Tag Archives: haight street

Free Write!

Scene loves creativity.
We’re showcasing creative writing done by students…
this week a short story by
Paolo Arellano.

Want your work featured ? Send submissions to to scene@sffoghorn.info

Gregory walked across the dark street of Haight. He was lost, simply couldn’t find his way home. No. He couldn’t find his dorm. Home is thousands of miles away from San Francisco. Never mind the beautiful wharf, the infamous Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate bridge. It was nothing compared to his mother’s cooking, his friends that made him laugh whenever he was having an awful day, or even his girlfriend Jessica. He had to leave all that behind after he realized that USF was the perfect school for him. Or was it? He was excited to come to San Francisco after he came to visit day in April. But now he regrets his decision.
As he walked down Haight street he came across a homeless man. Greg walked with his head down, kicking invisible objects and sighing, still trying to find his way back to the dorms. The homeless man played a guitar when he noticed Greg. “Hey kid,” the homeless man said. Greg kept walking. Back home no homeless men ever approached him. “Don’t worry kid, I’m not begging you for change or nothin’” Greg stopped. He had nowhere else to be. “Here kid, let me play you a song,” the homeless man played a familiar tune. “I like this song, how did you know?” Greg questioned the man.
“Your shirt kid,” he responded.
Of course. Greg forgot that he had on his favorite shit. Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven”. Except the man was playing “Going to California.” The homeless man sang aloud for all to hear. Pretty soon, it wasn’t just Greg standing around the man jamming out to this song. There were now at least 15 people. Even a few of them with iPhones recording this homeless nobody play this well-known song. Some even sang along. The homeless man finally finished playing. Everyone clapped for him as he bowed to the crowd. As Greg was leaving, the homeless man stopped and said, “see kid, I’ve never had a home. I may or may not had had one at some point but as far back as I can I remember, I don’t have one. So if a man like me can be happy, you should be as well.” Greg smiled and asked the man for directions. “You turn left here on Masonic and go straight,” the homeless man added.
Greg walked along Haight street. He thought about the man’s words. “We all need something from everyone,” he thought to himself, “everyone deserves a chance to be heard.” He walked along Masonic back to his new home, smiling, knowing that these next four years would be a journey.

The Best (And Worst) Coffee Shops On Haight Street

When I moved to San Francisco as a freshman at USF, I remember constantly hearing one word to describe the USF and San Francisco community: Diversity. We, as Jesuit scholars, love our diversity. Luckily, we live in a city that loves endorsing culturally diverse neighborhood communities (emphasis on “diverse,” just to hammer this point home). Unrelated to this, I love coffee. So what better way for me to spend my time than exploring coffee shops and cafes in each of San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods? Because the Haight is the closest cultural hub to USF’s campus, I will start there.

There are at least ten different cafes in the stretch of Haight Street between Masonic and Stanyan, but this article will only cover a few of them. If your favorite coffee shop isn’t listed then, hey, maybe it’s time  to explore a new one! First up, the infamous Coffee to the People. This establishment embodies all things Haight-Ashbury– its rotating gallery of abstract art work, its 1970’s-esque politically radical collages, the permanent group of street kids at its stoop, and its comfy couches. Coffee to the People is a bubble of socialist utopia. If you don’t mind the wafting scent of customers who don’t shower very often, then this cafe is a great place to settle in and read or browse the Internet. The baristas could stand to be a tad more cordial; then again, their blasé attitudes are probably just the manifestation of their hipster obscurity. When it comes to coffee quality, Coffee to the People is a winner. Their drip coffee always seems to have a bit more flavor than the competition. They also have a fantastic assortment of teas, although I stay away from the Chai- you have to be feeling really spicy to handle a chai latte here. If you’re looking to hang out, do homework, or just people watch in the Haight, Coffee to the People is my number one suggestion.

Somehow, after living a block from it for almost a year, I didn’t manage to visit the Red Vic Cafe until this semester. Luckily, I stopped in to visit a friend at work (the baristas are mostly USF students) and realized that the Red Vic is not just a bed and breakfast– It’s also a great place to study in a peaceful, quiet environment. Free wifi, exceptionally friendly baristas, and the tranquility of their meditation room keep me coming back to the Red Vic whenever I am feeling the hankering for some “me time.” Anything “latte” is good at this place, whether it be a chai latte, vanilla latte, caramel soy latte… It’s good. The drip coffee leaves something to be desired though, so if you are going to go here, go for the fancy drinks. Bring your laptop, sip on the something sugary, and let yourself enjoy the tranquility!

The last stop on this week’s coffee exploration is Cafe Cole, a small little coffee house right off of Haight Street. For me, Cafe Cole is always a hit or miss affair. They have a few strikes against them from the get go. First, they don’t provide free wifi. Second, they are cash only (as are many places in this city), but their atm tends to be persnickety and doesn’t always like to work. Third, there isn’t much seating within the cafe, so if it’s a rainy day, you probably will want to get your goods to go. With all that being said, Cafe Cole does have one unique and amazing thing to offer: wonderfully delicious smoothies. They are one of the few places in the Haight were you can get vegan (or non-vegan) smoothies of all flavors and varieties. They are my go-to for fruity drinks. Their muffins, additionally, are the best in the area (not to mention they are exceptionally large). The downside? The drip coffee is pretty bad. As is the chai. Regular lattes are acceptable, but nothing to write home about. Since this is a coffee-based review, Cafe Cole is, unfortunately, not a place I would recommend for anything espresso related.

Other coffee places to check out in the Haight: People’s Caf and the Blue Bottle coffee counter in the Haight Market. Places to stay away from: Whole Foods Coffee Bar, The Cantina, and Rockin’ Java.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: TRacy Sidler