Indian Summer in the Tenderloin


When you reach that point of saturation in San Francisco wherein waking thoughts become sleeping thoughts and most are centered on, “Enough fucking sirens!” you realize that it’s time to get the hell outta Frisco because, once you decide to leave, San Francisco does indeed become Frisco once again. The question to answer in all of this is, when do you go back? As it turns out, somewhere around two years.

Two years allows you to do things like I’ve been doing which are living in Spain, writing books and generally writing about wine. During the summer last year, my wallet got picked in Barcelona and I found out that the only way to get a new driver’s license from California is to do that shit in person. After a year of sticking my head up my ass on the subject and realizing I had some expiring airline miles, my meager family, and good friends all reminded me that maybe I should head back to Baghdad by the Bay (I expect none of the current residents to know that reference) and see what was up.

After adventures with Air France striking (because France can strike the shit out of anything) I finally arrived and breathed in the fresh, robust smell that can only be described as wall-to-wall poo carpet on the BART. I was back home.

Crashing with friends at the top of the Loin more or less in Academy Hills, I went out to my old joints, sucking down a super burrito to find that even in the Loin, a super burrito is $8.50. When the hell did that happen? I mean this place has an 86 rating from the health department which is how I like it, but this price was not at all how I loved it. I suppose it’s lack of supply given that my other less good burrito joint on Sutter closed and is now a Papa Murphy’s which needs no comment.

Waking up and enjoying the aftermath of having thoroughly spicy and greasy food for the first time in two years, I headed down to Hooker’s. Thank god nothing there has changed and if anything, Hooker’s just keeps going with a new and geniusier selection of treats to build upon the classic, Third Nut, and Party Girl. I’m a bit pissed with David that out of all the new treats, my favorite had to be the “Curious Boyfriend”.

Fully caffeinated and sexuality thoroughly questioned I made a straight shot for Mid-Market. Does anyone even call it Mid-Market anymore? Honestly, while everyone went on at length about how much it changed, it looked much the same to me. Sure, there are some new buildings there which I realize is a fucking miracle to happen given SF’s Planning Commission and the Society of Those Who Fear All That Is New but otherwise, Market is still as filthy as my grandmother’s mouth after she’s had three Martinis. The amount of human shit on the street is exactly the same and some dude was ripping out a crazy potent deuce between two parked cars just to say, “Welcome home, bitch! OCs?”

Of course as anyone knows, nights are when things get “interesting” in the TL and it was great to see a few new places opening like Tender which brings a wine bar to the inner bowels of the Loin. Although the companion space next door, Huxley didn’t do so much to tingle my business as it just looks like you typical, “farm fresh, wholesome ingredients” yabba yabba whatever for the last 15 years.

I was quite pissed off to see that Big had closed as that was something truly novel and the last time I as in SF, I hit it up often. Sure, it was expensive at $15 a cocktail or whatever it was, but they were made to order and it was a damned cool space.

Also on the pissed off list is the fact that Minx (and previously the Red Room for those who are older) is now a fucking pilates and yoga studio? I’ve never had gentrification rammed up my butthole that hard before but yeah, it hurts. It was surprising to see how much space there is there once you tear out that wonderful thing called, a bar.

I had read about the Nitecap closing and I was never a huge fan of the place as I like shit that’s kinda in mid-dive. But, while in Hooker’s I met the new owners and got a tour. I also got to overhear the conversation they were having which went something like, “dude, there was so much ass” and “whoa, that place was full of ass” and “fuck, I’m a total ass”. The last part I threw in mainly because after seeing what they’re planning for the place, I just have say, take Rye, up the douche factor by 20 and reduce any originality by the same amount. Basically, from what I gathered, it’s going to The Royale but smaller and probably just a touch less class. Sure, prove me wrong, but I’ve seen it before.

Just to give some “original” source material to Curbed, it was nice to see something happening at 907 Post which is the photo above. As to what it is, no clue, although I’m sure that NIMBY warlord David Overdorf is strongly against whatever it may be give that this building is right next to his house and private alley.

But that’s about the most of it. Some good, some bad, some just Loin. I can tell you that after not being around it for so long, the old problems of the Loin are either exactly the same or slightly worse. This is of course no surprise as the neighborhood is San Francisco’s homeless and addict dumping crowd. Will that be changing anytime soon? Mayor Mustache needs to go ask Willie Brown and get back to you on that one but while you’re waiting, vote Jane Kim, she’s super!

