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Top 3 wine merchants in Noe Valley

As the temperature begins to drop and the winter winds begin to gather, head into these local wine merchants to pick up something to warm your bones. by Kathy Shen

Noe Valley Wine Merchants
PlumpJack Wine and Spirits
Whole Foods
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The temperatures are dropping and here in San Francisco, we’ve been blessed with rain. I’m a huge fan of rainy days as it makes the whole world seem fresh and new. Plus, I spent time living in London where it rains frequently and fell in love with mulled wine on cold evenings. Though Americans are not as familiar with mulled wine, many do enjoy a glass of wine as they curl up around the fire!

Noe Valley Wine Merchants (24th Street between Church Street and Vicksburg Street)

Noe Valley Wine Merchants hosts a large selection of wines, expertly arranged by type. Upon entering, they have a display featuring their selection of wine for customers to read about and potentially try should they be interested. The staff seems helpful and when I made my visit, they were assisting another customer with finding the perfect wine for the occasion he was shopping for. You’re sure to find a great selection for your holiday party or just for a night in!

PlumpJack Wine and Spirits (24th Street and Noe Street)

When I walked in, the gentleman behind the counter warmly greeted me and told me about their selection. They have a diverse array of wine, beer, and scotch so regardless of your taste, you can find something to please your palate. They are happy to help you find something that fits your needs and their beer selection is unlike anything you’ll find at the market. If you’re looking for something unique or if you’re into trying beers off the beaten path, check out PlumpJack Wine and Spirits! They’d be happy to help you out!

Whole Foods (24th Street between Noe Street and Sanchez Street)

If the other two stores are closed, don’t fret. Whole Foods has a surprisingly large selection of great alcohol choices. Wander in and browse their choices, it is bound to be more unique than picking something up at the local Safeway and the prices won’t be too steep. You can get some of the more popular choices here and they have an excellent floral selection if you want to pick up some flowers for the evening. Plus, you can grab hot cocoa or tea for the kids while you’re in the store so everyone can have a drink that will keep them warm.

As the temperature begins to drop and the winter winds begin to gather, head into these local merchants to pick up something to warm your bones. With Thanksgiving and the holidays in general coming up, these venues will offer great, unique choices for you to bring for your host. If you’re just looking for something to enjoy at home, you’ll be able to find something to please your palate at any of these locations that is a bit more sophisticated than a boxed wine or generic choice. There are plenty of restaurants in the area as well if you want to grab dinner or take out to enjoy with your drink, so check out the Skive it websiteand make your evening memorable even if you do just spend it inside!

Top 3 Noe Valley Florists

Places in Noe Valley (San Francisco) to buy a beautiful bouquet for your dining room table, so you don’t have to wander far to bring a bit of Spring to your home by Kathy Shen

Flowers of the Valley
The French Tulip
Whole Foods
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As the leaves change color and the sun sets earlier, we all could use a pop of color and nature in our homes. Luckily, there are several places in Noe Valley to buy a beautiful bouquet for your dining room table, so you don’t have to wander far to bring a bit of Spring to your home this Winter!

Flowers of the Valley (24th Street between Castro Street and Noe Street)

Every time I’ve walked down 24th Street, the scent of the flowers at Flowers of the Valley pulls me in. The flowers are always fresh, smell amazing, and look beautiful. Patrons rave about the service and selection. You won’t find a clear sign for the shop, but it’s hard to miss – flowers spill off the storefront into the street. The inside of the shop is cozy, and the owners attentive. Many of its patrons swear by this florist, so if you’re looking for a unique bouquet for your significant other, check out Flowers of the Valley!

The French Tulip (24th Street and Sanchez Street)

On the entirely different end of the spectrum from the bright and cute Cat Town Café is Dick’s Last Resort where you are served by staff trained to be obnoxious. The décor is unusual and you won’t find tablecloths or napkins at this establishment. Diners are given large paper hats and adult bibs to wear during their stay and staff will throw napkins at you if you should need them. If you want feel uncomfortable and be insulted, this is the place to go for your masochist fix of the day! With twelve locations, Dick’s Last Resort isn’t unique to the Bay, but it definitely isn’t like your run-of-the-mill dining experience. If you get a little too uncomfortable and want to try another venue, no worries – there are plenty of amazing places to grab food nearby!

