My City: Flirting with cute waiters, arty films, treasure hunting 

Faves and raves by Andrea Carla Michaels

Personal stats

AGE: 50 — why lie?

YEARS IN THE CITY: 19

NEIGHBORHOOD: Nob Hill

OCCUPATION: Founder and sole employee of ACMENaming.com; constructs crossword puzzles for The New York Times and writes freelance film reviews

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Namer, crossword chick, Scrabble lady, storyteller, free spirit  


FAVORITE CHEAP-EATS RESTAURANT

L’Osteria del Forno

WHERE: 519 Columbus Ave., between Stockton and Green streets

WHAT: Perfect tuna sandwich on focaccia for $6

INFO: (415) 982-1124 or www.losteriadelforno.com

The only restaurant I’ve ever had on speed dial. $6 will get me the perfect tuna sandwich on focaccia that I can take to sit and eat in Washington Square Park.


FAVORITE PLACE TO FIND BURIED TREASURES

Out of the Closet Thrift Store

WHERE: 1498 Polk St., between California and Pine streets

WHAT: Books for less than $1; perfect place for presents

INFO: (415) 771-1503

Forget the clothes — the books are in random order for less than $1 and the latent OCD in me sorts them into categories as I pore through them.


FAVORITE MUSIC SPOT

Caffe Trieste

WHERE: 609 Vallejo St., at Grant Avenue

WHAT: Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz Wednesdays; pass the hat

INFO: (415) 982-2605

Wednesday nights I help pass the tip basket for a band called Café Americain. Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz, though they do everyone from The Beatles to ABBA in that style.


FAVORITE PLACE TO FLIRT WITH ITALIAN WAITERS

Ristorante Ideale

WHERE: 1315 Grant Ave., between Vallejo and Green streets

WHAT: The waitstaff rivals the calamari in freshness and beauty

INFO: (415) 391-4129 or www.idealerestaurant.com

Having spent 20 years dating men half my age who don’t speak English, I would say I’m an expert in this area. Ah, Giuseppe, Davide, Fabio ... I came for the food, stayed for the waiters and pop in to say “ciao” on the thinnest of pretexts I can muster.


FAVORITE PLACE TO PLAY SCRABBLE

Royal Ground Coffee

WHERE: 2060 Fillmore St., at California Street

WHEN: Thursday afternoons

WHAT: Engage your inner word freak while enjoying a veggie sandwich

INFO: (415) 567-8822

I played with my pal Paul there every Sunday for years, and now pop by occasionally Thursday afternoons to play with the gang. I teach a class from time to time about how to improve your game by 50 to 100 points and the finer secrets to beating your grandma. Free Wi-Fi and great veggie sandwiches.


FAVORITE PLACE TO SEE A FILM

VIZ Cinema

WHERE: 1746 Post St., between Buchanan and Webster streets

WHAT: New theater in Japantown with foreign films and curry-flavored popcorn

INFO: www.newpeopleworld.com/films

It’s a perfect little hideaway, comfortable, and screens small foreign arty films. Apparently the popcorn is curry flavored, but I prefer drop-dead silence when I watch a film.


FAVORITE PLACE TO FIND FREE WI-FI

Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery

WHERE: 599 Post St., at Taylor Street

WHAT: Great food, free Wi-Fi and a hookah bar next door

INFO: (415) 351-2423 or www.honeyhoneycafeandcrepery.com

A couple of years ago, I bartered my naming services for free lunches at what was then The Crepe House and is now the more tourist-friendly sounding Honey Honey. The owners are from Jordan and exude that special Middle Eastern charm. The food is great, and there’s free Wi-Fi, a hookah bar next door and great conversations with Abed and his two honeys, his wife Hinda and her sister Sahar.

About The Author

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