Contest: review on Google Places, eat at Canteen!

The season of giving comes early (that and we’re flaky), so we’ve extended the deadline for submitting to our contest to end on Sunday, October 30th by midnight. So you have the whole weekend to go out places, review away, and send us your profile link to get in on this offer! All you need is a minimum of ONE review about a Tenderloin establishment (preferably not a sauna massage parlor day spa)

For those unfamiliar with it, Google launched their Places reviewing site a few months ago. It’s similar to other reviewing sites, but it’s a lot easier to use as it’s integrated with Google Maps and all you need is a Gmail/Google account and you’re off and running. Reviews can be quick, they can cover just about anything (including Muni!).

To spread the word, they’re now giving away $100 gift certificate to Canteen to one lucky Tender reader!

All you need to do to claim this fine prize is submit reviews to Places between now and the 26th, which means you have two weeks to unleash your opinions. Canteen, by the way (not to be confused with Cantina down the street), is one of our favorite restaurants for a special occasion, with great California-style food by well-known chef Dennis Leary. and it has an average of 4.42 stars on Google Places.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below with a link to your Places profile (or email it to us if you’d like), so a team of crack judges (us) will choose the best reviewer based on quantity and quality. Oh, and this being The Tender, at least one of your reviews needs to be about an establishment in the Tenderloin or TenderNob, although naturally we encourage more than that to increase your chances of winning.

Anyways, happy reviewing and hopefully happy eating at Canteen!

The heart of the Tenderloin is ABC Automotive?

Funny things happen when you’re bored and cruise around Wikipedia. Sometimes you learn shit! But, take for instance the article on the Tenderloin (citations are apparently needed, fools). On the little magic info map thing on the right hand side, it places the absolute center of the Loin at 545 Eddy which also happens to be ABC Automotive.

While I’m not sure if ABC is happy or displeased at this placement, can it really be said that that is the dead center of the Loin? For me personally, I think that both street boundaries and the dead center of them are really, really fluid. But, if one must place a pin on a map, I’d propose the Donut Express at 301 Eddy but that’s just me.

Up in the Loin is the Best Ass in the Bay

The SF Bay Guardian would like you to vote on the hottest ass in the Bay Area to publish in their upcoming Sex Issue. As pointed out by SFist, not all the butts are what we would consider Best of the Bay quality, hell, they might not even be Best of the Bakersfield quality.

But fortunately the Tenderloin is well represented with this hot ass below (#15), for which we of course urge you to vote. If you vote for anything #20 and beyond, we’re not talking to you anymore for any number of reasons that are obvious.

Get thee to Sunday Streets!

Unlike last year’s Tenderloin/Civic Center Sunday Streets, which was a sad, wet affair, today, right now, Sunday Streets is happening! And, it’s sunny! So, if you’re not waiting for a bus to Outside Lands get on down to the real downtown and enjoy. You’ve only got until four!

So bringeth the hipster/loinster debate

So, the debate continues around Nevius’s article about the Tenderloin getting “trendy”. Today, he put up a blog post which covers a great deal of the discussions we had about his article after it was published, and he freely admits to not being in the know. Again, overall we thought the article was good for its format (it’s the Chron, after all), but the whole hipster thing got out of hand and reeked of some higher up, “knowing better”. One can only hope that the reactions might show them the error of their ways, but that’s probably doubtful.

But, out of all of this came a real gem of hipster definition by espresso69 in the comments of the Nevius’ blog post:

If someone calls you a hipster and your immediate response is laughter- you’re probably OK

If someone calls you a hipster and your immediate response is denial and a feeling of being under attack? Brother/Sister- you probably are guilty as charged.

Answer the following as honestly as you can:
1. Do you have a bike and do you ride it everywhere you go?
2. Do you live in the Mission because “it has everything”?
3. Do you have clothing or accessories with birds painted on them?
4. Do you wear woolen and or odd shaped hats regardless of the weather?
5. Do you visit McSweeny’s or other related sites more than three times a week?
6. Has a “design” project of yours ever been featured on
7. Have you ever considered moving the Brooklyn or Portland or Austin?
8. Have you ever defended the “aural aesthetics” of ’70’s “Yacht Rock”?
9. Tim & Eric? Pretty funny, huh?
10. Do you smoke American Spirits because “they don’t have any many toxins”?
and lastly-
11. Have you ever played, or have listened to a close friend play, a ukulele at Dolores Park?

