, cookies and a specially crafted drink! Heartfelt & will be open with a special “sale”!
  • Little Bee Baking are hosting Good Eggs the “online farmers market” out front withinformation about their great service and local artist RaissaTrend will be showing newartwork inside the store.
  • Pinhole Coffee have a far eastern theme for the evening, with Japanese Curry by Chef Michael Black, former Chef and owner of Sebo, and ceramics for sale by Mitsuko Siegrist of the Tsuchikara Pottery.
  • Succulence are hosting an art opening for Cat Johnston whose amazing art will be hanging in the window for the month. They will also have music and wine and cookies.
  • Healthy Spirits will host a small band playing Middle Eastern inspired music as well as
    making some rare beers and whiskeys available from their cellar.
  • Members from the Bernal Business Alliance will be in front of Heartfelt with membership information and helping our neighbors at the Mission Bernal Merchants Association collect donations for the victims of the recent Mission Street fire.
  • Bernal Beast will have doggy treats and chocolate cake for any human companions!
  • Red Hill Station will have Oysters, Oysters and yes, more Oysters!!!
  • Lauren Becker of Recycled Glassworks will be showcasing her new work in slumped, recycled glass.
  • Epicurean Trader will have Bernal local winemaker Bryan Harrington for a free Wine Tasting event.
  • Inclusions Gallery will host an art opening with San Francisco painter Jeffery Roth. There will also be 15% off all handmade jewelry as well as music & refreshments.

Both the Bernal Branch Library and the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center will also be joining us for the evening.

The Library Staff will be out front of the Library giving away books and small prizes and signing people up for the summer reading program. And across the street, the Neighborhood Center will have plenty of information about their current projects and you’ll be able to sign­up as a member on the spot.

And when you are done with the strolling you can stop by The Lucky Horseshoe for some smooth jazz with Larry Epstein from 8­11pm.

For more information about the Bernal Business Alliance, visit


PHOTO: Modern Bernalese elves strolling during the 2014 solstice, by Telstar Logistics

Wells Fargo Banking Robot Materializes on Cortland


Late last week, a new Wells Fargo ATM opened on Cortland Street, at the corner of Moultrie, near the library.

This is a handy thing for Bernalese Wells Fargo customers (of which there are many in our lands) because until now the nearest bank robots were at our dysfunctional Taoist Safeway or Mission @22nd St.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Customers should slowly approach the new banking robot and say “Klaatu Barada Nikto.” This will signal to the robot that you are friendly.
  2. Insert your plastic card into the slot next to the flashing light on the right. The robot will smell the magnetic stripe to authenticate your identity and verify your account.
  3. Use the icons on the screen to give the robot banking commands
  4. When used properly, the bank robot can dispense slips of green paper that can be exchanged for goods and services from nearby Cortland merchants.


PHOTO: New Wells Fargo ATM on Cortland by Neighbor Rally

Chef Prem Tamang Relocating Nepali Restaurant to Bernal’s “South Asian Restaurant Row”


A few weeks ago, Bernalwood received an adorable email from Prem Tamang, the chef and owner of the much-loved Little Nepal restaurant on Cortland:

I have been running Little Nepal restaurant since 2003. The time make me to move to mission and cortland 3486 B mission.

It will be Cuisine of Nepal. I can’t take name of little Nepal because I was leasing this business. When I moved to mission street with new name cuisine of Nepal I would love to put in Bernalwood post so that all bernal Nighbor will know that I moved.

Best regard, prem

“Of course!”we replied. Bernalwood will gladly share the news that Little Nepal is relocating to Mission Street, where Chef Prem will operate under a new name as Cuisine of Nepal.

Last week we received more detail on the move. Cuisine of Nepal will open at 3486 Mission, right across from the intersection with Cortland. The soft opening may happen as soon this Saturday, April 30 (fingers crossed), with the proper grand re-opening festivities scheduled for Saturday, May 14.

Chef Prem’s press release says:

Owner/Chef Prem Tamang announces the Grand Opening of his new restaurant, Cuisine of Nepal, located in the heart of Bernal Heights’ South Asian Restaurant Row at 3486-B Mission Street at Cortland Ave. The 30-seat restaurant reflects Nepal’s warm hospitality, where the cozy setting and market-fresh fare are as welcoming as a traditional Nepali home.

Chef Prem Tamang leads the kitchen with a menu that features local seasonal ingredients including neighborhood favorites such as Kukhurako Ledo (Chicken Cashew Curry), Saag Tarkari (Mustard Leaf Curry), and Poleko Khasi (Sizzling Lamb), as well as new specialties specific to Tamang’s home village in Nepal.

