My City: A languid literary look at The City by the Bay

Faves and raves by Jane Ganahl


AGE: Mid-50s

YEARS IN THE CITY: Since childhood

NEIGHBORHOOD: Works in SoMa, resides in Half Moon Bay

OCCUPATION: Co-founder of S.F. literary festival Litquake and author of “Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife”

SELF DESCRIPTION: Writing and organizing writers in this literary mecca


City Lights

WHERE: 261 Columbus Ave. between Broadway and Kearny Street

WHAT: Selection of hard-to-find political titles

INFO: (415) 362-8193 or

“City Lights just reeks of history, and [founder] Larry Ferlinghetti is a god in literary circles. They really seek out titles that you can’t find anywhere else.”


South Park Cafe

WHERE: 108 S. Park St.

WHAT: Weekday lunch and lattes

INFO: (415) 495-7275 or

“The cafe is right around the corner from the Writers’ Grotto, which makes it really convenient when I’m visiting friends there.”


Mission Creek Cafe

WHERE: 968 Valencia St. between 21st and Liberty streets

WHAT: Sitting in the back room

INFO: (415) 641-0888

“There’s a big bookshelf back there filled with books; you can take a title and read it on an honor system. It’s really quiet and there are plenty of comfortable cushy chairs.”


Edinburgh Castle

WHERE: 950 Geary St. between Polk and Larkin streets

WHAT: Listening to readings from new and established authors

INFO: (415) 885-4074 or

“This was Litquake’s birthplace a few years ago; they’re just so friendly to writers and authors. The manager, Alan Black, just published his own book.”


The Embarcadero

WHERE: From the Ferry Building to AT&T Park

WHAT: A leisurely walk taking in the views

“I know it sounds touristy, but I’m a sucker for a good view. I also like to stop in to Red’s Java House for a coffee.”


Core Care Center

WHERE: 1634 Union St. between Franklin and Gough streets

WHAT: Alternative health treatments

INFO: (415) 928-5423 or

“I’ve sent three friends here. They do everything from nutritional programming to overall wellness. Mark Weill, who runs the center, is amazing.”


Hotel Rex

WHERE: 562 Sutter St. between Mason and Powell streets

WHAT: A Bombay Sapphire at the bar

INFO: (415) 433-4434 or

“It looks like a library, with floor to ceiling bookshelves, and has really comfy chairs. You feel like you’re part of the Algonquin roundtable.”


Nob Hill Spa

WHERE: 1075 California St. at Mason Street

WHAT: Lounging around the indoor pool

INFO: (415) 345-2888 or

“You can even eat lunch by the pool. Sitting in those big, fluffy white robes is just so luxurious and relaxing.”



WHERE: 1 Ferry Building No. 36

WHAT: Sharing frites with friends

INFO: (415) 434-1100 or

“Their frites really are among the best in The City. If I’m with hungry writers, they gobble them up by the handful.”

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