Ruby Skye: And Down the Rabbit Hole We Go

April 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


I’m learning never to expect a typical night in San Francisco, no matter what your original game plan is set to be, and this past Saturday was no exception. I had a pretty busy “Terrific Lady” morning, complete with hip-hop aerobics with my friend Alissa, shoe shopping (finally a success! thank you Ambience), and pedicures with my friend Lisa. I could have easily called it quits, cooked dinner, watched old movies, and gone to bed.

I opted instead to tag along with my friend Lisa for her roommate’s birthday at The Grand, a true-to-form nightclub, which let me just say is a big undertaking for me, not being one to typically raise my hand for nightclubs when making plans for a Saturday night. But in the spirit of exploring the city and making new friends, I opted in. The Grand was pretty hilarious, one could argue that at least 30% of the patrons are using fake IDs, there are cheesy go-go dancers, and every 20 minutes the ceiling releases a shower of confetti or foam, or both. Needless to say we had our fill of good times after a few hours, and decided to move along to a more tame destination closer to home.

Our second stop was to Jones (aka 620 Jones), pretty cool digs indeed. The venue includes partial outdoor space with a patio and outside bar. I could have easily stayed here for awhile, but unfortunately as 1:45 came knocking we were politely asked to get the F out. 1:45 close times are really a drag, and since we had dressed up in party gear the idea of going home seemed extremely un-fun. “Let’s go to Ruby Skye!” someone suggested, and away we went.

My previous knowledge of Ruby Skye was slim to none, which always makes for a nice surprise. I’ll say the exterior is a tad misleading – tucked into the Union Square/Tenderloin border, the bold, flashy signage leads you to believe you’ll be entering a dinner-and-show combo tailored to Baby Boomer tourists. Someone in our group apparently paid our entire cover (thanks, I owe you one), and once inside I knew I had officially fallen down the Rabbit Hole. This was no lounge, this was no old folks’ show, it was kindred to a rave. DJs Spencer&Hill held court over the crowd, there were light shows, there were intermittent blasts from a fog machine, more go-go dancers with black light paint, and lots and lots of dancing. I’ll admit that I have a little raver in me, going nuts for live Deadmau5, Girl Talk and Miike Snow shows, so I was very taken with Ruby Skye, and thrilled/delighted with how our night unfolded.

What I learned from Saturday night: never underestimate the City, and if I ever need to dance my butt off until 5am, I know exactly where to go.

Read more about Ruby Skye on Yelp!, or visit their official website at RubySkye.com. Spencer&Hill were awesome – follow their tour dates on Facebook.

Photo Credits: darude, M Chaney

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Kozy Kar: Sh*t Just Got Weird

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment


It’s about time I wrote about Kozy Kar dive bar on lower Polk Street. Having now been a SF resident nine-months plus, I’m starting to settle into favorite places and establish my regular haunts. And while I can’t recall the exact number of times I’ve been to Kozy, it’s probably two-hands worth, which justifies this article.

I have to caveat that my relationship with Kozy Kar is first and foremost one of convenience, being located just 0.4 miles, 7 min. by foot according to Google Maps. Its proximity to Bob’s Donuts is also a plus. But more than anything, I love visiting Kozy Kar because of its sheer weirdness. It’s a true stress- and life-reliever – strong drinks and bizarre decor help you remember that life’s not all that bad, and will give you a few good belly laughs. I’ve also come to learn that Kozy Kar is a great place for weeding out new friends. If someone is uncomfortable at Kozy Kar, it’s a good sign that they won’t foot the bill on qualities I hold high for those in my life – adventursome, spontaneous, open-minded, and someone who can laugh at the ridiculous things life brings.

A quick description of Kozy Kar for those planning to visit, so you can’t say I didn’t warn you. On the PG side, the bar is decked out like a ’70s van – there is an eclectic mix of old car seats for bar stools, CB radios, a shag-covered water bed, and a rotating four-top that spins like a kid’s ride at McDonald’s. On the NC-17 side, the place is completely spliced with porn. The floors and walls are a dirty shellack of ’80s and early ’90s pin-ups and Playmates. I’ve actually had a conversation with a guy friend about which boobs I was most impressed with. Additionally, small TVs play what you believe are vintage commercial reels, School House Rock videos, or old movies. But every 60 seconds or so, the creepsters at Kozy Kar have edited in a clip of modern-day porn. This moment is generally paired with, “Oh that poor girl, she probably has a family somewhere”.

Overall, Kozy Kar is highly recommended for meeting cool people, sipping strong drinks, and escaping from a sometimes up-tight world into dive bar shenanigans.

See reviews for Kozy Kar on Yelp! and 7×7.com.

Photo Credits: 7×7.com

Bottom of the Hill: My Punk Rock Heaven

February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment


I’m one of those people who can become completely transformed by music – music has the ability to move me, motivate me, to evoke emotion, and like people who are obsessed with their horoscopes, I always seem to gravitate to a particular track to help me make sense of the crazy or challenging times in my life.

