Pinhole Coffee on Cortland Aims for Septemberish Opening

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Anticipation has been building in Western Cortlandia as neighbors look forward to the grand opening of Pinhole Coffee at 231 Cortland, on the corner of Bonview. Bernalwood first told you about Pinhole last November, but opening a business in this town is famously non-easy, so things take time.

Lately, however, we’ve seen lots of construction underway in the Pinhole space, and when we poked our head in last weekend we saw lots of great stuff, including a handsome new coffee bar, a cool new mural (which features Sutro Tower for bonus cool credit), and  colorful wood strips on the walls. It’s going to be a beautiful space.

Pinhole founder JoEllen Depakakibo was onsite too, so Bernalwood posed the question everyone’s been asking: When is the opening date?!?!

Miss JoEllen smiled, laughed nervously, and said, “in a few weeks!”

So, end of August?

She scrunched up her face. “More like September,” she said.

Fair enough. Septemberish! Can’t wait. And in the meantime, you’ll find lots of construction photos on the Pinhole Coffee Facebookplatz.

PHOTO: via JoEllen Depakakibo

Zagat Has Discovered Red Hill Station. You Should Too. Quickly.

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It’s been a few months since Red Hill Station opened.

During that time, your Bernalwood editor has dined at Red Hill Station, the new seafood restaurant on Cortland created by Bernal neighbors Taylor Pederson and Amy Reticker, three or four times. Why so many? We’ve eaten at Red Hill Station three or four times because Red Hill Station is good. Really reeeeeeeallly good. Wonderful food, great atmosphere, attentive and neighborly service, and solid value for the hard-earned Bernalese dollar.

That said, Bernalwood has not yet written about Red Hill Station because a) we rather selfishly wanted to get our fill of the place before word got out about just how terrific it is, and b) it was obviously only a matter of time until professional food critics also figured out just how terrific Red Hill Station is, and c) professional food critics get paid to write proper restaurant reviews (so we don’t have t0).

Well, that time has now come, because there’s a new review on Zagat that talks about… just how terrific Red Hill Station is:

The Gist: Red Hill Station may just be the next great neighborhood restaurant. Open since mid-June, it certainly is a seafood restaurant, although one of their top dishes is linguine and meatballs — or if you prefer, a meatball appetizer — in a hearty, stewed tomato red sauce. If this seems incongruent, it’s not. Bernal Heights residents and owners, Taylor Pederson and Amy Reticker, came from one of San Francisco’s greatest seafood classics, Anchor Oyster Bar. Red Hill reaches for that level of laid back comfort while attempting more ambitious dishes. And, oh, those sizes! We cannot get over the massive portions of food for around $17-$19 a plate.

So much for keeping this a secret. Check out the Zagat kicker:

The Verdict: As mentioned, in two short months, Red Hill already succeeds at feeling like a destination neighborhood restaurant. But they also deliver seafood in ways you have not seen it before — and portions that more than ensure value. What we’ve tried thus far is delicious. We can’t wait to return.

Hurry, neighbors… get thee to Red Hill Station before all the flatlanders come to crowd out us locals.

PS: Red Hill also pulls down an impressive 4.5 stars from the crankypants commenters on Yelp, including this gush by some guy with a mustache named Jeff B.:

If I was one of the the raters at Michelin, and found myself in the outer limits of downtown San Francisco (ie, Bernal Heights), Red Hill Station and its chef, Taylor Pedersen, would wind up with a star or two. It’s that good.

PHOTOS: Top, exterior photo by Michael C. on Yelp. Food photo by Virginia Miller via Zagat’s

Tonight: Party at The New Wheel to Celebrate a Homegrown Electric Bike

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Miss Karen Wiener, co-founder of the newfangled (and devilishly successful) New Wheel electric bicycle shop on Cortland, shares news that there’s a party at the store beginning at 6 pm tonight to celebrate the release of the Faraday Porteur,  a supersexy new ebike created in San Francisco.

