Houses of Worship

Holy Virgin Cathedral

I am obsessed with church architecture. My faithful readers probably already know that. But I haven’t shown any recently. Well, I’m gonna make up for it now. I went out today to photograph seven historic churches in San Francisco.

Saint Ignatius Church

Going out to photograph landmarks all over the city is difficult. I normally take the bus around town, but today I drove since I had great distances to cover. This means that I parked illegally everywhere I went, cab drivers yelled at me, and I got stuck in Giants traffic. But it was all worth it to show you these amazing feats of architecture.

Saint Dominic's Church

Ever since I saw Vertigo, I have made a point to see other movies and tv shows that are filmed here. This church, Saints Peter and Paul, was featured in the movie Dirty Harry. Remember the scene where Harry and the other guy are waiting for the Scorpio Killer because they think his next victim will be a catholic priest?

Saint Peter and Paul's Church

I was reading about all the cathedrals I visited and found out that several of them were damaged in the earthquake of 1906. Most of these churches were built in the 1800’s when San Francisco was still growing. The churches that were damaged in 1906 include Saint Dominic’s and Saint Ignatius. Both churches were restored. But then when the second major earthquake hit in 1989, several of these buildings were determined to be seismically unstable.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Most of the time, when a religious facility is found to be unstable, the congregation raises money to fix it and make it “earthquake-proof”. Saint Dominic’s now has flying buttresses to keep it stable. But one church was not so lucky. Saint Joseph’s members could not raise the money to restore the church so the building was condemned. It now stands empty, run down, and ugly.

Saint Joseph's

Then three years ago, someone bought the church with the intention of fixing it up and turning it into office buildings. The owner promises that he’s going to keep it looking like a church on the outside so we can all enjoy it, but I’m still a little sad about this fate. I want him to fix it up and restore it as a church. But on the other hand, it would be awfully cool to work there! Here’s a link to the full article in the SF Chronicle.

Saint Patrick's

So I hope you enjoyed this religious tour of San Francisco. I certainly did!

Holy Virgin Cathedral. 27th and Geary Blvd.
Saint Ignatius Church. On USF campus at Parker and Bush.
Saint Dominic’s Church. Bush and Filmore.
Saints Peter and Paul. Filbert and Powell.
Trinity Episcopal Church. Bush and Gough.
Saint Joseph’s. 10th and Howard.
Saint Patrick’s. 4th and Mission. 


Here Comes the Sun!

San Francisco has exactly five warm days each year. One of them was Friday, and I wasted it at the office. But yesterday, whoa baby, the sun was out in full force, and I had a whole 14 hours to enjoy it! I dug around in the bottom of my closet until I found my flip flops, then I ventured out to discover what the natives do when the weather turns warm. I got two very clear answers….

A. They go to the park.

I started my quest at Mission Dolores Park, right in the middle of the Mission District. Even though there are hundreds of parks in the city, this is where all the cool kids go. And they were all there on Saturday. The park was so crowded, there was a line at the ice cream cart, a line at the bathroom, and not one square inch of grass left unclaimed.

one nutty buddy please

People wore shorts and bathing suits, lathered on the sun block, and lounged on blankets reading, sun bathing, drinking, and generally hanging out. It was neat to see such a large group of people focused on relaxation. And I could tell that these people were soaking up every moment as if they didn’t know when they’d see the sun again.

someone set up a tightrope and let everyone try their skills

B. They go to the beach.

look at the crowd!

Next, I went to Ocean Beach. I have visited and documented this beach before, but never like this. Hundreds of people as far as the eye could see. There at 800,000 people in SF and I feel like 400K of them were at the park, and the other 400K were at the beach.

two boys went swimming in their clothes

I saw dogs chasing balls, kids building sand castles, and families enjoying a picnic. There were even a few brave souls who got in the water. I took my shoes off and dipped my toes in for a moment, but it was too cold for me! I couldn’t believe that no one seemed annoyed by the crowd. It was like they all understood the necessity of the moment, and let each other enjoy the sun in peace.

After my wonderful afternoon in the sun, I went to the mall to get myself a new phone. The people at the AT&T store were so happy to see a customer that they practically attacked me. I really felt bad for them having to work on that beautiful day, and miss out on all the fun!