Whole Foods (24th Street between Noe Street and Sanchez Street)

If you’re running late and the previous two shops are closed for the day but you still want to grab a gorgeous, fresh bouquet for a loved one, Whole Foods has a great selection for you. The flowers are fresh, last well, and are wrapped nicely. Though it may be tempting to stop at the large Safeway on the way into Noe Valley, the selection at Whole Foods is a bit more refreshing. Additionally, they have potted selections you can choose from if you want a gift that won’t wilt or die after a week or so!

With the weather turning and the cold settling in, make one of these Noe Valley venues your go-to for fresh flowers to last you through the cold, dreary winter days. They are vibrant, smell amazing, and will cheer up any home! I personally love having flowers in my home because they bring a sense of cheer and remind me of the springtime. It can be dreary if you’re stuck in an office all day and the sun is setting just as you’re leaving, but with a gorgeous bouquet waiting for you at home, you can bring a little of that sunshine and warm weather feeling into your home anytime. For suggestions on places to grab something to keep your hands warm through the winter, check out our selections for best work cafes and best unconventional cafes in Noe Valley or break up a dreary weekend with brunch at a local Noe Valley eatery! Skive’s the limit, so go explore all Noe Valley has to offer!

Top 3 quirky dining experiences in the Bay Area

From venues for the masochists to those that want to play with kittens, there’s a little something for everyone who wants to try something new in Bay Area by Kathy Shen

Cat Town Café
Dick’s Last Resort
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For all the individuals out there that enjoy having a one-of-a-kind experience, the Bay Area has some unique venues that are sure to be stranger than your usual trip to the coffee shop or restaurant. From venues for the masochists to those that want to play with kittens, there’s a little something for everyone who wants to try something new. Here are three venues in the Bay Area you can try this weekend!

Cat Town Café (2869 Broadway, Oakland, CA)

Newly open, Cat Town Café allows visitors to grab a coffee or pastry from their cat-themed café which you can sip on as you wait for your turn to visit the cat potion of the venue. If you’re still enjoying your purchases when your turn arrives, you can bring it with you to the next room where there are a myriad of amazing toys for you to use as you play with the cats as well as structures for the cats to climb on themselves. Additionally, you can purchase treats for the cats while you are there. Cat Town Café is brightly lit with almost guaranteed fun for all and should you fall in love with a cat in particular, you can adopt it and take it home! Cat Town Café brings the well-known cat cafes of Japan to the United States and while helping cats in shelters find good homes. Plus, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with a cat while they relax with their caffeine fix?

Dick’s Last Resort (353 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA)

On the entirely different end of the spectrum from the bright and cute Cat Town Café is Dick’s Last Resort where you are served by staff trained to be obnoxious. The décor is unusual and you won’t find tablecloths or napkins at this establishment. Diners are given large paper hats and adult bibs to wear during their stay and staff will throw napkins at you if you should need them. If you want feel uncomfortable and be insulted, this is the place to go for your masochist fix of the day! With twelve locations, Dick’s Last Resort isn’t unique to the Bay, but it definitely isn’t like your run-of-the-mill dining experience. If you get a little too uncomfortable and want to try another venue, no worries – there are plenty of amazing places to grab food nearby!

BrainWash (1122 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA)

For all you busy people in SoMa, this café will allow you to become an expert multi-tasker since you can get your coffee fix, something to eat, do some work, and also get your laundry done. They offer free WiFi so you can pop your clothes into the machine, order a burger or whatever pleases your fancy, and settle in to work a project or relax and watch a movie. They offer a dollar off food as well if you come during their “happy hour” and do laundry! Though at first glance I thought the premise behind it was a bit wacky, when I entered the café, it was so warm and the people there were very friendly that I immediately had a good time. The laundry area is off to the back and it is on par with the other laundromats I’ve been to over the years. Overall, it is a great venue with friendly people and who doesn’t enjoy the smell of fresh laundry?

