My Favorite Corner of SF

Cole Valley is a charming village in the heart of the city

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A view of Cole Valley taken in 2007. Photo: Robin Sloan via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

I’ve always loved the opening scene in Beauty in the Beast where Belle wanders through her little hometown, past the friendly townsfolk saying “Bonjour!” to the baker with “the same old bread and rolls to sell,” and the quaint shops selling cheese, flowers, books, and… wigs? Of course, Belle’s a bit of a snob about the village, calling it “provincial” and longing for more, but to me, it always seemed perfect.

I was lucky enough to grow up in San Francisco, which is anything but provincial, but it’s true that some city’s neighborhoods have the feel of charming little towns…

Irish coffees, clam chowder, and sea lions — what’s not to enjoy?

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Fisherman’s Wharf on September 16, 2020. The area has been transformed by the lack of crowds and emptiness created in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Photo: Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

If there’s one place people who live in San Francisco love to hate the most, it’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Unlike some other tourist destinations, like Alcatraz and Coit Tower, that can take a while to inspire cynicism, just a mention of this waterfront neighborhood induces eye rolls and contempt from recent transplants and natives alike. Somewhere along the way, it became “cool” to think that Fisherman’s Wharf was decidedly not cool.

To be fair, that much is true: Fisherman’s Wharf is not cool. But something doesn’t need to be “cool” to be “lovable” (or at least that’s what I tell myself…

Lessons learned after a panic attack at Trader Joe’s

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Credit: Malte Mueller/Getty Images

When I recently opened my refrigerator to discover all that was left inside was a bottle of champagne, a couple of eggs, and a jar of mustard that predated the Trump administration, I knew I could no longer put off a trip to the grocery store. Sadly, a woman cannot live on bubbles alone. Believe me, I’ve tried.

The revelation came shortly after San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that face coverings are now mandatory when shopping, taking transit, or entering essential businesses. …

daisy barringer

Freelance writer.

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