Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Perfect Gift

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Photo Credit: David July — Tommy's Joynt neon sign, 1101 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, 22 May 2009 I wanted to visit with Mom last Saturday to talk about my recent vacation to San Francisco, show her my photographs and most importantly give her a gift I bought. She suggested meeting in Ocala, partly to save each of us some mileage and to give me the opportunity to dine at Ipanema Brazilian Steak House. It was really nice (more about the restaurant below), but the part I had been looking forward to was giving Mom her present. While in San Francisco, I was keeping my eyes open to anything that could make a nice, personal gift. Close to the end of my time there, I was walking through Noe Valley and finally saw a shop with potential. Chocolate Covered, 4069 24th Street, has a vast assortment of chocolates, retro lunch boxes and the focus of my interest, metal tins covered with Japanese Washi paper and a street sign photograph applied to the lid using Cyanotype photo processing (see Cyanotypes and Chocolate: a Match Made in San Francisco). There is a tin for nearly every local street so I could not find Twin Peaks, a tin to match my sign, without assistance.
Photo Credit: David July — Twin Peaks street sign tin from Chocolate Covered Sweets and Gifts, San Francisco
I did notice a small selection of local business signs, so after he found Twin Peaks for me, I asked shop owner Jack Epstein if he had a tin with the Tommy's Joynt restaurant sign on it. Open since 1947, Tommy's Joynt is a San Francisco institution I have enjoyed eating at on each of my now four visits to the city, twice on this trip. You can see the building and sign in my photographs here. Jack said he had been meaning to go there to photograph the sign but had not yet done so. After I took out my camera and showed him the picture I had taken days earlier, Jack told me it was perfect and to go around the corner to Walgreens and make a print. With a print, he could make a tin like the others by the next afternoon. In exchange for paying for the print and waving the typical customization fee, I would give him the print to use to make more tins. The tin turned out beautifully as you can see. I bought two (one for myself) and the gift went over as expected, quite well. I am proud to invite you to visit Chocolate Covered Sweets and Gifts to see or buy the Jack Epstein Japanese paper tin featuring my photograph of the Tommy's Joynt neon sign, not to mention sample the sweets and browse the other gifts. Photo Credit: David July — My Tommy's Joynt photograph on a tin from Chocolate Covered Sweets and Gifts, San Francisco UPDATE 2013-03-23: During my recent visit I stopped by Chocolate Covered and the tin with my photo is still available. Jack told me it will be there "forever" and that when one is purchased, another is produced. When you enter the shop, immediately look right; it is high on the wall in front. Let me know if you see or buy one!
Located at 2023 South Pine Avenue, Ipanema Brazilian Steak House, a Churrascaria, serves food in the contemporary Rodizio style. Servers circle the dining room each with a long skewer of a particular food, offering their selection if you have your two-sided coaster turned to the "please, sir, can I have some more" side. They had pork, sirloin, prime rib, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, flank steak, chicken, lamb, sausage and pineapple all cooked over an open-flame of Brazilian mineral coals. Since some of the food could be messy to serve in this format, the silverware selection includes tongs so you can assist while the meat server carves. There is also a salad bar with various side dishes like mashed potatoes and vegetables, but because of the quantity and quality of the food brought to the table, I did not try anything else. All the beef products were delicious though I did not try the flank steak, or "shoe leather steak" as Mom calls it. The sausage was good, I did not like the lamb and the pineapple was incredibly wonderful. Mom said the garlic-mashed potatoes are great as well. It was surprisingly good overall and I would go there again even at $36.95 per person. Since it was too hot (the high was 96, heat index 100+) to hang out at a park as planned, we decided to grab a booth in the bar area of a local Chili's restaurant instead. We had a few beverages and looked at my vacation pictures while talking and catching-up. It was a great visit.
Photo Credit: David July Photo Credit: David July Photo Credit: David July

