My City: Raw desserts, open mics and destination walking

Faves and raves by Lisa Safran

Personal stats

AGE: The new 30s (or is it now the new 20s?)

YEARS IN THE CITY: 26 (minus two years in Thailand and five years in the East Bay)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Richmond/Seacliff

OCCUPATION: Educator and musician. Her band, Bitter Mystics, will be performing at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 at Velo Rouge Cafe, 798 Arguello St.

SELF DESCRIPTION: Creative type wishing that creative paid more than a “regular” job

24 Hour Fitness
350 Bay St., between Powell and Mason streets
WHAT: Friendly, clean, spacious and across from Trader Joe’s
INFO: (415) 395-9595 or

It has easy parking! People are friendly there. It is clean and spacious. An added bonus is that it is across the street from Trader Joe’s, so it’s a quick trip to the store after working out.<br />

From the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond
A nice long walk to your favorite breakfast or lunch joint in Sausalito

I love walking, whether it’s for exercise only or for the purpose of getting somewhere. My friend, Sasha, came up with the term “destination walks.” This is one of my favorite destination walks: Walk from 15th Avenue into the Presidio and follow the signs to the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk across the bridge and down Alexander Avenue into Sausalito and find a nice spot to have breakfast or lunch.

BATS (Bay Area Theatresports)
Fort Mason Center, Building B, third floor
WHAT: Excellent improv troupe
INFO: (415) 474-8935 or

I love BATS. They are just a top-notch improv troupe, and I’ve enjoyed every show I’ve seen there.


North Beach
Sit and watch at an outdoor cafe or Washington Square Park

I just love this neighborhood. Sitting at an outside cafe or just at Washington Square Park is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. There’s a little corner store a bit out of the loop that has one little table outside and is a great place to watch people coming back from Coit Tower.

Trader Joe’s
401 Bay St., between Mason and Taylor streets
WHAT: Cheap with great selection
INFO: (415) 351-1013 or

You can’t beat the price and variety.

Bazaar Café
5927 California St., between 21st and 22nd avenues
WHAT: Backyard garden with nooks for privacy and a good tuna melt
INFO: (415) 831-5620 or

On a rare sunny day in the Richmond district, going to this neighborhood café, Bazaar Café, is a real treat. They have a lovely backyard with little nooks, so you feel a sense of privacy no matter where you sit. I bring a book or some writing and feel the sun on my face as light conversation of others fade in and out. They also make a good tuna melt and host a great open mic on Thursday evenings.

Udupi Palace
1007 Valencia St., between 21st and Hill streets
WHAT: Yummy South Indian vegetarian food
INFO: (415) 970-8000 or

I first learned of this great Southern Indian vegetarian restaurant during the Sunday Streets event in the Mission. The food is delicious and the people who work there are friendly. My favorite dishes include the Spinach Potato Dosa (No. 24 and No. 25) and the Chana Masala (No. 57). Super yummy!

Alive! Vegetarian Cuisine
1972 Lombard St., between Buchanan and Webster streets
WHAT: Try the caramel mushroom cap cheesecake
INFO: (415) 923-1052 or

I tend to not eat white sugar or flour, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying some amazing desserts at this delicious raw food restaurant. Have their caramel mushroom cap cheesecake and be surprised. Yes, it is made from mushrooms.

The Cannery at Fisherman’s Wharf
2801 Leavenworth St., between Beach and Jefferson streets
WHAT: Perform for people from all over the world
INFO: (415) 771-3112 or

I really enjoy performing at the Cannery at Fisherman’s Wharf. Seeing people from all over the world hanging out, writing postcards, or eating ice cream while I sing is just really delightful.

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