Pick up a copy of this San Francisco staple! The San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay issue is an annual must-read. The people who contribute scour the Bay Area for really unique, characteristically local stuff. I’d give major props to anyone who has been to all of these places. I am way freakin’ stoked to be a part of this.
The discovery, research, and core of the writing below are mine.
What would the pop-up food stand be without Twitter? In the case of the Creme Brulee Cart, it would be less of a community service organizer. Thanks to the micro-blogging tool, fans of Curtis Kimball’s fine desserts can find out where in the city he’s selling his lavender or orange Creamsicle-flavored delights (all costing less than a BART ticket to Berkeley). But lately, it’s also how Kimball is getting the word out about My Dolores Park, a new project focused on reclaiming — and cleaning up — the Mission’s favorite sunny-day stop. We’re fans of all three of the newest pop-up restaurateurs, including Murat from the Amuse Bouche Cart and Kimball’s brother, the Magic Curry Man. But we have a particular soft spot for the guy who’s dedicated to expanding hipster bellies and their civic engagement.
If you think Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads are the only places to trade your Diors for dollars, you’re missing out. Urbanity, Angela Cadogan’s North Berkeley boutique, is hands down the best place to consign in the Bay. The spot is classy but not uppity, your commission is 30 percent of what your item pulls in, and, best of all, you’d actually want to shop there. Cadogan has a careful eye for fashion, choosing pieces that deserve a spot in your closet for prices that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Want an even better deal on those Miu Miu pumps or that YSL dress? Return every 30 days, when items that haven’t sold yet are reduced by 40 percent. But good luck playing the waiting game against Urbanity’s savvy regulars — they’ve been eyeing those Pradas longer than you have.
1887 Solano, Berk. (510) 524-7467, www.shopurbanity.com
Ever wish you could be a character in a period piece, writing love letters on a typewriter to your distant paramour while perched upon a baroque upholstered chair? We can’t get you a role in a movie, but we can send you to the Perish Trust, where you’ll find everything you need to create a funky antique film set of your very own. Proprietor-curator team Rod Hipskind and Kelly Ishikawa have dedicated themselves to making their wares as fun to browse through as to buy, carefully selecting original artwork, vintage folding rulers, taxidermied fowl, out-of-print books, and myriad other antique odds-and-ends from across the nation. As if that weren’t enough, this Divisadero shop also carries Hooker’s Sweet Treats old world-style gourmet chocolate caramels — and that’s definitely something to write home about.
728 Divisadero, SF. www.theperishtrust.com
If Hayes Valley’s indie-retailer RAG (Residents Apparel Gallery) bedded the Lower Haight’s design co-op Trunk, their love child might look (and act) a lot like Mission Statement. With a focus on local designers and a philosophy of getting artists involved with the store, the 18th Street shop has all the eclectic style of RAG and all the collaborative spirit of Trunk — all with a distinctly Mission District vibe. Much like its namesake neighborhood, this shop has a little of everything: mineral makeup, fedoras adorned with spray-painted designs, multiwrap dresses, graphic tees, and more. Between the wares of the eight designers who work and play at the co-op, you might find everything you need for a head-to-toe makeover — including accessorizing advice, custom designing, and tailoring by co-owner Estrella Tadeo. You may never need to leave the Valencia corridor again.
3458-A 18th St., SF. (415) 255-7457, www.missionstatementsf.com
What’s wrong with loving a product for its design? That’s really why Apple fanatics love all things “i.” And that’s why we lust after sex toys from Jimmyjane, the Potrero Hill pleasure purveyors whose vibes, games, and accessories would look as natural in a museum gift shop as they would in your minimalist, modern bedroom. The Form 6 vibrator looks like a cross between a stylized pen and a high-end electric toothbrush, while the Little Chromas model has the sleek grace of a bullet, or a small cigar (we refuse to make that joke). And Jimmyjane’s Usual Suspects line is nothing short of inspired — celebrating both form and function by interpreting classic toys, in flawless white. Yes, the company does seem to cater to Audi drivers and iPhone users — collaborating on expensive special editions with well-known designers and bragging about appearances on cable TV shows. But we can’t argue with the nontoxic materials and the unprecedented one-year warranty. And the fact that they just look so cool.