Eat & DrinkSelf CareSF Bay AreaTravel

Breaking out of Boredom in the Parkside-Taraval Corridor

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

This column is in the spirit of a “Dear Abby”, with a focus on solutions in the form of micro SF neighborhood deep dives and curated holistic health-centered itineraries

Listen to this article read by the author:

Dear BBB,

I’m so bored with my same old same old girlboss lifestyle. 

One can only wear so many MAC lipsticks and flannel pj bottoms before crying for help. The mullet dress code I’ve sunk into these past two years has no one fooled.

My carpal tunnel is raging, the Taraval construction work sounds like a jackhammer in my ear even at night when it’s no longer a thing, and my Wordle addiction just hit code red. 

The closest I’ve come to recently in terms of “trying something new” is sampling the not-so-latest June Shine flavor. Mango is my jam so maybe there’s one bright side to my tale of ennui. 

However, please help as I need a good dose of inspiration. Staring at my screen all day has fried my brain and turned me into Ms Lame (note the capital L). Dying to shed this robe of monotony for some pops of color.

Thank you so much,

Please Excuse Gripes in the Parkside-Taraval Corridor


Dear PEG,

If color is what you want, color is what you will get.

Listening to you drone on and on about your first world problems sparked my flames of activism. You DO need guidance.

Sounds like what you need more than anything is to get out of your home, into some nature, moving your bod and filling your brain with sparkling sun beams.

Before you know it, you’ll be swapping your classic “Chili” rouge for some fresh cat eyes and dancing around your apartment wearing anything but flannel. Come to think of it, here’s a goddess for your non flannel inspo.

Meet Aryn Drake-Lee, also a CITY born n raised gal and is someone to follow on the socials. If you’re into a side trip out of the 7×7, she’s queen of The Casbah: her wellness studio focusing on alternative care practices oriented around our individual, as well as collective healing. As part of your “transformation”, careen south on The 5 and book a massage 😉

For now, let’s take this solution to the morning because sun, sun and more sun is in order. Granted, we’re hanging in the Parkside so there may be little to none but in any case, don’t forget your SPF.

PSA message about wearing a daily block: I’ve been trying to get my hands on the ol SuperGoop dupe at Trader Joe’s and SAN FRANCISCO ALERT: Brannan Street TJs was in stock mid January. Sunscreen is a goddess and I pray to her daily. And so should you!

Photo cred: Meg Graber

Back to the Parkside and possibly hanging with Karl: Start the day off right at The New Taraval Cafe.

Photo cred: Jack Doyle

Photo cred: Jack Doyle

Stanley took this over from his parents and boosted its gourmet vibe while still maintaining the awesome greasy spoon category.This joint oozes so much new and old school CITY flavor. Love a local legend.

This dude is a chef, and also a visionary. Oh, and he makes amazing cookies. Start following him @cookiemanstan cause you want to be first in line for when his batch drops.

Personally, you had me at “omelet” and Stanley’s “New Taraval” version exceeds expectations. Breakfast sausage, spinach, mushrooms & American Cheese??? Yes, please!

Add a cookie to top off that goodness and send me on my merry way. Or…even better, ask for the Royal Sampler to enjoy the delights of Ube, Sesame, Matcha, Lavender, Snickerdoodle and Earl Grey in the form of a tasty treat.

Spoiler: family favorite is def the …..Hahahha, not gonna tell you.

Belly full of brunch, time to get your groove on. Head over to Stern Grove for a losing yourself in the redwoods moment.

You’re very much in a city, but Stern Grove is the nature escape your NYT obsessed brain needs. Disconnect and enjoy how far you feel from the 19th Ave insanity. Let eucalyptus become your day’s perfume, as you travel west through this forest towards Ocean Beach.

Time to pop in a podcast. Have you listened to “GirlBoss Radio” yet cause those gals will surely motivate you to fling yourself into action. Or, dig deep into past episodes of “Rituals, Remedy & Alchemy” to expand your healing repertoire and find language to talk about your narrative or tools for your journey.

Oh, and during your walk, observe the Sunset homes. Some faves are towards the end of the Grove or along 48th when you get to the Great Highway.

The Great Highway, painting by Colette Hannahan

The Great Highway, painting by Colette Hannahan

Quick turn back to Taraval (Lava Rat for those homegrown in THE CITY) to grab a Snowy Plover at AndyTown at 40th or 46th Ave.

Though this may be a controversial drink because not everyone agrees that sparkling water mixes well with espresso and a Mt Shasta sized dollop of homemade fresh whipped cream, it will surely give you something new to discuss in your next Slack channel.

Photo Cred: Michelle Nayfack

With your bean buzz on full blast, saunter casually into Tunnel Records.

Time to get your chat on, and ask for some recs. What a treasure trove for music and discussions!

And, they’ll gladly look up anything they don’t have and then ship it directly to you. Case in point when I inquired about “The Avalanches”.

If you missed their Warfield show in late September, let’s not make that mistake twice. Did I teleport into a German dance hall during their concert cause that’s how rad it felt to groove so hard. Keep that as your inspo point. The more you move and groove, the better you’ll feel and EVERYONE benefits. Life lesson #5 million.

