My City: An ideal Nook, green tea and a glorious stairway

Faves and raves by Tissa Hami


Personal stats

AGE: 36



OCCUPATION: Stand-up comic, speaker, writer and activist

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Sassy, sarcastic, yet sentimental professional troublemaker who’s likely to be marching in a protest one day and having a “girls night in” watching “The Bachelor” the next.

WHERE: 1500 Hyde St., at Jackson Street
WHAT: Cute, perfect, picturesque place
INFO: (415) 447-4100 or

As someone who’s still fairly new to The City, I love sitting at the window and watching the cable cars go by. It’s my ideal image of a San Francisco cafe.

Alborz Persian Cuisine
WHERE: 1245 Van Ness Ave., at Sutter Street
WHAT: Tasty kabobs, great service and not pretentious
INFO: (415) 440-4321

There are a few other Iranian restaurants in The City, but this one gets my vote because it has the best service and is the least pretentious. The kabobs are tasty, the pomegranate sauce is a nice blend of tart and sweet, and the place is full of Iranian patrons — always a good sign.

Red Blossom Tea Company
WHERE: 831 Grant Ave., between Clay and Washington streets
WHAT: Huge selection of teas, and you can sample until you find the right one
INFO: (415) 395-0868 or
I love this place! They have a huge selection of teas, and the staff is very knowledgeable. They let me sample several brews until I found the perfect one — a Jasmine green tea that smells exquisite.

Ratcha Thai Restaurant
WHERE: 631 Broadway, at Grant Avenue
WHAT: Delicious green curry and friendly service
INFO: (415) 291-8089 or

I live about equal distance from this restaurant and the Thai places on Polk Street. This place wins, hands down. The green curry is yummy, and the service is friendly if oddly flirtatious.

Alta Plaza Park
WHERE: Bordered by Jackson, Steiner, Clay and Scott streets
WHAT: Tiered park with terrific views

Beautiful park, amazing views. The tiers remind me of a wedding cake. I found this park by accident while on a business trip to S.F. several years ago and something about the air, the light and the views convinced me to move here.

Evergreen Market
WHERE: 2539 Mission St., between 21st and 22nd streets
WHAT: S.F.’s only sweet lemon retailer
INFO: (415) 641-4506

The only place in The City that sells sweet lemons. They’re almost as good as the ones found in my native Iran, and they make great lemonade.

Outdoor labyrinth at Grace Cathedral
WHERE: 1100 California St., between Taylor and Jones streets
WHAT: Breathe in, leave The City behind
INFO: (415) 749-6300 or

It’s the perfect place to leave The City behind and take a quiet, contemplative moment for yourself.

Vallejo Street Stairway
Vallejo Street, intermittently between Jones and Mason streets
WHAT: The City unfolds with each step; check it out at night

I like to bring visitors here at night. As we descend each step, The City unfolds before us in all its twinkling glory.

Russian Hill Bookstore
WHERE: 2234 Polk St., between Vallejo and Green streets
WHAT: Independent bookstore with offbeat cards and knickknacks
INFO: (415) 929-0997 or

An independent used bookstore with interesting titles, including ones on California and San Francisco history. I like to browse the quirky selection of cards, calendars, journals, knickknacks and gifts.

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