The New Television

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Photo Credit: David July — My new television, a 16:9 Panasonic TC-28WG25H GAOO Wide DDD, Tallahassee, Florida, 18 June 2009 Thanks to my friend Keith, I now have a Panasonic TC-28WG25H GAOO Wide DDD 26-inch widescreen CRT television to replace the 19-inch set Chris gave me, which over time developed a green hue, horizontal lines and occasional flickering. Actually Omar's old TV, the Panasonic was made in Osaka, purchased in Pakistan Dubai and later moved to Tallahassee. It may not be new, but it is modern, well-traveled and the picture looks great. The native 16:9 aspect ratio means that movies and television shows filmed in 1.85 nicely fill the entire screen without stretching or black bars. Movies filmed in larger formats like 2.39 (anamorphic widescreen) still look great, but with horizontal black bars. Interestingly enough, I found the picture of standard television looks good stretched to 16:9 from 4:3, although I have only been able to test this with my That '70s Show DVDs. Equipped with a Belling-Lee connector instead of the US standard F connector, I will have to use RCA if I ever get cable or an antenna. Otherwise, it is loaded with numerous S-Video and RCA connections perfect for my needs. All I have left to do now is rearrange my living room setup to accommodate it. Currently sitting on its stand, neither entertainment center I have can support the width, which has to be the best problem ever to have with a television.
Photo Credit: David July

The Moveable Feasts

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Photo Credit: David July — Tommy's Joynt at Geary and Van Ness has been a San Francisco institution since 1947 and is one of my favorite places to eat in the bay area, 1101 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, California, 22 May 2009 While driving to visit friends last night, I noticed a new restaurant had opened at the recently shuddered Nino's. Carl's On The Parkway at 6497 Apalachee Parkway opened two weeks ago and offers a moderately priced menu of steaks, prime rib, seafood and house specialties. It is no coincidence this eatery started-up at a time when many are closing for financial reasons. Owner Carl Bengston says this is probably the best time to open a restaurant, hoping to build a clientele and later thrive when conditions improve. Besides Nino's, another recent closure was the Silver Slipper, 531 Silver Slipper Lane, a Tallahassee institution since 1938. Well known as the place where government officials and lobbyists brushed elbows to meet and dine in secluded booths, Silver Slipper owners cite the 2005 gift ban legislation PDF Document prohibiting public officials from accepting gifts as a reason for closing in April 2009. It will be interesting to see what the Kalfas' bring to the next iteration of their family tradition, a restaurant slated to open in 2010. Photo Credit: Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau: Official Visitor's Guide (2000) — Old advert for the former Apalachee Parkway location of Marie Livingston's Steakhouse, Click to EnlargeReturning to their roots on Apalachee Parkway (see old advertisement, right), Marie Livingston's Steakhouse is currently remodeling the former location of Durango Steakhouse, 2705 Apalachee Parkway, for a planned autumn opening. I have been a fan of the 2714 Graves Road Days Inn location since before I moved here in 2005, but Marie's opening on the Parkway will herald the return of the steak lunch option to those of us working on the east side. The folks at UrbanTallahassee are posting the latest news and information, plus excellent photographs of the site spanning the past year. The last time I headed to ItZa Pizza, 3551 Blairstone Road Suite 124, for lunch I found it closed. Having dined at the Italian eatery for over three years, I was disappointed to lose yet another lunch staple. Fortunately, their website says they moved to 2714 Apalachee Parkway in the Corners at Cross Creek strip plaza across the street from the brand new Super Suds Express carwash. The Steak Bomb, Chicken Bomb and Grilled Chicken sandwich are all absent from the temporary menu posted online, so I hope to find them available when I stop by soon. I also wonder if they replaced the decent Peruvian/Cuban Las Brasas Restaurant or moved in next door. All this talk of restaurants opening and closing has me thinking about The Tales of Stories Past III, my January 2008 article on the same topic. Just under a year and a half have passed, what a perfect opportunity to post updates on the locations discussed then. So here they are, ordered by their appearance in the original article. Updated 08 November 2010
The Past...   ...and Present  
B. Merrell's 1433 East Lafayette Street The Hour Glass
Southern Fixin's 2840 Apalachee Parkway IHOP
Back Yard Burgers 2014 Apalachee Parkway Verizon Wireless
Durango Steakhouse 2705 Apalachee Parkway Marie Livingston's Steakhouse
The Original Italian Pie 1140 Capital Circle Southeast Pepper's Mexican Grill and Cantina
Philly Connection 1490 Apalachee Parkway Nail Salon
Uncle Ed's Subs & Salads 3551 Blairstone Road #132 Vacant
The Main Ingredient 1710 West Tharpe Street Monk's/Wells Brothers Bar and Grill
Five Guys Burgers and Fries No Locations 1872 Thomasville Road, Suite B
Jersey Mike's Subs No Locations Now Open!
1801 West Tennessee Street 32304
El Chico 2225 North Monroe Street IHOP
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau