Books, photography and drag queens in español

Courtesy photoMichael Andersen-Andrade

Courtesy photoMichael Andersen-Andrade

Faves and raves by Michael Andersen-Andrade

Personal Stats:
Age: 57
Years in the City: 37
Neighborhood: Mission district
Occupation: Photographer, translator, travel bum
Self-Description: I came for college in 1975, and San Francisco has been my home base ever since, except for long jaunts to Latin America in between that left me with no choice but to live in the Mission district, where I can indulge my love for everything Hispanic

Modern Times Bookstore
Where: 2919 24th St., between
Florida and Alabama streets
What: A political junkie’s heaven
Info: (415) 282-9246 or
As a political junkie, my first choice is always Modern Times Bookstore for the latest book on contemporary world events.

Valencia Street
Where: Valencia Street, between 16th and 24th streets
What: Photography and the Mission
Street photography and the Mission district were made for each other. I’ve traveled the world, but I don’t need to travel farther than Valencia Street between 16th and 24th streets to capture a compelling shot.

Community Thrift
Where: 623 Valencia St., at Clarion AlleyWhat: Everything you didn’t think you needed and more
Info: (415) 861-4910 or
Just when I think there’s no space left in my apartment for one more tchotchke, I’ll find another one-of-a-kind treasure at Community Thrift that I can’t live without. Then I bask in the glow of knowing all of Community Thrift’s profits go to local charities.

Esta Noche
Where: 3079 16th St.,
between Mission and Valencia streets
What: Hispanic drag queen shows and cocktails
Info: (415) 861-5757    
Sipping a margarita while chatting up a drag queen in Spanish and listening to tear-jerker baladas takes me right back to my decadent youth spent in Mexican cantinas.

Hot dog carts
Where: Mission Street, between 20th and 24th streets
What: Hangover cure — a hot dog with bacon and grilled onions
After an evening of hitting my favorite Mission district dives, I love the scent of bacon and grilled onions coming from the little hot dog carts that line Mission Street between 20th and 24th streets.

Flora Grubb Gardens
Where: 1634 Jerrold Ave.,
between Third and Newhall streets
What: A gauge for what will grow in the Mission
Info: (415) 648-2670,
If it’s thriving at Flora Grubb Gardens, I know it’s going to survive the Mission microclimate of my pocket-size garden. I’m doing my part to help the Mission live up to its reputation as the “banana belt” of San Francisco. Fog be damned!


Revolution Cafe
Where: 3248 22nd St.,
between Mission and Bartlett streets
What: Feel like you are in Brazil
Info: (415) 642-0474 or
I fly between S.F. and Brazil often, and when I feel saudades (homesick), I head here, a favorite hangout for Brazilians from Salvador de Bahia.

Little Baobab
Where: 3388 19th St., between Capp and Mission streets
What: Senegalese cuisine, world music and an eclectic mix of drinks
Info: (415) 643-3558    or
Little Baobab is my neighborhood spot for world music. You can listen and dance to samba, salsa and African rhythms while drinking sangrias and eating Senegalese cuisine.

Stagi Sixteenth St. Liquor Store
Where: 3055 16th St.,
between Mission and Valencia streets
What: Good selection of wines and hard-to-find liquors
Info: (415) 863-3123
I found a bottle of Leblon Cachaça there at a very reasonable price after searching other liquor stores in ritzier locales without success. It’s got a good selection of wines for when you need to take a gift to a dinner party.

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