San Francisco

Everything Fun to Do in San Francisco This Weekend

Comedy shows, music festivals, and more.

Courtesy of Hockeystick Media
Courtesy of Hockeystick Media
Courtesy of Hockeystick Media

What we really want to tell you to do this weekend is to go eat every single meal at one of your favorite restaurants because finally we can eat outdoors again! Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that even though the crazy storm will have tapered off, we’re still going to be smack dab in the middle of a pretty serious rain event, which means outdoor dining may not be feasible. But fret not: The rain will pass eventually and, in the meantime, you can dream of all of the snow coming down in Tahoe, while doing all of this stuff, including comedy shows, music festivals, an online play about a virologist who knew this pandemic was coming, and a six-pack of beer for a buck 25.

Photo by Ryan Tuttle
Photo by Ryan Tuttle
Photo by Ryan Tuttle

Get a six-pack of Anchor Steam for $1.25

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Anchor Public Taps/Potrero Hill
To celebrate Anchor Brewing Company’s 125th birthday, the iconic SF brewery is offering six-packs of Anchor Steam at retro prices at Anchor’s Public Taps in Potrero Hill this weekend. Six beers for a buck and a quarter? We’ll pull up our anchors and leave the house for that.
Cost: $1.25
 

Watch a play about the life and work of an award-winning “virus hunter”

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Streaming
Marin Theatre Company is currently streaming “The Catrophist,” a one-person play about an award-winning virologist who proposed a plan to protect the economy from pandemics years before the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a personal story (it was written by the wife of the virologist) that will likely frustrate you (no one bought into his plan for catastrophe) and make you think about your own mortality. Streaming through February 28.
Cost: $30
 

Learn how to make cream cheese and then turn it into a cheesecake

Sunday, January 31
Livestream
Who needs Philadelphia cream cheese when it’s apparently super easy to make your own at home? In this class, you’ll learn how to turn milk into cream cheese and then how to use that cream cheese to make a cheesecake. Really milking it for all it’s got, one might say if one were into cheesy puns.
Cost: $24.95
 

Have a dance off in your living room

Sunday, January 31
Zoom
Put on your dancing shoes (or go barefoot-it’s your house, after all) and get down to four hours of non-stop music from the ‘80s, ‘90’s, 00s, and ‘10s. The party goes from 5 pm to 9 pm and is probably the perfect way to end the weekend.
Cost: $10

Courtesy of Hockeystick Media
Courtesy of Hockeystick Media
Courtesy of Hockeystick Media

Order grilled meats, empanadas, and more from a new Peruvian restaurant

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Jaranita/Marina
Jaranita, a new restaurant from the folks behind La Mar highlighting the flavors of Peru, opened this week on Steiner and Chestnut. Stop in for meat slow-roasted on a custom-built charcoal grill, cebiche, empanadas, and more authentic Peruvian food (or get it delivered). (Cocktails coming soon.)
Cost: $ to $$
 

Buy books at Revolution Books’ giant sale

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Berkeley
Revolution Books, Berkeley’s somewhat radical bookstore, is having a giant sale that includes all kinds of new and used music, as well as classical sheet music. 
Cost: $1 and up
 

Watch SF Sketchfest’s virtual variety show

Saturday, January 30
Livestream
We can’t have Sketchfest this year, but we can have Festpocalpyse!, a virtual comey event with performances and appearances from a slew of acts, including The Kids in the Hall, The State, Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and dozens more. There will be “comedy sketches, improvised scenes, game shows, ridiculous debates, musical performances and chats with entertainment icons,” and the money raised will help SF Sketchfest stay afloat.
Cost: $20 to $5,000
 

Check out QuaranPalooza, a livestream music fest

Saturday, January 30
Livestream
Help raise money for Bay Area Cancer Connections by throwing down $15 for a ticket to this online festival featuring short musical sets from 14 local artists.
Cost: $15
 

“Go” to a standup show benefiting Feeding America

Saturday, January 30
Zoom
David Gamble Jr., a stand-up comedian with takes on everything from funeral etiquette to family life is headlining this show that’s raising money for Feeding America. There are five other comedians, so you’re guaranteed to think at least one person is funny.
Cost: $12 
 

Explore ‘possibility’ at a (virtual) live-piano experience

Sunday, January 31
Zoom
Pianist Murry Hidary created “Mind Travel,” an immersive meditative musical journey that, for now, you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. The theme of this performance is “possibility,” so come prepared to think big (or not at all-meditation is so confusing).
Cost: $25Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.
 FYI: We’ve also got you covered with comprehensive guides to NYC, Chicago, LAMiami, DC, Austin, Boston, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Diego — just in case you’re ever out of town.

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based freelance writer who is taking advantage of these strange times by exploring San Francisco on foot. Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see where she goes next. 

San Francisco

Where to Eat in SF's Chinatown, According to Local Experts

Just in time for Lunar New Year.

Photo by Brian John Godfrey
Photo by Brian John Godfrey

Last February, when there were only a handful of COVID cases in the United States, throngs of people stopped going to San Francisco’s Chinatown out of an unfounded fear that the neighborhood was more likely to have people with the virus. Business for bars and restaurants almost immediately dropped 50 to 70%. Unfortunately, despite our Chinatown being the oldest in North America and an important part of Chinese culture in the city since it was established in 1848, the tourists stopped going there. And then so did locals outside of the neighborhood. And soon, the bars and restaurants were mostly empty and the owners uncertain of how they could survive.

