Secession Art & Design Staying in Bernal, Moving North on Mission, Seeking Your Support

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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Secession Art & Design is a Bernalwood treasure. Part creative studio, part art gallery, part fashion boutique, owner Eden Stein’s has carved out a very special place for Secession’s store on Mission just across from our Taoist Safeway.

But Secession is also vulnerable to the winds of change, which now  require a move up the street to 3235 Mission, the former SoCha Cafe/former Dell’uva Wine Bar space, a few blocks north near Valencia. Eden explains:

After 7 wonderful years, we are excited to announce that Secession Art & Design will be relocating to a new location. Our store, gallery and studio is moving two short blocks up the street, from 3361 Mission St to 3235 Mission St. Like many things in life, what began as a pretty daunting experience has turned into an inspiring opportunity.

When we heard in August of this year that our lease would not be renewed, we were somewhat shocked and taken aback, but we were determined that Secession Art & Design should remain in our current neighborhood. After two months of searching—with help from real estate brokers and support from friends and family—we finally found a space that we know is going to be the perfect fit for Secession.

But it’s going to need to be built from the ground up. [...]

We are so heartened by your support throughout the years, and we’ve fought long and hard to stay in the Bernal neighborhood so we can continue to be a part of the health and wealth of our collective community.

To help fund the buildout of the new space, Secession Art & Design has created a fundraising page. Take a look, make a contribution if you’re so inclined, and let’s all say hurrah that Team Secession is staying in Bernal Heights.

PHOTO: Eden Stein via Secession Art & Design

Ode to a Basic Donut: Eagle Donuts Will Close on Monday

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The donut days at Eagle Donuts at 3303 Mission (@ 29th Street) are coming to an end.

On Monday, Eagle Donuts will close for good.

The most remarkable thing about Eagle Donuts is that there is nothing remarkable about it. No seasonal ingredients, or delicate toppings, or clever combinations. Nothing involving bacon. Eagle Donuts makes essential donuts: glazed or old-fashioned, with different kinds of frosting-like stuff on top. Yesterday I bought a bag of a half-dozen for $5.50.

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In other words, Eagle Donuts makes the kind of donuts that helped make America.

So when Eagle Donuts disappears, a classic kind of donut shop will disappear with it. After Eagle Donuts, your Bernalwood editor knows of no equivalent in Bernal Heights. (NOTE: The Silver Crest doesn’t count, because they also serve Ouzo.) If current trends continue, it’s a safe prediction that from here on out, Bernal’s donut future will likely be increasingly twee. We are confident it will be delicious, of course, but we also know it just won’t be the same.

It’s no one’s fault; Change is the only constant. Eagle Donuts opened in 1994, and Sherry from behind the counter — that’s Sherry, above — told Bernalwood she’s been here the entire time. She said rising rents weren’t so much of an issue. She said donuts just aren’t a very lucrative product these days, and costs keep going up. Milk prices, sugar prices, the minimum wage… all going up. Basically, Sherry said, after 20 years, it’s time to move on.

So on Monday, Eagle Donuts will close forever.

Stop in this weekend to get a final taste, and wish Sherry all the best.

Finally, for the benefit of future bloggers and culinary historians, Bernalwood also provides these supplementary detail photos of Eagle Donuts, as taken on October 16, 2014, which are here intended to illustrate what a typical late twentieth century donut shop looked like during the second decade of the twenty-first century:

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PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Sexy New Parklet Completed In Front of VinoRosso on Cortland

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A few weeks ago, I noticed that construction had started on the new (and mildly controversial) parklet on Cortland Avenue at Anderson, right in front of VinoRosso Enoteca and the Inclusions Gallery.

Last weekend I noticed that construction was complete, and the parklet was already in use. Though last weekend’s warm weather certainly helped, the sidewalk scene in the new parklet night was booming. Very chic. Ridiculously glamorous. Rather cosmopolitan.

