SF Sundays – Summer Has Just Begun

It’s September already? Where has the summer gone? Wait, it’s the San Francisco Bay Area, summer has just begun!

This is also the perfect time to remind one and all to get vaccinated, wear your masks, and keep your distance. This Delta variant is scary and we need to do our part to curb this pandemic once and for all. So let’s get our act together and keep our summer going, safely.

TOWN HAPPENINGS

Are you a history buff? Do you love all things Egypt? Did you know that the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts and replicas in Western North America is right here in the Bay Area?

The Rosicrucian Park and Museum is literally hidden in plain sight in San Jose. The Egyptian Museum, run by Egyptologists and volunteers, is very well curated. It is not as small as I initially thought because I was in there for a good couple of hours. The entire park takes up a city square block! Surrounding the museum is a temple, peace garden, a planetarium, and a labyrinth. The temple and planetarium are still closed but I can only imagine the magic that awaits my next visit.

Many of course asked me questions (because apparently all Egyptians are also Egyptologists) like where did these artifacts come from. I had two words, “colonialism” and “thift”. Many of these at the Rosicrucian Museum were donated by many museums in Europe, none I saw were from Egypt directly. There were also replicas of known artifacts and places in Egypt, like the tunnel into a pyramid within the museum.

Here are a few things still open for us to enjoy this summer:

LET’S EAT

With restaurants reopening, I’m still hesitant to go for indoor dining. So the more outdoor or take out options, the better! Since I’ve been talking about San Jose, it only makes sense to remind you all of some of the best pho spots in the South Bay.

In the heart of the Little Saigon neighborhood, off the Grand Century Mall on Story Road, is a small restaurant with a lot to offer. With plenty of outdoor seating, a wide selection of pho for all taste buds, and a fantastic staff! Seriously, I can’t recommend Pho 90 Degrees enough.

I had come here many times with friends but never more than 2-3 people. So imagine a group of eight who may or may not have tried pho before coming in with many questions and dietary needs. The team was extremely kind, courteous, and surprisingly fast with our order. The food of course, is on a whole other level. I salivated over my bowl of mouth watering chicken pho, washing it down with some great iced coffee.

Again, as we head back out on our foodie adventures, I urge you to be courteous to the restaurant management and staff. I’ve seen a few struggling with reopening regulations, limited staff, readjusted hours of operations, and even limiting the capacity for safety and service reasons. We are all in this together so let’s remain calm, kind, courteous, and hungry.

What are you trying again with the reopenings happening across the Bay Area? Do share your thoughts below.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above-mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored rants are always based on actual experiences and/or interests. If you’d like me to check out a local event or eatery to rant about, please email ha@mshala.co.

SF Sundays – Let’s Try This Again

Happy Father’s Day!! I hope this finds all the wonderful humans who are father figures in our lives enjoying their well-deserved day of rest, fun, and breakfast in bed. Yes, dads deserve breakfast in bed too!

This is also the perfect time to reignite the SF Sundays rant series. The last time I wrote for the rant series was right before the second state-wide shutdown in December. As summer approaches, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. San Francisco is one of the first major US cities to have over 80% of its eligible residents either fully or partially vaccinated. Most of the Bay Area, along with California, officially reopened last Tuesday!

As I type this, I’m excited but still as cautious as ever. With this rant, I hope to see a better and new normal. So let’s try this again and see what’s going on in the Bay Area.

TOWN HAPPENINGS

Max Field BalaGreetings from San Francisco mural

If you’ve got the kids this summer, time to impress them with some fun activities around the city. I was the cool auntie to my nephew a couple weeks ago when I took him out on a sunny day from Ghirardelli Square to Pier 39.

He LOVED the Cartoon Art Museum and seeing the history of animations and comic books’ superheroes. Currently, they are showcasing artwork reflective of George Takei’s graphic memoir, “They Called Us Enemy”. Later this summer, the museum will host an exhibit showcasing costumes and props from the Batman movies. We got a sneak peek and it looks promising.

