Music, Celebrities, and Hot Fashions at 2014 Cortland Holiday Stroll

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The Bernalwood Action News Team was on Cortland last night for the 2014 Holiday Stroll, and in addition to all the seasonal mirth and good cheer, the whole thing was just ridiculously glamorous. The sidewalks were filled with music and cheerful crowds of Bernalese, and we even documented a Star Sighting:

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Yes, that’s Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter posing with our new(ish) SFPD Ingleside Station captain, Joseph McFadden!

We noticed that the fashion-forward set was out in force as well. This stylish stroll-goer handily won the award for Bernalwood’s Most Chic Hat of 2014:

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The only thing that could possibly top that next year would be to see someone walking down Cortland in one of those awesome plastic helmets Emilo Pucci designed for Braniff Airlines.

But we digress. More importantly, how was your 2014 Holiday Stroll?

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Thursday: Come All Ye Bernal, to the 2014 Cortland Holiday Stroll!

Holiday Stroll

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Tens of thousnads of years ago, in the time of our Bernal ancestors, a joyous community of elves lived on Bernal Hill. Each year, during the winter equinox, these proto-Bernalese would gather on the land we now call Cortlandia to celebrate the arrival of the rains and the season of lights.

Today, the Bernal Business Alliance has revived this ancient ritual, in the form of the glamorous Cortland Holiday Stroll. The 2014 Stroll happens this Thursday, December 4, from 6 to 9 pm, and it is incumbent upon you to partake of the many spectacles.

Bernalwood is told:

This Thursday, Bernal neighbors and guests will have the perfect opportunity to kick off the holiday shopping season! There will be fantastic drinks, deals, art, live music, and more!

The Bernal Business Alliance, this year teaming up with The Bold Italic, is hosting the Bernal Heights Microhood Holiday Stroll on December 4th, 6pm-9pm.

Here are some highlights of what you’ll find throughout the event:

The Holiday Marketplace is open again in the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Come enjoy festive decorations, holiday music, and free cookies and punch.

You’ll meet:

Sandy Owens Massage and Healing
CLIMB Real Estate
Legal Shield
Bernal Bucks
Bernal Business Alliance
TownSquared
SF Custom Chiropractic
The Levia Project
Pelindaba Lavender SF
12 Small Things
Cortland Businesses and ART WALK

While visiting local businesses, mix and mingle with talented Bernal based artists. See what our neighborhood artists have been working on. Now is the perfect time to pick up some home grown art for the holidays!

The New Wheel will have oodles of Holiday cheer, a Christmas tree, and fabulous warm eggnog.

Vinorosso will host artist Todd Berman in their parklet.

Kingmond Young Photography will be serving drinks and snacks during the event. They’re also offering a special ALL DAY: free mat boards (from selected styles) on any frame order 32″ x 40″ or smaller (square or rectangle cuts only).

Bernal Star will be hosting artist Notty Bumbo.

Pinhole Coffee will be showcasing Recycled Glassworks.

Integral Body will have a holiday feel-good herbal elixir, 5 minute massage demos, 10 minute ear acupuncture demos, visiting relatives cancellation feature acu-ear seeds, and a meet your local doctor Q&A.

Vega Pizzeria will have half-off bottles of wine.

Inclusions Gallery will be celebrating it’s 7 year anniversary with the opening of their annual Retrospective show, featuring artists Sawyer Rose, Josie Iselin, Quinn Scheibal, Kim Smith, Aaron Zube, Sarah M. Newton, Peter Arvidson, Jenny Phillips and Natasha Juelicher.
They’ll also feature live music by Bernal’s own talented jazz duo, Gary Zellerbech & Carl Herder.

More art and holiday cheer at Bernal Branch Library, Chloe’s Closet, fit BERNAL fit, Good Life Grocery, Heartfelt, Little Bee Baking, Lucky Horseshoe, State Farm Insurance, Succulence, Wild Side West!

Also, a reminder: SFPD Capt. McFadden and Ingleside officers will be attending the Stroll as well.

This is a great chance to meet Capt. McFadden in a casual setting and to let him know of any safety concerns you have in the neighborhood – criminal activity, “problem” houses, unsafe environments, etc.
He will be there from about 6pm-7pm and will be visiting merchants on Cortland between Andover and Bennington (the central part of Cortland with Heartfelt, the Good Life, New Wheel, etc).

PHOTO: Top, Holiday Stroll 2011,  by Telstar Logistics

Sad Food Critic Complains Because Service at Red Hill Station Is Very Friendly

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As you know, Red Hill Station is the wonderful new(ish) seafood restaurant on Cortland opened by Bernal neighbors Taylor Pederson and Amy Reticker. It’s delicious. Also, it’s now open for both lunch and dinner. And food critics are starting to take notice. Zagat loves it, but Anna Roth, a critic with SF Weekly, published an odd review last week. The biggest problem with Red Hill Station, Roth says, is that it is too friendly.

