Faves and raves by Joe Brown (Click the picture to see Joe’s faves!)
YEARS IN THE CITY: Going on his 15th, interrupted by an ill-considered three-year self-exile to Las Vegas
OCCUPATION: Writer and editor, tech news website D: All Things Digital
SELF-DESCRIPTION: If he could create a signature fragrance for San Francisco, it would be a blend of fog carrying notes of eucalyptus and seaweed garlic and espresso with a nose-wrinkling hint of pee
FAVORITE NEWSSTAND OR MAGAZINE STORE
WHERE: 3920 24th St., between Sanchez and Noe streets
WHAT: A wide array of national, international and independent magazines
INFO: (415) 821-3694
Good News in Noe Valley carries a wide array of national, international and independent magazines, especially the offbeat art, pop culture and literary titles I look for.
FAVORITE FOOD TRUCK
WHERE: Corner of 19th and Valencia streets
WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
WHAT: Delicious creations by Sunde White, the Pie Lady
It’s run by Sunde White — we call her the Pie Lady — who announces the weekend’s varieties on Facebook and on their website.
FAVORITE PLACE TO LISTEN TO MARIACHIS
WHERE: Up and down Valencia Street and in some restaurants
WHAT: Joy, pride and emotional music
For some reason, mariachi music makes me tear up; maybe it’s the music, a combination of happy and sad. And maybe it’s the joy and pride evident among the players.
FAVORITE PLACE TO SEE STENCIL/CHALK STREET ART
Residential streets off 24th Street in Noe Valley
WHAT: Witty, colorful stenciled images
Lately when I walk, I’ve been keeping my eye on the sidewalk, where witty, colorful stenciled images of koi fish, tabby cats and outsized cockroaches have been appearing. The streets are home to some particularly imaginative sidewalk chalk artists, I’ve noticed.
FAVORITE CHINESE RESTAURANT
WHERE: 1708 Church St., between 29th and Day streets
WHAT: Kung Pao chicken to die for
INFO: (415) 826-9189 or www.henryshunan.com
Kung Pao chicken is my acid test, and the version at Henry’s Hunan, with its sweet fire, wins out. Jeff, the owner, is one of the friendliest guys in The City; he seems to know everyone who walks in.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GET OYSTERS
Hog Island Oyster Company
WHERE: 1 Ferry Building, Shop 11
WHAT: Oysters with a view of the Bay
INFO: (415) 391-7117 or www.hogislandoysters.com
I love oysters anywhere, but I like them best at Hog Island Oyster Company’s waterfront outpost; they taste better with a view of the Bay and the bridge and the bustling ferries.
FAVORITE PLACE TO CATCH AN ACOUSTIC SINGER-SONGWRITER
WHERE: 1805 Geary Blvd., at Fillmore Street
WHAT: Big names and an intimate concert experience
INFO: (415) 346-3000 or www.thefillmore.com
I’ve seen some of my heroes — The Weepies, Shawn Colvin, even Patti Smith — at the venerable and somehow intimate Fillmore Auditorium.
FAVORITE PLACE TO WATCH VINTAGE STREETCARS
The end of the F line
WHERE: Castro and Market streets
WHAT: A little buzz of joy
Whenever the vintage streetcars go by, I get a little buzz of joy, and I especially love when the open gondola-style one goes by, bedecked with strands of old-school Christmas lights.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GET A HALF-PIE
WHERE: 3950 24th St., between Sanchez and Noe streets
WHAT: Half-pies (so you don’t eat an entire one!)
INFO: (415) 282-4700 or www.wholefoods.com
Sure, I could eat a whole pie (I like pie for breakfast!), but I’m especially fond of the marionberry pie. They sell half-pies in clever, half-moon-shaped plastic containers.