We headed around the corner to Umbrella Alley. A fun outdoor alley with interactive murals by local artists for all your Instagram and photographic delights! From there, we strolled through Fishermen’s Wharf, where slowly but surely, local shops, eateries, bus tours, and boaters were reopening and welcoming everyone back.

Other fun things to do and check out this summer:

Wangechi MutuOutstretched, 2019

LET’S EAT

With restaurants reopening for both indoor and outdoor dining, I’m readly to back out on my foodie adventures, discovering renewed local spots while continuing to support my favorites. Personally thought, I’m not comfortable dining indoors. However, I’m glad that there are still so many options for those still hesitant like me.

So where am I going?

Shout out to my favorite take-out spot, Old Mandarin Islamic in San Francisco. It’s one of the few halal Chinese spots in the Bay and they’ve gotten better over the years. They still have the outdoor parklet and limited indoor seating so I’m comfortable heading back out there (and I’ll try to remember to take pictures before I dig, I promise!).

Vegan and halal? Yes please! I’ve got to head back to Grandeur Oakland for those amazing adobe chicken wings! They have a great vegan selection, including the cauliflower wings which were just as good with the amazing selection of sauces.

As we head back out on our foodie adventures, kindly be courteous to the restaurant management and staff. I’ve seen a few struggling with reopening regulations, limited staff, readjusted hours of operations, and even limiting the capacity for safety and service reasons. We are all in this together so let’s remain calm, kind, and courteous.

What are you trying again with the reopenings happening across the Bay Area? Do share your thoughts below.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above-mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored rants are always based on actual experiences and/or interests. If you’d like me to check out a local event or eatery to rant about, please email ha@mshala.co.

Picture of the Day

When you live in a great city like San Francisco, you’d do spontaneous mini photo shoots too.

This is from a few weeks ago, outside the Legion of Honor museum. Taken with my Google Pixel 2XL, brightened slightly with Snapseed.

SF Sundays – Wonders to Explore!

I’ve got to say, despite a couple of rough weeks personally and as a local, I’m just glad July is over! Let’s get busy with all the good happenings in the city and around the Bay. The days are long, the nights are breezy and the food is filling. Let’s get into the groove of things, yalla!!

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

First, I’d like to start by announcing that I’m officially a volunteer with the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI). AFMI is the wonderful organization that has been showcasing Arab creatives in film and television while providing educational courses for youth to get into film and television. And I’m excited for the upcoming 23rd edition of the Arab Film Festival! The largest of it’s kind in the nation, this years festival will start October 11th, with passes already on sale. Do not miss out peeps, I promise you that this year is expected to be the biggest one yet.

Second, as many of you are, I’m into the culture and arts scene of the Bay Area. I’ve recently become the consul of InterNation’s SF Culture and Arts Group. A few weeks ago, we checked out Andy Warhol’s From A to B and Back Again exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Absolutely beautiful and you will learn something new about Andy, I promise. You only have until September 2nd to check out his retrospective works, so don’t miss it.

In a few weeks, I hope to have us head to the symphony, a few comedy shows, a film festival and we’ll even check out this little play called Hamilton. Join us!

Third, can I remind you that we have a wonderful local animal zoo here in San Francisco? Yes, the animals at the San Francisco Zoo hail from all over the world and are just a joy to explore, especially with the young ones. I personally LOVE the meerkats, otters and the petting area. And don’t forget, if you’re a San Francisco resident, admissions are free on the first Wednesday of every month!

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

I have to say that when I found out that Lady M of New York was coming to town for a limited time, I was excited. And not working far their pop up shop made it even more exciting for me. However, when we tried to make a reservation online for our orders, they had stopped taking reservations after complaints that many stood in the same long lines as everyone else.

Fine, we’ll go stand in line, I mean, who wouldn’t for those delicious thin layered delights, right? Nope, They were here for four days and ran out before the end of the third day. It was really disappointing until I learned they sell to customers in pop up shops what they deliver from online orders: the frozen version of the cakes out of New York. So what was the point?