Of course, San Francisco has other quirky locations to visit other than those we’ve checked out. For example, a short ways away from BrainWash is AsiaSF where you can enjoy Cal Asian dishes served by their world famous transgendered stars in a friendly, cheerful atmosphere. Additionally, if you want to try dining in the dark, you can visit opaque where you chose what you’d like to eat beforehand, then are guided to a pitch black dining area and served by the visually impaired. I personally wasn’t too inclined to wander off to either of these places on my own, but would encourage you to check any of these locations out if you have the chance! You’re bound to have a one-of-a-kind experience and not many people have access to such a diverse range of dining experiences! As always, share your experiences with us on Skive it! Happy dining!

Top 3 amazing local brunches

As Fall starts to settle in, hit these three amazing and local brunch destinations in Noe Valley, San Francisco by Kathy Shen

Le Zinc
Griddle Fresh
Chloe’s Cafe
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Brunch is by far one of my favorite things and San Francisco offers some amazing venues to sit down with friends over omelettes, pancakes, and eggs benedict. As Fall starts to settle in, hit these three amazing and local brunch destinations in Noe Valley! Grab a mimosa, order a tall glass of orange juice for the kids, and enjoy the amazing menus that each location has to offer!

Le Zinc (24th Street between Castro Street and Noe Street)

Le Zinc serves up an amazing Parisian brunch every Saturday and Sunday until 3 pm. They have a prix fixe menu for $25 including freshly squeezed juice, coffee, fruit, pastry, and your choice of one of their many mouth-watering egg dishes. If the prix fixe menu isn’t quite to your liking, they also have great options on the rest of their brunch menu including French toast, croque-monsieurs, crepes, steak, and plenty of egg dishes. Plus, you can pair whatever you decide to order with one of their many brunch cocktails while enjoying their garden patio!

Griddle Fresh (24th Street and Noe Street)

Just down the street from Le Zinc is another amazing brunch place that offers a cozy atmosphere to enjoy breakfast. Offering breakfast dishes until 2:45 pm daily, Griddle Fresh offers sweet and savory dishes for every desire. Settle in at one of their tables and enjoy the friendly atmosphere while trying out one of the famous dishes they have advertised on their sandwich board outside. Personally, I’m looking forward to checking out their Parma Flavor Benedict!

Chloe’s Cafe (26th Street and Church Street)

Open until 3pm during the week and 3:30 on the weekend, Chloe’s Café offers a place to grab brunch away from the bustle of 24th Street. They offer great options for scrambles, pancakes with pure maple syrup, and lunch if anyone in your party isn’t feeling the breakfast scene. Customers rave about their rosemary bread and pancakes! Plus, Chloe’s has an outdoor seating area so you can people watch while you enjoy your brunch!

Brunch is an amazing way for you to relax with friends on the weekend while enjoying a morning cocktail. There are some great places in Noe Valley to enjoy a weekend brunch and at these locations, you’re sure to have some amazing food in a friendly atmosphere. Griddle Fresh and Le Zinc are both in the middle of the hustle and bustle of 24th Street, so after your brunch, it is easy to walk to Noe Valley Courts and enjoy the weather and a coffee or explore the shops! Though Chloe’s Café is a bit off the beaten path, there are fun places nearby to peruse like Lovejoy’s Attic where you can pick up some antiques for home. Noe Valley has a lot to offer, so head over on the J-line to enjoy brunch sometime soon! If you need other recommendations for places to visit in Noe, please explore our website for other locations in the area!

Top 3 family friendly places to enjoy the beautiful weather

Before the fog settles back in, take your family or a date to one of these great outdoor places in Noe Valley, San Francisco by Kathy Shen

Noe Valley Courts
Douglass Playground
Upper Noe Recreation Center
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San Francisco is usually known for foggy days, but over the last month, San Francisco has been blessed with quite a few sunny days. Before the fog settles back in, take your family or a date to one of these great outdoor places in Noe Valley for a picnic, dog walk, or for your little ones to meet new friends!