The Ice Cream Clash

Welcome ladies and gentlemen of all ages, to the world-famous Ice Cream Clash, coming to you live from the Save Me San Francisco Stadium. We’ve got a good fight for you tonight! An impressive matchup sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Let’s meet our contestants:

In this corner, weighing in at 72 years, the reigning champion, Bi-Rite Creamery!! And in the other corner, coming in at 59 years, the challenger, Mitchell’s Ice Cream!!



Folks, I have eaten a lot of ice cream in my day, so I can tell you we’ve got two of the best here in the ring tonight. Two different ice cream shops, both have been around a long time, and both of them offer good quality ice cream. There’s the opening bell! Let’s get it on! 

Bi-Rite Creamery begins strong with a left hook: all their ingredients are organic and farmed locally. But wait, Mitchell’s comes back with an uppercut: they buy from local farmers, too! Well, the champion counter-attacks saying they make all their ice cream in house daily. The contender holds strong with that claim as well, then ups the ante with their use of exotic ingredients, such as buko (baby coconut), langka (jackfruit), and ube (purple yam) fruit from the Philippines. A jab of strange and unusual flavors comes in from Bi-Rite, then a family-owned punch from Mitchell’s, and that’s the end of Round One. So far, I think it’s a pretty close race.

Alright, we’re back folks, and there’s the bell to start round two! Mitchell’s begins this round touting that there’s no line at their shop. That’s gotta sting! The champion considers the line a good thing and jumps right back up. They hit the contender where it hurts by pointing out their ugly website. Mitchell’s is struggling a bit at this point, but still throws a strong 45 flavors cross. This is followed by a steady stream of fists, and honestly, I can’t tell who’s punching who! I hear someone mention the Mission District, but that could come from either contestant. And a claim that their ice cream is unbelievably creamy, but they can both say that. Finally, right before the closing bell, Bi-Rite sends a deafening right hook: their ice cream is made with LOVE. And Mitchell’s goes down for the count.

We have a winner! The reigning champ holds on to its title! What a great matchup! The contender put up a strong fight, and I won’t be surprised if I see them in the ring again. Well, that’s it folks. From the Save me Stadium, I thank you for tuning in to the Ice Cream Clash. Goodnight.


Bi-Rite Creamery. 18th and Dolores. Save Me Article.
Mitchell’s Ice Cream. 29th and San Jose.

Alemany Farmers Market

Today I learned that there are two types of farmers markets: snooty and hippy. No, I probably already knew that. I have been to a couple of FMs in San Francisco, and this classification is not exactly a secret. You remember my posts about the Ferry Building and the Castro FM, right?  I would classify both of those as snooty. At the Ferry Bldg, everything was organic, and as a result it’s all ridiculously expensive. And at the Castro, I felt like a second class citizen because I buy produce at Safeway. It’s like people went there because they want to be seen shopping at a farmer’s market. Ya know what I mean?

Today I went to the Alemany Farmers Market (A-leh-main-ee), and it was the complete opposite of the other two. It was totally casual and low-key, with no status or social connections whatsoever. Everyone I saw was a regular joe like me, who just wanted to enjoy a sunny day and eat tangelos.

Unfortunately, since there are only two categories, this one would be labeled as a hippy market. You know… you’ve been there… The smell of “incense” wafts through the air, the continual thump of bongos plays in the background, and nobody has on shoes. This was definitely one of those kinds of markets, but I didn’t mind. I was so happy to be able to shop and taste free samples without being judged. And honestly, it was more fun to be with those laid-back people and just “hang out” anyway.

the drums were not for sale

The market was set up with two rows of permanent pavilion structures, each with 20 bays… it’ll be easier if I call them booths. The booths had parking on one side and sidewalk on the other. That way, the farmer could back his truck right up to the booth and unload his wares, and the shoppers walked on the other side, under cover from the weather. And each spot was painted with beautiful colors so the whole market was colorful and fun!

In addition to the 40 permanent booths, there are 50 or so tents with vendors set up around the perimeter.

here's what one of the bays look like

The Alemany Farmer’s Market takes place every Saturday from sunrise to sunset. I found it on Alemany Blvd at the intersection of Hwy-101 and I-280 (google maps. there is no website). I was there at 2:00 today and the market was pretty quiet. But I imagine it’s a hoppin joint in the early morning.  There was a lot of free parking, clean bathrooms, and several vendors selling meal-type items. So that means I could’ve shopped for a while and then get tacos, or pizza for lunch. Yeah I could have, but today I just ate tangelos.

they have a clay oven for pizza!

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