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

Welcome to the World, California Sunday Magazine!

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As if Jack London’s Bernal roots and New York Times domination and lots and lots of books aren’t enough to demonstrate our neighborhood’s literary heft, there’s a high-profile media launch happening this weekend, and it’s got some deep Bernal Heights DNA.

The project is called California Sunday Magazine, and it’s brought to you by many of the same people responsible for the insanely popular Pop Up Magazine series that’s taken San Francisco by storm in recent years. California Sunday Magazine is a print magazine with literary-journalism aspirations to cover the world from a West Coast point of view. Here’s the About Us:

The California Sunday Magazine roams across California, the West, Asia, and Latin America, telling stories for a national audience. We also produce a live event series, Pop-Up Magazine. We explore science, business, entertainment, politics, technology, art, social issues, sports, food, and more. We’re curious about everything. The first weekend of each month, we’ll have new stuff to share, on the web, on our mobile apps, and in print—delivered with select Sunday copies of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Once we get the hang of that, we’ll start publishing two weekends a month and then every weekend. We’re brand new, so thanks for reading!

Did you catch that?  California Sunday Magazine has a diabolically clever distribution strategy: It will appear in the Sunday editions of several major California newspapers (most of which have either eliminated or gutted their own Sunday magazines in recent years). So if you usually get the San Francisco Chronicle on Sundays, look for California Sunday Magazine inside this weekend. The content from the first issue is online here. The print edition will be monthly at first, ramping up to weekly.

This is a fascinating experiment, and in coming days it will no doubt attract a great deal of interest in media circles from coast-to-coast and across the galaxy. But as you enjoy California Sunday Magazine, and partake of all the buzz, know this: The publisher and co-founder of California Sunday Magazine is Chas Edwards, your Bernal Heights neighbor. Oh, and the editor-in-chief is Doug McGray, who doesn’t quite live in Bernal, but can be called Bernal-adjacent:

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They’re already talking about Cal Sunday in BusinessWeek:

For years, California journalists have dreamed of a Left Coast publication to rival media icons such as New York magazine and the New Yorker. The editorial operations of Condé Nast-owned Wired are in San Francisco, but most publications that tried to set up shop there—such as the Industry Standard, which had a moment during the first dot-com boom—have failed. (The audiences for Los Angeles and San Francisco magazines are loyal but local.) John Battelle, chairman of online ad company Federated Media, helped launch Wired and the Industry Standard and is an investor in California Sunday. “I think they are really on to something,” Battelle says. His first effort at a Bay Area-based magazine, the Pacific, never got off the ground. “The biggest impediment was the cost of circulation,” he says, and California Sunday solves that problem by paying an insertion fee to bundle with newspapers.

Best of luck to the California Sunday Magazine crew. Your neighbors will be rooting for you from the home-team bleachers.

UPDATE: Sunday 5 Oct: Ooh. Look what just arrived!

Here’s to the start of a brand-new weekend ritual:

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IMAGES: via California Sunday Magazine Coffee photo by Telstar Logistics

Pinhole Coffee Has Finally Opened, and It Is Awesome

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It was nine months ago when we first noticed the papered-over windows of 231 Cortland foretelling the coming of an intriguing-sounding cafe. Late last week, Pinhole Coffee’s doors officially opened for business, and by all reports, it is awesome.

Founded by JoEllen Depakakibo, Pinhole carries coffee from Linea Caffe, the baby of coffee-world superstar Andrew Barnett. This reporter was rather enamored of the Piccolo, a 1:1 ratio of milk and espresso in one of these pleasing little glasses.

The new kid on the block is also quite lovely, with stools made of acacia stumps, a mural by JoEllen’s brother Joey D, a wall of colorful stripes by local artist Leah Rosenberg, and a pegboard of succulents by Bernal’s own Succulence.

Speaking of Cortland connections, among the treats on offer at Pinhole is Anna’s Daughters Chocolate Rye Bark (yum!), made by the mother of New Wheel co-owner Karen Weiner.

