TV ALERT: Paulie’s Pickling on KQED’s “Check Please, Bay Area” Tonight

Paulie's Pickles

It’s showtime! Cortland’s Paulie’s Pickling, which may be Best Jewish Deli in San Francisco, will be the focus of tonight’s exciting episode of KQED’s Check Please, Bay Area.

Neighbors Paul and Liz, the soft-spoken proprietors of Paulie’s Pickling, didn’t give us the heads-up about this. No, we heard it from the street, in the Jweekly:

CHECK, PLEASE: A “Check, Please! Bay Area” episode featuring Paulie’s Pickling will debut at 7:30 p.m. April 24 on KQED-Channel 9, with many replays to come. Also, the show will air on KQED radio (88.5 FM) at 6:30 p.m. April 27.

“Check, Please!” features three Bay Area residents giving their opinions after sampling three local restaurants (each recommended by one of the participants). Paulie’s Pickling, a Jewish-style deli counter in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, will be the first segment.

“I have no idea who nominated us,” said Paulie’s co-owner Liz Ashby, who was raised Orthodox in Newton, Mass. “But when the producers called and asked if we wanted to be on the show, I said, ‘Of course!’ Who would say no?”

Over a two-month period, the “mystery diners” came in to eat, and on two occasions, the KQED crew came by to do some filming and interview Liz and the other owner, her husband, Paul.

Neighbor Liz is right. Who would say no?

One quick P.S. about the whole “Best Jewish Deli in San Francisco” thing. There’s this. And there’s also this:

For Passover earlier this month, your Bernalwood editor had two actual Jewish grandmothers over for dinner. One Jewish grandmother was raised in Brooklyn; the other in Jersey City. With two actual Jewish grandmothers at the table, your Bernalwood editor did not want to run the risk of screwing up the traditional Passover brisket. So I asked Neighbor Liz from Paulie’s if I could order a few pounds of her rather amazing brisket instead, to serve to two actual Jewish grandmothers. Neighbor Liz said no problem, and it came with some wonderful gravy, and I heated it all up, and dayenu it was incredible. But you don’t have to believe me when I say it was dayenu incredible. Two actual Jewish grandmothers at our Passover table certified that the brisket from Paulie’s Pickling was dayenu incredible. They were very impressed.

So there you go.

Keep that in mind as you listen to whatever the mystery diners have to say on “Check Please, Bay Area” tonight. In your Bernalwood editor’s house, Paulie’s Pickling is Jewish Grandmother Tested and Jewish Grandmother Approved.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Posted in Celebrity, Cortland, Food and Drink, Media | 2 Comments

Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for March, 2014: Stats Show Improving Trends, Recent Unpleasantness Notwithstanding


Let’s not dance around it: From a crime and tranquility perspective, the last few weeks have really really sucked. In the meantime, however, Neighbors Sarah and Edie attended the monthly SFPD Ingleside community meeting, and they shared their (typically) wonderful notes on local crime trends, which are actually rather encouraging:

Ingleside Police District Monthly Community Meeting   April 15, 20141
Captain’s Report by Captain Tim Falvey

Ingleside Crime Trends as of March 24th 

  1. Overall violent crime is down 14% YTD, robberies down 21%.
  2. Overall felony crimes are down 16% since last year.
  3. Burglaries are down 28% YTD. Police are trying to get down to pre-realignment numbers (prior to the early release of criminals due to prison overcrowding).
  4. Auto theft numbers are flat. Police did an abatement exercise in March, arresting 6 people driving stolen cars, and they’re hoping to see a further drop off in April stats.
  5. Auto break-ins are still high. On April 1, 5 cars were broken into in a 2-block area.

Enforcement efforts, situation updates, and things to remember

  1. Traffic and Pedestrian Safety. Pedestrian safety is a high SF priority. One major danger is in intersections where a driver is turning left and concentrating on cars coming towards them rather than on the pedestrians in the crosswalk.  As a pedestrian, pay attention while crossing streets.

In the Ingleside, the Focus on the 5 campaign, where police target the 5 worst traffic infringement intersections in the area, has resulted in a 32% increase in traffic citations. Drive safely, and if you notice a bad intersection, email

Current problem areas for speeding in the Ingleside are Teresita Blvd at Isola Way, Alemany near Corpus Christie School, and Cayuga near Balboa High School. The police currently have a radar trailer on Teresita Blvd; slow down if you don’t want a ticket. If you have a spot that needs the trailer, contact the Captain.