Since you are supersexy and newfangled too, you’re invited to tonight’s party. Plus, FREE CARROTS!  FREE CUCUMBERS! Go crazy!

Miss Karen says:

The New Wheel is throwing a grand party for the Faraday Porteur, a beautiful electric bicycle designed right here in San Francisco. The New Wheel and Faraday have been working together for over two years as Faraday developed their product, ran a successful Kickstarter, and started production.

The party will be the official launch of The New Wheel taking pre-orders for the second production run of Faraday Porteurs, which will be available Spring 2015 in classic white and fabulous British racing green. It will also be an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, munch a fresh crispy cucumber and carrot, meet the founder and engineers at Faraday, and take a test ride on the best bicycle for Bernal. So stop by The New Wheel on Thursday, August 7 from 6 to 9pm to experience the future of urban transportation!

PHOTO: A Faraday Porteur climbs Cortland, via The New Wheel

Chuck’s Grocery Closes, But Neighborly Gratitude Remains

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Chuck’s Grocery on the corner of Cortland and Bocana has been an institution since just about forever. Yesterday was Chuck’s last day of operation, though, and Neighbor Michael Nolan shared this lovely appreciation:

Chuck’s Grocery Store, also known as Reliable Grocery, is scheduled to close after 40 years at its Cortland & Bocana location. I’ve known and enjoyed this incredible Palestinian-Chilean-San Francisco family for most of that time. I’d like to thank Chuck for letting me run a tab when money was scarce and I needed milk for the family. And to Vera for the tasty homemade salsa she would give me. And to Antoinette for providing an evening social center when I was feeling lonely and unappreciated. Thank you, Lama Family, for lifting my spirits. Por favor, let’s stay in touch!

Special bonus! Neighbor Michael also snagged this amazing photo of Vera Lama and her children leaving Santiago, Chile for San Francisco in 1973. In birth order: Tony, Antoinette, Claudia, Mauricio, Alejandro and Nadia.

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PHOTOS: Above, Chucks Grocery and the Lama family on July 24, 2014, by Telstar Logistics. Below, courtesy of the Lama family

Cool Old Sign on Cortland Is Actually New, But Still Way Cool

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On a recent evening, your Bernalwood editor was strolling in downtown Cortlandia, near the glamorous northeast corner of Cortland and Ellsworth. I looked up as I passed the corner store, and noticed a rather beautiful, retrolicious neon sign that  declared “Pay Little.”

“Words to live by!” I thought. “A credo for the Bernal tribe!”

It was right there — in gorgeous glowing neon. Yet why hadn’t I noticed this gem before?

From the style and the typeface, the sign looked midcentury, circa 1940s. But it was also pristine, and as I looked more closely, I realized that it wasn’t old at all. It was a new sign, extremely well executed. Bravo!

A quick chat with the gentleman behind the counter at the Pay Little confirmed my hypothesis: The sign is new, although it does look old.  And it’s classically cool, regardless.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Revealed: Miss Darcy’s Not-So Secret Summer Stroll Macaroon Cookie Recipe

Stroll 2014

Summer Stroll 2014

Heartfelt Cookies

Last week’s Summer Stroll on Cortland was totally glamtacular. The sidewalks were crowded with stylish Bernalese of all ages, seeing and being seen. There was lots of terrific art to find and enjoy. There was music in the streets. And over at Heartfelt, Miss Darcy was handing out some rather tasty macaroons.

Martha Stewart may visit Bernal Heights from time to time, but Heartfelt proprietor (and Bernal neighbor) Darcy Lee is our homegrown, full-time original. So naturally, Bernalwood wanted to know more about those deeeelicious macaroons we had at Heartfelt during the Stroll. Like, what’s the secret recipe?