While you’re at it, pick up some sweet TR merch. As they say “welcome to the western most record store of the world”. Take it from a local, keep a hoody handy as Karl is always lurking nearby.

At this point, you’re probably in need of some food so lucky lucky, we find ourselves right next to Underdogs Too, a CITY fave with 3 locations.

All possess great guac (limey & salty and oh so good), chicken tortilla soup for those Karl infused days, street taco platters or Nick’s way ones (crispy tortilla sandwiching a soft one with a cheese milieu, oh my!), so many breakfast options (weekends only) as well as freshy fiiiiiiiiine margaritas.

Would prefer a tortilla variety option but even with this “whole wheat only” situation for the burritos/quesadillas, I’m still the biggest fan. And, with my eco lens on deck I raise my salt rimmed glass to their mission statement:

“Our food is local, sustainable and we use only compostable materials for our packaging products. We feel we have a duty to supply fresh food to each customer, while also being environmentally conscious. We are very proud of our Surfrider Ocean Friendly certification!”

Greta Thunberg, meet us here and if you’re reading this, Underdogs Too is my treat!

She’s someone else who can bring some more color into your life. What a muse! What passion she displays at such a young age. Can we all be more like Greta!

As a near final straw to your rehabilitation project, I advise you to saunter over to Ocean beach and put those twinkle toes in the sand and your gaze towards the white caps, i.e. Nature bath 101.

This is Dune Town, so feel free to cavort through them (sans shoes as this is a natural massage for your barking dogs).  Practice real acupressure and chi forward movements since walking in sand is just oh so good for your health and constitution, or lay down and cloud surf with your eyes. Did you see that horse dragon in the sky? Or the chariot of fish? Everything is possible.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco #3 by Colette Hannahan

Either way, you are engaging in a holistic healing moment. It’s all about keeping the energy flowing and not letting it sit in stagnation. And if you’re one of those brave souls who doesn’t shiver me timbers with the glacial Pacific waters, or you’ve been practicing your Wim Hof breathing (I do this in the shower when I switch to cold water as it’s a brilliant health move for your skin and circulation), then perhaps you want to do a little toe dip, ankle wade or gasp- swim?

Beware, this is not for the faint of heart or physicality as Ocean beach is known for its undercurrents and only the strongest of the strong and those in touch with tide knowledge should venture out on a board or in their shorts. I will gladly watch from the Dunes or run away from the surf bubbles chasing the tiny birds.

Photo cred: Michelle Nayfack

Which brings me to snack time. Time to climb up that Taraval mountain, either by foot, Lyft bike or the ol L Taraval MUNI and stop at 30th Ave, then walk two blocks to 28th. Steam filled windows await at Kingdom of Dumpling.

With the wonderful Michelle Nayfack

Though you can’t see them from the outside, they’re there…waiting to be gobbled, slurped or handled. Pillows to explode in your mouth, full of pork and veggies and broth and if that trek up Mt Taraval really got you going, then take this opportunity to eat your heart out.

There are over 20 different dumpling varieties, as well as so many pancakes and a plethora of noodles in and out of soup. In another life, let me come back as a soup dumpling from here.

Well PEG, this concludes your jailbreak. You’ve been busted out of boredom and I can’t wait to see what you do on the run.

You’re so very welcome.

Take BIG care,


P.S. File away the Stern Grove hot tip as it is currently closed. #fallentreesituation

P.P.S. This neighborhood is dear to my heart as I moved here, from across town when I was 9. #TaravalRoots


Parkside-Taraval Corridor Recap:


** This article is only part Satire, i.e. ALL the characters and quotes are fictional BUT the recs are pure gold.**

BBB, i.e Big Belly Breathing, is Vanessa Hutchinson-Szekely’s latest project. She is born and raised in THE CITY and using her background knowledge of local landscapes, the constant search to maximize the fun factor and her holistic health and wellness expertise, she will listen to your problems and propose excursions to help you reset, recalibrate and explode back onto your scene.

Join her on IG @BigBellyBreathing or visit www.bigbellybreathing .com



  1. 12/1/22: Reset & Boost Your Vibes in The Inner Richmond

  2. 1/1/23: Maximizing the Fun Factor in Mission Bernal


Previous post

SF's 25th IndieFest Kicks Off with Weird and Wonderful Films

Next post

Sortir de l'ennui dans le couloir Parkside-Taraval

Vanessa Hutchinson-Szekely

Vanessa Hutchinson-Szekely

She is born and raised in THE CITY and has her hands in many pots.

Using her background knowledge of local landscapes, the constant search to maximize the fun factor and her holistic health and wellness expertise, she will listen to your problems and propose excursions to help you reset, recalibrate and explode back onto your scene in BAS' regular column "THE CITY Counselor".

Also, with her experience in public education she regularly writes about better supporting (and paying) educators.

Other than that, she's teaching yoga, hosting a podcast for kids with guided meditations in English & Français, or creating videos for her YouTube channel where she reads picture books to kiddos, in both languages.

Check out for more information and follow her on the socials.

Or, just hit her up for some knee to knee chitty chat café sessions.