Toronado and Dress Up in the Lower Haight

We were in a bit of a daze after the farmer’s market, so we took a midday nap, and woke up all discombobulated about time and place and whether or not we were hungry. That’s the problem with naps sometimes – you wake up and have lost all sense of your day. Shane was a bit more awake than I, so he set to work making a plan for the afternoon and evening while I rubbed sleep out of my eyes.

After a frustrating wait for the MUNI (below ground, not above, as we discovered), we headed over to Chow, which Karl recommended as having simple, good food. As we came up out of the MUNI station and oriented ourselves, Shane said “I think I’ve been here before.”

Me: “Really?”

Shane: “Yeah, I came here and had lunch at some place called ‘Eat’ or ‘Grub’…”

Me, now smiling: “Or ‘Chow’?”

Shane: “Yeah……..”

Hilarious. We had a quick lunch on the patio – a cup of French onion soup for me, and a beet salad for Shane. With all the fantastic meat and pasta and pizza on offer, we hadn’t had many vegetables and, not to be gross about it, we were both starting to feel the effects. A light and simple meal really helped.

Next stop was Toronado, a kind of grubby beer bar in the Lower Haight. I feel like this photo conveys everything you need to know about Toronado:

Cool Dog U Guys

As Shane put it, it’s just one of those places that you either get or don’t get. It’s a cheap neighborhood bar with no table service, grumpy bartenders, and an amazing beer list. You can bring outside food – many people had sausages from the place next door – and you can bring your dog. You can sit in the corner and drink your beer undisturbed, but if you make an ordering gaffe, you’re likely to receive gratuitous eye-rolls from the bartenders. You can go there if you’re a tourist, but it’s pretty clear that the bartenders would prefer that you didn’t.

As you might’ve guessed by now, I’m much less into beer than Shane is – so after a while, I excused myself and wandered around Haight Street.  This particular stretch of Haight has a handful of cute shops, though none that stand out as must-see destinations, and I eventually found myself in a very funny game of dress-up at Trunk, a cooperative boutique selling one-of-a-kind items from local designers.  Here’s a thing you might not know about me: I can be convinced to try on just about anything in the right circumstances.  Those circumstances include clothing swaps and being asked by a salesperson: “Do you want to play dress up? I want to see what this looks like on.”  Among other things, I tried on a GIANT shaggy fur parka, a pink corset with pink laces, a pretty fantastic structured jacket made from men’s suits, and a very slinky, very tight top-dress with a bunch of mysterious dangly bits.  Very funny and very fabulous.

At a loss for what else to do with our evening, we headed in the direction of the Mission, stopping at Three Twins for ice cream.  It wasn’t really ice cream weather, but a sample of their lemon cookie called my name, so we split small scoops of it and their chocolate mint.  The flavors were fresh and delicious, and I spent the rest of the trip trying to get lemon cookie out of my head.  Now that I’m blogging about it, I’m craving it all over again.

If you go:

215 Church St (between 15th & Market)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 552-2469

Simple, good food.  Shane liked their milkshakes, though he didn’t have one this time.

547 Haight St (between Fillmore & Steiner)
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 863-2276

Cash only.  You’ll probably have to shark a seat.  Make sure someone hasn’t tied their dog to it, and that it doesn’t smell like barf.  If you’re not put off by these things, you might be in for a fantastic beer-drinking experience

Three Twins
254 Fillmore St (between Laussat & Haight)
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 487-8946

A small is two scoops, so I recommend getting lemon cookie and whatever else suits your fancy.  You can buy pints from the  freezer case, or have a pint scooped for you.


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