Stompers is a relatively small store in the Folsom District catering mainly to the gay male leather crowd. However, if you're ever in need of a nice-looking pair of boots, this is the place to go. Customer service is nothing to write home about, especially if you're in the company of women, but that doesn't really matter, since all the cashier needs to do is get you the boots to try on. Combat boots, motorcycle boots, you name it. They have both Asian knockoffs and the real deals.
Want a reptile? Don't bother with Petco or some other giant chain--those people treat their snakes and lizards terribly, and worse, have no idea how to care for the animals they're selling. Plus, their stock is usually of poor quality.
Go to the East Bay Vivarium instead! Pythons? Monitors? Iguanids? They're all here, and the staff is quite knowledgable and responsible. The prices are decent, though not amazing. However, it's better to spend a little more to get a better animal.
a hospital. I went to this place (it's actually an ambulatory care center, not a sports medicine office) for a relatively minor surgery. I was pretty freaked out about it, but their staff was professional, caring, and definitely knew what they were doing. They put my mind at ease, and I seem to be recovering just fine.
Unfortunately for a place that serves the transgendered community, one of their receptionists continually messed up someone's pronouns, despite being corrected multiple times.
Whenever I'm in the Bay Area, I'm always tempted to do nothing but hang out in used bookstores. Walden Pond near Lake Merritt is one of several that has a random assortment of very good books staffed by knowledgable, colorful people. If you're looking for a spontaneous gift for an intellectual friend, check Walden Pond out--there's probably a cheap but interesting volume with your friend's name on it.
One of the great things about living in California is the easy availability of fresh, organic produce. The Berkeley Bowl is an alternative to well-stocked but overpriced stores like Andronico's. There's an endless selection of vegetables, cheeses, and other gourmet products. It's definitely possible to spend a fortune there, but it's not mandatory. Get your mass-produced items, cleaning supplies, etc. elsewhere, though.
Ever since Black & Blue Tattoo lost their piercer, I've recommended Chris at Body Manipulations to everyone in the Mission who needs a piercer. Their jewelry is good quality and fairly priced, they practice sterile technique, and Chris is quite skilled. Their staff does just about every sort of piercing you can think of along with scarification and cutting. Prices are pretty reasonable too.
Dr. Michael Brownstein has a full-range plastic surgery practice, but he specializes in chest reconstruction for female-to-male transsexuals. His results are easily the best available, and his bedside manner can't be beat. I'd trust him with whatever plastic surgery procedure I needed.
The customer service here is outstanding, especially because I often come in here with incredibly stupid questions. Washington Mutual is the "less evil" of the large banks here in Los Angeles.
Penny Lane is one of several small video stores around the West Los Angeles area that carry all kinds of off-beat movies. Their staff is helpful, if hipper-than-thou. You can rent or buy any movie you see. They also have an extensive selection of used LPs and CDs from a variety of genres.
...if nothing else. This is a typical Los Angeles liquor store--dirty, seedy, smelling way too much of Pine-Sol. Since it serves the drunks and street people around my house, the high-end liquor is largely untouched. If you're not afraid of a little bit of dust and grime on your bottle of Patron Tequila or your 18-Year Scotch, it's a reliable source of drinkable booze when you can't make your way to a Bev-Mo.
Not a good source of beer, though.