Ailene Sankur

Small Business Awards 2008: Small Green Business Award

Luscious Garage
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As soon as you enter the woman-owned Luscious Garage, you know you're not in your typical stinky, boys-only auto repair shop. The art-lined walls are painted creamy yellow. Plants and open windows — in place of energy-sucking exhaust systems — act as an air filter. The second-hand furniture, all dark wood, gorgeously contrasts with the light walls and green leaves. Read more »

7 places to BYOB

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Remember that old college chant, "Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer; you're in the clear"? I propose we change that to: "Markups on liquor, never been sicker. Bring your own beer; you're in the clear."

Seriously, San Francisco is a city that likes its liquor with a side of food, and no one knows that more than restaurant owners — from the outright avaricious to those just trying to stay above their astronomical overhead in this real estate-deprived city. Haven't you been to a dinner where the bar tab doubles that of the food? Read more »

Careers & Ed: Degrees of separation

Why college grads get service jobs
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culture@sfbg.com

Julia Cosart spends her days attending to San Francisco's skin woes — unwanted hair, unwelcome wrinkles, and clogged pores — at Spa Radiance. Her calm, self-assured, soothing demeanor is not unlike the atmosphere of the spa in which she works. Which is why it's hard to imagine her in the fast-paced, cutthroat world of advertising.

But that is where Cosart imagined herself ending up, having graduated in 2004 from the University of Nevada at Reno with a combined degree in advertising and journalism. Read more »

Fune Ya

Saved by the sushi boat
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HUNGER SET SAIL I must confess: I wasn't planning to go to Fune Ya. I wanted to go to Namu, but couldn't get a table (thanks, Paul Reidinger). Then I wanted to go to Burma Superstar, but after driving around the Inner Richmond for 45 minutes trying to find parking I wasn't in the mood to wait twice that amount of time for food. So after buying a bunch of Peek-a-Poohs and Pocky from Genki's Crepes, I walked a few doors down and saw a big banner in Fune Ya's window: "Sushi Boat! $1.95 Rolls Special Promotion."

I love sushi boats for their interactive quality. Read more »

Seafood soup for the soul

The warm delights of Tofu Village
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IT TAKES A VILLAGE Chuck chicken noodle soup. Forget pho. When I'm sick, I need the warmth and sinus-clearing spice of hot and sour soup, or in a pinch, Top Ramen with lots of Tapatio. But the last time I was sick, in an effort to explore my new Outer Sunset hood, I decided to take my chances on the offerings at the almost-year-old Tofu Village.

Now, I'm all about immediate gratification. So I was happy when, 30 seconds after I sat down, steaming tea arrived. Read more »

A la Turca

A virtual Xanadu for any aficionado of the Byzantine
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TURKISH TREAT Lebanese, Syrian, Greek — a craving for Mediterranean or Middle Eastern can be satisfied at a number of Bay Area restaurants, yet what if you want the one cuisine bridging the two? Inexplicably, Turkish restaurants are sorely missing from an otherwise all-inclusive food scene.

But deep in the cracked-out heart of the Tenderloin resides the consistently delicious and ridiculously affordable A la Turca. Read more »

G-Spot: Waiter, I'll take the (status) check!

Valentine's Day dinner ideas in sync with your situation
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culture@sfbg.com

There's something smug and even a bit embarrassing about going out to celebrate Valentine's Day as a couple: you're in public with all of the other twosomes, participating in an orgy of self-satisfaction.

But being a twosome is rarely a definite "you are" or "you aren't" thing. It isn't a static state but a constantly evolving condition. Going out on Valentine's Day announces to both yourselves and those around you the current status of "the two of you," making it the perfect impetus to assess what stage of development Read more »

Venus

Breakfast of blandness
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BREAKFAST OF BLANDNESS Brunch is a vulnerable meal: you've probably just woken up, and you might be unshowered or hungover. Regardless of your daring at dinner, brunch requires only consistency.

My friend gets that from Venus in Berkeley. I can see why: the coziness of the brick walls, lined with local artists' work; the long wait and bustling interior that allude to the establishment's popularity. She swears by the chicken sausage scramble with the morning glory muffin. Read more »