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What We're Obsessed With Right Now

The music, coffee, apps, and more that San Francisco staffers are geeking out about this week.

Macarons from Tout Sweet Patisserie

Ellen Cushing, Senior Editor: Last weekend, I went to a party that had a ~*karaoke machine*~ and had the immense pleasure of seeing Aaron Valenzuela—a k a Harriet Brown, apparently a friend of a friend—absolutely bring down the house with "Hello". I found his Soundcloud the next day and can't stop listening to it.

Sara Deseran, Editor-at-Large: After writing my article "Coffee Gone Sour" about the popularity of Third Wave roasters and their propensity for light roasts, I was inundated with people suggesting alternatives. My favorite so far is Roast Co.'s Brown Sugar Kitchen Blend. It's gentle yet strong. I think there's a joke about how I like my men in here. But I'll abstain.

Rebecca Flint Marx, Senior Editor: The Valencia Farmers Market on Valencia and 24th. I recently started going there on my way to and from the 24th St BART and have fallen in love. It's a tiny, unassuming place that somehow manages to have just about everything you could need (to prepare a meal, at least), including a surprisingly diverse selection of very fresh, reasonably priced organic produce. As a bonus, it's run by some of the sweetest people in San Francisco.

Gary Kamiya, Executive Editor: If you care about American music—deep-dish, authentic, utterly American music, the kind of music that exudes everything weird, wonderful and alive about this huge, unfathomable, mixed-up country—the next time Henry Butler is in town, run, don’t walk, to get tickets. The New Orleans pianist’s solo set Friday night at the intimate Joe Henderson Lab at the San Francisco Jazz Center, part of a 4-night SF appearance, was a revelation. Nobody sounds like this guy, and no matter what he plays, it sounds like a soundtrack for a Ken Burns film. You felt like you’re watching George Gershwin improvising. Butler is classified as a jazz pianist, but the label is misleading. What he really is, is a towering son of New Orleans—a uniquely gifted and original exponent of that polyglot, unclassifiable, rollicking musical tradition. The blind virtuoso plays in many different styles, but on Friday he was wailing on songs that were deliriously, almost cornily melodic, made up of huge, fat 10-finger chords, tied together with incredibly muscular and transparent turnarounds, propelled by a machine-like left hand and sprinkled with weird virtuoso runs in the upper register. It’s the exact opposite of the mainstream modern jazz Herbie Hancock-Chick Corea-Bill Evans piano style of complex harmonies and upper structures, but it’s just as compelling—and way more unusual. Dr. John called Butler “the pride of New Orleans and a visionistical down-home cat,” and the doctor was right. The dude is a genius. 

Scott Lucas, Web Editor: I love that French President Francois Hollande is hanging out with Ed Lee and Gavin Newsom right now. It's perfect: He can get tips about how to be a no-drama technocrat from one of them and tips on how to handle it when your affairs go public from the other.

Ian Eck, Editorial Intern: Do you ever want to talk trash on all your friends, but you're afraid of being labeled as the guy who talks trash on his friends? Good news. A new app Secret allows you to share anonymous gossip over your social network. Finally, a Facebook for mean people.

Ted Gioia, Editorial Intern: Overpriced macarons is nothing new to the San Francisco scene, but if you're in the mood for the city's favorite cookie I don't think you can do much better than the macarons at Tout Sweet Patisserie, run by Top Chef: Just Desserts winner Yigit Pura. My favorite is the Sci-Fi-inspired "5th Element" raspberry and Wu Long Rouge Tea macaron.

Katherine Guzman, Editorial Intern: I spent way too much time yesterday watching the videos on the Bold Italic yesterday. It's basically like an OG dashboard cam capturing the hustle and bustle of Market Street in 1906. The eeriest part is it's 4 days before the 1906 earthquake. As if that wasn't already crazy, they also include a similar video cruising the street post-earthquake.

Sean Pyles, Editorial Intern: I saw Bridget Everett perform at Rickshaw Stop this past weekend as part of SF Sketchfest and her probing and sometimes arousing cabaret performance is still within my heart. Her act, which ended in a rendition of Miley Cyrus's "The Climb" (to which me and my crew sang along, and were thus joined by Bridget), was unlike anything I have ever experienced in terms of gratuitous nudity and sheer, awe-inspiring energy. Check out her youtube for a taste.

Kate Van Brocklin, Editorial Intern: Musical Monday at the Edge in the Castro. They play songs from an array of musicals (from The Little Mermaid to Chicago) on television screens around the room. Super friendly waiters, gung-ho musical enthusiasts, and a welcoming atmosphere give you a warm fuzzy feeling that's so rare to find on a Monday night.

 

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