6/11: Nijiya Market

Weekend Out:

Nijiya Market has an entire wall of bento.

I’m not necessarily what you would call a bento connoisseur, but my goodness: it’s the finest collection I’ve ever seen in terms of quality, quantity, and variety. Earlier this week they sold me my first ever plum onigiri (delicious), coupled with old reliables Ramune and Hi-Chew after a long, leisurely browse of Japanese edibles. Highlights include an aisle dedicated to different kinds of cooking oil (genius, tbh) and more kids’ branding than you could shake a stick at. Most interesting: seaweed sheets cut out in Pokémon shapes. Don’t miss it! Japan Center, Post at Geary.

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Literally, a wall. C/o Yelp.

Protip: There are a handful of nonfood markets in Japantown, too: Daiso, where almost everything is $1.50, has a gorgeous variety of tableware, and Ichi Ban Kan, immediately upstairs, is best for imported toiletries. It’s also really hard to miss as far as restaurants go- our pick is Mifune, which I’ll cover after our next meal there.

Weekend In:

If you’re not into eating bento, I strongly recommend checking out the anime Ben-to, a quirky little action comedy about brawling for the meals as soon as they hit half-price. Strangely themed, yes, but well written and surprisingly relatable- and, of course, accessible from your bed. Have fun!

6/4: Cliff’s Variety

Weekend Out:

This is a simple one, but sometimes it’s the little things.

Cliff’s Variety is a home goods/hardware store smack in the middle of Castro St. There are two entrances and two registers (accidentally?) representing the right and left brains: art supplies and gifts on one side, minor home repair, appliances, and toys on the other. I can look at embroidery stuff while bae looks at fixtures, neither of us bored with having to focus on the other’s dull interests. It’s also ideal for just-because presents: Cliff’s is probably the only place in town where you can walk out with both a feather boa and a French press. Castro at 18th.

Protip: Make a date of it with some of Hot Cookie‘s excellent coffee, or maybe a trip to the Castro Theater next door!

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Shoutout to whoever took this Yelp photo; this is essentially all you need to know. Arty side, obvs.

Weekend In:

I came to Cliff’s last to find an ingredient for handmade laundry soap. (They’re a little too hip to carry such crunchy stock, but pointed me to a variety of organic soaps instead.) I like it because about $15 will last a couple three months and you can scent it however you want; Boyfriend likes it because the smell doesn’t linger and it lifts pit stains better than anything else he’s tried. The only downside to it I see- we haven’t even touched on bucking corporate interests and minimal chemical processing- is that because it’s a powder, you can only use it on hot loads. But boy does it do its job well.

If you’re so inclined, this is the recipe I use. You can find borax and bar soap pretty much anywhere; I eventually found the washing soda at the Ace Hardware just down the street from Cliff’s. Happy washing and enjoy smelling neutral! Again, sometimes it’s the little things.