Here’s what Miss Darcy shared with us:

Rosa’s Coconut-Date Macaroons

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp boiling water
1 cup chopped dried Medjool dates (or 1 cup cherry-flavoured dried cranberries, roughly chopped for a festive twist)
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Position an oven rack in the centre of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until opaque and foamy.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir with a small whisk to blend. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the sugar mixture; mix for about 30 seconds, gradually bringing the mixer back to high speed and mix for 1 minute.

Immediately add the vanilla and vinegar and continue to mix for at least 2 minutes, or until the egg whites hold stiff, glossy peaks, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

Reduce the speed to medium-high and add the boiling water all to once. The egg whites will swell up and then resettle as all the water is incorporated. Mix for 2 more minutes, then set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the dates (*or cherry-flavoured dried cranberries), pecans and coconut; using your hands, toss the ingredients until evenly distributed. This helps to avoid clumping, which can cause the egg whites to break down a bit too much due to over-stirring.

Gently fold in the coconut mixture into the egg white mixture until blended. Using a 1 1/2-inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, place scoops of batter 1 inch apart on the prepared pans. Bake one sheet at a time for 8 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 225°F and bake for 40 minutes longer, or until the macaroons are an even light brown.

Remove from the oven and let cook on the pan for 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cook completely.

Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 week.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Thursday: New Attractions, New Restaurants at the 2014 Cortland Summer Stroll and Art Walk

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Continuing a tradition that dates back many thousands of years, to the Age of the Ancient Bernal Druids, the 2014 Summer Stroll happens on Cortland Avenue tomorrow, Thursday, June 19. Solstice-style.

Sponsored by your local merchants from the Bernal Business Alliance, this year’s stroll features some sexy highlights:

  • Lots of open doors, live music, snacky snacks, and spiked drinks for grownups from your favorite Cortland shops and restaurants. Miss Darcy from Heartfelt promises home-baked cookies! (Not the funny kind.)
  • A rather cosmopolitan Art Walk, with local artists displaying their work along Cortland!
  • A trusted source tells Bernalwood the new Red Hill Station restaurant will soft-open on the night of the Stroll, serving oysters, wine, and beer. (The full opening happens on Friday, 6/20; preview pictures here). Congrats, Neighbors Amy and Taylor!
  • Also, after its brief transformation, the former Liberty Cafe will reopen in time for the stroll. Now renamed Bernal Star, the new motto is “Brunch. Burgers. Brews.” Drama!
  • Miss Karen from The New Wheel adds, “We have new t-shirts! They were designed by Jennifer Keith on the North Side, printed by Pelican Print Shop down on Bayshore, and will be available in adult and kids sizes (medium and large) tomorrow near the library for just $10! I’ve attached a photo of the fabulous ladies of Heartfelt showcasing the look!” (Shown above)

That’s the executive summary; here’s the official 411 about what else you should look for at the 2014 Cortland Summer Stroll:

The Bernal Business Alliance cordially invites you to the 4th Annual Summer Stroll. Join friends, neighbors and local businesses, for a fun and festive evening all along Cortland Ave. Enjoy a variety of special treats offered by local merchants and restaurants, including live music, food and drink. This year’s stroll introduces a neighborhood Art Walk. Businesses along the Cortland corridor will be hosting the work of local Bernal Heights artists. So grab your friends and family and take a stroll down Cortland Ave. It’s sure to be a grand time for all!

Special thanks to the following local businesses for sponsoring this event: The Good Life Grocery, Bernal Hill Reality, Little Bee Baking, Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema, Inclusions Gallery, The Lucky Horseshoe, Heartfelt, Holy Water, Integral Body, The Liberty Cafe, The New Wheel, Bernal Beast, State Farm Insurance, Succulence, Fit Bernal Fit, Vega, Chamalyn Teas & Honey, Vinorosso Enoteca, Chef Stephanie, Netpop, Kingmond Young framing & photography, Climb Real Estate, Unlimited Hair Care, Chloe’s Closet, Bernal Business Alliance, Andi’s Market, The Wild Side West, Bernal Bucks, Moki’s Sushi and Pacific Grill