And for those wondering where the cafe’s name comes from, as JoEllen explained it to coffee blog Sprudge,

Pinhole takes its name from photography, another of my appreciations. My brother Joey D in Chicago created my logo, and his wife Jen designed my business cards out of a thin strip of walnut–they have a pinhole that you can put over your camera or phone and it creates a pinhole image. I individually hole punch the cards each morning before I start my day.

Pinhole is open 6:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekdays; 7:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekends.

PHOTOS: JoEllen, by Telstar Logistics. Piccolo glasses and Leah Rosenberg wall, via Facebook.

Bernal Rockstar Dan The Automator Talks with NPR About “Got a Girl,” His New Musical Collaboration

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As we all know, everyone who lives in Bernal Heights is a rockstar. But some express it more than others.

Music producer Dan Nakamura — aka Dan The Automator — is a Bernal resident who is famous in the music biz for the work he did to give artists like Deltron 3030, the Gorillaz, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Handsome Boy Modeling School their distinctive sounds. His latest collaboration is a band called Got a Girl that he created with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Got a Girl just released their first album, called “I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” (IMPORTANT LIABILITY NOTICE: Any relation to recent events on Bernal Hill is strictly coincidental.)

This week, Neighbor Dan talked about Got a Girl on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Chance encounters can lead to profound changes in people’s lives. Just ask actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

She was shooting Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opposite Michael Cera when one of the film’s music consultants befriended her. He’d heard rumors she was also a talented singer, so he checked out a video of her belting out a tune in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

That person happened to be Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, the hot-shot producer known to pop and hip-hop fans for his work with Gorillaz and Del the Funky Homosapien. The two struck up a friendship, and a musical partnership was born: Got a Girl.

The newly formed duo just released its first album, I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” Now, which draws on the members’ shared love for 1960s French pop.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Bernalwood’s favorite track from Got a Girl’s new album is called “There’s a Revolution,” and it’s infectiously funky, frenchy, and James Bondtastic:

For the visually inclined, here’s the video for Got a Girl’s “Did We Live too Fast”:

Congrats, Neighbor Dan!

Mae Krua Kiosk Coming Soon to 331 Cortland, for Thai Food Like Grandma Used to Make

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This is Anucha Kongthavorn, and he preparing to set up shop in the fabulous 331 Cortland marketplace. His business will be called Mae Krua, and he will serve up Thai food like grandma used to make. Anucha tells Bernalwood:

My name is Anucha Kongthavorn and I’m originally from Thailand. I’ve loved to cook since I was a child. I spent a lot of my early years watching her cook. She always consistently cooked the most delicious food and I strive to be like her. Every weekend, my mother left me with her and I always helped her to prepare. I fell in love with the joy of cooking watching my grandmother work long hours in a traditional Thai restaurant. That is where I learned how to cook authentic Thai food.

To me America is the land for opportunity, coming from a poor family, I independently moved to San Francisco to make my dream come true. I went to City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and worked ay the same time to earn experience and know what’s it’s like to cook for Americans and adapt to the culture. I always keep my eye on this dream. I worked at Thaistick in San Francisco and Millbrae for 6.5 years. I have never had a business of my own, but it is still part of my dream.

In Thai, Mae Krua means a women who cooks to serve for her family. This is the name I’d choose for my business. Mae means mother. Kua means kitchen.

I love to present my food to people to people who live here so they can try authentic Thai food that is different and unique to what I’ve learned from my Grandmother and what I’ve learned here in America. My kiosk is going to serve only unique food which is adapted from my own experiences and my Grandmother’s recipes. They will love to have this food and bring it home for their loved ones.

I make a Curry Rice Balls stuffed with fine cheeses. These will be a delight for people who are vegetarian. Some will also be made with Tofu and Bean Cake. I will serve salad with my own dressing such as Curry Dressing and Sesame Dressing. The community will love to try my food because it will both be healthy and delicious.

I will be very happy if you decide to give me a chance to start my own business with you, even though I have never had a business here. I think you would be very pleased to have me as an addition as well.

