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Union Street Scoop

May dazed and delighted

A month to celebrate
A traditional May Day celebration: the Maypole Photo: Starley2 / flickr

What exactly are we celebrating again? Oh yeah, just about anything. Here in San Francisco, we love our festivals, parades, galas, bashes, dinner parties, beer/oyster/music/whatever-fests. May is a month where the holidays are as varied and diverse as our cultures, beginning with May Day. Despite the fact that May Day has slipped to about No. 25 on the important days list — behind Artichoke Day, Tuba Day, World Belly Dancer’s Day, and Cookie Monster’s Birthday — at one time it topped the holiday charts, signifying the true beginning of spring with maypoles, flowers and fertility.

Which brings me right to Mother’s Day, the cause célèbre, the megastar of May observances. Mother’s Day has never slipped off the top of the holiday charts and remains solid in its ranking worldwide. On Union Street, we begin the tribute by lining the entire street with balloons, setting the stage for daylong strolls, brunches and lunches. Whether it’s a special champagne brunch at Perry’s or Bistro Unique , fabulous flowers from Mandy Scott, or a complimentary cupcake or candy cocktail at American Cupcake, the homey ambiance of Union Street on Mother’s Day is simply wonderful. And don’t forget to check out Jest Jewels, where tiaras will be worn by all of us (yes, May is also National Tiara Month) to honor the celestial efforts of Mom.

Holy Corona, Batman, hold onto your sombrero, because you know Union Street bars will be jumping on Cinco de Mayo, a celebration more about tequila than Mexico’s day of independence from Spain. Best bar to celebrate the day? For me it’s The Blue Light, whose Taco Tuesdays, sports events, warm atmosphere, and great customer service always come together to make it one of the best neighborhood bars around. As if Cinco de Mayo isn’t enough, May 5 is also Derby Day, where two minutes of Kentucky Derby horseracing brings out tons of people in giant hats. Guess what the hat of the day will be this year!

And last, but certainly not least, on May’s event calendar is Memorial Day weekend. Traditionally, this is a time of remembrance for those who have served our country. This year, it’s also the weekend we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. At the demarcation between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic and beautiful structures in the world. It is 1.7 miles long, 240 feet above the water, with two towers that climb to the height of a 65-story building; but facts aside, it is the 75 years of memories and stories that are significant, from those of us lucky enough to see it every day to those visitors who have seen it just the once. I have written about the bridge often, always with wonder. I have written about the many currents below, and about the fog that shrouds it above. I’ve talked about its lights, its grandeur, and its considerable mystique, to which I’ll now add  its timelessness.

On a different note, we welcome two new stores to the neighborhood. The first is Skin Organic Body Care at 2764 Octavia Street (at Union). The tag line at Skin is “real ingredients, real simple.” The product line is the brainchild of founder Stephanie Simkins, who says, “I combine my love of holistic healing, whole foods and nutrition, along with the use of organic oils and botanicals, to create products I believe will nourish your mind, body and spirit.” All of the products are made by Simkins herself and incorporate the highest quality natural ingredients. As a skin product hound, I for one look forward to the new kid on the block.

And congratulations to Juice Shop, which recently opened at the sliver of a spot at 1994 Union Street (at Buchanan). Tiny store yes, but a giant in the cold-pressed juice world. Each batch is made from quality ingredients in their own kitchen and delivered fresh. Some of their  specialties include  Deep Green, a mix of kale, parsley, spinach, cucumber, ro-
maine, celery, and lemon; and Beta Beet with carrot, beet, ginger, celery, and lemon. It’s a great way to get your vitamins, and celebrate health — and May is also National Juice Month.

Leslie Drapkin is a co-owner of Jest Jewels on Union Street. E-mail: leslie@marinatimes.com
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