Tucker tied for first place in the 2012 Whole Enchihuahua
costume contest. Photo by Kira Stackhouse.
The activity level in the Bay Area this weekend reaches hyperactive highs. On Saturday, find all things Asian-Pacific at Civic Center and the Tenderloin: Cooking demos by Martin Yan and other chefs, taiko drummers, aloha shirts, Asian bands and DJs, fresh leis, an ethnic costume parade, origami art, a fashion show of local Asian designers' apparel, and films and music videos by local Asian Pacific Americans screened at the Asian Art Museum (which is free that day). The Asian Heritage Street Celebration runs until 6 pm.
Dolores Park, meanwhile, goes to the dogs--and particularly one tiny, yappy, over-populated breed. The Whole Enchihuahua (12-3 pm) offers free canine dental checks, vet consultations, doggie games, food trucks, mariachi music and adoptable puppies (and cats, bunnies and birds). Any dog can compete in the 2 pm costume contest to win a weekend at doggie camp, dog massages, dog beds and other prizes. Chihuahuas represent up to half of the dogs in some Bay Area shelters, and the San Francisco SPCA is doing free spaying/neutering and waiving adoption fees for Chihuahua mixes through the end of the month.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month (who knew?). Because of the latter, the American Society of Hypertension is giving free hypertension, glucose and cholesterol tests on Saturday, 10 am-3 pm, at Yerba Buena Lane and Market St. (behind the Marriott Marquis, 55 Fourth St.). Go get tested. Hypertension, the "silent killer," doesn't have obvious symptoms, but it got its nickname for obvious reasons.
If you roll up your sleeves for a few hours Saturday, you'll be rewarded with a concert-party with the bands Big Gigantic and Robert DeLong. Sign up and help clean up the shoreline in Richmond from 9:30 am-noon, and you'll get a ticket to the Budweiser Made in America party on June 5 at Fort Mason. Folks from Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Watershed Project will be cleaning up alongside you.
That's all on Saturday. Other weekend events: Two contemporary art fairs, and the Maker Faire for all things DIY (see our May calendar). On Sunday is the long-running, only-in-San-Francisco spectacle known as Bay to Breakers.
Bay to Breakers runners come dressed as movable feasts.
Photo courtesy of Bay to Breakers
You can't call yourself a San Franciscan unless you've run (or jogged or walked) Bay to Breakers at least once. Online registration for Sunday's one-of-a-kind race continues until 11:55 pm today (May 15). Should you miss tonight's deadline, you might be able to register in person at the pre-race fitness expo on Friday and Saturday. If you miss that, you can watch the mobile costume party from the sidelines. But you're still not a San Franciscan.
Our 2013 Bay to Breakers guide has the run-down on the race, including the best places to watch and the costume contest. We've collected course records and other stats for you number-crunchers. Check the Bay to Breakers' history timeline to appreciate how far the race has come in its 102 years. (Can you believe that women were not officially allowed to run until 1971?!)
If you haven't figured out how or where to treat Mom, check our Mother's Day guide--it lists tours, shopping, brunches, comedy and other options happening as of today (so you don't have to wait until Sunday!) For something out of the ordinary, take a factory tour this weekend, as part of SFMade Week--see how everything from bikes to Rickshaw Bags are made, right here in SF. Even more out of the ordinary, go on the Saturday tour of Crave, which designs and makes vibrators in SoMa.
Or get out of town (but not too far) for some special events: A cat video festival in Oakland on Saturday (listed in our May calendar), and a weekend mega-food-fest in Vegas, which features James Beard honoree Michael Mina.
The week of May 6-12, 2013 will prove that many businesses in San Francisco are making it. They're not tech companies, and what they are making are not intangibles, but real things like wedding gowns, light fixtures and popcorn. During the week, they will be open for behind-the-scenes tours, and some will even let you try your hand at manufacturing.
Learn more about the week's activities and the array of products made here in our SFMade Week article.
Walk the red carpet, snap pics of Greta Gerwig, Kate Bosworth and Michael Cera, hear Steven Soderbergh explain why he's leaving movies for painting, and see 160 films in 14 days. Yep, all of it's doable because the San Francisco International Film Festival is in town, April 25-May 9. The directors and six-year-old wunderkind of What Maisie Knew are here for tonight's opening at the Castro Theatre (your first red-carpet opportunity). Our 2013 SFIFF guide has the run-down, and we've also highlighted films from or about the Bay Area.
Films aren't your thing? This weekend there's a funk tribute to Sly and the Family Stone, street fairs, and a play date with bugs, too.
Grass-fed burgers by food truck Fiveten Burgers will be
served at the W. Photo courtesy of Fiveten Burgers.
