sf // heath ceramics + 20th century cafe


After a good night's sleep (yes, embroidery is quite tiring!), I take Mom out for a coffee at The Temporarium. This tiny hole in the wall is managed by Avery Burke, the cafe's owner and sole employee, who prepares Mom's drink before our eyes. With his fedora, vest and long curly hair, Burke's look itself is, for me, the most memorable part of this experience (I don't drink coffee, remember?).

We also grab a vegan doughnut and chocolate croissant from Ritual Coffee, a visisbly popular establishment. Then, we explore 1-2-3-4 Go!, a record shop with a wide selection of vinyls, as well as a small CD section. I manage to find one of of Montreal's first albums - The Early Four Track Recordings - whose song titles all start with "Dustin Hoffman". We also stop by a handful of clothing and decor boutiques along Valencia, including Reliquary, Aldea, Farnsworth, Voyager, Taylor Stitch and Le Point.




Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco

Ceiling of Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco















Time flies by incredibly fast, but we make it just in time to Heath Ceramics, where we have signed up for a guided tour of the company's tile factory. Our guide first takes us into the Boiler Room, an airy gallery featuring contemporary art pieces. The space is also memorable for its two gigantic iron boilers, which were used to produce steam for the commercial laundry business operating in the building throughout the early 1900's. On the ground floor, we are also shown inside The Aesthetic Union, a letterpress print shop that uses a number of beautiful old machines. Their boutique sells beautiful cards and art materials.

We then pop our goggles on and head inside the factory floor. Here, we are taken through the different steps of the tile-making process, including extruding, cutting, drying, glazing and quality control. I'll never forget looking through peeping hole of the giant kiln, which, firing at over 2,000°F, is essentially a contained supernova. Our tour ends inside Heath's design studio, where we get an exclusive glimpse at the company's newest styles (no photos!). Mom and I are quite humbled to have been given this opportunity - thank you, Heath Ceramics!

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

Boiler Room Art Gallery at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco

The Aesthetic Union in San Francisco

The Aesthetic Union in San Francisco

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco


Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco

Heath Ceramics Factory Tour in San Francisco

For lunch, we head over to 20th Century Cafe, an Eastern European restaurant I'd been meaning to try for a while. Its interior is simple and minimalist, and it exudes a warm atmosphere! We each get a veggie bagel sandwich - mine topped with sea salt, and Mom's with poppy seeds. They are both visually stunning and extremely fresh!

20th Century Cafe is known for its desserts, and we've thankfully reserved a little space in our bellies to share one. But which to choose? The Linzertorte, the poppy seed babka, or a slice of honey cake? In the end, I decide to order a slice of the dobos torte, a Hungarian pastry that alternates between layers of gĂ©noise and of creme de chocolat. This delicious delicacy is topped with a crunchy sliced of caramel and served with cream. Yum!

20th Century Cafe in San Francisco

20th Century Cafe in San Francisco

20th Century Cafe in San Francisco



Cake at 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco


Upon leaving the restaurant, we walk along Hayes Street until we reach Alamo Square, where we take a look at the famous Painted Ladies, a series of Victorian-style homes. They're honestly not any more beautiful than any of the others around here. Not to mention, their poor tenants must be fed up with all the tourists constantly hanging around!

After a quick stop inside the lovely stationery store Rare Device and Cookin', a vintage kitchen accessory shop (which Mom loves, of course), we arrive in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco's go-to hippie neighborhood.

Here are a few of our favorite shops there:
  • Bound Together Books - Anarchist and counter-culture bookstore. Similar to Montreal's l'Insoumise, but slightly less cramped!
  • Gamescape - Board game paradise. They even have weekly events! Mom buys our first pouch of Bananagrams to take home.
  • Haight Ashbury Tattoo & Piercing - Tattoo parlor in the back, hippie merch shop out front! Perfect to find that Haight-Ashbury souvenir shirt.
  • Twisted Thistle Apothicaire - Herbs and spices galore!
  • Mendel's - Art supplies store (fabrics, paper, beads, paint, clay, etc.)
  • Love of Ganesha - Recommended by my lovely roommate Devika, this boutique covers all of your crystal healing needs, and more. Whether you're building a shrine or looking to wrap a piece of fool's gold, you've come to the right place. There's even a cozy meditation tent with pillows at the back of the shop!
Before taking the bus back to the Mission, we also pay an obligatory visit to Amoeba Music, where Mom stocks up on new and used CDs.





Amoeba Music in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco

Exhausted from this escapade, we make a rest stop back home. In the evening, we head over to 16th Street to grab takeout pupusas from Pachita's, which we plan on eating at the movie theater. (We also get some delicious alfajores, which leave powdered sugar all over our black clothing...) Girl Asleep, the film we've decided to see at the Roxie, turns out to be an excellent find. Director La Rosemary Myers produces a touching and dreamy reflection on growing up - one that will surely please fans of Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola. You can watch the trailer below.

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