My City: Cupcakes, salsa lessons and delicious garlic fries

Faves and raves by Jasmine Pritchard

Personal stats

AGE: Quarter of a century

YEARS IN THE CITY: A little over a year

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lower Nob Hill/Chinatown

Singer/songwriter, performer, German tutor and self-proclaimed urban explorer

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Big theater dork with a bright smile and biting wit who loves poetry, music, art, travel, food, languages and laughter — lots and lots of laughter

WHERE: Usually at Brannan Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, but sometimes at Fort Mason
WHAT: Korean-inspired tacos

Korean-inspired tacos. These $2 treats are flavor-packed amazingness! Their Bulgogi (rib eye) and chicken tacos are delicious, but don’t forget to drizzle their special orange sauce on it for some creamy, savory goodness.

La Oaxaqueña Bakery and Restaurant
WHERE: 2128 Mission St., at 17th Street
WHAT: Unassuming and authentic; flan to die for; fried tarantulas!
INFO: (415) 621-5446

Their ingredients are imported from Oaxaca, and you can taste the difference. This unassuming restaurant is vibrant, very Mission district, yet also very authentic. I go gaga for their banana leaf tamales and their flan is to die for — I haven’t quite built up the courage for the fried tarantulas yet, though!

Tunnel Top
WHERE: 601 Bush St., above the Stockton Tunnel
WHEN: Tuesday nights
WHAT: Informal lessons; space is limited, but cozy
INFO: (415) 722-6620

Every Tuesday night, this awesome bar takes a break from hip-hop and lets the Latin beats in. The lessons are informal and the space is limited, but I’m drawn to it and think it creates a cozy, “all in this together” vibe, which I need since rhythm isn’t a particularly close friend of mine.

Gilroy Garlic Fries
WHERE: Numerous locations in AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza
WHAT: Will make you into a baseball fan if you’re not already

I’ve really never been that into baseball (it’s not so popular in the Philippines, where I grew up), but these fries make me want to be an avid San Francisco Giants fan! Smothered in garlic but not soggy, these fries are definitely worth the trip!  


That Takes the Cake
WHERE: 2271 Union St., between Fillmore and Steiner streets
WHAT: Regular cupcakes, filled cupcakes, and on Saturdays, alcohol-infused cupcakes
INFO: (415) 567-8050 or

In this economy, cupcakes, not diamonds, can be a single girl’s best friend, and this bakery is filled with some potential BFFs. They have regular cupcakes, filled cupcakes (flavors depend on what day of the week it is) and on Saturdays, they even have a selection of alcohol-infused, cocktail flavored cupcakes.  

Shelton Theater
WHERE: 533 Sutter St., between Powell and Mason streets
WHAT: Big City Improv comedy shows
INFO: (415) 433-1226 or

This intimate theater is so unassuming that I walked by it numerous times before I ever walked in. But the size adds to the appeal of the place, creating the perfect setting for Big City Improv comedy shows that are every Friday at 10 p.m.

Dolores Park
WHERE: 20th and Dolores Streets
WHAT: A flick in the park for cheap

Every second Thursday night, in our warm weather months at sundown, Dolores Park puts up a big screen and shows a wide range of movies. I’ve seen “The Cove” and “The Goonies” there. Bring blankets, snacks and even a bottle of wine — and if you can, some dollars to donate — and you’re all set to join in on a stay-on-budget night of fun.

Elephant & Castle
WHERE: 424 Clay St., between Battery and Sansome streets
WHEN: Thursday nights
WHAT: Challenging, but not crazy hard.
INFO: (415) 268-3900 or

On Thursday nights from 6:15 to roughly 9 p.m., they host a pub quiz that is challenging, but not crazy hard. Teams can be as big as you want, and there are prizes for those that come in first, second and third as well as for the team that scores closest to the average of all the teams’ scores — that’s right, they award being mediocre too! 

Café Flore
WHERE: 2298 Market St., at Noe Street
WHAT: Parisian-esque, outdoor heaters
INFO: (415) 621-8579 or

This cute little Parisian-esque café offers a great vantage point to see a mélange of characters walk by. With a fun, friendly staff (shout out to Noel!), great food, and full coffee and alcohol bar, I could spend hours sitting here, day or night (thanks to the outdoor heaters!).

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