Since 2003, Chef Tamang has honed his skills as owner/chef at Little Nepal restaurant, a Bernal Heights gem where the San Francisco Chronicle has urged diners to “discover intriguing twists and variations on traditional South Asian dishes.” Tamang’s warmhearted approach and love of preparing fresh meals can be traced back to his nascent work as a high altitude cooking expert on Himalayan treks in his native country, where he prepared delicious meals at 14,000 feet above sea level for hardy mountain-climbers from around the world. […]

Open six days a week (closed Mondays), Cuisine of Nepal is located in the heart of Bernal Heights’ South Asian Restaurant Row at 3486-B Mission Street (at Cortland), San Francisco, CA 94110. The restaurant is open for Lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and for Dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 – 10:30 pm. Major credit cards are accepted. Catering, Takeout, and Free Delivery are also available.

***OPENING DAY PARTY: The public is invited to join Chef Tamang & staff on Saturday, May 14th, from Noon – 8 pm, as Cuisine of Nepal offers a one-time only $5 Sampling Menu, with a choice of tasting one Appetizer and two Entrees from the day’s special menu plus Rice, Naan,and Lal Mohan dessert. A $2 glass of Wine or Beer will also be available to those 21 and over.***

Did you catch that bit about the Bernal Heights “South Asian Restaurant Row”?

It’s true! The corner of Mission and Cortland will now be home to restaurants representing India (Zante’s and Spicy Bite), Cambodia (Ankor Borei), and Nepal (Cuisine of Nepal). This is great news, because, our South Asian Restaurant Row is a terrific compliment to our NanoTokyo District, clustered just up the street around Mission and 29th Street.

So let us now join together to say: YUM!

Best wishes with the move, Chef Prem, and so glad you’re still a part of our community.

PHOTO: Work-in-progress facade of Cuisine of Nepal, as seen on April 23, 2016. Photo by Telstar Logistics

Sunday: Celebrate Pinhole Photography Day at Pinhole Coffee


Neighbor JoEllen from Pinhole Coffee on Cortland brings word of a special photo-coffee event happening on Sunday, April 23:

There is a big holiday for Pinhole enthusiasts this Sunday. It’s Pinhole Day, a worldwide event that goes back to the roots of photography to celebrate pinhole photographs. It’s always held on last Sunday of April,and  this year that’s Sunday, April 24th

Pinhole Coffee is featuring pinhole photographs by Bay Area artist (former Bernal resident) Joy Caves. In addition to taking pinhole photographs, Joy develops them with caffenol, a coffee developer. From 10-2pm on Sunda,y she will be present to show people how to take pinholes and how caffenol works.

In addition, anyone who wears Pinhole Coffee apparel, or purchases any, on Sunday the 24th will receive 1 free beverage.


PHOTO: Top, Sutro Tower pinhole photo, by JoEllen Depakakibo

The Epicurean Trader Celebrates First Anniversary (And For You, Special Price)


Oh, how the time flies. Neighbors Holly and Matt from The Epicurean Trader on Cortland are celebrating the first anniversary of their store, and to mark the occasion they’re offering a special deal to Bernal neighbors. Holly says:

We’re celebrating our first year as a Bernal merchant! We love this neighborhood. Mat and I have both lived in the neighborhood for years and all our employees live in Bernal Heights too.

The store has changed a lot since opening day – not our overall mission, but the assortment of products we sell. We’ve always wanted to be a neighborhood store, so we continually collect feedback from you about items you find difficult to buy locally. We stock as many as we can to make everyone’s lives a little easier.

We were also just named one of the Best Neighborhood Markets in San Francisco, and we’re now the highest-rated Specialty Market on Yelp (even ahead of Bi-Rite on 18th.) So now we’re even more excited to celebrate!

To thank the neighborhood for all their support, we will be extending a 10% discount off all purchases Monday thru Friday this week to Bernal Heights residents. Just ask for the discount when you check out. (Note: we may ask for some confirmation that you live in Bernal Heights.)

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

House Portrait: Peek Inside the Home of Succulence’s Ken and Amy Shelf



Where do Bernal merchants retreat to rest and recharge after they hang the Closed sign in the windows of their Cortland storefronts? Our friends at the CurbedSF blog recently did a profile of the house that Amy and Ken Shelf from Succulence call home. It’s a colorful look behind the scenes at one of Cortland Avenue’s most unique shops — and the people who created it:

The Shelf family had been friendly with the owner of [Four Star Video] before he died. David Ayoob was often in front of his business, sweeping up and greeting the neighbors. “He was a community character. When I read that the business and building were up for sale, I thought ‘I could be that guy,'” says Ken.

Borrowing every penny (“Back then, you could do that,” notes Amy), the couple purchased the building at 420 Cortland Avenue. The days of video rentals at a brick and mortar store were waning, and from the beginning they were planning the next phase. When Darcy Lee, the owner of Heartfelt down the street, suggested they start selling succulent plants out back, a new business was born.

Amy came up with the name Succulence to honor the richness of life, and for this couple, it’s an idea they take home with them after the store closes. The store, the neighborhood, and their family are inextricably woven into the into the nearby Victorian cottage they own on a short street that’s quintessentially Bernal Heights; in other words, it’s on a narrow, hilly passage where each crest hosts a scenic city view.

Read the whole thing to learn more about Neighbors Amy and Ken Shelf and to see pictures of their colorful home.