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The People's Guide: Nicole Grant and Hayes Valley

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, led by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. This week, we welcome Nicole Grant, producer for The Bold Italic.

[photo via Nicole Grant]

Neighborhood: The Valley

Tell us something we don't know about Hayes Valley: There’s running water in these here parts – the Hayes Creek – but it’s underground. The Native Americans used to live by it, and the whole area was covered with wildflowers.

Local customs of note: Here’s what you’d probably be doing if you lived in Hayes Valley: 1. Dragging your sleepy self to Blue Bottle in the morning to catch up on the nabe gossip. 2. Fighting the “tourists” for cocktails at Absinthe. 3. Giving too many quarters to the old lady (slash expert panhandler) from the convalescent home. 4. Making up, breaking up, or being wooed at Momi Toby’s. 5. Spying (er, people watching) in the Hayes Green. 6. Spending too much money on shoes.

Hidden gems in Hayes Valley: My new spot is a carnival-themed restaurant called Straw, which sounds terrible, but isn’t. Ari (the owner) ran concessions for the Outside Lands Music Festival and his menu is inspired by all of that greasy goodness. My dish is the Fried Chicken-n-Waffle Monte Cristo. Imagine fried chicken, swiss cheese, and raspberry jam sandwiched between two waffles and drenched in maple syrup. Words can't describe.

Are your neighbors "Rotten Neighbor" worthy? If so, dish. If not? well, why not? There’s a family on my block that has lived in the same house for over 40 years. They’re out on their stoop every night, hooting and hollering and carrying on. They keep the block safe with their boisterous presence. I wish I knew them, but I’m better friends with the guys at my Grove Street corner store – who, by the way, make a mean sammich.

Inflate the bubble or burst it: What's not so-swell about your "perfect" neighborhood? My fridge is always empty. We have one health food store (Nabilas – shout out to Minx the cat!) and they have a great little selection, but hardly enough to make a proper meal. I end up ordering take-out more nights than not. My hopes for home cooking rest on the Fatted Calf butchery, who just moved into the neighborhood.

The final word on Hayes Valley: If you live here you will reside in a shoebox, shop too much, and order in all of the time – and you’ll love it.
· The People's Guide [Curbed SF]

Blue Bottle Coffee Kiosk

315 Linden Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 415 252 7535