One of the hugest perks of living in the Bay Area is the tremendous amounts of live music. Whether it’s seeing Katy Perry at Oracle Arena, a local jazz quartet at Revolution Cafe, or Phantogram at The Fillmore, the opportunities are endless.

I recently made it to Bottom of the Hill, a very intimate bar and music venue cozily tucked into Potrero Hill at 17th and Missouri. Joined with a good girlfriend from work. We treated our 18-year-old selves to “Where’s the Band?“, and acoustic set featuring the lead singers from The Early Novembers, Get Up Kids, and Saves the Day. Going back to paragraph 1, Saves the Day is a band that had a huge impact in my life. My good friend Andrew turned me on to Saves the Day among others one summer lifeguarding at a local pool. It was my first exposure to anything other than Christina Aguilera (who I still love, let’s not kid ourselves) and Dave Matthews Band, and I was incredibly hooked. The remainder of the summer is filled with memories of my close girlfriends driving around Oklahoma City looking for a place to drink a beer without getting caught, and blasting punk rock music.

Below are a few clips of Saves the Day performing as well as photos of the various artists. Bottom of the Hill is fantastic because the venue is small enough to offer intimacy, but the acoustics are still great. And they offer great drink prices ($3 PBR and domestic beers, $4-5 imports).

Kristen and I with Chris Conley of Saves the Day

Check out upcoming events at Bottom of the Hill at their official site, and read more on Yelp!  Follow Chris Conley on Twitter (@ChrisLaneConley) and listen to Saves the Day on their official site.

Photo & Video Credits: M. Chaney

If you’re ever in doubt: Hamon Observation Tower

November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment


Two things I’ve learned about the de Young Fine Arts Museum – going to a museum is the best cure for a hangover, and the Hamon Observation Tower based onsite offers the most breath-taking views of San Francisco.  If you’re ever in doubt of why you chose to visit or live in this city just go here, and your frame of mind will be become fully recharged.

It was the morning after a very epic night at Bootie SF and Butter (bad combo), my dear Aunt Ann came knocking on my door at 11am for a planned outing to the de Young. Needless to say I was still in PJs and possibly still tipsy, but I managed to pull myself together for the trip.

Thankfully, we started with lunch. Clutching a water bottle, we made our way through a great temporary exhibit featuring 16th century Italian artists like Titian. The combination of constant hydration, strong AC, quiet, sunless rooms and light walks through the galleries seemed to be the perfect hangover cure. I was back to my old self in no time. From there, we explored some of the gardens, and then made our way to the Observation Tower.

The Hamon Observation Tower sits 144 ft. above ground, and offers stunning panoramic views of San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean, Marin headlands and Golden Gate Park. The day was thankfully crystal clear and sunny, so we were able to make our way around the space to see every viewpoint. I would assume at least thirty minutes went by before we left. It was a very cool experience to stand side by side with my Aunt, a true California veteran of nearly 30 years, and feel the exact same thing while taking in the views. New or old to the city, you realize you can never see or do it all, and you’ll never stop falling in love.

 

Learn more about visitation to the Observation Tower at the de Young official site. Good news, it’s free!

Photo Credits: Flickr c/o fotoflow, M Chaney

Bob’s Donuts: Late Night Snack Attack

November 5, 2011 § 1 Comment


We’ve all been there. A little too much college football, turns into a little too much vodka, perhaps a little too much karaoke. And then the lights come up, and you come to find out it’s already 2:00am and your butt is getting kicked out da club. But wait, I’m not ready to go home yet…

Enter Bob’s, a San Francisco up-all-night favorite positioned perfectly at the bottom of Polk and Sacramento, oh-so-dangerously-close to my apartment. Bob’s and I are still new acquaintances – twice now I’ve made the sugary walk of shame after fun nights out with my coworker John. Instance one, a handful of Jack and Gingers and too much Kozy Kar. Instance two, the aforementioned college football day – beers at 4:30 lead to vodkas lead to most amazing karaoke experience ever at Encore. Both tipsy nights Bob’s was there to welcome us.

Bob’s is an open store front donut and coffee shop. They are open 24-hours, but new production starts at 10pm each night making the late night donuts even tastier. There really aren’t seats with the exception of a few wall mini booths and some bar stools. This is because you don’t really need to stay long. Your time is spent in line eyeing the dozens upon dozens of donut varieties. Decisions are tough – do we get a few to share, sprinkles vs. filled vs. glazed?, and of course the question posed from another friend during the last visit, do I really even need donuts right now? Of course you do. By the time you order and receive your prize you’ve probably already eaten half of it before you can get back outside. At which point everyone waiting in line is greedily sizing up your food. I have yet to go wrong on selection to date: a raspberry filled number, glazed donut holes, cinnamon twist, chocolate sprinkled, all delish. So delish I found sprinkles left over in my scarf last weekend – clearly I took that sucker down. The apple fritter also gets rave reviews, it will be next on my list.

