Noe Valley Voice April 2011

Short Takes

By Heather World

Coast to Coast Aid

Noe Valley businesses are opening their cash registers to help Japan recover from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Hamano Sushi at 1334 Castro St. (at 24th) will match up to $5,000 in donations to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, managed by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. Donors will be honored on cards hung in the restaurant. About 60 people had donated $400 by March 24, a manager said.

Around the corner, Patxi’s Pizza will dedicate one of its “52 Weeks of Giving” to raise money for the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund on Wednesday, April 5. Ten percent of all sales—lunch, dinner, takeout, or gift cards—at the restaurant (4042 24th St.) will go to the fund, established by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. For more information about the “52 Weeks of Giving” campaign, visit

In addition, Circle Bank has opened two accounts to collect donations earmarked for tsunami relief: the Circle Bank BFO Japanese Recovery Fund and the Circle Bank BFO Doctors Without Borders Fund. For information, drop by the local branch at 3938 24th St. near Sanchez Street.


Town Elders at Town Hall

The biggest names in San Francisco political office will be on hand to discuss the city’s budget at a District 8 Town Hall Meeting, co-hosted by Supervisor Scott Wiener and Mayor Ed Lee Thursday evening, April 14.

Alongside the mayor and supervisor, District Attorney George Gasc—n, Chief of Police Jeff Godown, Recreation and Parks Department Manager Phil Ginsburg, Director of Public Works Ed Reiskin, and representatives from Muni, the Public Utilities Commission, and the San Francisco Unified School District will answer questions about how the proposed budget will affect city services. Residents’ ideas for cutting costs or saving programs are welcome, too. The meeting at the Mission High School auditorium, 3750 18th St. (at Church), runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Wiener will also host a hearing about the proposed restrictions for off-leash dogs in federal parks on Monday, April 11, at 1 p.m. in City Hall Committee Room 263. The restrictions’ possible impact on neighborhood parks and the feasibility of requiring permits for commercial dog walkers will be discussed.

If you miss those two events, you might want to attend Supervisor Wiener’s “office hours.” He’ll be at City Hall on Friday, May 6, 10 a.m. to noon; and at Spike’s Coffee, 4117 19th St., on Saturday, May 7, also 10 a.m. to noon.


Easter Hops Back to Noe

Chocolate bunnies, jellybean-filled eggs, and egg-decorating will be waiting for eager little hands at this year’s Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 23, the day before Easter.

Organizer BJ Droubi is hoping for fair weather this year.

“Last year, we had a lot [of candy] left over because it had just stopped raining and everything was sopping wet,” said Droubi, who runs Droubi Team/Coldwell Banker Real Estate on 24th Street. The event, from 10 a.m. to noon at Douglass Playground, usually draws 200 egg hunters, she said.

“It’s lots of fun,” Droubi said. “The older kids are up on the hill, and the little kids are in the meadows.”

The Easter Bunny will return this year. “[She’s] a fabulous sweet girl bunny,” Droubi said. And a photographer will be on hand to take pictures of the kids.

Once again, Bernie’s Coffee will donate coffee and the Noe Valley Bakery will provide its popular hot cross buns, she said. Small Frys will donate something for the raffle, and Just for Fun has pitched in the jellybean eggs.

The event is sponsored by the Droubi Team, Circle Bank, and Janet Moyer Landscaping, under the auspices of the Noe Valley Association. All proceeds will help pay for the upkeep of flower baskets along the commercial corridor. Last year, the event raised about $3,000.

If you’d like to help, call Droubi at 415-920-8232. Douglass Playground is located at Douglass and 26th streets.


Gardens of Eatin’

The group Friends of Noe Valley has picked eight gardens to show off at the fifth annual Noe Valley Garden Tour on Saturday, May 21. This year’s selection is not only big, but very different from previous years’, said event organizer Richard May.

For one thing, three of the gardens are vegetable gardens. “One has fruit and berries, another is root crops, and another is an urban farm,” which sells produce to a local restaurant, he said.

Several more have green features, such as they use recycled water or provide a habitat for the endangered San Francisco garter snake.