Joceyln Tsaih, an artist who made her way to Oakland by way of Taiwan and Shanghai, saw what was happening to SF’s Chinatown and other Chinatowns in the Bay Area and decided she needed to do something about it. In March of 2020, she created Save Our Chinatowns, an initiative to support Chinatown communities in the Bay Area through art, conversation, and shared love of food.

Courtesy of Joceyln Tsaih Instagram
Courtesy of Joceyln Tsaih Instagram

“I created it as a direct response to the COVID-related racism that was impacting Chinatown businesses in a negative way. I wanted to use my platform as an artist to create a way for people to support them.” Save Our Chinatowns originally launched as a GoFundMe fundraiser (eventually raising over $40,000), and soon, a few more women joined Tsaih’s grassroots efforts to create art and culture-focused initiatives to benefit their beloved Chinatowns.

Because here’s the thing. While Tsaih and the rest of her team believe San Francisco’s Chinatown is an important part of the city’s cultural makeup, it’s more than just that. It’s also personal. “I’m not originally from the Bay Area,” Tsaih explains. “I grew up in Shanghai, China, so Chinatowns across the US have served as a slice of home from me. Being in a Chinatown environment makes me feel immediately like I’m closer to home even though my family is in Shanghai and Taiwan and I’m very far from them.”

“I feel like in Chinese culture and in Chinatown, everything is largely centered around food. That is a big part of how we come together as families and the community and I want people to experience that,” she adds. Not sure where to start? Tsaih recommends the famous Dragon Gate. “That area has been kind of tailored to tourists. It’s very flashy and fun and an eye-opening way to start your journey.” (And it makes for a great Instagram photo as well.)

Want to know where to go from there? We asked the women behind Save Our Chinatowns about their favorite spots and what makes them their go-tos. After all, who better to get recommendations from than people who are using their free time to help save the neighborhood? Here are their picks:

Photo by Christine Calara
Photo by Christine Calara
Photo by Christine Calara

Kam Po Kitchen

“Kam Po Kitchen is an old-school Hong Kong style eatery that I adore. The staff has a no-nonsense attitude and service ethos that is actually kind of endearing and somehow comforting. It’s a spot that is beloved by locals as well. The roast duck over rice is my personal go-to, but everything I’ve had there has been delicious. As an added bonus, the portion sizes are huge!” Maya Kulkarni, a Berkeley-based artist and designer who is “very inspired by how food can shape identity.”
How to order: Call 415-982-3516.

Photo by Telstar Logistics
Photo by Telstar Logistics
Photo by Telstar Logistics

Sam Wo

“Sam Wo is a classic SF staple since it opened in 1907. Its casual, no-frills community has always been my favorite to go to late at night when the lines weren’t stupid long. Nothing beats ending your night out more than orders of BBQ pork rice noodle rolls and waiters forgetting to give you water after asking multiple times. Feels familiar and like home.” – Linh-Yen Hoang, a Vietnamese-American artist and designer whose work is “informed by her identity and experiences, both ordinary and nuanced.”
How to order: Use UberEats for delivery.

Lucky Creation 

“Lucky Creation is paradise for vegans. Everything is plant based and affordable, with a wide range of fake meats. The seasoning is subtle but complex, as opposed to in-your-face flavors of more tourist-oriented spots. You can’t go wrong ordering anything with bean curd.” Megumi Tanaka, an interdisciplinary designer, artist, developer, and expert on obscure information.
How to order: Call 415-989-0818.

Photo by Gary Soup
Photo by Gary Soup
Photo by Gary Soup

R&G Lounge

“When I think of R&G Lounge, I think of sitting at the round tables with family for special occasions. I also think of their signature salt and pepper crab and other Cantonese banquet style dishes. It’s a whole experience we’ve certainly taken for granted in the past.” Daphne Wu, an Oakland-based freelance web designer who is passionate about community building through food, drinks, and storytelling.
How to order: Use Caviar for delivery.

Lai Hong Lounge

“You can’t go wrong with Lai Hong Lounge if you’re looking for dim sum. All my favorite dim sum dishes are great here and even their egg tarts are the classic dim sum ones that can be hard to find nowadays! If you’re feeling fun you should order the custard buns because they come in the shape of little pigs.” – Jocelyn Tsaih
How to order: Use GrubHubPostmates, or UberEats for delivery.

Photo by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo
Photo by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo
Photo by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

Golden Gate Bakery and Dragon Papa

“I’m obsessed with egg tarts, so when I’m in Chinatown, I always try to see if Golden Gate Bakery is open (their hours are very unpredictable), and if not, sometimes I’ll get a snack called Dragon Beard Candy. It kind of looks like floss, which is why they named it Dragon Beard, but it’s a sweet pastry. I like getting a box of that candy from there.” Jocelyn Tsaih, an Oakland artist by way of Taiwan and Shanghai, interested in utilizing art as a tool to amplify voices, raise awareness, and give back to communities. Her work is a reflection on human connection and identity.
How to order: Golden Gate Bakery is temporarily closed. Call 415-539-7728 for Dragon Papa.

Want to help save the Bay Area’s local Chinatowns? There’s a list of things you can do on the Save Our Chinatowns homepage, and right now, you can donate money and get a digital copy of their limited-edition zine for the Lunar New Year, titled “Have You Eaten Yet?” that includes recipes from Oakland Chinatown businesses.

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who was lucky enough to grow up going to the famous Chinese New Year Parade most years. She’ll miss it this year. Gung hay fat choy! 

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