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May 10, 2011

This semester of reporting has been an amazing experience. Having a neighborhood blog not only helped my reporting skills, but introduced me to an incredible neighborhood, Hayes Valley. I had never been to Hayes Valley, but now I truly adore the area. The shops are great and the food is to die for! Already, I have brought my friends and family to visit the neighborhood and I, myself, plan on visiting soon. I really enjoyed making this blog and providing a resource that’s easy to use for locals and tourists alike.

I have to say that I don’t enjoy news writing so the pieces on crime, trials and other news related articles were especially difficult for me. However, I think that these skills are essential and will be beneficial to me throughout my career. My final story, on the redevelopment of Hayes Valley, was very interesting to write about. I can’t wait to see what else springs up in the neighborhood. If I had to sum up my neighborhood experience, I learned that Hayes Valley is on the cutting edge of technology, trends, food and eco-friendly solutions. The community truly takes pride in their neighborhood. Thank you to all the merchants, residents, visitors and community leaders who assisted me in putting together this blog. This is Ivanna Quiroz, San Francisco State Journalism, signing off.


May 10, 2011

If you’re looking for authentic German cuisine, look no further than Hayes Valley staple, Suppenküche. The cuisine and atmosphere derived from the old German tradition of serving simple food with regional beer and wine. Monasteries were places where travelers could find food, drink and shelter. Much like that age-old tradition, Suppenküche is a place to gather for food and drink among friends. The restaurant encourages friendly dining where strangers sit together on long wooden tables and benches. The atmosphere is safe and warm, much like the food. The Wiener Schnitzel is delicious and my personal favorite. It’s served with roasted potatoes and green salad. The beer selection is also fantastic and, if you go, you should definitely take advantage. Suppenküche is open daily for dinner and on Sundays for brunch, which has received rave reviews. For those spending the day in Hayes Valley, Suppenküche is an absolute must. Also, be sure to look out for Suppenküche’s beer garden extension opening soon as part of Proxy.

Open daily for dinner 5:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. Sunday brunch 10:00 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Corner of Hayes and Laguna 415.252.9289

Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

May 5, 2011

Coffee lovers, listen up! Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk is one of the best places in Hayes Valley to get a great cup of coffee. The name of “Blue Bottle” was inspired by Franz George Kolshitsky, who opened Central Europe’s first coffee house in Vienna; he called it “The Blue Bottle.” Offering organic, eco-friendly cofee in Oakland, San Francisco, and Brooklyn, Blue Bottle Coffee Company has gained an eclectic and loyal group of followers. The kiosk is located in the Linden St. alley in a cozy booth. Blue Bottle was able to transform a dark and smelly alley into a pleasurable spot making a great addition to the neighborhood.

People wait in line to get organic coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk

The area has some places to sit and relax surrounded by a few bamboo trees. While they do sell their coffee beans at the kiosk, the amount and variety of baked good is limited. When in Hayes Valley, this would definitely make a good rest stop. Savor every drop.

315 Linden Street, San Francisco
M-F 7-5:30 or 6, Weekends 8-5:30 or 6, depending on the season.

Hayes Valley Slideshow

May 4, 2011

What can you expect to see in the Hayes Valley district? Hayes Valley has so much to offer locals and tourists alike from one-of-a-kind boutiques, comfy cafes, trendy eateries and community events. Here’s just a sampling of what you can expect to find in Hayes Valley.

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Prepare to be Smitten

May 3, 2011

Smitten workers pack Kelvin machines with all-natural ingredients

After several delays, Proxy opened Smitten, a made-to-order ice cream shop, on April 19. Located in a recycled shipping container on the corner of Octavia St. and Linden St., Smitten is the first step in Envelope A + D’s Proxy project.

“I tried the vanilla mixed with some kind of ginger in it. It’s awesome, “ described Rob Webber, Room Service showroom manager.

Smitten first began with Robyn Sue Goldman.

Waiting in line at Smitten

Goldman created an ice cream machine that runs on liquid nitrogen. The machine, now called Kelvin, can make ice cream from scratch in about 60 seconds. Goldman took the machine on the road rolling the Kelvin machine on her Radio Flyer wagon. Goldman teams up with chefs to provide customers with fresh and seasonal ingredients, which means flavors will be constantly rotating based on what is in season. Some flavors that have already been featured are green tea, vanilla ginger, strawberry and salted caramel. Today, Goldman has parked the wagon, adding a popular new addition to the Hayes Valley neighborhood and promising “truly memorable tastes.” The ice cream takes only 60 seconds to make, but expect to wait much longer as the lines tend to be long, especially on warm San Francisco days.

Open Tues-Sunday from 12:30pm to 9pm. 432 Octavia Street, at Linden;   

Redevelopment in Hayes Valley

May 3, 2011

Future site of Proxy

Before the Loma Prieta earthquake, the freeway ran straight through Hayes Valley’s center and the neighborhood was abundant with criminal activity. Today, Hayes Valley is a completely different district that transformed after the earthquake and, with more redevelopment projects taking place in the neighborhood, Hayes Valley will undergo yet another transformation.

Today, Hayes Valley is home to Hayes Valley Farm, the city’s famous Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk and some of the best restaurants, cafes and boutiques in San Francisco, but it wasn’t always that way. Before the earthquake, the neighborhood was a hub for drug trafficking and prostitution.

“Hayes Valley was mostly empty store fronts, especially the 500 block of Hayes, wedged between a freeway and one of the worst housing projects, between Buchanan and Webster,” said Russell Pritchard, co-founder of the Hayes Valley Merchants Association.