Helpfully, Anucha also shared this launch menu:

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PHOTO: Anucha Kongthavorn by Anucha Kongthavorn

3rd Cousin, Formerly Kinfolk, Launches Restaurant Kickstarter Campaign

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There’s yet another Kickstarter campaign underway for a new Cortland restaurant going in to the old Pizza Express space. Formerly known as Kinfolk, the new restaurant will be called 3rd Cousin, and chef (and founder) Greg Lutes brings the details:

Since you have been following Kinfolk on Bernalwood, I’m sending you a link to my Kickstarter campaign. In addition to a new permanent home, Kinfolk is being renamed 3rd Cousin. With the new name, comes lots of community involvement and support, including Windows from A.G. River, local wines from Brian Harrington, video by Steve Sisler and a new logo designed by Bernal Heights own beloved artist, Toby Klayman. I’m very excited to finally be putting down permanent roots in the neighborhood and look forward to continued service to the residents of Bernal Heights and surrounding areas.

Here’s the summary, from the Kickstarter campaign page:

My goal is to provide a Michelin quality, fine-dining experience in a relaxed and welcoming family atmosphere. As a chef, my greatest joy is interacting with my customers throughout the meal service, sharing their experiences of the culinary partnership we have created.

I started Kinfolk out of desire to share my passion for creative organic food, and I continue to refine my unique take on New American/Californian cuisine. The concept has really taken off, and people really came out and supported me — and they continue to support me by dining with me and keeping the dream alive.

After 6 months of cooking from the heart — bringing folks together and creating community one plate at a time — I’ve been fortunate enough to find a permanent home for my pop-up Kinfolk, at 919 Cortland Avenue, just a few doors away from where I am currently cooking 903 Cortland. With the move and the new space we decided to give it a new name: 3rd Cousin.

You can back Chef Greg’s Kickststarter effort here.

New Andi’s Market Opens in Old Storefront on Cortland

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Neighbor Andrea Cohen lives on Elsie, and she recently took over the former JC Market at 820 Cortland. Now renamed Andi’s Market, Neighbor Andrea tells us more about her plans for the business:

I took over 3 months ago. We FINALLY got our sign up on April 23, replacing the old JC Super sign; we expect the new awning within the next week and a half.

We’ve gotten an unparalleled amount of support and goodwill from neighbors. The store is getting scrubbed from head to toe; huge volumes of expired inventory purged from the shelves. Its cleaner, brighter. But slow going, so pardon our dust. Although it looks a bit empty, theres actually more food on the shelves than there’s been in years. For real.

My goal is to welcome the diversity of the neighborhood into the store by focusing on convenience and value. And that’s a daunting task. There are Filipino, Latino, union worker, and more recent Bernalese folks. But everyone needs a convenience store open early, closing late and having necessities–from ice cream, frozen food, snacks, beer, to little drugstore and hardware things. We’ll try to do this by having some pallet sales, sensible prices and ease of shopping on Cortland. Oh, and did I mention the deli? Its coming. Don’t have a date, but soon. Simple, down to earth, two-handed sandwiches and prepared foods.

Keeping lots of the old products–traditional snacks and convenience foods, but gradually adding in the foods neighbors request, like organic milk and basic healthy alternatives. More family oriented products. We love hearing what those requests are, so please stop in and let us know the kinds of things you’d like to see in the store

The building is this historic and really large space. It was built as a Safeway in 1926, and then in the 1970’s, the landlord (at that time he ran the grocery) took a crane and lifted 2 truck trailers over the houses in back to create permanent warehouse space. As we get the store running more smoothly and get to know our customers, we are thinking of lots of innovative way to best use the volume of space we have.

Me and most of the workers live in Bernal, so community isn’t just a buzzword–its a truth.

UPDATE: No fair to mention that the store used to be a Safeway, without providing a photo. So here you go; you can see Safeway/JC Market/Andi’s just left of the old Cortland Theater:

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Andi’s Market