December 04

On the cover
Hidive Restaurant, It’s Only a Step Away
MTC Trip Planner Unfriendly to Alameda’s Ferries
MTC Honors Excellence in Motion at 26th Awards Ceremony
Community Calendar
No Flu Shot? Could be No Worries, Mate!
Cool Places to Shop on the Eastern Waterfront
Places to Shop for the Holidays
Bay Crossings Cuisine: Neptune’s
Let Your Light Shine on Angel Island
Vallejo Ferry Chief Fired, Resigned or What?
Help Save the Palace
Holidays at the Exploratorium
U.S. Coast Guard Honors BoatU.S. Emergency Beacon Rental Program
WTA Pages: Making Cents for Ferries
Libations: Christmas,
South American Style







Cool Places to Shop on the Eastern Waterfront

By Zannah NOE

It was only November 1st when I saw boxes stacked willy-nilly outside the store Embellish on Brannan Street. Printed on the boxes was the classic holiday statement, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like…” The brain fills in the blank automatically. As a veteran of Holiday Gift Guides, I was armed and ready with camera and notebook. I knew Embellish’s proprietor, Greg Samoulides, always gets the jump on his Christmas merchandise and this year was no exception. I advise the rest of you to embellish your gift giving by shopping the shoreline and visiting some of these unique shops that we found.

This isn’t just any Gift Guide. It’s for the harbor rats, ferry riders, mariners, day sailors, artists, SOMA and Mission Bay residents, and foodies of the Ferry Building. But in some way, that describes every San Franciscan. We all share the view of our fabulous Bay, so why not come down to the water’s edge and explore the new, the old, and the unknown sources of unique gifts and events. After all, it’s beginning to feel a lot like…C H R I S T M A S!


177 Brannan Street at Embarcadero
Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Thur-Fri open til 8pm, Sun 11am-6pm
This gem in the shadow of the Delancey Street complex has something for your dog, your kid, your teen, mom and dad, and even the boss. Gifts like the “Ugly Doll” that is warm and fuzzy as a beanie baby but its daddy must have been Spongebob Squarepants. They are lovable monsters, just like a two year old you know, an ex, a boss…the list goes on. They’re only $20 and very hot this season. Music is always a hit, but you have suffered enough with the bad kiddie music. Try Nicky’s Jazz for Kids. What a concept. Jeepers Creepers by Count Basie & Tony Bennett is still great after the 50th time. This CD has Ella singing “A Tisket, A Tasket”; The King Cole Trio singing “Three Blind Mice”; Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Fats Waller serve up a fine education on the greats of Jazz. Know a neophyte computer gamer? Well, it has come full circle and Pong is back. Grab the joystick that holds ten games and plugs right into your computer. Back to the ’80s you go with games like Atari and Asteroids. Jump on these joystick gamers for only $30. Check out Urban Oxide rubber bags, Jack Spade field bags, books, bar fixings, and bath luxuries.

Delancey Street
A lot can be said for the work of Delancey Street and even more for the founder and director, Mimi Silbert. Delancey Street is a renowned rehab house for folks that need a fresh start. Mimi has seen her share of lives turned around successfully by those residents who have lived and worked under her protective eyes. Delancey Street is a foundation that is supported by its own various businesses and operated by its residents. Housing, meals, counseling, and on-the-job training are all part of the program. The most familiar businesses are the moving company and the Christmas tree lots.

Delancey Street Christmas Tree Lot
Pier 30/32 Embarcadero and Brannan Streets
Mon-Fri 10am-9pm
Weekends 10am-10pm
Pick up a tree from an ex con and support a changing life. We have always found these guys to be personable, funny, and helpful in finding you just the right tree. One overheard exchange on the tree lot was heart warming when they helped a student with limited budget buy a tree. Make your purchase count and patronize this foundation. Christmas tree lots are all over the city, but the grandaddy of them all is across the street from the Foundation on Pier 30/32 with plenty of free parking.