Noe Valley Courts (24th Street and Douglass Street)

Nestled at the very end of the busy 24th Street, Noe Valley Courts has an adorable little play area for your kids, and plenty of green grass for dogs to run around or for a picnic. It is right next to a Thai restaurant and Philz Coffee, so if you have a bit of time this weekend and want to enjoy the sun, head over here with a cup of Philz or pick up take-away from one of the great restaurants nearby! Noe Valley Courts is just far enough from the popular places on 24th Street to get peace, but definitely still close enough to grab a bite or go shopping afterward if you're so inclined.

Douglass Playground (Clipper Street and Douglass Street)

Douglass Playground isn't dog-friendly, but this means you can enjoy the greenery without worries of stumbling across any canine-related feces. Surrounded by towering trees, Douglass Playground offers a private place for you to escape the craziness of the city and there are a ton of places for your kids to play, including a slide up on a hill. There is also a basketball court if anyone in your group wants to shoot some hoops! Plus, there is a public bathroom available so you can stay until closing if you're so inclined!

Upper Noe Recreation Center (Day Street and Church Street)

Probably the most comprehensive location I've been to, this location offers an indoor gym to shoot hoops, a great playground, a place for your dogs to run, and an open field for individuals to take advantage of that dogs aren’t allowed on. There’s an entire indoor area, so if anyone in your group wants to stay out of the sun, they’re welcome to hang out indoors! Plus, there are plenty of cafes in the area if you want to grab coffee or bite to eat before or after your visit.

If you’re looking for a place to relax this weekend with friends or family, try one of these great places. They offer open grassy spaces to have a picnic and Noe Valley Courts and Upper Noe Recreation Centre are both close to coffee and food, so they’d be ideal for a picnic. Or bring a picnic basket to Douglass Playground and enjoy the serenity of the tall trees and green grass! All the cafes in Noe Valley are on our website, so if you’d like to check out the surrounding cafes to see where you’d prefer to picnic at, please feel free! Post your own videos too of your favorite places to Skive it as well!

Top 3 local bars to catch the ball game

If you want to grab a drink and be around other Niners or Giants fans, check these places out in Noe Valley, San Francisco! by Kathy Shen

Valley Tavern
The Dubliner
Horner’s Corner
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San Franciscans love their sports teams, but sometimes we can’t pony up the cash to go to every game we’d like. However, there are some great sports bars in Noe Valley that you can watch the game at, so if you want to grab a drink and be around other Niners or Giants fans, check these places out!

Valley Tavern (24th Street between Castro Street and Noe Street)

This is probably my top choice, mostly because it has a pretty amazing beer garden and with the warm weather we’ve been having, it’s nice to be able to enjoy a drink outside and breathe in the fresh air. There is a smoking area off to the side facing the street so you can enjoy a smoke if you need it. There is a large selection of beers on tap and great food from locations across the street! Locals rave about this tavern, its drinks, and the great service!

The Dubliner (24th Street and Vicksburg Street)

With a history more than twenty years long, the Dubliner is a favorite among Noe Valley locals. The bartenders are friendly and there are a large range of beers on tap. There are seats toward the back of the bar if you’re looking for a more intimate setting. Plus, there is free Wi-Fi, so you can check the scores of other games if they’re not playing on one of the many large screen TVs behind the bar!

Horner’s Corner (24th Street and Church Street)

Named over John Meirs Horner, the “inventor” of Noe Valley which has a street named after his wife Elizabeth, Horner’s Corner has a large selection of drinks and serves an extensive menu of food in-house. Their chef is a seasoned professional offering classic British pub dishes like fish and chips alongside more upscale options like its beef short ribs. They don’t boast quite as many TV’s as the Dubliner down the street, but for a more family friendly option, Horner’s Corner is definitely a place to check out!

If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink among the company of fellow Niners or Giants fans, check out these three bars in Noe Valley! Locals love them, and Skive it hopes you’ll enjoy them as well! If you need a little pick-me-up, grab an iced coffee from one of the places Skive it has recommended and check out other videos of the area on our website!

Top 3 belly-busting burger joints in Downtown Berkeley, CA

Stomach growling? Make a visit to one of these joints downtown for your burger fix in Downtown Berkeley. by Kathy Shen

Bongo Burger
Saturn Café
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Berkeley is known for many things – a top-ranked university, free speech movements, and some breathtaking views from the hills among other things – but what few don’t know when they visit Berkeley is that it’s also the home of some pretty amazing burger joints. From vegan/vegetarian burgers to burgers topped liberally with bacon, Berkeley has got a little of everything for any burger lover. So the next time you make the ascent up the escalator from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, stomach growling, make a visit to one of these joints downtown for your burger fix.

