Did You Hear the Drop of the Pin?

Situated on the sunny (well, usually) corner of Polk and Green streets, I’m perched in the window seat at La Boulange de Polk. I love coming to this location because in addition to the line-up of open-faced sandwiches and delectable viennoiserie, this Boulange has a full kitchen and beer and wine, which means that I can have frites with my lunch or a mimosa with my Sunday morning scramble. Très important. I also like the people watching quality of Polk street. There is always a great mix of San Franciscanites including men and women in suits, rushing to work, ladies who lunch with their pups on a leash, and folks in fitness gear who’ve just left Crunch and have earned their croissant bread pudding.

Outside my window seat, snuggled in next to the flower box and the patio seating, is a five foot tall sculpture of a pin from Google Maps. Google has launched a fun campaign called “My Favorite Places” to let anyone who might be wondering, or even passing by one of the picks, know that somebody who's somebody likes this place. The pin outside Polk, artfully depicting the Golden Gate Bridge, is the signature for a pick from Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“I grab a green tea from this Polk St. pastry shop almost every morning on my way to work,” says the mayor about our Boulange, and we couldn’t be happier. We like it there, too. And we are excited to be listed as ‘un endroit branché’ (a place to be) in San Francisco.



Last weekend, thousands of San Franciscans participated in the AIDSWalk. These folks, all together…walked and raised 3.5 million dollars to go to AIDS research and medical assistance for those affected. Très impressionnant, non?

As a city with one of the largest populations of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country, this is a cause that sits close to home for many of us. And since this city is our home too, La Boulange just had to have a team to help. Check out those smiling faces in the Boulange blue.

There seems to be an electricity in the air at events such as this where people get together and accomplish something, join a cause and make a difference. Heart rates go up, we get the warm fuzzies in our stomach, and last Sunday was no different. We had a great time contributing to the energy and to the fund.

We don’t just walk, though. In the interest of helping out close to home, once a month we get together and volunteer at a variety of organizations. So far this year, La Boulange has helped prepare and serve meals with Dinners with Grace, Ronald McDonald House, St. Anthony Foundation and the Raphael House. We get to be surrounded by food and friendly folks (two of our favorite things) and we have a blast in the process.

So cheers to everyone who contributed to the AIDS Walk this year. We had a lot of fun, and our feet are feeling better already.


Vive la France!

It’s summer in San Francisco, which is cause for celebration enough, but now that we’ve all recovered from the festivities of the 4th of July, it is now time to turn our attention to the very important upcoming French holiday, le quatorze juillet (14 July). You call it Bastille Day. I call it a really good time.

Without getting into a lengthy history lesson on the subject, this is a day when French people everywhere can celebrate the storming of the Bastille! A moment in history seen as symbolic of the uprising of the majority against the monarchy and the beginning of the First Republic. Vive la France!

In Paris, the streets are lined with flags, people will crowd the Champs Elysees to watch the parade and fireworks will spill out of every surface of the Eiffel Tower and light up the sky above. It is a sight to be seen. But, for Bay Area Francophiles that can’t make it across the pond, there are a few things you can do to join the celebration:

Today, the Alliance Francaise is hosting festivities in Golden Gate Park. A concert from 1-3 in the Spreckles Temple of Music (the bandshell), located between the De Young Museum and the California Academy of Science. Check out their website (www.afsf.com) to get the full scoop.
And then on Tuesday, for the big event….Belden Alley becomes San Francisco’s “place to be” for anyone feeling festive. A collection of French and non-french restaurants band together and have a line up of themed offerings. Reservations at one of the restaurants might be a good idea, but la fete (celebration) will spill onto the streets outside and promises to be a good time for any party animal (un fetard). For more info, go here: http://www.belden-place.com/view/bastille-day/

And at the very least, get your French fill for the day with a baguette, or croissant……I know a good place to pick one up.


Coffee in a Bowl

I’m doing one of my favorite things right now. It’s early morning, I’m sitting at a table on a sunny San Francisco sidewalk and I’m sipping from a vast and seemingly bottomless bowl of coffee. The laptop is open, but I don’t think I’ll work just yet. San Francisco is waking up. Someone just jogged by on their morning run and the local merchants are shaking out their doormats, getting ready for another day.

The thing about drinking coffee from a bowl, is that it is a true commitment. It takes two hands! You can’t take a sip distractedly while you type another email, or check your voicemail. You can’t balance it in one hand while you run to catch the muni. You have to consciously set those thoughts aside, place your palms on the sides of the bowl and lift it to your lips. It takes time, and a willingness to put off your work day and enjoy, for just a few minutes, the feeling of waking up. You Americans….always in a hurry to go here or get there. Work, work, work. If you can’t give it up, you can take your coffee to go in one of those paper numbers with the little sleeves and the lid, head to work with your ipod on and check your messages on the blackberry all at once. As for me? I am closing the laptop and having a pain au chocolat. Today, I claim my independence.