Faves and raves by David Hawkins
YEARS IN THE CITY: 22
NEIGHBORHOOD: Russian Hill
OCCUPATION: Stand-up comedian
SELF-DESCRIPTION: Bohemian, ardent penny pincher and proud host of Blue Room Comedy, the weekly dirty joke fest in SoMa.
FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY CANDY
The Candy Store
WHERE: 1507 Vallejo St., at Polk St.
WHAT: From high-end chocolate to salted licorice
INFO: (415) 921-8000 or www.thecandystoresf.com
From high-end chocolate to an amazing wall of scoopable candy by the pound, I can get my salted licorice fix for just a little change. I’ve even spotted John Waters there buying wine gums. If you get on their e-mail list, you get invited to their holiday candy giveaways and artisan demos.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO TO A DRAG SHOW
Toolbox at Club 93 WHEN: Thursday nights
WHERE: 93 Ninth St., at Mission St.
WHAT: The awkward sister to the more polished shows in town
INFO: (415) 552-0200
Part punk rock, part “Fraggle Rock,” pure creative anarchy with burlesque and live music thrown in the mix. Plus there’s no cover charge, so I can spend the money on a Pabst Blue Ribbon.
FAVORITE PLACE TO DRINK COFFEE
Pirate Cat Radio Café
WHERE: 2781 21st St., at Florida St.
WHAT: Enjoy a bacon maple latte while watching a radio show come to life
INFO: (415) 341-1199 or www.piratecatradio.com
Watch local radio personalities through the glass at this real, working independent radio station where each cup of coffee is brewed to order. If I’m feeling particularly hung over, the bacon maple latte does the trick and is made with both bacon fat and crumbles! Pair it with a contradictory vegan doughnut and you are living!
FAVORITE PLACE TO PAY LESS THAN $6 FOR A MEAL
New Village Café
WHERE: 1426 Polk St., at California St.
WHAT: Unpretentious diner with great service. Check out the customer snapshots
INFO: (415) 771-9598
Small, unpretentious diner where great service and homemade taste shows that you don’t have to spend big bucks for a solid meal. The hand-cut and panko-breaded fish sandwich with fries is a winner for $5. Entertain yourself by searching the thousands of customer snapshots that cover the walls.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO JUNK SHOPPING
Krims Krams Bargain Mart
WHERE: 369 Turk St.., at Leavenworth St.
WHAT: A bona fide junk shop with no rhyme or reason
INFO: (415) 441-5503
Not a thrift store but a bona fide junk shop with stacks of coffee machines, DVD players and boxes of wire filling the tiny space. With no rhyme or reason to the merchandise, it’s an archaeological dig to find what you want but it’s always priced to move … and you can haggle!
FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY CUTE THINGS
WHERE: 22 Peace Plaza, at Geary and Laguna streets
WHAT: Japanese dollar store; almost everything has a cute little face on it
INFO: (415) 409-0472 or www.ichibankanusa.com/sanfranciscostore
The sponges have faces. The cutlery has faces. The snacks have faces. Adorable and super cheap!
FAVORITE PLACE TO SEE NEW BANDS
Café Du Nord
WHERE: 2170 Market St., at Sanchez St.
WHAT: Artists on the verge of breaking out big time, up close and personal
INFO: (415) 861-5016 or www.cafedunord.com
Concert tickets are my biggest extravagance, but places like Du Nord make it worth it. Often they get artists who are just on the verge of breaking out big time. I saw La Roux and Janelle Monae this year there with just a tiny audience of musical cognoscenti and was able to stand right up front!
FAVORITE PLACE TO SEE ART
WHERE: Between Valencia, Mission, 17th and 18th streets
WHAT: An array of gorgeous graffiti and murals
Doubling as both an art gallery and a shortcut from Community Thrift to Thrift Town, this actual alley is filled with an array of gorgeous graffiti and murals. It’s so cool you don’t even notice the people smoking crack and going to the bathroom. Bring a friend.
FAVORITE PLACE TO SEE A MOVIE
AMC Van Ness 14
WHERE: 1000 Van Ness Ave., at O’Farrell Street
WHAT: $6 before noon on Friday to Sunday and holidays
INFO: (415) 674-4630 or www.amctheatres.com/VanNess
Not an art-house cinema, but the movies are a mere $6 before noon on Friday through Sunday and holidays. I would never advocate skipping from one theater to the next and spending an afternoon seeing all the new releases, but I hear it has been done. Bring your own snacks.