Marina-Cow Hollow Insider

The shirt on your back

The beautiful wood-fired oven at Contrada. Photo: FACEBOOK.COM/CONTRADASF


Union Street has become a little comfier: Thanks to the Union Street Association and Supervisor Mark Farrell, 21 green benches have been installed on Union Street to give you a place to rest, people watch, and check your e-mail in between shopping errands. Let’s hope that’s all that happens there, and we know you’re thinking the same thing.


We spied this store, Untuckit (1872 Union Street), on our way out of town recently, so imagine our surprise when we saw an advertisement in USA Today as well as a promotional piece in American Way, American Airlines’ in-flight magazine. Imagine our pride when we saw San Francisco, and our own Union Street at that, as just one location of four across the country. For you guys who haven’t yet discovered this new shirt style, it’s specially designed to be worn, yep, you guessed it, untucked. The fit is slim and the hemline more contoured than a regular (boring) tuck-in shirt, and it’s also shorter to allow access to your pants pockets. Sounds like a clever idea, and thanks for choosing Union Street!

Got plaid? The Pladra pop-up store (2030 Union Street) sure does through Jan. 15. These folks are serious about quality and design. The flannel comes from Portugal, and the design goes through multiple prototypes, so it’s not just your run-of-the-mill flannel shirt: The heavy-weight style has faux suede elbow patches, the medium weight is pill-proof with a brushed interior, and the women’s style is fitted — and all have a whimsical cuff lining of bears and fish and wilderness-y motifs, making these plaids special. Extra Brownie points because the shirts are constructed in South San Francisco, and for the friendly greeter, Brooke, the resident cocoa Lab. If you miss the pop-up (but don’t, really, plaid is hot, and you want to be that, right?), catch them online at


We stopped by Belga (2000 Union Street) on a recent chilly night to try out their Monday Lite menu of two items for $15. There’s a choice of seven dishes, and we chose the lentil soup with mirepoix, spinach, and crème fraîche (which was nicely divided into two cup-sized portions) and the grilled chicken paillard with warm potato and kale salad. We threw in a house-made currywurst sausage ($5) served with whole-grain mustard and house-made ketchups because it happened to be happy hour (Monday–Friday 3:30–6:30 p.m.), and image our delight when the bill was $20 for two. And if that weren’t enough, part of the Monday Lite menu includes free corkage, so this really made our Monday. Make it yours, too — how long the menu continues will be based on its popularity.

The long-awaited Contrada (2136 Union Street) opened at the end of last year in the former beloved La Cucina space. The interior (designed by Marina architect Jim Maxwell) is woody, warm (wood-fired oven), and cozy, and we’re eager to get our fix of rustic Italian comfort food.

We’ve always loved tucking into Ristobar (2300 Chestnut Avenue) for a glass of wine after a movie at the Presidio Theatre, where we would mull the movie surrounded by the beautiful murals and the Venetian glass chandelier. So of course we were disappointed by the note in the window citing their closure due to “staffing issues” as well as the “scheduled structural seismic upgrading.” The note states the restaurant will reopen in February after the upgrading is complete, and we sure hope they do.

In the meantime, we’ll just head down to The Dorian (2001 Chestnut Street), which has launched Night Owl Thursdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with “old fashioned drinks at old fashioned prices.” Apparently so: Five bucks will get you a martini, old fashioned, or Champagne cocktail. Cheers!


Hawkeye Marina Times reader Donna Shea, who teaches Pilates at Embrace Health (2400 Greenwich Street) alerted us to our geographic misstatement of the “cursed corner” in our December column. We stated the location of that corner as Fillmore and Greenwich, when we meant Fillmore and Filbert, specifically, the northwest corner. Thanks to the Plumpjack folks (Balboa Cafe, Eastside West, and Plumpjack Wines), three quarters of Fillmore and Greenwich have been stable for many years, with Sabrosa rounding out the fourth corner for the last few.

Embrace Health, by the way, is the place to go for chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, and Pilates and has been for some 20 years (previously as Body Kinetics). They have wonderful Internet reviews, and Donna is as nice as can be (however, your body may not like her after a Pilates class).

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