Highly recommend Bob’s the next time you’re in need of a warm, sugary, late-night snack before you venture off to bed, and thankfully living in San Francisco gives you the opportunity to walk a bit of it off to keep your girlish figure in check. Warning: be mindful of ladies of the night who just may hit on your male friends. Donuts not a form of accepted payment. 🙂

Read Bob’s reviews on Yelp, and read more about their pastries in 7×7.com’s “100 Things to Try Before You Die

Photo Credits: Flickr c/o justcooknyc mybeergoggles.wordpress.com

Fleet Week: Where Men Become Boys

October 11, 2011 § Leave a comment


Fleet Week comes but once a year, and is the equivalent of San Francisco’s 4th of July. As I’m learning, its the time of year where the city comes alive and forms one big rooftop house party. Its a win-win really: the weather is traditionally fantastic, single San Fran women are thrilled to welcome boat-loads of young Navy men in to shore, and San Fran men get to drool for 72 straight hours over boats, planes, and Ferraris. All of their boyhood dreams realized in one weekend.

Will came into town for the celebrations, and we had a great time exploring the sights and taking in the gorgeous weather. A run-down of our weekend is below.

Saturday / Blue Angels Air Show: Will and I walked to the Ferry Building for killer breakfast sandwiches from the Golden Gate Meat Company. Hung out at the Pier and happened to catch a Stealth Bomber and a F-15! The Stealth Bomber is literally silent as it rips through the air. Will filled my brain with lots of insane plane knowledge, but of course I can’t repeat any of it now. We continued walking the Embarcadero all the way to the Marina, where the Air Show was stationed. We grabbed a few beers and snacks from the Marina Safeway and settled in on the grass at Fort Mason to watch the show. This was the best part of the weekend – the planes were so close to us flying overhead. This is also where we were able to catch the Blue Angels, which is an amazing sight to see. How they don’t crash into each other while flying so closely together is beyond me.

Will and I at Fort Mason taking in the Air Show

Sunday / Italian Heritage Festival: Will and I joined Alissa and friends for the Columbus Day Italian Heritage Festival held annually in North Beach. There is a ridiculous/amazing street parade complete with a Royal Court, lots of ship-themed floats pulled by Ford Mustang Convertibles, and a legendary salami sandwich toss to close the day – yes, salami sandwiches thrown at your head. Additionally, Washington Square park was completely taken over by a Ferrari car show. Will was in heaven.

Ferrari on Washington Square Park

Italian Heritage Parade Royal Court

Great weekend overall, with tons to do and see. Highly recommend Fleet Week as a must-visit weekend in the city.

Read up on Fleet Week 2012 here

Photo Credits: M Chaney, W Moore

Loving Cup: The New #1 Fro-Yo Jam

September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment


It’s no lie that Will and I are total ice cream fanatics. The evidence: 1) we averaged 2.5 visits per week to Yumi-licious in Dallas, 2) we forgoed romantic restaurant dessert and ended our 1-year anniversary dinner at (where else) Yumi-licious, and 3) during the height of our wedding season this past weekend pretty sure I said in lieu of a wedding cake I’d want a make-your-own-sundae bar.

Since I’ve moved to San Francisco, we’ve been on the hunt to find a suitable replacement for Yumi-licious, attempting to try a new place each time Will comes to visit. To date we’d had okay results, nothing to write home about. I had bought my first Google Offer (just launched in Dallas!) for a new ice cream store called Loving Cup, which we tried last week. And it’s now our #1 jam.

Loving Cup specializes in rice pudding and made to order hand-churned frozen yogurt made with cultured non-fat milk and other natural ingredients. I had never tried rice pudding before, but did sample one of their seasonal flavors (pumpkin spice) and I had to say it was really good, especially if you are an oatmeal lover because the consistency is very similar (which I am). But the frozen yogurt was the biggest hit and surprise. You pick your base and then add however many mixes you’d like (fruit, cookies, or filling like Nutella and peanut butter), and then before your very eyes they hand churn and freeze together the ingredients within a very snazzy machine, then re-serve the custom blend into a pretty presentation twist. Our flavor mixes and reactions are below:

Morgan: a blueberry + vanilla wafer cookie mix – the results were really good with the blueberry, but the crumbly cookie made for a weird consistency, probably better served as a topping than a mix-in.

Will: a banana + peanut butter mix, a nod to Elvis Presley if you will – the results were a-mazing, super smooth texture from the peanut butter, and a super yummy flavor. We may have both dreamed about this since – Will wins.

We will most definitely become regulars at Loving Cup, Google Offer in hand or not. I highly recommend for a weeknight treat or for a low key weekend evening of delicious dessert and people watching on Union Street.

Visit the Loving Cup website at LovingCupSF.com / Read Loving Cup reviews on Yelp!

Photo Credits: FoodSpotting.com, Flickr c/o Slowpoke_Taiwan

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