Apr 29

Portola Art Fest Was A Big Success From What I Can Remember

Frame Art Studio & the Portola District all done up for a party!

Frame Art Studio & the Portola District all done up for a party!

Saturday night was the opening reception for the 3rd in a continuing series of semi-annual Portola Art Gallery Pop-Up nights. This time around the event was called “Portola Art Fest” and unlike past events, this one runs all week.

Literal "Garage Band"

Literal “Garage Band”

The opening party Saturday night was attended by over 100 guests, there were performances by four bands (Louie Myles, Coastal Strangers, Bum Wagler, Los Peregrinos Cosmicos) and featured the work of 14 local artists. Every wall of the studio was packed with art but the owners of the space got creative and expanded to the outside courtyard by the bar – where everyone seemed to congregate anyway. The garage/stage, turned glowing red oddly patriotic musical bordello, seemed to be the hit of the night. The musical mixture of everything from Cuban style Salsa to Blue Grass slowed traffic to a crawl on Silliman and even pulled neighbors from their houses to come join the growing party. The lights finally shut off around 10 pm to my own personal dismay at the time (I may have had one too many).

Portola District Art Fest

The Portola Neighborhood Association co-sponsored the event with FrameArt Studio & Arthur Koch Photography. Given the success of this event, plans are already in the works to make the event more annual rather than semi-annual. In the meantime though, the art created by your Portola neighbors will be on display through Saturday 4/30 (yes, tomorrow. Better late than never on this post I guess) at Frame Art Gallery, 150 Silliman Street. Hours are 11-5.

Portola District Art Fest

One of the bands is even using our little make-shift stage for promo material now!

One of the bands is even using our little make-shift stage for promo material now!

Come visit Lisa, Arthur and the pinata, that didn't survive the opening night, at the studio.  See the artwork through this Saturday (4/30).

Come visit Lisa, Arthur and the pinata, that didn’t survive the opening night, at the studio. See the artwork through this Saturday (4/30).

Bonus Video of Los Peregrinos Cosmicos:

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/portola-art-fest-opening-night-recap-week-long-show/

Apr 22

Goings On About The Portola

Quick Post about some cool events this weekend here our little corner of town.

Tonight is the “What’s Growing On” festival at Burrows Pocket Park. There will be the usual festival activities; face painting, music, giveaways and a bike powered Karaoke machine. But the coolest and most Portola part of the event is the neighborhood produce exchange. Bring whatever you are currently growing (legally) and trade with your neighbors.

More information on the flyer:
What's Growing On Portola

Tomorrow night, Saturday 4/23, is the opening of the Portola Art Fest. There will be 10 local artists featuring a selection of their work, four live bands and refreshments. The Youth Art Exchange advanced photography students will also be showing a preview of their current project, photographs taken around the Portola representing the people, landscape and built environment. If you can’t make the opening event, the work will be on display at FrameArt Gallery through Saturday 4/30.

More information on the flyer:

Portola Art Fest

Finally, we have an ongoing event. Lisa Magruder, one of the artists behind the new FrameArt Studio, is hosting art classes for all ages at their Studio. The classes range from children to adults (which feature wine as an added bonus). More below in her flyers:


Class flyersf2

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/goings-on-about-the-portola/

Apr 13

PortolART: Support the Goettingen Cascades Stairway Transformation

Many of us are familiar with the 16th Avenue Tile Stair project but now it’s Portola’s turn to create something unique with our stairway.  A group of neighbors called the Goettingen Neighborhood Group, or G.N.G. for short, is currently fundraising to bring their creation to life. When complete, the idea is to create an art installation that will shimmer and even glow with the help electroluminescent paint and tile. The glass and ceramic waterway will “flow” down the hillside through the lush garden that the group has spent years cultivating at the intersection of Dwight & Goettingen.

Goettingen Cascades

Rendering of Goettingen Cascades by Portola artist Phillip Hua


The Cascades aren’t a done deal yet though.  The G.N.G. needs the community’s support reaching their financial goals in order to make this concept a reality.  There are two ways that we can all help:


  1. They are currently pursuing funding through a grant with the Parks Alliance in an online voting contest.  Please visit the website and vote and then email your friends and neighbors the link.  Vote Here:  VOTE
  2. The G.N.G. will be holding their annual Plant Sale this Saturday April 16th.  They will have a wide selection of plants for sale, booths with other local green related groups and a bouncy house for the kids…and maybe the adults.  More information on the beautiful poster below.


G.N.G. Plant Sale

G.N.G. Plant Sale

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/portolart-goettigen-cascades-a-new-art-project-coming-to-the-portola/

Apr 10

Home brewing from FDR, cooking up!