Sliders with caramelized-crusted beef patties, tater tots with black truffle and black bass sandwiches will be served Tuesday night, April 23, at the W San Francisco, in a dinner collaboration between the hotel and a boutique-burger food truck.
Fiveten Burger, a truck named after the Oakland area code where it's based, specializes in made-to-order burgers and sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients. San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer, who calls himself "not generally a food truck fan" ("on too many occasions...the lines were too long" and "quality too low") makes an exception for the Fiveten burger. Praising the "beautifully caramelized, beef patty" and well-toasted brioche-like bun, Bauer says it's worth standing in line for.
Tuesday's multi-course meat-laden meal by Fiveten founder Roland Robles and W's executive chef Paul Piscopo begins with a 7 pm happy half-hour and appetizers, and includes Wagyu beef tartar, handmade sausages and hot slaw, and gourmet corn dogs made with lamb sausage and a cornbread batter. Dessert is rhubarb strawberry pop tarts and an optional stout ice cream float with rye whiskey and homemade root beer.
A bonus: No lines.
The dinner is part of the Local Motion series of one-night-only meals created jointly by the W and local food trucks.
Local Motion with Fiveten Burgers
April 23, 2013, at 7-9 pm
The W, 181 Third St., San Francisco
Tickets $40; cocktail pairings $25. Limited seating.
Wildflowers blooming at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Photo by Don Mahoney
Holidays remind us of important people and things we take for granted, and in that sense, the most crucial one of the year is here: Earth Day, on Monday, April 22. Walk in the woods, test-drive an electric vehicle, help clean up a beach, get a free sapling or compost and get tips on living green at the SF Bay Area's many Earth Day events, starting this weekend. You can also appreciate Mother Nature in Golden Gate Park, where the botanical garden's California wildflower meadow is now bursting with colorful blooms.
If you're starting a garden and deciding what to grow in it, you may want to check on your plant zone. (Unlike most zoning in San Francisco, this, fortunately, does not require dealing with the bureaucracy at City Hall). Plant zones are standards to help determine which plants are most likely to flourish in your neck of the woods.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's zoning is based on the average lowest winter temperatures in an area over a 30-year period. The USDA has defined 13 different zones for the country, with each zone spanning a 10-degree F difference in the average annual minimum temperature. (Zones are further sub-divided into 5-degree F differences, indicated with "a" and "b.")
The latest USDA map, the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, is based on temperatures recorded from 1976-2005, and considers temperature changes due to elevation, topography and proximity to large bodies of water like oceans and lakes. On the interactive map, find your location (which you can do by entering your ZIP code) and click on it. Your zone number, the zone's average temperature and temperature range, and your longitude and latitude will pop up. San Francisco is in zones 10a (with a range of 35 to 40 F) and 10b (range of 30 to 35F).
Sunset magazine's climate zones were designed to take into account temperature and factors like rainfall, air flow, wind and humidity. "The USDA maps tell you only where a plant may survive the winter; our climate zone maps let you see where that plant will thrive year-round," says the magazine, which focuses on the U.S. West.
On Sunset's map of the San Francisco Bay Area, the city is in zone 17 (a "heat-starved climate" where fog tends to smother light and sunshine). Surrounding areas are in zones 16 and 15. Zone 16, which includes northern Marin County, is praised as "benign" and "one of Northern California's finest horticultural climates."
But finding your zone by your ZIP code requires going to a different page, where you can also search for suitable plants based on your climate zone and other criteria.
Note that neither the USDA nor the Sunset zone map can factor in micro-climates (which can exist even within your backyard), drastic swings in temperature, soil type and moisture, pollution and other environmental variables.
We've all heard that motto at some point in our lives, though we rarely think about it. But now there's a drive in San Francisco to make it stick, starting with "Walk to Work Day" tomorrow, April 12. In the morning, nearly all of the city's supervisors (and anyone who wants to join them) will be walking at least part way to City Hall. So will the mayor. At various spots around town, coffee, snacks, stickers, and other rewards will be given out to walkers.
There are more prime walking opportunities on the weekend: West Portal Avenue's arts and crafts show from Friday through Sunday, and the Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday and Sunday, listed in our April events guide. And Sunday afternoon, Sunday Streets turns over part of the Mission to pedestrians, bikers, skaters and yogis. Happy strolling!
You'll have a new respect for dirt after seeing life-size soldiers and horses sculpted from it at the Asian Art Museum. This is not any old dirt: It's 2000-year-old dirt, from China. The figures are part of an underground terracotta army meant to protect and serve China's first emperor after death--and one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever. Best of all, you can get really close to them--close enough to stare them in the eye--which the public has never been allowed to do before. Here's the dirt (sorry) on the unprecedented exhibit, and if you want to dig deeper, related talks and films.
Psst, this Sunday, adult admission is just $10--less than half the regular price.