According to the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, when the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the Central Freeway running through Hayes Valley in 1989, the neighborhood began to see more business emerge. The area changed rapidly and revitalized the district. While the neighborhood has since then experienced major change, the earthquake left several empty lots.

In January 2010, redevelopment took its first step when former mayor, Gavin Newsom, gave $50,000 and the interim use of an empty lot to create an urban farm, known today as Hayes Valley Farm. The farm will decrease in size over time to make way for new housing units and a temporary project called Proxy.

The Proxy project, designed by Envelope Architecture + Design will include open space, an outdoor theater, a food truck court, various shops and art installations. “The city will rent one parcel to Proxy development for four years at $5,000 per month, and the other site for three years at $2,000 per month,” says Business Insider.

According to Envelope Architecture + Design, the idea for the project was brought about when city officials realized that, with the economic downturn, these empty lots could be vacant for several years. Rather than have the lots remain empty and unused, the Proxy project will give the community a useful and entertaining public space while they wait for something more permanent.

“People understand that the city needs revenue,” said Jim Warshell, a member of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. “It’s just a matter of whether you want vacant space and parking lots, or you want to find better uses.”

Proxy was conceived with the community in mind, creating public spaces that the neighborhood could appreciate. Already Smitten Ice Cream has opened as the first installation in the Proxy project. Other shops will include Suppenküche’s beer garden, Delfina’s wood-fired pizza oven, Ritual Coffee, and 4505 Meats.

Another project underway is to transform Hayes St. into a two-way street between Gough St. and Van Ness Avenue. This plan is expected to slow traffic and create a better area for walkers, bikers and commuters.

“One- way streets are faster and more dangerous, “ said Karen Mauney-Brodek, president of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. “ We are working to make the streets less like freeways and more like regular streets. Our organization has been endorsing this measure for years and we hope to create a pleasant pedestrian environment.”

The projects taking place in Hayes Valley are

Hayes Valley Clubhouse and Playground renovation

a part of a much larger plan to revive Market and Octavia Street. The Board of Supervisors approved the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Planin 2007, but many of projects are just now being implemented. Last month, the neighborhood celebrated a major milestone with the opening of Octavia Court, apartments for developmentally disabled adults. The Hayes Valley Clubhouse and Playground is currently being renovated and the SF Jazz Center project begins construction this month, as “the first concert hall on the West Coast designed with the specific, and various needs of jazz in mind.”

The San Francisco Planning Department describes that the goal of the plan is to ultimately revitalize the district to make it appealing and useful to tourists and locals alike, “To respond to the need for housing, repair the fabric of the neighborhood, and to support transit-oriented development, the plan proposes new zoning for appropriate residential and commercial uses, prescribes streetscape and open space improvements, and places high-density land uses close to transit.”

“I am completely in favor of the redevelopment,” said Hayes Valley resident Michelle Reyes. “The neighborhood has been changing ever since the freeway came down, but it is no where near its potential. I know that people have a hard time with change, but I feel the proposed changes will have a positive impact on the community.”

The Proxy project has experienced much delay but is expected to have most of the businesses ready by summer and the Hayes two-way street is expected to be ready in the fall.

Top Five Shops in Hayes Valley

May 2, 2011

Hayes Valley is known for having some fantastic restaurants and cafes, but the neighborhood also has a unique shopping scene. This is a map of my personal favorite shops in Hayes Valley, in no particular order.

Cafe Altano

May 2, 2011

Today I spent a beautiful day in Hayes Valley and had a beautiful lunch. Cafe Altano is small Italian restaurant on the corner of Hayes St. and Laguna St. The first thing I noticed walking into the restaurant was the incredible sense of comfort. The walls are painted with warm colors which look even more radiant when the sun shines through the building’s large, ceiling-to-floor windows. The menu is fairly expensive, so I stuck to the appetizers. My first order was the Beef Carpaccio that included red onions, capers, parmesan cheese, arugula, lemon and olive oil. It was very light. The beef alone tasted bland, but, when combined with the cheese and the capers, was very flavorful. My next dish was the Prawn wrapped in Pancetta with dried figs & gorgonzola cheese. On first bite, the prawns explode with flavor, but are not overwhelming. I would definitely recommend this dish; it was savory and very satisfying.

602 Hayes St. (between Laguna St & Buchanan St), Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Crime Trends in Hayes Valley

April 27, 2011

Before the Loma Prieta earthquake, Hayes Valley district was a hub for all sorts of criminal activities from drug trafficking to prostitution. Since then, Hayes Valley has undergone major redevelopment and change. Although the neighborhood continues to harbor crime, major crimes are rare and are not predominant in this particular district.

According to San Francisco Police Department’s Crime Mapping site, the majority of recent crimes are burglaries and automobile break-ins. Hayes Valley resident Michelle Reyes has often seen shattered glass along sidewalks and in gutters.

Point2Homes, a real estate site, writes that Hayes Valley has a personal crime risk and robbery risk that is over the national average. While break-ins are a cause for concern, Reyes explained another frequent crime in the neighborhood.

“It was mentioned to me that tenants in my building used to be allowed bicycle parking in our garage,” said Reyes. “There were several occasions where the garage users with cars left the doors open and the bicycles were vandalized. This resulted in no more bicycle parking, which I am bummed about.”

There have been about four cases of vandalism in April and the severity is uncertain. The most popular case of vandalism in the Hayes Valley district occurred in July 2010 when two large honey bee colonies were destroyed in Hayes Valley Farm.

Hayes Valley History

April 24, 2011