“A lot of the gardens have taken consideration of the environment into the design,” May said. “They’re not just pretty gardens.”

Another difference is that all the gardens ended up being south of 24th Street, a few on steep hillsides.

May said Friends is hoping a local business will sponsor a shuttle to circle the various sites.

This year’s garden tourists also will get to vote on their favorite garden, he said.

Tickets will go on sale in seven local stores April 30, May said. Interested garden lovers should look for the tour’s poster in shop windows.

Proceeds from the tour will go toward a neighborhood beautification project. (Last year, Friends bought replacement plants for the green medians on Guerrero Street.) To submit an idea on how this year’s funds should be spent, call May at 415-298-2344.


A Fair Amount of Fun

Fairmount Elementary School invites you to party day and night this spring to raise funds for the school’s educational and enrichment programs. On Friday, April 15, Osvaldo y El Camino Real will play Cuban and Latin jazz at Una Noche en el Patio!, an adults-only evening auction with dancing and food at El Patio Espa–ol restaurant. The $25 admission includes Spanish tapas, complemented by a cash bar. Entrants can bid on deals at local restaurants, travel, and classes, between 6:30 and 11 p.m. The restaurant is located in the Outer Mission at 2850 Alemany Blvd. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets .com/event/162064.

On Saturday, May 14, kids join in on the fun at FiestaVal, the school’s annual free neighborhood carnival and festival, which draws families from Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, and beyond. From noon to 4 p.m., everyone can enjoy live music, Latin American food, and games and activities at the school, at 65 Chenery St. at Randall Street. For more information about both events, visit or email


Mystery Writer Strikes Again

Noe Valley author Cara Black will read from her newest Aimée Leduc mystery, Murder in Passy, at the San Francisco Mystery Bookstore, 4175 24th St., on Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m.

As Cara Black fans know, each of the popular Leduc mysteries has historical significance and happens in a specific Paris neighborhood (“arrondissement”). This, the 11th book in the series, takes place in Passy, a wealthy village in the suburban 16th arrondissement. Passy was historically home to many Basques, the peoples living in the Pyrénées Mountains between France and Spain who have advocated, sometimes violently, for their own country.

Murder in Passy takes place in November 1997, shortly after Basque separatists kidnapped and killed a 29-year-old town councilman. In the mist of the turmoil, Leduc’s longtime mentor, police commissioner Morbier, is arrested for the murder of an ex-lover, who lived a life of privilege in the posh suburb. Detective Leduc must uncover the woman’s secret past to solve the mystery.

For more information, call the San Francisco Mystery Bookstore at 415-282-7444. Or to follow Black’s book tour, go to


Travel to the Glen Park Library

The Glen Park Branch Library will host three free classes this spring, with something for the savvy traveler, the fashion maven, and the indoor gardener.

On Wednesday, April 6, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., computer whiz Nick Maffei will discuss which websites offer trustworthy affordable travel for seniors, singles, and students of life. “How to Travel Better, Cheaper, and Smarter” is based in part on Arthur Frommer’s budget guide of the same title. Maffei will also discuss his own travel and lodging tips.

On Saturday, April 30, from 2 to 4 p.m., craft experts from Urban Fauna will help participants create miniature terrariums and mushroom ornaments. The San Francisco–based studio, which sells independently made and eco-friendly craft supplies and tools, will provide yarn and recycled materials for the ornaments and soil, moss and jars for the terrariums. Glass jars and vases brought from home are also welcome. Refreshments will be served. Space is limited, so please sign up at the library’s information desk.

Finally, on Wednesday, May 4, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., a museum docent will discuss Crist—bal Balenciaga, one of fashion’s most noted couturiers. Balenciaga drew on Spain’s religious ceremony, bullfights, flamenco dance, traditional clothes, and artists like Picasso to stimulate his imagination and develop his designs. This lecture is a companion to the exhibit that will be at the de Young Museum through July 4.

The Glen Park Library is located at 2858 Diamond St. at Chenery. For more information, call 415-355-2858.