Crossroads Café
699 Delancey Street
Tue-Fri 7-10pm
As part of the Delancey Street Foundation, the residents learn culinary arts, food service, and retail. The café looks like a showroom for Pottery Barn. The cavernous space is pulled together and made cozy by using leather couches, café tables, and artwork. The café takes up two-thirds of the space while the retail section is a bookstore with a large magazine rack. Great place to pick up a copy of Vanity Fair and then sit down with a steaming cup of apple cider. The café will offer specials like pumpkin ice cream and eggnog lattes throughout the Christmas season. Retail shop features fun products for the bath, coffee table books, and Giants’ related memorabilia.

Delancey Street Basement
600 Embarcadero between Brannan and Townsend
Sat-Sun 10am-9pm
Weekdays call 415-957-9800
The newest retail venture of Delancey Street recently opened. It is a warehouse of inexpensive goods that have been donated to the Foundation. This massive flea market hosts racks of garments, bath and beauty supplies, books, and shoes for everyone. Stocking stuffers, red sweaters galore, party dresses, and fine boar-bristle brushes. We espied a couple pairs of white a.Testoni shoes, the coveted Italian shoemaker known for their tradition of artisan work. Run fast if you’re a size 5 or 6, and get down there before they’re gone.

La Kasbah
600 Embaracdero between Brannan and Townsend St.
The French Moroccan has just moved in next door with all the Arabian finery and flare. Proprietor Marianne Antic has just opened this new Kasbah after gathering treasures from her travels, and the results are exquisite gifts for the home. The store seems like a nomadic king’s tent of beds, jewelry, rugs, textiles, and furniture. Notable items are the La Tagines, ceramic bowls with wonderfully absurd peaked lids. They are traditional pressure cookers from Morocco, but here they are glazed with beautiful colors of sand, sage, and burnt orange. They can be used for display or serving food, but not for cooking. Small Tagines ($18) are wonderful gifts for the dresser. Hand-blown tea glasses, at $17 each, are hand painted in a fashion similar to the henna painted hands of Persian maidens. They can be purchased separately or in a set of six. Hammered silver nickel pedestals that hold glass hurricane candles are stunning accessories for inside or outside the home. They come in three sizes, and range in price from $95 to $130. This Kasbah rocks.

Pier 38 | City Kayak
Embarcadero at Townsend St.
City Kayak
Call for schedule or visit
Besides location, location, location, this Pier has a few other offerings. You can rent a kayak from City Kayak and watch the lighted boat parade, view the lighting ceremony of the Embarcadero towers, or catch the fireworks show of New Year’s Eve all from the water. For the outdoor enthusiast or the mariner on your list, give them a gift certificate that can be used anytime, even for spring trips to McCovey Cove during baseball season.
City Kayak offers dinners with their holiday special events as well as with their “Under the Stars Full Moon” cruises for $50/$70 (with champagne).

Pier 38 | Chandlery
Embarcadero at Townsend St.
Mon-Fri by appt., Sat-Sun 10am-5pm
Pier 38 is the perfect location for this type of business. According to Webster’s, a “chandler” is a candle maker and a “chandlery” is a warehouse or storeroom for candles and small wares. In the early days of sailing, vessels used candles as a primary source of illumination and chandleries were a common site on the waterfront. Rob Steck is the proprietor and mastermind behind this new waterfront store. Steck’s signature “Image Glow” candles are designed onsite, which gives the store the feel of a seaside-working studio. Images are designed and transferred to film, which is then melted into the circumference of the candle. The hottest candle this season is the hurricane candleholder. It gives you the best of both worlds; one candle is the receptacle of another candle inside which illuminates the pattern of the shell of a protective candle. When the interior candle is melted, one can use the shell again by inserting another candle ($24). The designs are varied from elegant Japanese bamboo graphics to pink and green floral inspirations. Modern, clean, and slick, these candles are perfect for everyone. Pillar candles are now on sale, 2 for $10.