  1. Update on Gambling storefronts. 

Gambling shacks are businesses that provide computers with gaming programs, and sell internet access time for gambling only. Look for storefronts with covered windows, where not everyone is allowed in, and security cameras may be present. They tend to attract drug dealers, prostitutes, and others intent on criminal activity, and cause increases in neighborhood crime.

32 states have declared stores that host computers with internet gambling access to be illegal gambling sites. In March, the State Supreme Court also in California agreed.  The city attorney sued NET STOP at 4455 Mission, which is now closed. Captain also took the ruling to the two remaining storefronts in the Ingleside. One had already closed, the other is protesting and wants to stay open.

  1. Tips to remember and share with your neighbors.

Fraud: People have been getting calls from official agencies saying someone is under arrest and they need to pay to get out. For example: FBI calls, says your relative is here, go get a gift card, scratch off number and read it to us to pay bail. Sheriffs Dept. asking for payment via gift card or from on your account or your relative will stay in jail. Neither the FBI nor the Sheriff”s Department will ever do this, so spread the word. Also people call and say you won some money, but must pay the taxes in order to receive it. Don’t believe any of these ploys. Hang up and call the police.

Home Burglaries: 10 or 11 this month. Half were through an unlocked or open window or door. 2 were open garage doors. During warm weather we all like to open windows to enjoy the fresh air. However, remember that once a burglar makes his way over a fence, through a side yard, or up over a roof and into one back yard, then it’s easy for them to jump the fence from house to house, looking for open doors and windows and other opportunities. Also, if you’re going on vacation, please don’t announce it beforehand on social media. Thieves can locate your comments online, figure out where you live, break in and clean out your house.

Auto Burglaries: If you have an older Honda, use a Club. Don’t leave valuables in your car, or even anything that might look interesting. If you have a garage door opener, take it out of your car whenever you park it – especially outside your house.

  1. Successful gun buyback on April 5th. The Ingleside Community Police Advisory Board co-hosted a gun buyback and the line was 1½ blocks long for an hour. Police received 188 weapons, incl. 80 handguns & 6 assault rifles. These appeared to be guns people had in their homes, so this means that burglars won’t be able to steal them and use them. If you have a gun or ammunition, just call the police and ask to turn it in, and police will come by and pick it up for you.


  1. Tagging and Graffitti:

What can owner do about graffiti on her house under construction? Take pictures & file a report with the police graffiti abatement officer. Often police can identify the tag and, with information about multiple tags by the same tagger, charge the tagger with a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Then paint graffiti over, turn lights on at night, let neighbors know what’s happened and show them the pictures of the tags, so they can keep an eye out, too.

Increase in tagging around freeway fences and nearby houses.  Police arrested three people tagging and checked their cell phones. They had photos of all the tags they’ve done around the city, boosting the amount of damage done, and were charged with a felony. (It’s a misdemeanor if damage done is less than $400, more than $400 is a felony.)

  1. Shooting at the Pacific Super. Two guys were talking, one reached into his car, the other pulled out a gun, and shot. An innocent bystander was hit in the let. Police have a good description of the vehicle, and are moving forward on the case.
  2. Man jailed for threatening people with a big chain is back on the street. He’s carrying a really long knife and threatened a female roommate at his house on Laura and Alemany. Lots of people live in that same house / police called repeatedly.
  3. Complaints from Sunnydale residents about non-residents parking cars there. DPT and police cleared out the parking lot. A few were stolen, others had expired registrations and were towed.
  4. Arlington & Randall, near Fairmount School: large commercial trucks belonging to California Carpet & La Copa Loca Ice Cream park there for over limited 72 hours, double park, and block views in intersections. People have been seen moving things from one vehicle to another, and spray-painting the trucks with graffiti art.
  5. Coleridge St. at 7 pm, a neighbor was robbed at gunpoint and knocked over. Officers around the city are viewing the video to identify the perps. Ingleside has easy access from freeways, so many criminals who come here to rob are from other places.
  6. Leadership HS students concerns about police. Two students, waiting at the J stop for the train, were recently asked by the police to what school they were from and then asked to leave J stop. Their teacher reports they are good kids, so what might be done to improve the relationship between police and Leadership High students?  A: on May 7th there will be a Youth Summit at Balboa HS, sponsored by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Participating youth write youth/police dialogs and consult with local police for their point of view; they will act out the dialogues at the Summit.

