Sweet goodbye letter from Red Door Cafe

When Red Door Cafe first took over another coffee shop in my neighborhood, I hadn’t realized the owner had changed. One day I walked in and saw that the soup of the day was called, “Egyptian Viagra.” I asked the guy behind the counter what it was. He said, with a wink, “Me!”

It turned out his name is Ahmed and he was the new owner. Over the next few months I realized he was going to make our block magical. Soon people would line up out the door for his breakfast plates (which almost always featured a paper umbrella).

While you waited in line, instead of numbers, he handed you dilapidated doll parts and broken teddy bears so every weekend morning I’d see a line of hungry people holding broken dolls, kind of like a zombie apocalypse.

I’d see him with a different outfit everyday: one day he’s wearing a tutu (he has better legs than anyone I know), another day he’s wearing bright green terry cloth hot shorts. He was always bantering with the line of people waiting on the sidewalk, while playing disco and dance music all morning long.

He would post all kinds of sassy signs at the door: “No egg white yuppies.” “Don’t wear sunglasses or drink Starbucks coffee while you wait in line for my food. I want to see your eyes and I sell coffee.” Every day when I passed by Red Door Cafe I’d always look in the window to see what new missive might have been posted this week.

Today I saw this letter in his window and it just made me smile.

To all my lovely customers and friends: after nearly a decade of incredible laughs and good times with all of you at this magical cafe, I decided to sell the business opportunity to the talented and good hearted new owners. By doing so I can recharge and reinvent myself and my humble vegetarian and vegan cooking.

This has been the BEST chapter of my life. I met you, I fed you, and I fell in love with you. Watching you all moan as you ate my food made my heart dance. Seeing the whole cafe roar in loud laughter at all my silly jokes and good banter made me love life and smile like a new born baby. Read more

The Shard, The Tissue, An Affair

When a poet lands in San Francisco, even our romantic Victorian city may not be enough to make a love affair last. Today’s podcast is from Vietnamese-American author Andrew Lam, who was also the web editor of New America Media for many years.

In 2005, he published his first book, Perfume Dreams. He is also the author of the book Birds of Paradise, about the Vietnamese immigrant community in the Bay Area. He is working on a fourth book tentatively titled Stories From the Edge of the Sea, a collection of stories about love and loss. Many of the stories are based in San Francisco and Vietnam, both places in which the seaside plays a prominent role: geographically, thematically, and metaphorically.

Today’s story is a more literary departure from our regular storytelling approach, but we think all San Franciscans listening may find a bit of themselves within this piece.

You can find this piece excerpted in Andrew’s new collection of stories. You can also find a transcript of “The Shard, The Tissue, an Affair” below. To submit your own story, please email us your pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

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Photo by Tara Ramroop
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When your Muni driver starts giving you life advice

How many times have you gotten stuck in the tunnel with nothing to do but stare at your shoes? One Muni driver took the opportunity to chat up her riders with some life advice, and one of her riders actually took some notes to share with the rest of us.

Rider Anna (@annapickard on Twitter) reports, “A Muni driver just made my day. She was talking all the way through the tunnel we were stuck in with life advice. So I started writing it down.”

Amongst the driver’s #realtalk: Read more

Meet Irene Tu, Muni celebrity

Comedian Irene Tu was a Muni celebrity last year and turned her friends into last-minute paparazzo to chase that fame. As it were, chasing fame isn’t easy when your vehicle is a Muni bus.

Irene is a Chicago-born, San Francisco-based stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. In 2017, the San Francisco Chronicle singled her out as an “artist on the brink of fame,” on the heels of being named one of the “Bay Area’s 11 Best Stand Up Comedians” (SFist) and one of 20 “Women to Watch” (KQED). Irene hosts several popular shows in the Bay Area: Man Haters, The Mission Position, and Millennials Ruin Everything (they do). You can follow her @irene_tu and find her on irenetu.com.

If you enjoyed the Muni Diaries podcast, please share our podcast and rate it in iTunes so people can find it!

Listen to her story here:
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If you like what you’ve heard on the Muni Diaries podcast, please share our podcast and rate it on iTunes so other people can find it too!

Photo by Right Angle Images

Your super local, very SF Cyber Monday guide

Once upon a time, an evil retail overlord made up the term “Cyber Monday.” But fret not, as these local shops are our chance to save the planet from big box boredom. We picked some of our favorite San Francisco makers for your holiday gifting (or treat yo’self) needs.

Our first pick is the addictive Bacon Crack, pictured above, from chocolatier Nosh This. Its secret super power? Flaky butter-toffee made with Zoe’s Meats’ Applewood-smoked bacon, toasted organic Kashiwase Farms almonds, Gilt Edge Creamery butter, all enrobed in chocolate. I’m a big fan of the balsamic vinegar salted caramel too.

Nosh This Bacon Crack, $15.

Mash up your love for Stranger Things and your city in one shirt:
Avenue Dry Good‘s “Sucka Free” tee does just that. If you’re at Avenue Dry Goods IRL (in the Sunset on Irving and 42nd Avenue), don’t forget to say hi to store’s proprietor, Eve Batey, who also served at the helm of beloved SFist (RIP) for many years.

Avenue Dry Goods Sucka Free tee, $40
Free shipping for orders over $50

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Bay Area storytelling all stars rally for benefit show

Want to see your favorite Muni Diaries Live alum perform all in one show? In just a few weeks, you’ll get to do exactly that at the book benefit show for storyteller Joyce Lee. Many of you might know Joyce from Oakland’s Tourettes Without Regrets, NPR’s Snap Judgment, and of course, at our own Muni Diaries Live.

We first fell in love with her storytelling at Tourettes when she performed the poem, Mad Love (one memorable line: “I’m only as. crazy as my love is and my love check your Facebook every fucking day”). Here she is at Muni Diaries Live with a story of how her very strict mom takes on Muni.

Joyce’s husband unexpectedly passed away earlier this year, and the storytelling community is showing up in a big way: by getting together for a benefit show, cohosted by Tourrettes’ ringmaster Jamie DeWolf, celebrating Joyce and the release of her first book. All storytellers will donate proceeds directly to Joyce. The lineup has many familiar names and promises to be a great evening:

“My Soul is a Witness”: A night of performances celebrating Joyce Lee

Tickets
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8
Skyhigh Odditorium
1255 26th Street, between Poplar and Union Streets near Peralta St.
Oakland, CA

 

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