Pork buns, great views and ritzy rat skeletons 

click to enlarge Jonathan Branfman - COURTESY PHOTO
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  • Jonathan Branfman

Faves and raves by Jonathan Branfman

Personal Stats
Age: 23
Years in The City: One month
Neighborhood: Mission district
Occupation: Nonprofit work and LGBT equality

Self-Description: As a brand-new transplant from New Jersey, I’m excited to explore The City! I’m blessed with a huge appetite in a not-so-huge body so I strive to taste all the delicious food I can before my metabolism kicks in in a few years.

FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT TREYF (NON-KOSHER) FOOD
City View Restaurant
Where: 662 Commercial St., at Montgomery Street
What: Delectable and affordable
Info: (415) 398-2838

I almost never eat pork, but City View’s pork buns are hard to resist! Actually, all their dumplings, buns and rolls are beautiful, delicious and well-priced.

FAVORITE THAI RESTAURANT
Thai House 530
Where: 530 Valencia St., between 16th and 17th streets
What: A classy-casual, BART-accessible foodgasm
Info: (415) 503-1500 or www.thaihouse530.com

My first priority when I arrive in a new city is to sample zillions of Thai places till I find the best red curry shrimp — and this is it!

FAVORITE PLACE TO READ
The jetty a few yards south of the Ferry Building
Where: The Embarcadero and Market Street
What: The perfect spot to plop onto a swivel chair and drink in gorgeous views of the entire Bay

San Francisco has plenty of great views, but I love this location for its 360-degree panoramas, easy access to cafes and restaurants (when all my hard reading gets me hungry), and of course, who doesn’t love swivel chairs?

FAVORITE PLACE FOR FANTASY HOUSE SHOPPING

The border of Castro and Noe Valley
Where: Castro Street, from 21st to 24th streets
What: Beautiful, quirky homes in eye-popping colors, no suburban conformity here!
Info: wikitravel.org/en/San_Francisco/Castro_Street

These homes have it all: city views, walking access to the Castro and Mission, and fun, vibrant aesthetics.

FAVORITE REALLY WEIRD SHOP
Loved to Death
Where: 1681 Haight St., between Belvedere and Cole streets
What: Bring out-of-town friends to impress them with how edgy you are
Info: (415) 551-1036 or www.lovedtodeath.net

Need a necklace made of human teeth? A rat skeleton dressed in a Victorian gown?  This is the spot for you!

FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Five Star Truffles Co.
Where: 4251-A 18th St., between Collingwood and Diamond streets
What: Immense chocolate flavor in small, diet-friendly bites
Info: (415) 552-5128 or www.fivestartruffles.com

Every bite-sized truffle is an intense experience.

FAVORITE PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH
Hippie Hill
Where: The eastern edge of Golden Gate Park, by Stanyan Street
What: A gentle hill where the ’60s never left (and boy, are the ’60s fun to watch!)
Info: sfrecpark.org/ggp.aspx

Although I admit I didn’t personally experience the ’60s, Hippie Hill seems like a great window into hippie-era San Francisco.

FAVORITE PLACE TO ACT LIKE A TOURIST
The Cable Cars on Powell Street
Where: Powell and Market streets
What: Don’t actually wait at Powell and Market — skip the lines and wait a few blocks up Powell Street
Info: www.sfmta.com/cms/mfleet/cablecar.htm

A convenient way to get over the giant hill at California Street, and to act out my childhood fantasy of being George of the Jungle as he explores San Francisco in the 1997 film.

FAVORITE PLACE TO PRETEND TO BE A HIPSTER
Four Barrel Coffee
Where: 375 Valencia St., at 15th Street
What: That secret hipster coffee place everyone’s heard about
Info: (415) 252-0800 or www.fourbarrelcoffee.com

This place is just hipster enough for me: It’s nice to get away from the corporate, superficial feel of Starbucks … but still not get judged for brushing my hair.

About The Author

Paula Grace

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