Turning this frown upside down, I’ve got two words… Move Halal. My good peeps in Oakland just started a sweet one stop shop for those seeking halal meats, fresh ingredients and wholesome goods from our native lands. Want to whip up a legit hummus or craving freshly baked bread? They’ve got it!

You can either get your order delivered for a flat fee or pick up your order at Salam in Oakland (more locations may be added in the near future). That’s right, Move Halal delivers around most of the East Bay and even ships non-perishables across the nation so you can deliver some deliciousness.

Best part? Move Halal has partnered with Pure Hands Foundation to donate some of the proceeds to support their initiative of providing meals and medications to those in need in Yemen. If that isn’t a fantastic start up, I don’t know what is.

#GILROYSTRONG

I urge you all to support and pray for the wonderful people of Gilroy as they mourn the loss of three beautiful people and heal the many injured in the useless gun violence that took place at this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. There will be many vigils and memorials held for 6 year old Stephen Romero, 13 year old Keyla Salazar and 25 year old Trevor Irby. To support #GilroyStrong, you can buy t-shirts where funds will go to support the victim’s families.

May those perished rest in God’s eternal peace, may God grant those injured a smooth recovery, may God grant strength and mercy to the city of Gilroy, ameen.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to check out and rant about a happening around town or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email ha@mshala.co.

SF Sundays – Parade and Brunch, Rain or Shine

The Bay Area is officially out of the drought after a good few days of nonstop rain. There was a scary mudslide in Sausalito and flash floods in both the North and South Bay areas. Is that going to stop anyone from enjoying one of the world’s largest lunar year’s parade? Or the ongoing festivities celebrating Black History Month? Or even heading out for brunch? No, no and definitely not. So gather your loved ones, your coats, a few pairs of socks, an extra scarf and an umbrella, these next couple of weeks should be fun!

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

c/o chineseparade.com

Gong Hay Fat Choy! Happy Year of the Boar! This lunar year is off to a great start, full of rain and snow helping keep our state our of another drought scare.

Like every year, San Francisco is set to host one of the world’s largest new lunar year parades outside of Asia on February 23rd. If you want bleacher seats, be sure to get your tickets here in time for the festivities. You can also head to the SFMTA for the best bus routes and parking details to get you to the parade, starting on 2nd and Market Streets.

In celebrating Black History month this year, the San Francisco Public Library hosts More Than a Month. During this time, all library branches are showcasing literary events, movie screenings, storytelling, music, dance and crafts that can be enjoyed by the entire family. This is an effort to reflect, discuss, advocate and educate not just during the month but all year round. You can download the program guide here.

More Than a Month
c/o sfpl.org, artwork by Ron Moultrie Saunders

Do also check out the African American Center in the Main Library (by City Hall). Not only do they host exhibits and programs but hold a vast collection and references to help us learn about the historical experiences of African Americans in California.

The East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection showcasing at the Legion of Honor will be ending February 24th. If you are a fan of history, jewelry and all around artistic craftsmanship, this is an exhibit not to be missed. You’ll be immersed in it all as there’s no photography allowed. Let me warn you peeps, you will be in awe of it all.

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

Several weeks ago, I joined the local InterNations group and brunched at Baker Street Bistro. This cute French bistro has a simple weekend brunch menu that’s packed with lots of flavor. I had to try the Oeufs Copenhague which is English muffin topped with smoked salmon, poached eggs and a light hollandaise sauce.

Peeps, I was not disappointed in the slightest. For under $20, everything on that plate came together perfectly and I was quite full. I did have space for dessert which I sadly didn’t get to try. So of course I gotta go back! Large groups like ours could expect a slow but friendly service so try to book in advance, especially on the weekends.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed. If you’d like me to check out and rant about a happening around town or an eatery in town for my SF Sundays rant series, please email ha@mshala.co.