Bongo Burger (Center Street between Shattuck Ave and Oxford Street)

A Berkeley staple with three locations – Downtown, Northside, and Southside – Berkeley students and residents can’t quite get enough. Bongo Burger brings a bit of a Mediterranean twist to the burger, offering shish kebab sandwiches and Persian burgers with ground lamb alongside the burger classics. Here, you can get your burger fix and enjoy some falafel, hummus, or dolma! I’ve frequented Bongo Burger many times in my days as an undergraduate, and I must admit: I’ve never been disappointed!

Eureka! (Shattuck Avenue and Center Street)

The newest establishment on this list, I had the good fortune to be able to try Eureka recently and each bite of my Jalapeno Egg Burger was better than the last. The patty was amazing, the bacon was piled on, and the fried egg paired perfectly. The fries were astounding, and for those of you over 21, their drinks were prepared strong and delicious. The restaurant is bustling with lines out the door both times I’ve gone by, so get there early to put your name in! Plus, there’s outdoor seating, so you can enjoy your burger and the last of summer weather!

Saturn Café (Oxford Street and Allston Way)

After hearing a rave review from a friend of mine, I decided to have dinner with her at Saturn Café and try their vegetarian burgers. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and many of their options can also be made vegan for gluten free upon request. Stomach grumbling, I opted for a California burger and also decided to try their vegan mint chocolate milkshake. I am officially a convert. The vegan milkshake – which, by the way, is essentially a soy milkshake – was phenomenal. While at first it was strange not to bite into a beef patty, the vegetarian patty at Saturn Café is amazing and their fries are out of this world – quite possibly the best fries I’ve had in a long time. Suffice it to say, I’ll be popping into Saturn Café again soon, and you should too!

There you have it! The next time your stomach is craving a burger while you’re downtown, check out these Berkeley joints! All three provide a unique experience, so whatever your mood is that day, one of them is sure to please! I’m happy to provide my recommendations and feel free to check out other places I’ve visited on the Skive it website! As always, feel free to share your top picks, I’d love to check them out!

Top 3 awesome spots for an early fall iced-coffee fix

Best taste vs. best price vs. most customizable by Kathy Shen

Philz Coffee
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This time last year, I was living in London and trust me when I say the weather wasn’t nearly as nice as it is in San Francisco. I wasn’t a huge fan of coffee until after I had been a resident across the pond for about a month as when the weather drops and the Arctic wind sets in your bones you need a little something hot to keep you warm. So believe me, I was so excited when I moved back to California in June and it was warm enough to order an iced coffee – which is the only way I drank my coffee pre-London-living. I was equally as excited to try out all the coffee joints in Noe Valley and pick my top contenders for best iced coffee, so as the weather begins to cool and the days get a little gloomier, take this opportunity to perhaps try something new and squeeze in one last iced coffee before autumn truly settles in.

Best Taste - Philz Coffee (24th Street & Douglas Street)

I’ve got a sweet spot for Philz. They staff is so helpful and friendly and they will make your drink exactly as you want it, welcoming you to tell them if the concoction they made you isn’t to quite to your liking. Philz is where I first fell in love with iced coffee because their mint mojito iced coffee is amazing – you almost can’t tell it is coffee as they muddle the mint and pair the coffee perfectly with sugar and cream. It’s a creamy drink cut with the refreshing taste of mint. The price is steep at $4 for a small cup, but as one of the most refreshing and delicious cups of iced coffee I’ve ever had, it is always a welcome treat.

Best Price - Bernie’s (24th Street between Noe Street and Sanchez Street)

Bernie’s is set in what would probably have been the garage of a Victorian house. Their coffee is amazing and truly hit the spot on a morning when I was feeling extra sluggish. The staff was happy to help me out and for a mere $2, I left with a delicious small iced coffee for about fifty cents less than other places nearby which definitely adds up over time! Like most placed in Noe Valley, they were happy to accommodate my request for soymilk instead of the milk options they usually provided. If the weather allows, enjoy your coffee on one of the benches outside. Otherwise, you can snag a spot by the window and people-watch while sipping your morning fix!

