Ingredients 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 4 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup honey 1/3 cup creamy unsalted almond butter 1/4 cup butter 4 1/2 -5 cups old fashioned rolled oats 1 cup unsalted almonds (raw or roasted), chopped coarse 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (raw or roasted) (Additional 1/2 cup unsalted chopped nuts or seeds of choice: pecans/walnuts/chia seeds – OPTIONAL) 1 cup raisins 1/2 cup dried sweetened orange slices, chopped into pieces (or mango/cranberries/apricots)
Instructions Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet (approx. 9 x 13)* with parchment paper or foil & nonstick spray. Melt butter, almond butter & honey over low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla & salt into a large bowl. Whisk in oil. Stir in butter/almond butter/honey blend. Fold in all the oats and nuts one cup at a time until combined and coated. Transfer oat mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread evenly and compactly, pressing down mixture with a stuff metal spatula.*
Bake 35-40 minutes until lightly toasted, rotating pan once halfway through. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 1 hour to set. Break granola into pieces as desired. Fold in dried fruit.
A February visit to Clement Restaurant revealed many good signs,
starting with — a new sign!
All too often we hear about old San Francisco favorites closing, like Ambassador Toys in West portal, where generations perused everything from handcrafted puzzles to science kits and stuffed animals. Or the historic Clay Theater, a neighborhood art house that screened the kinds of films that launched a thousand coffeehouse conversations, and midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which spilled throngs of laughing youth onto the late night sidewalks, toast crumbs falling from their pants as they danced the Time Warp down Fillmore street.
After five long years since their kitchen fire and closing, a clean, bright and welcoming new sign for Clement Restaurant has been installed. Also looks like the awning for Clement BBQ next door has been scrubbed of a layer or two of city grime.
More Gleaming appliances have been installed.
How soon is the big day? “We are just waiting for the government to say OK,” says the employee at Clement BBQ ringing up my order.
What makes Clement Restaurant so special? Certainly there are other Dim Sum restaurants close by that offer a tasty Pork Bun and other delicacies? Well, sure. Taste is subjective, as anyone who has ever tried to order and share a pizza with another human being can attest!
There are many wonderful pork bun experiences within mere blocks of Clement restaurant, such as the sweet crispy-topped beauties at Hong Kong Lounge (above).
Hong Kong Lounge’s baked buns are a little smaller, but they are delicious! Saucier and more delicate than those that come out of the oven at Clement Restaurant. You get the sense that they are made carefully, and eating them in a grand, carpeted room at a cloth covered table under twinkling chandeliers just feels right.
Unlike Clement Restaurant, where the few rickety tables jammed against the wall were covered only in the sticky remains of the last customer’s order, and you have to ask for a napkin to wipe down the table before popping open a plastic container to consume your food.
But I don’t care!
Taste rules, but you cannot overestimate the power of personal association and the sixth sense of memory.
Ever since I can remember (and long before), a walk down Clement street has been dominated by Asian grocers and houseware supply stores, dim sum restaurants, and doubled parked delivery trucks unloading boxes of live, smelly crabs and other assorted seafood down wet floors into back kitchens and loud, fish markets.
Origins “Around the turn of the 20th Century, new cable and electric streetcar lines formed to deliver passengers to the Golden Gate Park, to the beach, and Adolph Sutro’s new Cliff House, Sutro Heights, and Sutro Baths.” Read more: A Short History of the Richmond District
The first sprinklings of bougeious yuppie-dom, like the sweet ‘n cutsie coffee and ice cream shop, the Toy Boat Café, didn’t come on the scene until the 1980s. That’s when I moved away to college, then to chase a career, marry and raise a son.
Yes, I have always come back every few months to visit my family, and stopping by Clement Restaurant is an engraved tradition that I passed into the next generation. I thought I was appreciative, but realized I had taken it all for granted when I returned in 2015 to find the place all boarded up.
A 2015 kitchen fire shut down operations at the address… but since the owner of Clement Restaurant also owns the two eateries on either side,the buns kept rising!
Assorted pastries were shouldered by the kitchen at Clement BBQ, the restaurant next door to the east, and the steamed offerings continued at Xiao Long Bao, located just next door to the west.
It was a great relief to continue to enjoy the unique and sumptuous blend of sweet/savory BBQ pork in Char Siu sauce recipe made only at Clement Restaurant.
The Long Road Back (a timeline in pictures)
Michael Flores, energetic and knowledgeable Superintendent for Bali Construction, welcomes the challenge of every new job, but admits progress has been stalled many times in the past four years. Insurance issues, PG&E issues. They had to reconfigure the sequencing of the entire power system, so it is properly shared between three establishments. Peering through the taped up windows revealed little. At first there was no progress. Just the locked door and the lingering scent of smoke.
