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And now for something completely different: A restaurant tour in the Mission district, San Francisco

November 3rd, 2015 · 6 Comments

A nice break of an assignment for me. An editor at Western Living asked me to do five restaurants in San Francisco. But I said our vow was to eat only at restaurants we could walk to in the Mission. So he let me narrow the scope.

The trick was picking only five. There were so many within walking distance of our VRBO apartment on 17th between Dolores and Guerrero. Delfina, Bar Tartine, several dozen taco shops, Mission Chinese, Flour + Water, various pupusa places recommended by my knowledgeable tweeps, and so on. Here are the five I picked in the end.

Of course, behind this decadence, it was impossible not to hear the waves of anxiety about the changes in the neighbourhood. Our place was owned by a former business writer from New York who’d bought it to live in the back apartment and rent out the front space through VRBO, as well as the duplex next door. (Occupied by our stay by a very heavy-footed French family with bicycles.) And she said it was disconcerting to realize that she could easily be bought a sold by the 20-something bazillionaires in the ‘hood, getting rich from their start-ups.

But it was interesting to see that gentrification can only go so far. I ended up at one point taking a city bus around the backside of Potrero Hill and through the area of the Mission east of Mission Street. It was still filled with obvious social housing in parts (which looked like a minimum-security prison) and pretty modest bungalows. A reminder that it takes more than a few years to transform a neighbourhood.

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