Most Customizable - Starbucks Coffee (24th Street and Noe Street)

Thank goodness for the barista I had one day way back when who suggested a different combination of syrups in my iced coffee and introduced me to a dreamy concoction that I now depend on whenever I hit Starbucks. I always request my coffee with soymilk, and on one occasion, the barista suggested I try my grande iced coffee sweetened with two pumps of toffee nut and one pump of vanilla syrup rather than their regular three pumps of their classic sweetener. It’s a choice I’ve never regretted as the vanilla in the soymilk is enhanced and the toffee nut taste gives it a bit of a sweet ice-creamy taste. They’ll let you customize your iced coffee with any syrup you’d like for no extra charge as long as it is the same number of pumps they normally put in, so feel free to go wild. For reference, it is usually 2 pumps for a tall, 3 for a grande, and 4 in a venti but for safety, always double check how many pumps your local shop does!

Noe Valley has some great options for iced coffee, so you really can't go wrong. Plus, unlike other places I've been, no shop in Noe Valley charged me extra for asking for soymilk which I really appreciated. So take this opportunity to squeeze in one last iced coffee before summer weather ends and check out Skive it's database of videos to find other shops that suit your mood and join our community of users to share your favorite spots!

Top 3 unconventional cafes for non-coffee individuals

From bright tea shops to coffee shops that serve wine into the evening, Skive it tells you where to find some unconventional cafes. by Kathy Shen

Lovejoy's Tea Room
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For those of you that aren't huge coffee enthusiasts, there a few cafes in Noe Valley that specialize giving you a little something more than a cup of java. From bright tea shops to coffee shops that serve wine into the evening, Skive it tells you where to find some unconventional cafes.

DAVIDsTEA (24th Street between Vicksburg Street and Sanchez Street)

Nestled next to one of your more typical coffee shops, DAVIDsTEA offers a wide selection of tea in a bright cheery environment. There are usually samples outside their door of one of their teas and the staff is incredibly friendly. For a change from the limited number of teas that coffee shops offer, come by DAVIDsTEA and explore the many options they offer from green to pu'erh to rooibos teas, they're sure to have something to please your fancy! Plus, there is a Martha & Bros. coffee shop right next door for your coffee-loving companions!

Lovejoy's Tea Room (Church Street and Clipper Street)

A quirky shop with mismatched china and furniture, Lovejoy's Tea Room offers an experience many associate with high tea in England. Offering scones, sandwiches, sausage rolls, and bottomless tea among other delicious treats, Lovejoy's Tea Room provides an escape from the traditional cafe atmosphere. Plus, they have an antique shop across the street for those who want to bring a little bit of the Lovejoy's Tea Room atmosphere back to their own homes.

Noeteca (Dolores Street and Valley Street)

Though during the day Noeteca seems like any ordinary cafe in Noe Valley, its uniqueness stems from the extended variety of drinks they serve. In additional to preparing their coffee one cup at a time, they serve a selection of wine from 10 am to 10 pm, striving to feature wines that are unique, produced in small-batches, and from family-owned wineries. If you and your friends are at a disagreement as to whether it's a wine or coffee kind of day, come by Noeteca and all will be pleased!

Top 3 light breakfasts to-go in Noe Valley

Strapped for time? Need to catch the J-line to the Financial District? Light breakfasts to-go in Noe Valley, San Francisco, CA. by Kathy Shen

Happy Donuts
Noe Valley Bakery
Noe Bagel
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I love sitting down to brunch on the weekends, but during the week, I'm often strapped for time. That being the case, it's important for me to know where I can get a quick, light breakfast to-go that will satisfy my early-morning hunger. Next time you're strolling down 24th Street in Noe Valley, San Francisco, check out these three shops!.