Pier 38 | Endless Slope
Embarcadero at Townsend St.
By appointment only
Endless slope is Sam Morishima’s school of extreme sports for everyday people and uh…primates. Learn to ski, snowboard, or surf on Sam’s indoor carpeted conveyer belt. For the absolutely inept or those that are curious to the extreme, Sam can train anyone, and I mean ANYONE. In fact, you have to see it for yourself, but he trained a chimpanzee to snowboard for the Disney movie MXP. That’s Most Xtreme Primate, for those of you without kids. Yes, the little monkey learned to surf carpet before hitting the slopes for the camera. Now that has to be the end-all testimonial for any instructor. He has schools in Sacramento and at Pier 38. A single class is 30 minutes for $65. Price breaks are given for three or more classes. Instruction is one-on-one, informative and tailored to your skill level, whether it be novice or expert. Stick a gift certificate for a class in a stocking for those with two left feet.

West Marine
Mon-Sat 9am-7pm
Sun 9am-8pm
The definitive one-stop shop for the nautically minded on your Christmas list. Give them a fantastic nautical chart of the San Francisco Bay or Monterey Bay or even Bodega Bay for the Hitchcock fan. Charts ($18.95 and up) are educational and contemplative. A ship’s library tells you a lot about the captain. If Chapman’s Piloting Seamanship isn’t onboard, you might have reason to worry about that container ship bearing down on you while your buddy is wildly tacking. This is the bible of seafaring books, a must-have and a great gift for only $45. For the newbie racer, there is Sails for Racing ($19). Give your buddy a leg up, and one day you may be pouring champagne on his head when he finally wins a race. Stocking stuffer delights are flare key rings, float key rings, or seabag waterproof playing cards, all under $10. Hats, brass bells, ships clocks, fleece throws with anchor designs, and various nautical flags will fill out your shopping list.


Limn Townsend
Mon-Fri 9:30am-6pm
Sat-Sun 11am-6pm
Look for the heart hanging above the entrance that is a time capsule designed by Vallejo artist Harry Siter, identifying the entry to this vast showroom. A virtual fun house of local and international furniture designers, check out the lighting fixtures from unlimited imaginations and original paintings. Tableware, sculpture, cutlery, and rugs complete the impressive displays. Ask where the stairs to the second floor are and you will be rewarded with an amazing accessories department. Phillip Stark’s atomic clock ($100 and up), which projects the time onto the ceiling, is a great gift for the waking impaired. It comes in three sizes and is loaded with special features, like a barometer. Covo is a line of accessories from Italy, with beautifully woven wire cones that encompass your tea light and cast patterned shadows ($32). Jeff Break of Lucas Films has gone all out and created a cool rocket. A nostalgic look at the ’50s futuristic sensibility with iconic rockets that could grace the mantel of any film buff, toy collector, or the dad that still wears horn-rimmed glasses and knows what a seersucker suit is ($380 and up). Exquisite ornaments from Germany are just as futuristic. Silver orbs with graceful protruding points around its diameter make it look like a satellite orbiting the earth ($20).


99 Missouri Street at 17th
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 12-5pm
Part art supply store, part architectural store, part gift shop, this store is a find at the bottom of Potrero Hill. Literally across the street from the nightclub Bottom of the Hill, it is hidden in the sea of warehouses that surround it. Definitely a destination store for the artist, architect, and designer, but also has a plethora of unique gift items for everyone on your list. Check out the Russell & Hazel line of Graphic Designer binders with matching notepads, dividers, stickies, and grid paper, all made to mix and match and bound together by a printed wide rubber band. The Graphic Designer binders have an ingenious dry erase board on the inside cover, the Expando file has the dry erase board on the outside.
Pick up David Lee’s new book, a starter for a scrap or collage book. Lee is a professor at the Art Academy and his first book, God Made Dirt, singled him out as a prolific collage artist and a socially-minded artist on issues of homelessness. A dialogue with scraps and images made into revealing maps of experience. Lee’s books are self-published and limited in quantity. His new book has pages of images that can be colored in, added to, or cut out. A wonderful gift ($22) for a rare-book nut, an artist, or anyone who is civic minded.

