Tacobar shaping up as a jewel

UPDATE: Tacobar is now open.

By Chris Barnett

Locals have been clamoring for better and more authentic Mexican food on Fillmore Street even before La Posada said adios a few years ago and the fast food chain La Salsa shuttered its shop at the end of last year.

They may soon get their wish.

Tacobar, at the corner of California and Fillmore, seems destined to be far more than a typical taqueria. Owner and top toque Jack Schwartz, 40, has fashioned a mini-Mexican restaurant with organic food considerably above the ordinary and a whimsical design that promises to be lively and fun. Just check out the handpainted mural on the ceiling of el bano, the unisex bathroom.
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Exporting Fillmore’s coffee culture

By Anne Paprocki

Tucked in an unassuming office behind two Fillmore boutiques, longtime local residents Elise Papazian and Scott Pritikin hope to expand the horizons of coffee connoisseurs everywhere with their recently launched online service GoCoffeeGo.

“Nobody should be drinking the same cup of coffee every day,” says Papazian, “It’s just boring. Would you eat the same food day in and out?”

The website includes a selection of coffee beans from 18 different roasters, including Zoka, Ritual, Cuvee, Atomic, Equator Coffees & Teas and Johnson Brothers. Papazian and Pritikin — who admit to testing up to 10 different coffees a day — have vetted each offering.
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Checking out of the checkout line

Photograph of Allen Brandstein by Kathi O'Leary

After more than two decades of offering up good cheer and wry observations while ringing up groceries and restocking the shelves, Allen Brandstein has retired from Mollie Stone’s. His last day was March 31.

Stoking his decision to leave were two life passages: a bout with colon cancer last year and his first Social Security check, which he received a few weeks ago after turning 62.

“Those things give you an immediate dose of perspective that life is finite,” he says.
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Brautigan’s library finds a home

The Presidio Branch Library, now under renovation.

The Presidio Branch Library on Sacramento Street, now undergoing renovation, became legendary in literary circles after author Richard Brautigan used it as the setting for his imaginary library of unpublished manuscripts in the novel, The Abortion.

In Brautigan’s novel, published in 1970, the library was always open for authors to personally deposit their manuscripts. Through the years, quite a few writers took the story literally and submitted manuscripts or asked if the library really existed.

The Presidio library maintained a small display about Brautigan’s novel, but never actually accepted manuscripts. But in 1990 one of the author’s fans opened the Brautigan Library in Burlington, Vermont, and accepted several hundred manuscripts. That arrangement ended in 2005 when negotiations were announced to bring the manuscripts to the Presidio Branch Library. But it never happened.

Now the manuscripts have found a new home. The Brautigan Library will become a permanent collection in the Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver, Washington. Brautigan was a Washington native.

Local aficionados, including library volunteer Marcia Popper, continue to push for an expanded display about the Brautigan connection when the renovated Presidio Branch Library reopens in late 2011.

NY Times: A homecoming for Richard Brautigan

Celebrating 70 years together

The couple operated Stewart's Market at 2498 Sutter.

A taste of the old Fillmore will be on display today at a special celebration being held at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church honoring local residents Norman and Mable Stewart on their 70th anniversary.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments in business and marriage and we want to share it with everyone,” says granddaughter Anassa “Kandee” Stewart, who helped organize a lunch to honor the couple after the Sunday morning service at Jones Memorial. The Stewarts have been members of the church for more than 55 years.

They were married in 1940 in Texarkana, Arkansas, where they ran a grocery, cafe and service station. After they moved to San Francisco, they owned and operated a neighborhood market for more than 30 years. Although they retired in 1976, Stewart’s Market at 2498 Sutter Street still bears their name.

Drama at the Queen Anne

Beginning tonight, Sweet Bird of Youth will be
presented at the Queen Anne Hotel.

It was soon after the new year began that Diane Bailey approached the Queen Anne Hotel on a scouting mission. The veteran actor and director was looking for just the right Victorian hotel in which she could bring to life the classic Tennessee Williams play Sweet Bird of Youth.

As she entered the historic old hotel at Sutter and Octavia, she knew she had found the perfect place. “I walked in and the lobby was so grand — with curtains framing the doorway into the parlor,” she says. “It was just so gorgeous. It looked so authentic to me.”
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A Fillmore rap

The song “What You Finna Do?,” released earlier this month by Fillmore District rapper DaVinci, opens with a vocal sample from the 2001 PBS documentary The Fillmore. It condenses the gentrification process the area underwent from the 1960s into one slogan, lamenting, “Basically, after the urban renewal, it was basically Negro removal.”

As the gloomy beat kicks in, DaVinci starts to rap, eventually coining his update on the situation: “Down the corner of the street used to be the spot/Till they replaced all the liquor stores with coffee shops.”

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