It's 72 degrees in San Francisco. When it gets this hot, people tend to either complain about the heat, or take advantage of the beauty that the city has to offer. We decide to do the latter and make a trip to Ocean Beach. We begin on Taraval Street and 46th Ave, walking past mom n' pop joints, unassuming store fronts with minimal signage containing tank top clad locals. The salty ocean air mixed with the smell of Korean barbecue gives me a sense of nostalgia and comfort. We go west until we hit the great highway, then head north along the paved path that runs parallel to the highway. A scattered group of high school students jog past us, reminding me of the times we had to run in similar fashion along Sunset Boulevard during P.E. class in grade school. After reaching Moraga Street, we decide to turn around and head back, this time walking along the portion of the Great Highway that is lined with homes.
Walking by row after row of conjoined boxes, each house has a personality of their own. Windows reminiscent of ship port holes line some walls. Rusted iron gates oxidized by the salty air lead to entry ways containing surf boards, overgrown plants and random appliances. There are various box gardens teeming with purple and green succulents, seemingly arranged in an organized chaos. Many houses seem to have been untouched over the years, while some have been remodeled to reflect the urban sprawl of the city's elite. We stare in awe at the ultra modern houses that seem to be plucked right out of the pages of Dwell Magazine.
San Francisco homes have a distinct style of their own. Most of us would be able to spot a neighborhood in a car commercial and say "Yup that's the blue house in Noe Valley". Same goes for The Sunset District. This sleepy, under-rated neighborhood spanning 6 miles along Ocean Beach, would be the closest thing the City has for a suburb. However, it is far from your typical suburbia. The Sunset contains even smaller neighborhoods each with an identity and look of their own. Hipsters (or do they not liked to be called that anymore?) gravitate towards breakfast joints that bake artisanal breads, and proudly sport reclaimed wooden furniture. The locals also know that some of the best asian cuisine is not found in Chinatown or Soma, but located among the modest and jam packed restaurants scattered here in the Sunset.
Even though the many stores that occupied my memory have been replaced with either a new bubble milk tea cafe, or bespoke clothing store, I still consider the Sunset to be my old stomping grounds. Where else can you get a chicken tandoori pizza, a damn good cup of Hong Kong Milk tea, and your shoes repaired all within walking distance of each other?