Upcoming Events and Activities:

More info at:! community-announcements

  1. May 7th Youth Summit at Balboa HS. Youth write youth/police dialogs in consultation with police to understand police point of view, and then act them out at the Summit.

  2. Recruiting HS Cadets for the SF PAL Cadet Program. Program runs 4 weeks in the summer, 6 hours a day. It teaches discipline and after students successfully complete it, they can intern at local police stations. A great opportunity for any HS student interested in a career in law enforcement. 

  3. National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014, 5pm @ Police Academy, 350 Amber at Duncan, behind Christopher Playground.  Join your neighbors, meet the officers, enjoy the barbecue, and attend presentations on pedestrian safety, SAFE, ALERT, and more.

  4. Next Ingleside Police District Community Meeting, May 20, 7pm. Ingleside station.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Posted in Crime, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Inspiring Sidewalk Graffiti Asserts Bernal Heights Hegemony


Though at first blush it looks like the kind of thing that might have been created by the Bernal Heights Chapter of the Young Nietzscheans, this sidewalk aphorism photographed in Bernal by varsovienne is actually a quote from Marianne Williamson’s 1992 book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.

Here is the complete passage:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Citizens of Bernalwood… go forth and liberate!

PHOTO: varsovienne via the Bernalwood Flickr Group

Posted in Found Things, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

New Red Hill Station Seafood Restaurant Coming to Cortland


Alongside the planned perma-Kinfolk, EaterSF brings the news that Bernal Neighbors Taylor Pederson and Amy Reticker plan to open a new seafood restaurant at 803 Cortland, in the soon-to-be-former Blue Star Elephant space:

The new restaurant will be taking over from Thai spot Blue Star Elephant, which will shutter at the end of this month. Named for the Bernal neighborhood’s nickname of ‘Red Hill’, the new spot will be seafood-focused, with a raw bar (think oysters and clams) plus a rotating menu of seasonal, California-style cuisine. Pederson will helm the kitchen, and hopes to focus on sustainably-sourced seafood.

The new space will also serve as a fish market of sorts. Reticker, who’ll be running the front-of-house operations, says they hope to open at 4pm daily with an offering of market fish so that people can drop in, learn cooking tips from the seafood pros and take home something to prepare for dinner themselves.

In the meantime, Red Hill Station has planted flags on the Twitter, the Facebook, and the Interwebs. There’s a late February Facebook post which says:

we are excited and pleased to announce the birth of “Red Hill Station”!

we will be a small, 28 seat neighborhood place

there will be a raw bar, oysters, clams, mussels, tartares, in addition to an 8 item menu which will change daily…we plan on doing brunch saturdays and sundays.

Posted in Cortland, Food and Drink, New Stuff | 14 Comments

Star Sighting: Mayor Lee Visits New “Mission Bernal Merchants Association”

Mayor Lee ICHI

Mayor Lee Secession

Star Sighting!  Earlier this month San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was seen hobnobbing in the Bernal flatlands to show his support for the “Mission Bernal Merchants Association,” the new group that appears to have deftly navigated their recent naming challenges.

Here’s the mission statement:

The purpose of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) is to facilitate unity of action among the merchants and nonprofits in the MBMA, San Francisco, in order to protect, promote and preserve the business conditions within the Mission Bernal Commercial District. The Mission Bernal Merchants Association is defined as that area inside the following boundaries: Mission Street from Cesar Chavez to Randall Street, 29th Street from San Jose Avenue to Mission Street in San Francisco.

Mayor Lee dropped in as part of his regular Small Business Friday tours to speak with with La Lengua Mission-Bernal merchants about business concerns and neighborhood issues. Neighbor Erin Archuleta (of Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar fame) shares these notes about the MBMA’s most recent meeting, along with details about the next one:

This past meeting resulted in drafting agenda items pertaining to merchants in the neighborhood, such as a visit with our Police Captain; a chance to host a Networking Mixer; and opportunities to participate in planning events that would benefit our community. The group is open to all business owners in our corridor along Mission (and just off Mission) between Cesar Chavez and Randall Streets.

Our next meeting is:
Monday, May 12th
10 AM
at PizzaHacker (3299 Mission Street at 29th Street)

PHOTOS: Mayor Lee at Ichi Sushi and Secession Design, courtesy of MBMA

Posted in Celebrity, Merchants, Politics | 8 Comments

Wednesday: Benefit Dinner at Hillside Supper Club for School of the Arts Instrumental Music Program


Neighbor Julie invites you to a benefit dinner at Bernal’s glamorous Hillside Supper Club tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23 starting at 6 pm:

Hi- I’m a long time Bernal resident, and a community organizer and activist in the public schools here in SF.

