However, about a week ago, Dave's and my favorite couple, Robby and Kim, moved from our neighborhood to the Mission to be closer to work. On one hand - huge bummer that we can't just walk over to their house to hang out whenever we want. But on the other hand - this gives us a real chance to explore a new neighborhood. Which I did, two separate times this past weekend. On Friday, Dave and I had dinner and drinks with Robby and Kim at a Senegalese restaurant on 19th and Mission, and on Sunday I joined Robby and Kim, along with our friends Adriane and Daniel, and later Tim, for a hipster mural walking tour and hipster Mission Chinese while Dave was out of town for work.
If I lived in any other place, I would probably be considered a hipster by virtue of the way I dress, the music I listen to, and my political and world views. But I am not even close to being a hipster in San Francisco - here, I am about as Yuppie as they come. But there is a certain desire to fit in when you go to the Mission, and as I find myself scouring my closet for the appropriate outfit before I make the trek, Robby and Kim's wardrobes are already turning more and more hipster with every day they live there, and their beanie collection is growing to mammoth proportions.
About 45 minutes before the sun set, I met up with my friends on Clarion Alley, a shady (literally and figuratively) thoroughfare whose walls and street are completely covered in art. Noting that I was not dressed quite hipster enough, my normally fellow Yuppie friends handed me an extra beanie they had (three out of four of them were already wearing one), which instantly upped my credibility.
Betabrand is also incredibly hipster and San Franciscan - they sell reversible asian-printed smoking jackets and disco ball pants (of which Dave is a proud owner - a Burning Man-inspired purchase from a few years back) as well as cleverly named items such as Sons of Britches pants and Meta socks - socks with pictures of socks on them. They sell women's clothing too, but Kim, Adriane and I just watched as Robby and Daniel tried on just about everything in the store before each settled on a jacket and a reversible disco ball hoodie, respectively. We spent way too much time in this place and probably had way too much fun for a clothing store experience, but it was the perfect way to kill time before dinner.
Boy am I glad I did.
I had done my due diligence on Yelp and learned which dishes to order and which to avoid. Word on the street was that the dishes were crazy spicy, but c'mon, I'm a born and raised Californian, not a Midwesterner, so I was not deterred. To make things a little more challenging, of the six of us, one of us is a vegetarian, another doesn't eat red meat or pork, and 2 others don't eat seafood or lamb. Since we would be sharing everything family style, this made our choices fairly limited. But I think we nailed it.
The murals in the Mission are definitely worth visiting, but you don't necessarily need to make a special trip (no pun intended) out of it, as you can stumble across tons of murals just by virtue of being in the Mission. Next time I am in the area I will definitely have to check out Balmy Alley to make my bucket item complete.
As for Mission Chinese, as long as you are fine with spicy things, I don't see how you couldn't love this place. The Yelp reviewers are nuts. But I thank them for lowering my expectations, as they were then hit out of the ballpark. I loved this place, and I will definitely return. Maybe not next time I am in the Mission, as I have a lot more to explore now that my best friends live there, but probably before I have crossed off my last bucket list item. Yum.