If you have answered yes to 3 or more of the above, well, you are a hipster…have fun listening to the new Bon Iver album (on vinyl hopefully-that’s how it sounds best)

And naturally, it begs the age-old question: Is there actually such a thing as a “loinster” as opposed to a regular hipster (take a look here) or is it more a case of, “like whatever, shut up”?

Nevius walks the Loin and (gasp!) lives to tell

David Williams of Hooker's Sweet Treats (SF Chronicle)

Back during the whole Little Bird drama, we were contacted by CW Nevius of the Chronicle for any background information. We didn’t really have much to give, but stayed in contact until at one point, he saw that we were quite passionate about the neighborhood and thus suggested giving him a tour of our favorite spots around the Tenderloin. We did this just recently and the result ended up being this article: “Tenderloin gets trendy, apparently on the way up“.

Obviously, for those of you who live or spend time here, the neighborhood is quite different from block to block and yes, some of them are not the greatest to hang around (like the ones around Taylor and Turk or Jones and Golden Gate) — but there’s no need to just “stay above Ellis”. If you read the print edition, you’ll see that the title is instead, “The Trendy Tendernob”. We’re assuming that was some higher up editorial decision as Brenda’s and most all other the businesses mentioned: Jebena, Jones, and Hooker’s are most definitely not in the Tendernob (or Tenderloin Heights depending on how you roll), but I guess they thought the words Tenderloin and trendy together were too hard to handle.

Naturally, due to the length of the article, a great many fantastic places were left out (like Little Saigon, the North African businesses owners busting their asses, and all of the art galleries, which we had showed him). Also overlooked is the greater issue of the homeless industry which has tirelessly worked to keep the neighborhood eternally depressed and certain blocks soaked in bodily fluids. Still, as we quickly saw in walking around, Nevius –like many other people in this town– had never set foot in this area (he lives on the water side of SOMA) and so, being able to show a different view, other than the one that Shaw & Co. want everyone to see is pretty much the reason we started this site in the first place.

Let us know what you think of the article. Anyone think we should start doing more of these tours?

Tender 200 Yards Photo Walk this Sunday

So, have you submitted photos for the next 200 Yards show yet? No? Well, the deadline is June 30th so you’d better get on it.

Of course, if you wanted to a bit more social about capturing the actual 200 yards around Cafe Royale you could join us, your Tender authors and fellow Loin lovers to walk about Tenderloin Heights, Academy Downs, the Post-Up, and the Gimlet to capture shots for submission to the show that happens August 4th (in conjunction with TenderNights!).

We’re going to be doing the photo walk this Sunday, June 19th at 5PM. Since the epicenter for this 200 Yards edition is Cafe Royale, well, we’ll start and end there. Just come along with your photo rig whether it be your phone or $10,000 Hasselblad, and enjoy the stroll.

If everyone gets along we might even be tempted to grab a couple of drinks after, and listen to some (free) live jazz music starting at 7PM.

The Loin in my mind

When I go to Costco, I go for the 30 pound sleeping bags of chips and end up staying for the 10 gallon trash cans of mayonnaise. Naturally, one can never escape the Loin. But I mean, Tilapia Loins? When did fish get loins? This was really just put there to screw with me.

A Tenderloin of many microhoods

Today we mark two years of The Tender (yay!) Somewhere around a year ago we posted a poll asking how people defined the Tenderloin. That got a number of responses and it in turned spawned the MiniTenders. These were dandy and fine, but we’ve decided to one up it in a new, Tenderloin Neighborhood Map which we fully admit was inspired by the cartographic work over at Burrito Justice.

Sure, you may think some area isn’t where you think it’s supposed to be or you may think that we don’t know what we’re talking about. In cases such as these, there is the comment form below to suggest alterations and updates because unlike our previous mayor’s hair, this map isn’t set in stone.

So, click on the map and have fun with it. We’ll be curious to see what you guys come up with as it’s meant to be taken lightly, unlike burritos from the Castle Triangle