A few Bernalwood residents are working with the folks at Hillside Supper Club to host a special evening to benefit the Instrumental Music Dept at the School of the Arts, the public high school devoted to visual, literary and performing arts located at Portola and O’Shaughnessy.

The School of the Arts receives about 30% of its operating costs from the San Francisco Unified School District. It falls to the SOTA community to raise the remaining 70%. This is achieved in a variety of ways, from regular performances on the campus and at different venues around the city, to bake sales, car washes and pancake breakfasts. The Friends of School of the Arts is a non-profit foundation that manages donations and contributions and also engages in targeted campaigns.

Instrumental Music is divided into four strands: Orchestra, Band, Guitar and World Music. The funds we raise go to purchase instruments and equipment and to pay for department Artists-in-Residence– working professionals in the Bay Area who coach and mentor our students.

This year we hope to purchase music stands and three clarinets, among other numerous needs.

There will be a three course meal- the “Seafood Serenade”, wine and dessert are included, and the musical entertainment will be provided by Matt Cmiel, Director of Orchestras and Brad Hogarth Band Director.

A portion of the purchase price ($100 per seat) is tax deductible.

Currently over 50 students in the immediate Bernal Heights neighborhood attend SOTA. It should be a great evening, tasty and fun!

Tickets are limited, so get yours right here. Additional deets

Seafood Serenade- a sublime feast, plus wine and dessert, with musical accompaniment.

One sitting.
Three courses.
Twenty two seats available for purchase.

Culinary genius courtesy of Tony Ferrari and Jonathan Sutton of the local pop-up grown-up, Hillside Supper Club.

Musical genius courtesy of Matthew Cmiel (Guitar) and Brad Hogarth (Horn), Directors of Orchestra and Band at Asawa SOTA.

Internationally acclaimed guitarist Peppino D’Agostino and his daughter, Aleza D’agostino will be surprise featured guests.

Seafood generously provided by Royal Hawaiian Seafood

All proceeds to benefit Instrumental Music at the School of the Arts.


Asparagus, quail egg, and caviar

Raw oysters with a cilantro lime mignonette
Grilled Monterey bay squid, with charred spring onions, basil pesto, and lemon
Pea tendril salad of spring peas, easter egg radish, honey vinaigrette, and pecorino;

Lobster pot pie, king trumpet mushrooms, baby carrots, black truffle veloute.


Buy tickets here.

Posted in Education, Events | Leave a comment

Violent Tales from Pre-Gentrification Bernal Heights During the Eighties


Bernal Heights was a tough place during the Eighties. It was a time of rampant lawlessness, violent crime, substance abuse, and lots of un-neighborly behavior.

Burrito Justice, chief spokesblogger for the La Lenguan separatists, recently posted a series of tales that vividly captures the sordid underbelly of life in Bernal Heights during the dark days of the 1880s. Thus we meet Proto-Neighbor Jeremiah Buckley, who appears to have had some issues:


MEMO TO HOLY WATER: Put “Goat Chasers Great Internal Tonic and Stomach Reviver” on the cocktail menu, please, and make ours a double.

In any event, after concluding that “Twenty-seventh and Alabama” likely refers to the corner of today’s Precita and Alabama, Burrito Justice cites this sordid chapter of Bernal Heights history as justification for the cause of La Lenguan independence. “All La Lenguan residents should consider this fair warning when traversing Precitaville, as Consular services may not be available,” he writes.

Yet this strains credibility. After all, as he himself has documented, one of the most infamous hives of crime and scandal in the Dominion of Bernalwood was the Cable House, which once stood at the corner of Tiffany and Duncan, smack in the middle of the La Lenguan heartland.

The “Railroad Hotel” [was] a 30 room boarding house. Built in the 1880s, it was once known as the “Cable House”, and was torn down in the 1920s… All sorts of crazy-ass things happened at 24 Tiffany. Seriously, they could have made a reality TV show about it. If you ever time travel and stay at the Railroad Hotel, it’s best to not leave your things out:


Likewise, at La Lengua’s Cable House, it was best to avoid the liquor:


IMAGES: 1884 Bernal Heights from the David Rumsey Historical Collection. Press clippings via Burrito Justice.

Posted in History | 12 Comments