To be sure, Roth really enjoyed her seafood:

There are a lot of highlights on the seafood-heavy menu. Red Hill served one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in recent memory, stuffed with albacore that had been slow-poached in olive oil and studded with capers and lemon juice. The oily tuna, bolstered with garlic aioli, melted into its buttered, toasted Acme roll, its juices dripping onto the plate and coating my fingers with every bite. I couldn’t stop eating it, even as I complained about how full I was. I had similarly strong feelings about the bay shrimp that accompanied the Caesar salad. Heavy on lime juice and tossed with toasted garlic and bread crumbs, the tiny, flavorful shrimp wouldn’t have been out of place at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Roth felt the vegetables at Red Hill could use some more love, but her main gripe had nothing to do with the food:

The most objectionable thing about the restaurant was the service, which was so aggressively friendly that it strayed into intrusive. Waiters inserted themselves into and hijacked conversations more than once, grinding them to a halt. It seemed to be a misplaced use of the friendly, small-town attitude of Bernal Heights, and the spot has already become a gathering point for the close-knit neighborhood. The restaurant was full on both visits, and the servers greeted many of the patrons by name. But all this extroversion can also be off-putting to outsiders, especially when dishes hover around $20 a plate.

Wait… what? This complaint is as sad as it is laughable. It’s like going to New York and whining that the dining scene there is “aggressively competitive,” or visiting Tokyo and grumbling that the service was “aggressively formal.”  To whine about such things is to deny the essence of the place; the thing that makes the dining experience genuinely local. Of course, its fine to want something less local — McDonald’s created a very large business by assiduously stripping out all the local from the food, after all — but to complain about a chatty neighborly vibe in Bernal Heights is to miss the point of the exercise entirely.

Sure, to someone from off-hill, many of our local establishments may feel a little bit like stepping into an episode of Portlandia. But that’s precisely why we call Bernal’s main street Cortlandia, after all. It’s funny because it’s true.

Team Red Hill Station should wear this ridiculous criticism as a badge of honor. The food at Red Hill is exceptional, and the atmosphere inside is comfortable and relaxed. The data suggests this formula is working brilliantly for a great many happy, paying customers.  If aggressive friendliness is to be the ding against Red Hill Station — and against the very thing that makes Bernal Heights so Bernal — then its safe to say we’re all doing something right.

IMAGE: via Red Hill Station on Facebook

New, Hawaiian-Style Brunch Pop-up Coming to 903 Cortland

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There’s a new weekend-only brunch pop-up coming to the space at 903 Cortland. The pop-up is called āina, and like the name, the food will be Hawaiian. The restaurant will open up to the public this Saturday, November 22, with plans to serve brunch every weekend,  Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-2 pm.

Team āina tells Bernalwood:

We are excited to provide a new brunch option for the Bernal Heights neighborhood at our new pop-up, called ‘āina (903 Cortland Avenue, CA 94110). ‘āina is from the Hawaiian language, and means land/earth. Jordan Keao, the chef, lives smack in Bernal; Jason Alonzo runs the front of the house, and he lives just down the hill.

Our idea is to incorporate all our past experiences and finally work for ourselves, allowing great creativity and responsible food sourcing. Everything we serve will be from the land or transformed from what the land has given to us. The food will have an Asian or Hawaiian influence with a breath of the classic breakfast dishes. We will cook with the seasons, using local ingredients from the bay area, as well as local ingredients from the chef’s home, the Big Island of Hawai’i. Our Facebook page has more information and a sample of our menu.

Mahalo,
From Jordan (the chef) and Jason (front of house).

Here’s a sample menu:

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PHOTO: Poached egg, smoked royal king trumpet mushrooms, kabocha squash puree, wild watercress with some Chinese sausage Lap Cheong on top, from āina via Facebook

Neighbor Deanne Explains Why You Should Check Out the Bernal Yoga Open House on Saturday

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Neighbor Deanne from Winield Street really likes Bernal Yoga at 908 Cortland (near Folsom).

She doesn’t work at Bernal Yoga, or own the place — she says she just enjoys the yoga and the sense of community. Bernal Yoga has been a part of the neighborhood for many, many moons, and this Saturday, Nov. 15 the studio will host an Open House for the yoga-curious from 2 to 5 pm.