Opinions may vary, but I’m innnnnterested to see how/if this new parklet will influence Cortlandia’s robust social ecology.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Rumor Report: Gourmet Food Store Coming to Former Red Hill Books Space

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A nosy curious Bernal neighbor heard some innnnnnteresting things about what’s planned for the former (and much-lamented) Red Hill/Badger Books space on Cortland at Bennington:

I caught Matt locking up the old Red Hill Books and asked if I could be nosy and ask what he’s planning…

He was sweet, said it’s not a secret. The corner of Cortland and Bennington will become The Epicurean Trader — gourmet and local packaged goods. He’s hoping that locals will tell them what’s missing from the other nearby shops so he can keep us all stocked in fav products (not compete with Good Life or Avedanos). They also plan to invite local purveyors to present and so on and such  I think he also mentioned selling wine and beer too, but not positive.

Hmmmmmm. Bernalwood reached out to the owner of the building for comment, but we have not yet received a response.

Treat this as a rumor for now, although in the last few days several other Cortland merchants and curious neighbors have also told Bernalwood more-or-less the same thing about the plan for this storefront. Stay tuned…

PHOTO: via Google Maps

The Last Woof: Precita Bark Has Closed For Good

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Despite some initial excitement and a previous, temporary closure that was intended to revitalize the business, it looks like Precita Bark, the salon-style dog washery on the eastern end of Precita Park at Alabama, has closed for good, as the signage and interior fixtures have been removed.

Dog owners, please share your postmortems.

No word yet on what might come next to this historic corner store location. This is a sweet spot across from the playground and the Precita Park Cafe, however, so in the right hands it could be an innnnnteresting opportunity to further activate the joyfully reactivated Precita Park ecosystem.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

San Francisco of the Early 1990s Is Alive and Well and Open for Business at Thrillhouse Records

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Amid all the current whinging about gentrification, The Change, tech buses, and coffee boutiques, it’s good to know the “real” San Francisco of bohemian memory is alive and well — if you know where to look for it.

Thrillhouse Records is such a place. Hiding in plain sight on Mission Street at Kingston right here in Bernal Heights, Thrillhouse is an enduring monument to underground San Francisco, circa 1991.

Want to know what counterculture looked like in the analog days before Tim Berners-Lee unleashed his Prometheus on our unsuspecting planet? What were the sensibilities of a young and alienated generation in an age of ascendant Reaganism, cassette tapes, and desktop publishing euphoria? What were the totems and signifiers of this edgy, halcyon time?

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What did it look like?  What did it smell like??

Wonder no more: It looked and smelled exactly like Thrillhouse Records.

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BONUS: This is what Reddit looked like way back then:

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A woman named Caitlin was behind the counter when Bernalwood visited Thrillhouse on a recent afternoon, and she told us that the place is run by volunteers. They’re open from noon to 8 pm on most days, unless things are really really slow, in which case they may close a little earlier.  Stop by soon, before the 21st century reasserts itself.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Bernal Neighbor Creates Tasty, Disruptive Dried Meat Product (Biltong Fans Rejoice)

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Uber is disrupting the taxicab space. Airbnb is disrupting the travel lodgings space. And right here in Bernal, Neighbor Steve Kerford is working on a product that seeks to disrupt the dried meat space.

Neighbor Steve lives on Gates Street, although he’s originally from South Africa. In South Africa, you see, the locals favor a special kind of beef jerky called biltong. Neighbor Steve reached out to Bernalwood recently with an offer to drop off some of his biltong for us to sample.

The good news is, it was delicious! Most dried meats taste like an old sneaker dipped in BBQ sauce, but Neighbor Steve’s biltong tastes like… meat! Delicious, tender meat! Only, dried.

The bad news is, Neighbor’s Steve’s biltong was so tasty that Team Bernalwood gobbled up the entire bag before I had a chance to take a photo. Oh well.

Anyway, Neighbor Steve’s disruptive dried beef product company is called Cut & Dried Gourmet, and you can get some of his biltong from their website. He also has a Kickstarter campaign underway that’s getting close to it’s funding goal with about a week remaining on the clock:

 We tested our artisanal South African Biltong air-dried beef recipe while working with the leaders in ethical, natural beef production, Niman Ranch and Hearst Ranch. The results were spectacular; making Biltong with premium American beef produced the perfect health and gourmet snack! A paleo, charcuterie delight that is never cooked so it retains unadulterated nutrients and amino acid chains.

Our ambition is to get Biltong into America’s salads, office snack bars, backpacks, lunch boxes and gym bags. Healthy snacking with no sugar or additives, made from the finest American beef.

PHOTO: Neighbor Steve models his biltong, via Kickstarter