The place was cleared and gutted on the inside and then spent some time as a storage unit. Stacks of supplies would appear. A ladder leaning against a wall. Boxes and boxes of To-Go containers, tumbled over each other. The front windows wore dirty, peeling stickers and long expired ads for city events.
Stepping inside in July 2019, the long narrow place is bright white, except on the right wall, where the original brick has been exposed..
CHANGING BACK IS STILL A CHANGE
I have a tendency to be nervous about change. And I haven now grown accustomed to going to Clement BBQ next door.
While waiting in line, I may take in the state of a whole roast pig, dressed for consumption or hanging from a hook suspended over a worn, round butcher’s block.
I may watch as steam table orders are filled. Scoops of chow mein slopped into takeout containers.
I can lean against the sacks of bleach piled high against the mirrored wall. And I always look next door for a peek at the progress…
Superintendant Flores points out that I am not the only one who has stopped by the open door of the re-construction of Clement Restaurant to share my longstanding personal fondness for the place and the taste that takes me back.
I tell him that I am excited for the reopening, and grateful to the owner for maintaining the baked delights for his customers. He knows the value is beyond taste — it’s time travel.
When he hints that the owner maybe “expanding the menu,” a shiver runs through me and I quickly exclaim, “Don’t change the recipe!”
I’m one of those born and raised San Franciscans whose heart was left there when they moved away. So, my ears, now residing with me hundreds of miles away, gratefully absorb the weekly Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast — the podcast of the Western Neighborhood Project, a group that studies and preserves San Francisco history, especially of the “western neighborhoods” of San Francisco.
I am continually surprised and entranced by the stories they bring to light of the people and places that existed before, interesting well-known and/or lesser known folks and the homes and neighborhoods in which they lived. These stories, especially of “ordinary” people, remind me that everyone who calls themselves a “San Franciscan,” (including me!) holds in their memories and experiences a valid sliver of a piece of the City’s history.
I especially enjoyed the recent Carol Schuldt podcast. Woody LaBounty’s descriptions of this “Queen of the Beach” acknowledged her eccentricity while a personal, reverential tone shone through. He and his co-hosts succeeded in painting a picture of a rescuer/rebel in all her glory.
It’s too bad that it was the intensity of Schuldt’s connection to nature that made her seem so odd. It made me think about how our present disconnect from nature is what is really more odd.
I wish I had known her — and to be honest, I wish I had known OF her. I lived in the city till I was seventeen years old, but was not a beachgoer, and I am at once thrilled to hear about her and sad that I was not able to enjoy even the knowledge of her existence all those years she was alive.
Take Public Transit to any of these 4 San Francisco attractions located right near wild blackberry bushes. From late July to October, sun sweetened blackberries can be found within arm’s reach of MUNI (www.sfmta.com) bus stops and parks throughout the City.
San Francisco, city of many famed and golden-gated splendors, is also home to an urban wilderness of ripe fruit for the finding. Blackberries grow wild through dozens of parks, streets and local backyards. Take Public Transit (www.sfmta.com) to any of these popular 4 San Francisco Attractions, and top it off with a small urban harvest of the city’s enduring natural bounty.
Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve is forever in the fog belt. Sixty-one acres of dense, glistening green nature call for a ramble through its damp paths and puddles. The mist envelopes and refreshes. Listen to the eucalyptus creak, the woodpecker echo, and step aside for mountain bikers.
As the fog condenses, it feeds the towering eucalyptus trees and drips down to nourish the English Ivy and sprawling understory of non-native Himalayan Blackberries. The flowers of the HimalayanBlackberry have fatter white petals than the native Pacifictype, and the green leaflets come in fives, not threes. They are flavorful and abundant, but do watch out for drop-offs. Many plants grow at the edges of ravines and cliffs.
There is an ongoing campaign to reduce fire danger in the forest and welcome back the area’s native biological diversity by removing a percentage of the imported trees and invasive understory. Before Adolph Sutro introduced the eucalyptus in 1886, this 900 foot hill was covered by sand and native grasses. The current redevelopment plan would give millions of long dormant seeds another chance to flower in their native home. But songbirds and animals also love blackberries, and those seeds easily disperse from one place to another. Mowing, bulldozing and even burning wouldn’t necessarily control the hearty weed, which will inevitably re-sprout from fragmented roots and stems.
Getting There: View the Trail Map to locate any of several entry points into the forest. The closest MUNI stop is near the 17th and Stanyan Street entrance. Take the 37 Corbett, which will drop you off at 17th and Cole. From there, walk west on 17th for a couple of blocks until it dead-ends into Stanyan. The stairs that enter Sutro Forest are between two private homes, just a few steps south of the 17th and Stanyan intersection.
