For those who are not able to come into San Francisco's Chinatown to shop for their Asian grocery, Richmond New May Wah Supermarket will more than do. Really good prices compared to most other Chinese supermarkets (unless you compare it with Chinatown supermarkets), wide selection, and fresh vegetables and fruits make this supermarket a good choice. And it has a good edge over most other Chinese supermarkets, including the ones in Chinatown; Richmond New May Wah Supermarket has superior service that parallels that of Safeway, unlike most Chinese supermarkets in San Francisco.
Central Computer Systems is an independently-owned computer store where you can pick up just about any computer part that you may need. It's more like a warehouse than a store, which beautifully translates to that the parts you will pick up will be near-factory direct prices. Much cheaper than Best Buy a mile or two away, and much, much cheaper than CompUSA just up the street, Central Computer Systems also offer service on your parts and will fix all types of computer problems quickly, easily, and for a good price. They also build complete systems tailored to your custom tastes. Central Computer Systems have weekly sales that will drop the prices of dozens of items even lower, so make sure to check out the deals before you start shopping there. Their only problem is that their service isn't too great, despite the fact that there are so many employees, but I think it's worth it to sacrifice a bit of good service for really good prices and knowledge on computer parts.
Orange Digital Land carries the newest phones, some of which are direct from Asia, and some of them are so new that the employees of other cell phone provider stores in San Francisco may not have even heard of them before. The employees at Orange Digital Land are nice and courteous, and will bend quite a bit just to make a sale (but they never put pressure on you like most other salespersons, fortunately). The employees here really know what they are talking about, and seem to know all of the bugs of the phones they sell, and will even tell you about them and how to fix them. They offer much better plans than the real Cingular ones, and they may throw in free accessories just to make a sale. Open your next cell phone plan here for the best service and prices.
The Opera Plaza Theatre may not have the popular movies you see advertised on television, but for independent and foreign film lovers, this cinema is one of the best places to watch movies at. This theatre is built for people who would like a cozy, comfortable place to watch movies, as the small screening rooms (only two of them) only offer seats enough for maybe two dozen people, and the two larger auditoriums allow probably less than 100 people in each room. Most of the time, you will probably find only about a dozen people in the theatre with you, so you can enjoy the movies by yourself or with a few friends or a date. The Opera Plaza Theatre is one of the last places to catch popular independent and foreign films before they leave the Bay Area.
I saw an advertisement in the paper for this store, and decided to check it out so that I could open a new Cingular mobile phone account. The employee there was nice, but was not too experienced (I saw on the wall that he just got his certification from Cingular to work there that month I went there), but he was trying his best to make his sales. The decor makes it seems as if you've just stepped into Cingular world, with all orange and white decorations. Not the very best, but for a regular place to open up a new Cingular cell phone plan with no hassles, Infinitel Communications is good place to go.
Union Street Coffee Roastery only employs about half a dozen employees, but the low numbers in employees do not affect the way they do business at all. The staff members are always nice and courteous, and they are always up for a bit of chatting with you if you have the time to do that. Their selection of drinks blows away almost all other independent coffee shops in the area, and their drinks are, by far, better than those offered at Starbucks and Peet's Coffee. Their food is just as good as their drinks, and they have cookies, cakes, dishes, and more for vegans and fans of organic foods (try their quiche; it's the best I have ever tasted). They have quite a few tables indoors, and several tables outside as well, if you wish to enjoy the scenery and breathe in some fresh air. They also offer free high-speed wireless Internet for those who would like to bring their own laptops or pay a small fee to use the computers they have there. Definitely worth a try!
I have been a customer of Kee Photo for many years now, and I love that they are professional while kind at the same time. They have a decent selection of backgrounds for group pictures (such as those that you could take with friends), and their photographers are definitely skilled. The only turn-off that comes to mind is that the store is very small and may seem a bit messy, but what the decor lacks the photographers do not in skill.
Paperwhirl was recommended to me by a friend a while back, and I have purchased several items there since. With unique cards not found at many other places, Paperwhirl gives customers a nice place for special greeting cards, including a wide selection of cool cards with blank insides. All of the staff members I have met there are really nice and sweet, and they even offer to help you find the cards that you are looking for. One of my top three favorite greeting card stores in San Francisco, Paperwhirl is a greeting card store unlike most of the ones that you have visited.
The staff and the lay-out may not be the best, but Rasputin has a very wide selection of underground and hard-to-find music, especially those in the hip hop genre. Rasputin has an awesome used music selection that is hard to beat, both price-wise and selection-wise. The prices at Rasputin beats the regular price of CDs sold at chain storesm such as the Virgin Megastore up the street and the Sam Goody in the San Francisco Shopping Center, so that's a plus. And they sometimes have local artists there to sign autographs and such, adding a very nice flavor to the place.
One day, while coming home from middle school years ago, I passed by a group of tourists who asked me if I knew how to get to a bookstore called City Lights. I gave them the directions, and they thanked me graciously. A few weeks after that, I met a few more tourists who was looking for a bookstore that they could not remember the name of, describing the store by using adjectives like "legendary, special, unique, famous," and "widely-known." I asked them if they were talking about City Lights, and they all nodded immediately, smiles on their faces.
At the time, I could not understand why City Lights was so popular. And then I went there about a year ago, and kicked myself for not going sooner. City Lights is a neighborhood bookstore at its best. A sweet little spot that many people will pass by without noticing, but a grand palace for those who are seeking it. City Lights is, believe it or not, a San Francisco landmark of sorts, and it's only a bookstore! Filled with history, culture, politics, tradition, and - of course - lots of quality books, City Lights is probably the only place in San Francisco you probably would not mind getting lost in.