If your kid has a pierced nose and eats in beer gardens, or your boyfriend just got a new bike and you can’t pull him out of Zeitgeist, perhaps you could encourage domesticity by giving them Tattoo Ceramics. Artist and Potrero Hill resident Jacqueline Thompson makes these beautiful cream-colored ceramics and paints in tattoo images such as love in a heart with two hands reaching for each other or vines twisting around a mug instead of an arm. Mugs $22, Bowls $24, Love Platter $110.

Bargain Basement
566 Minnesota St. at 18th
Mon-Sun 10am-6pm
If you have 12 grandkids, 5 holiday parties to attend, and no enthusiasm for this kind of holiday shopping, then stop at the Bargain Basement for all those hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. This store is stocked with goods that either came from closeouts, overstocks, or bankruptcies. Great prices on gourmet foods, jams and chutneys, fine olive oils and vinegars. Large quantities of Pez candy and their fun dispensers, stuffed animals, appliances, kitchenware, action dolls, perfume samples. Stop by the wine and liquor department and see what’s in at the moment. Goods come and go and supplies are often limited. Visit often for deals, or just stock up on all the deals of the moment.

600 Illinois Street
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm
Sunday and Saturday by appointment 415-621-9899
SEAM is a space to be experienced. Celebrated landscape architect, installation artist, and egalitarian of the public garden, Topher Delaney has opened her working space to the public. Located right across from the infamous watering hole The Ramp, the store is a labyrinth of collectibles. Enter the shop through a meat locker plastic curtain to view random displays of funky one-of-a-kind gifts. Everything from gardener handicrafts, sculpture, clothes, handbags, books on architecture and landscaping. Check out the fantastic little sculptures of seeds, pods, seashells, and a human hand that are carved out of graphite and are made to write with. The graphite sculpture of a hand will give that Asher afficianado a 3D experience of a hand that holds a hand that draws with itself. Prices range from $33-$55. “Help is on the way” and it’s at your doorstep. Political metaphors abound here in the recycled Flip Flops made into colorful bright rubber mats; these could please both sides of the political divide ($20-$36).

On the high end of the price list is a wonderful sculptural concept for the nautically minded. Large balls, about 2.5 inches in diameter that were originally mooring buoys, are decorated with golden coiled strands of ship’s rope. They have a wonderful pattern that makes them festive as a Christmas ornament, but they would also work as an outdoor sculpture all year ’round. Priced from $350-$500.

Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts
834 Toland Street, entrance on Newcomb Ave. Between Toland & Selby St.
Tue-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 11am-4pm
Closed from Dec. 18-Jan. 4, 2005
If you don’t know Scrap, you know someone that does. It’s akin to Craigslist in the ’90s, a great community resource that you hear about from those in the know. Scrap’s mission is to raise environmental awareness by diverting landfill waste and encouraging creative reuse of discarded materials. Providing field trips for children, workshops, and community outreach programs, this nonprofit is a tour de force. This is ground zero for the craftsperson, artist, bargain hunter, and collector. The biggest barrier to getting to Scrap is getting to Scrap. Yet, being hard to find is part of its mystique, it keeps the store from being picked clean of its treasures. It is located somewhere between the produce wholesalers and Bay View (see map on web site). It’s well worth the drive, as you will find a warehouse of fabrics, medical decanters, art supplies, greeting cards, and a paper aisle that has had 100% rag sheets that might have been off the uber expensive shelves of Flax. Check out the crazy tradeshow displays that have been discarded, enjoy the dried flower corner, stickers, tiles, and baskets. Sample books a foot thick of wallpaper, jars of buttons and beads abound. It has become such a force for the arts and crafts that they now offer workshops on stenciling, scrapbooks, and bookmaking. You can even work off your parking tickets here under Project 20. Find, assemble, and create your own gifts this year at Scrap