TheDisney Family Museum is a wonderful place to explore the mind of that architect of the imagination, Walt Disney. An artists and visionaries, Disney embraced emerging art forms and new technologies, expanded the possibilities of optical effects, and blurred the line between reality and dreams.
Getting there: Take the 43 or 28 through the Presidio and get off at Letterman and Lincoln. It’s a pleasant half mile walk down Lincoln to the museum at 104 Montgomery St. Ample scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge appear as you get closer to the museum.
Getting back: On the walk back to the bus stop, pause at the grassy island at Letterman and Presidio for a few berries, then continue to the Letterman and Lincoln MUNI stop, where you can find many more blackberry bushes, right under the trees behind the bench.
Twin Peaks is at the top of a steep and winding residential neighborhood. Skip most of the 922 foot climb by riding MUNI’s 37 Corbett, a humming diesel electric hybrid bus, up to your stop at 74 Crestline Drive. Before hiking the last quarter mile by foot, take a look behind you to find a long, concrete staircase that cuts right back down through the houses. There may even be a blackberry branch or two peeking through as a clue to the riches below. After climbing one (or both?) of Twin Peaks above, plan to take that same staircase down to a small parking lot with many more berries in plain sight.
The path leading to the summits of both peaks is just across the street from the bus stop and is clearly marked. Wide wooden stairs cut into the side of the mountain and invite you to take big steps up to the top. The wind gets stronger the further you climb, until you are buffeted on all sides by the swirl and strength. The peaks are undeveloped mounds of sand and rocky gravel that offer a majestic view of the city all the way round. Visitors point out the sights in many languages. The new Bay Bridge expansion, the remains of Candlestick Park, the fog wafting through the Golden Gate Bridge, and everything down Market Street, from the rainbow flag to the Ferry Building.
Having taken a few photos, a good long look, and enjoyed that balance of being at once knocked and supported by the wind, follow that same trail back down. Remember those signpost berries across the street? Let them lead you further down to a small parking lot with many more.
Getting back: From the blackberry parking lot, it’s another staircase down and a few steps to the return trip MUNI stop at Parkridge Drive and Burnett Avenue. The 37 Corbett will return you to Market Street and further connections.
Portals of the Past is an evocative moniker that entices for good reason. The marble portico once served as the doorway to the mansion of railroad tycoon Alban Towne. Before his home was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, these six white marble columns gleamed among the doomed Nob Hill estates of Crocker, Stanford and all the rest. In the wake of the disaster, this lonely ruin was immortalized by photographer Arnold Genthe as a symbol of the end of an era. Over the years, the Portals of the Past have come to serve as a reminder of perseverance through tragedy.
Moved from its original location on California Street in 1909, the picturesque portals are now located at Golden Gate Park’s Lloyd Lake, at JFK and Crossover Drive. Hitchcock put Kim Novak’s character in a trance while she gazed at the portals in “Vertigo,” but this tranquil lake setting, among ducks, shady trees, and a path to blackberries, is more likely to invite contemplation, peace and wedding planners.
Gettingthere: The shortest walk from MUNI drops you off at the north side of Golden Gate Park. Take the 5 Fulton to 22nd and Fulton. The path into the park is between 22nd and 21st, and it’s only a five minute walk to the lake, with blackberries along the way.
Disclaimer for Picking Blackberries:
“Personal Picking Etiquette” to Ensure Safety and Sustainability
Pick at your own risk
Do not pick on private property
Wash blackberries before eating (area may be irrigated with graywater)
Pick only ripe blackberries
Pick only what you can eat in a short time (as if waiting for the next bus?)
Pick only what you can reach (do not stomp over existing plant life)
Watch out for thorns and poison oak
Watch out for ground wasps, bees and other critters
Watch out for drop-offs. Many plants grow at the edges of ravines and cliffs.
There is no city policy against picking a few berries on public land. Provided you know the risks and follow the recommendations, the benefits will be sweet. San Franciscans may claim to have their favorite “hidden” spots, but blackberries are not on the endangered list. Everyone from hikers to commuters can take their pick.
Eve Hill I was born and raised in San Francisco, graduated USC with a degree in Film History, and continue to appreciate the local history, food and cultural life of both Northern and Southern California. I’ve worked in TV production, public education and nonprofits. You may also find me walking the family dog, reading “lit fic,” watching sports, or faking my way through a sentimental tune on the piano.
Customize the Way You Age Aging in Place, Downsizing, 55+ communities Our Mission: To help older adults and their loved ones think through what they need (in their current home or their next one) so they can Age-in-Place safely and comfortably in a way that reflects who they are – not just how old they are. www.customizedaging.com