Neighbor Deanne explains why she’s become such a Bernal Yoga fangirl:

For those of you Bernal Yogis who do not often venture to the Eastern side of Cortland, you are missing out on a wonderful community-minded space we know as Bernal Yoga (“BY”). Or maybe you pass the studio all the time thinking that you’d love to try Yoga, but it seems too intimidating to get started.

I used to fall into the latter category until I finally ventured into this studio several years ago to take an intro class. I couldn’t believe what a friendly and nurturing environment it was compared to other studios where I had tried Yoga in the past.

For the record I am not an instructor, nor an employee – I’m simply a student, and from time to time you will find me volunteering at the BY front desk.

BY is a very unique and charming studio that really embraces the first time student (and the inflexible) and has an amazing group of instructors that teach all classes for all levels – from newbies to the very experienced practitioner. There’s a wide variety of classes for all ages and abilities, and if you want to just lay around on props and de-stress from your day, check out one of the restorative classes.

So now I am hooked – not just for the Yoga, but because of all the wonderful friends and neighbors I have met over the years at BY and for the community environment the studio fosters.

I also love that the studio offers much more than Yoga – including lots of different styles of classes (there is now an acroyoga class!), amazing workshops, pilates and bootcamps, but they also host the Bernal Yoga Literary Series, concerts, films, and other events to foster community and support local artists.

If you haven’t checked out the studio, or just want to do something fun this Saturday and meet some new neighbors, BY is hosting a fabulous open house from 2-5pm. They will be doing yoga demos with the lovely Meghan, having a free raffle, free food, drinks and Living Greens juices, offering free acupuncture, Reiki and Chinese healing massage with local expert healer Man Chiu Tam, Tarot readings, and offering special discounts for Yoga classes.

It’s going to be a fun event for Yogis and non-Yogis alike. So drop by to meet some new neighbors and experience the goodness of yoga and community!

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PHOTO: Top, via Neighbor Deanne

Saturday: Heartfelt’s Pop-Up Opening Party at 301 Cortland

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Meanwhile, in other Heartfelt news…

Sad tales of plundered ravens aside, Neighbor Darcy Lee is spreading the word about Heartfelt’s seasonal pop-up store that’s opening up a few blocks north, on the fashionable corner of Cortland and Bocana.

Neighbor Darcy shares the scoop (and extends an opening party invite):

Heartfelt’s Pop Up store in the former Deli Pub space at 301 Cortland is opening up this Saturday, November 8th from 1 to 4 pm.  Bubbly will be served!   This is a chance to express my display mojo without the crowded yet magical confines that is Heartfelt.

If you want a holiday shopping experience with air space, good taste, light, a piano and kindness…. stop by 301 Cortland.

Two questions have come up repeatedly:

1. “Is this a holiday store?”

Nope, it is open for the holidays but will have a variety of stuff.

2.” Is it the same stuff?”

Of course it is not the same stuff… that stuff is down at Heartfelt. This is other stuff.

We are also raising dollars for two charities gift drives this year.  We are helping to buy presents for all the residents of Curran House in the Tenderloin and of course the Infamous BHNC Holiday Toy Drive.  Giving=getting!

Raven Theft Highlights Challenges of Being a Bernal Merchant

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Over the years, your Bernalwood editor has gradually received an eye-opening education in the challenges faced by many of our neighborhood merchants.

Never mind higher-level stuff like marketing, advertising, parking, margins, and worrying about tectonic shifts in the retail environment triggered by ecommerce and Amazon. No, the matters that impress us most are the day-to-day issues that arise from the fact that when you operate a storefront, you are quite literally opening up your front door to anyone who decides to walk through it — for better or for worse.

Neighbor Darcy Lee from Heartfelt on Cortland is normally unflappable in this regard; She is a pro, so she handles most oddball encounters with the general public in stride. But a shoplifting incident last week really got under her skin. Neighbor Darcy writes:

We have/had a beautiful raven piece that sells for $650. We have sold two over the years. They are one-of-a-kind and the artist does not always make the raven, but recently we got it in again!

And then the other day I noticed it was gone. I had just done a display with it, so I knew it had been stolen very recently. It is big (18″ long) and a focal point in the store. Then I started counting the other hand carved birds that are by the same person. We are missing 5 altogether, which adds up to $2,000 in sales.

I filed a police report.

This part of retail is pretty tough – and I have taken it hard. Part of store ownership is being in denial about theft — if not, one would be constantly worried and or paranoid. That said, one must also be prudent. I will have security cameras installed. Blchhh.

On that last note… Darcy tells Bernalwood she seeks recommendations for a good security camera installation and service provider. Not just a camera, she says; she hopes to find someone who will install and support a new security camera system. So if you have any recommendations, you know where to find her…. as always, the front door at Heartfelt is wide open during normal business hours.