My mother’s family, first and foremost, is Finnish.
Though not recently emigrated (their moving timeline roughly corresponds with the rise of Bolshevism) and certainly not titled (our last name translates to “Andrews”) it’s the unique identifier that my grandparents, aunts, and uncles claim most proudly. Less than .2% of Americans are Finnish, and the fraction of Californian Finns is even smaller- odds are strong that I’m related to most, if not all, of them. If I’m not mistaken, my grandfather’s line was the only one in our family not to anglicize their last name. The few, the proud.
So naturally, when I passed this doorway on my way to meet my local cousin, I smiled so hard my face hurt.
Finn Town is set to open this fall, offering creative comfort food and cocktails. According to the press surrounding it, the Castro was the Scandinavian part of town around the same time our people came over. The name is a callback, but the menu appears to be distinctly American (and that’s almost verbatim how I’d describe myself and my cousin). I was obviously sold by the name, but I’m sure apps like “sweet tea brined fried chicken” would bring in anyone.
Strangely enough, within a few days of our rendezvous, both my cousin and I were offered jobs leaps and bounds better than our current ones. We joked that Finn Town is being made just for us, San Francisco finally recognizing the awesome power of American Finns, but now I’m beginning to wonder how seriously we ought to take it… 😉
Indecisive but trying to be healthy? The Myriad was made for you! It’s a tiny enclave with tinier food stalls, each of which seems to be run by a single person. Flanked by two bars, it also houses a cafe, sushi, a truly fantastic vegan juice bar with pun names (my pick), a bread vending machine, and a flower stand. Embrace your inner bohemian. Market and 15th.
Inner bohemian doesn’t feel like going out? I can definitely sympathize. Instead, please check out Imperfect Produce, an Emeryville farm box delivery service wiping out food waste one household at a time. Something like half of the vegetables grown in the US are thrown away before making it to market because they’re “too ugly” to turn a profit- people would pass them over in a store for not looking photo-perfect. Imperfect Produce collects the ugly food and markets it at a much lower rate to homes all over the bay area, preventing tons of food waste and saving you a weekly grocery step. This is also the most customizable farm-to-table box I’ve seen, no small potatoes if you’re allergic to citrus.
I don’t know why I keep winding up in bars that remind me of high school, but here we are.
The Folsom Street Foundry is not so much a bar as an enormous rec room at which alcohol is served. There are three distinct permanent video game areas and at least two mobile ones with coordinating small TVs. Board games are abundant and the menu is surprisingly allergy-friendly: I ordered and consumed unmodified (and delightfully overstuffed) tacos without a hitch. Bring your friends who like Smash and Rock Band- it’s an excellent place to break the ice. 11th and Van Ness, low cover charge.
Relax. No, seriously. I’m trying to but without much success.
If you feel like giving your liver a break, groove on over to fellow blogger Cooking Without Limits’ drinks page. Some of them are specifically designed for detox, others look so healthy that there’s no way they couldn’t help. (Thanks for the likes, friend!)
If you feel like shutting off your brain completely, video game TV shows might prove to be a great choice- and boy, does Netflix cover the bases. The laughably bad Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is sitting there just waiting for your attention. It distinctly doesn’t pass the Bechdel test and has very awkward slapstick and Italian American humor- worthy of study as a product of the time but not much else. Combine the two to cleanse your body and ease your mind.
No, really… that’s their aesthetic. Butter offers a variety of saucily named drinks consisting of hard liquor mixed with things you could pick up at Walgreens, generously offered free popcorn and jello shots, and two food menus: Microwave and Deep Fried. Ambiance includes the back end of an RV as decor, a live DJ (mostly mixing 80s standards while I was there), and two separate projections of extreme sports wipeouts. Sunday night karaoke is always on the calendar! Small cover charge; 11th between Folsom and Harrison.
For better or for worse, Butter is extremely open about their choice of ingredients; you can replicate the look and feel at home very easily. Simply throw out some luau lights, turn up the Oak Ridge Boys really loud, and buy drink ingredients that will make your paleo friends cringe! Or check out some slightly more dignified, probably better-for-you locally made booze: I can’t recommend Sonoma Hatchet highly enough.