Faves and raves by Robin Marks (Click on the picture to see Robin’s faves!)
AGE: Older than 30
YEARS IN THE CITY: A dozen
NEIGHBORHOOD: The Richmond
OCCUPATION: Science writer and owner/operator of Discovery Street Tours, offering science-themed walking tours in San Francisco; its website is www.discoverystreettours.com
SELF-DESCRIPTION: She’s flirted with many other cities but settled on S.F. as her partner: scenery, sociability, savory flavors and a whole bunch of science geeks — what more could a girl want?
FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY INEXPLICABLE GROCERIES
New May Wah Supermarket
WHERE: 707-719 Clement St., at Eighth Avenue
WHAT: The Inner Richmond’s go-to Asian grocery
INFO: (415) 221-9826
I’ve always loved browsing the endless aisles of mystery at New May Wah, offering the exploratory chef in me zillions of untapped possibilities. It became my favorite shop when I asked a clerk once, “Where is your seaweed?” and he responded, “What kind? We have three sections.”
BEST PLACE TO APPRECIATE THE POWER OF EARTHQUAKES
Clara and Shipley streets
WHERE: Between Harrison and Folsom and 5th and 6th streets
WHAT: Evidence of buildings sunken into the SOMA streets
My favorite is at 261 Clara St. — peek beyond the entry gate, and you’ll see the buildings sit about 4 feet below street level. That’s because they have been shaken into place over time by the ol’ San Andreas.
FAVORITE ASTRONOMICAL TIMEKEEPING DEVICE
Ingleside Terraces Sundial
WHERE: Entrada Court at Borica St., Ingleside Terrace
WHAT: When built in 1913, it was the world’s biggest sundial
Ah, the irony of a sundial in one of S.F.’s foggiest neighborhoods. Located in the circle of the old Ingleside Race Track, aka Urbano Drive, this beauty has a history worth checking out.
BEST PLACE TO EAT CHEESE
WHERE: 2001 Polk St., between Broadway Street and Pacific Avenue
WHAT: Cheese and gourmet purveyor
INFO: (415) 921-2001 or www.cheeseplus.com
Cheese Plus is a great cheese shop that offers local flavor, deep knowledge of our favorite fermented milk products, loyalty to small and local producers and no snooty attitude.
FAVORITE venue for ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
WHERE: Head west until you can’t go any farther — you can’t miss it
WHAT: The only place where the show is always on
It never stops down here at Ocean Beach: the waves keep coming 24/7, like they have for millions of years. It makes that previously infuriating email or that “major @#$& up” seem pretty darned insignificant.
MOST ENGAGING STREET ART
Language of the Birds
WHERE: Columbus and Broadway
WHAT: Sculpture of lit-up books, posed like birds, flocking over the intersection, shining on phrases embedded in the sidewalk
During the day, you might walk right under this sculpture and not even notice it. Cruise by at night, though, and the blinking book-birds are sure to catch your eye and get you pointing.
FAVORITE PLACE TO IMAGINE THE PAST
Ruins of the Sutro Baths
WHERE: Just above the Cliff House on Point Lobos Avenue
WHAT: The leftovers of Adolph Sutro’s grand public bathhouse
INFO: (415) 561-4323 or www.nps.gov/goga/clho.htm
They may not be Roman ruins made of ancient stone, but the concrete and steel leftovers of Sutro’s crazy aquatic entertainment center still offer plenty to think about. The complex was both stunningly beautiful and infuriatingly grandiose: a seven-pool indoor playground with 100,000 square feet of glass and a $1 million (in 1896 dollars) price tag.
MOST UPWARDLY MOTIVATING STAIRCASE
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project
WHERE: 1700 16th Ave., between Moraga and Noriega streets
WHAT: A long staircase with a winding mosaic that just begs you to walk up
You’ve got to start at the bottom with this staircase and walk up each and every one of the 163 steps. Why? Because no two steps are alike, each being a sliver of a block-long mural that goes from sea to sky as it climbs a windblown hillside in the Sunset. Pause before you climb to look up and just appreciate the swirling beauty.