So last week I kicked off the Portola Planet’s first attempt at a brew from the new home brew store, Ferment, Drink, Repeat, on San Bruno Ave. After speaking with FDR’s owner, Kevin, we selected the Little Bitty Brown Ale as our first batch. We purchased all the gear and then on Wednesday evening, fired up the stove and cooked up 5 gallons.

The instructions from FDR were pretty easy to follow. We started by steeping the bag of grains in 2 gallons of just boiled water. This very quickly turned our, what was now wort, a nice dark brown. After 30 minutes, we increased the temperature and brought the pot to a vigorous boil and added the large can of malt extract and started the 60 minute timer. Adding the UK grown East Kent Goldings hops and keeping the boil moving, while around 45 minutes latter introducing more malt into the mix.


At this point we had a wonderful smell in the house and it was time to bring the whole hot mixture down so we could add the yeast. Kevin stressed how important it was to bring the temp below 80F to ensure the yeast wasn’t killed. This was quite a challenge and used up the entire ice reserves in our freezer and required a bath full of water. I think the next time around I will definitely spend the extra and use a copper immersion wort chiller.


After much agitation to get the temp down, it was finally time to add the yeast and then seal up the whole bucket of wort to start the fermenting process. The bucket, now with a total of 5 gallons of brewing beer, was moved downstairs into my office where it could sit at a constant 70F and bubble away for the week. The next step will be to move the beer from the bucket into a 5 gallon carboy after 10 days, wait 3 more days and then finally top up 48 bottles and get ever closer to drinking our first Portola brewed FDR beer…


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/home-brewing-from-fdr-cooking-up/

Mar 26

Portola Porter in the Brewing…

Actually, it’s going to be a brown ale. A little bitty brown ale to be exact. But we may well try and brew a Porter in the future.

So this week the most awesome new business on San Bruno Ave opened it’s doors, first for the retail home brewing business and then second (on Wednesday) for the delivery of large micro brewery equipment for the first Portola beer to be created. On Wednesday morning I nipped down to see Shae and Kevin and to get a look at progress so far. They’ve had huge delays in the past year with the usual San Francisco permit and hoops small business needs to jump through. But finally the end is in sight.

As I walked through the door early Wednesday morning, they were in the middle of bringing in the large brewing equipment, where Kevin and awarding winning American home brewers, will soon be cooking up some top class ales and lagers. The equipment is all U.S.A. made from Bridgetown Brew Systems in Portland.

Brewing tanks being installed

Brewing tanks being installed

The retail shop also opened this week, allowing anyone to come in and start brewing beer at home. Being an impatient person, I couldn’t wait for Kevin to get past his initial test brews and finally open up the tap room, I had to have a go at brewing a batch at home and then compare what I could do with what brew master Kevin will offer.

I recruited the help of neighbors Scott and Paul. We headed down and asked for the simplest beer to start with. Kevin spent a good while going over our options. They have 8 recipes on offer for home brewers to take home. You can either go through the process of creating your own right from the grain, or you can take an easier step (which we decided to do) and use a pre-made extract.

We purchased everything needed to get up and running, and we will be writing a blog article as we go. The cost for the start kit, with all the ingredients needed for a recipe, plus a few extra items (thermometer, beer bottles) was just over $200. This would make us 48 12oz bottles. As you can see in the image above, next time we decide to brew, we are going to get 48 bottles for a cost of around $40.

We chose the “Little Bitty Brown Ale” and considering England is my land of birth, seeing the UK sourced “East Kent Goldings” hops was reassuring. I just hope we can now do it justice and brew a decent beer.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we plan on the first stage. Cooking up the wort, cooling it down and starting the fermenting process. If anyone else in the Portola is planning on brewing up, maybe we should have a summer party and share our experiences!

Brewing equipment and ingredients

Brewing equipment and ingredients

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/03/portola-porter-in-the-brewing/

Feb 25

P.N.A.’s First Community Meeting of 2016 Tonight!

P.N.A.'s new Facebook cover photo of our beautiful neighborhood.

P.N.A.’s new Facebook cover photo of our beautiful neighborhood.

Tonight, Thursday 2/25, is the first Portola Neighborhood Association meeting of 2016.  It starts at 6:30pm at Portola Family Connections, 2565 San Bruno Ave.

The P.N.A. has three community meetings a year, one in February, June & October.  There are also monthly meetings for the various committees: Arts & Beautification, Safety & Transportation and Business Development.  All are open to the public if you wish to join in on the continued efforts to improve our neighborhood.  For more information on what the P.N.A. is up to and committee meeting dates, the P.N.A. Facebook page is very active and the website has a calendar of meetings.

More info on tonight’s meeting:


Our first Community Meeting of 2016 is this Thursday! Join us at Portola Family Connections as we’ll chat about our projects & the projects that our City partners are working on:

Grocery Outlet will be there to chat about their progress & their mural,Walk San Francisco will tell us about Vision Zero and the opportunity to create intersection murals, and SF Water, Power, Sewer (SFPUC) will be there to chat about their CleanPowerSF program!

Lastly (but certainly not least), we’ll have plenty of food from San Bruno’s finest & give you an opportunity to purchase some of our new Portola shirts!


Keep an eye out for the new P.N.A. sandwich board around the neighborhood.

Keep an eye out for the new P.N.A. sandwich board around the neighborhood.  

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/02/p-n-a-s-first-community-meeting-of-2016-tonight/

Feb 22

Portography: Bird On A Wire

My new method of time killing on the 8x to and from work is Instagram.  It’s the perfect distraction from the packed crowd of Chinatown shoppers or the distorted music pumping out from someone’s phone.  This morning I came across a little theme while peeking through photos of our neighborhood, hope you enjoy!

If you feel like sharing your beautiful and interesting photos of the neighborhood, there are some great instagram hashtags already out there and full of content:  #sfgardendistrict, #theportoladistrict, #portoladistrict.  Let me know if anyone has any others to share.


Captured at sunrise by Spyderchyld on Instagram

Captured at sunrise by Spyderchyld on Instagram


Taken by jpsomas on Instagram on the streets of Portola. The owner was sitting on the curb soaking up the sun as well.

Taken by jpsomas on Instagram on the streets of Portola. The owner was sitting on the curb soaking up the sun as well.


Taken by SamRG early Saturday morning on San Bruno Ave.

Taken by me early Saturday morning on San Bruno Ave.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/02/portography-bird-on-a-wire/

Feb 10

The Chronicle Tells the Story of Breakfast At Tiffany’s & Portola Community Involvement

Kash Feng, Portola resident and new owner of Breakfast At Tiffany's. Photo by Liz Hafalia of The Chronicle

Kash Feng, Portola resident and new owner of Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Photo by Liz Hafalia of The Chronicle

When we were looking for a new home two years ago, one of the characteristics of the Portola that attracted us was the high level of community involvement.  As most of us know, there are a lot of dedicated and passionate people involved here.  A fact, reinforced by the numerous community groups serving this small and mostly unknown neighborhood as well as our often maligned but beautiful McLaren Park.

That dedication was recognized a bit more widely yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle. The piece titled, “How an S.F. Neighborhood Saved Its Diner, Breakfast At Tiffany’s” tells the history of the local breakfast spot and how it was almost lost like so many other little diners in S.F.  After the passing of the owner the building was purchased by an S.F. restaurateur and Portola resident, Kash Feng. Much to the disappointment of the restaurant’s dedicated customers, it almost became a higher end noodle house (a concept that I think would be really successful on S.B.A. as well) until the community convinced Kash to revisit the old concept. As anyone who passes down San Bruno Ave now notices, the place is a success, with lines out the door during weekend brunching hours and a steady stream during the week.

15 year customers still coming back to eat at their diner.

Former employees still coming back to eat at their diner.  Photo by Liz Hafalia at The Chronicle

About six months ago, I was sitting at the counter at B.A.T., having breakfast and reading a magazine when a guy, I later found out from North Beach, walked in and sat next to me. He looked around and asked me, “what neighborhood is this?” I naturally jumped at the chance to talk about the Portola.  After I informed him about this diverse blue collar mecca, he responded with, “I didn’t think places like this existed in this city anymore, it’s so busy here and there are so many types of people that I thought had left S.F years ago.”  We chit-chatted a little more until I think I scared him away with my overzealous love for the neighborhood, but that guy saw what I really appreciate about this restaurant.   Aside from the Fried Chicken Benedict and the endlessly refilled old school yellow coffee cups,  the crowd is what makes Breakfast At Tiffany’s so special.  It’s one of the few real places left in this city where people of all walks of life come together for a meal.

The full story is worth the read and can be found on The Chronicle’s website here.

A regular who has been eating at B.A.T. for 15 years. Photo credit by Liz Hafalia at The Chronicle.

A regular who has been eating at B.A.T. for 15 years. Photo credit by Liz Hafalia at The Chronicle.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/02/chronicle-article-on-breakfast-at-tiffanys/

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