Happy Donuts (24th Street and Church Street)

Probably the best bang for your buck, the donuts at Happy Donuts are delicious. I opted for a classic glazed donut. It was perfectly glazed, and unlike other donuts I've had over the years, the syrupy glaze didn't melt all over my hand or leave them overly sticky. They had a ton of different types of donuts as well as turnovers, danishes, and muffins, but for $1, their glazed donut is a score. If you want to sit down and enjoy your sweet treat before you head out, there are tables by the windows so you can people-watch as well.

Noe Valley Bakery (24th Street between Noe Street and Castro Street)

As I wandered into this bright, cheery shop I was initially thrown off by the prices. At two to three dollars for a pastry, it seemed steep. However, the employees were very warm and welcoming and gave me an excellent recommendation - their fruit slab at $3.10 - had a sweet sugar-sprinkled crust, a light center of almond cream, and refreshing fruit baked on top. If that's not your speed, they have plenty of other options both savory and sweet - quiches, muffins (I heard one patron rave about the burnt butter blueberry), scones (the cranberry Meyer lemon seems to be a favorite), and savory twists on the Danish.

Noe Bagel (24th Street between Noe Street and Sanchez Street)

If you don't have an early morning sweet tooth, check out the bagels at Noe Bagel for a savory fix. I picked up a pesto gourmet bagel with cream cheese for $2.50 and they were happy to toast it for me. They have plenty of schmears to choose from and even sell schmears if you prefer to enjoy your morning bagel at home. Many patrons rave about their sandwiches as well. If you like a morning bagel, check out this shop; but if you're like me and not a huge bagel fan, I'd go up the street to Noe Valley Bakery and grab a savory treat there!

Top 3 work cafes in Noe Valley

Places in Noe Valley (San Francisco, California) to cure your coffee craving and finish that work. by Kathy Shen

Philz Coffee
New Alternatives Cafe
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With over a dozen different places to get your coffee fix in Noe Valley alone, sometimes it's hard to figure out where to go, especially when you've got a pile of work on your plate. Skive it helps you break down the top three places in Noe Valley to cure your coffee craving and finish that work.

Philz Coffee (24th Street & Douglas Street)

Nestled right next to Noe Valley Courts and Children's Park and roughly a mile from the original location, Philz Coffee in Noe Valley offers customized coffee drinks and exceptional service. The baristas are friendly and orders are made one cup at a time and exactly to your taste. Once you grab your drink, there's plenty of seating to set up your things and free WiFi so you can get straight to work. Plus, it's just far enough away from the distraction of the bustling shops down the street, but still close enough to grab bite to eat for lunch.

Bernie's (24th Street between Noe and Sanchez Streets)

Bernie's is located in the heart of Noe Valley, right in the hustle and bustle of 24th Street. Though many coffee shops in the area boast their free WiFi, Bernie's sets itself apart as it is set inside a Victorian house and Bernie attends to all the customers herself. Once you get your drink, you're welcome to settle in at one of the long tables and get to work. Just try to get there early so you can snag a seat.

New Alternatives Cafe (28th Street & Guerrero Street)

For a coffee house a bit further from the hustle and bustle of central Noe, look no further than New Alternatives Cafe. It is family owned and operated and offers free WiFi as well as a multipurpose printer to all patrons for your printing, scanning, and copying needs. The atmosphere is laid back and the staff seems happy to provide a place for patrons to hunker down and get to work. They have a book exchange in the corner if you're looking for a new read and a long couch along one side of the room if you get tired of sitting in a chair all day!

The next time you find yourself in need of coffee and a place to camp out and work for the day, check out one of our recommendations! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Washington D.C. and Georgetown Cupcakes

The past weekend I traveled to Washington D.C. and Springfield, Virginia and had an amazing time. With my first stop in Virginia, I was able to appreciate the change in pace considering I had come from New York's hustle and bustle streets. Virginia reminded me a great amount of home in the bay area - the environment was clean and well kept. My absolute favorite part about Virginia is how much nature it offered. Because trees grew so well there, I saw green everywhere and so many beautiful landscapes. On Sunday I was able to visit The Great Falls - which was breathtaking. Since I had been constantly surrounded by cities and urbanized spaces, I couldn't even remember the last time I had seen a setting so pure and unrefined. I wish I had seen more, but unfortunately I was only there for less than five days and had to bid adieu.

Within these five days, I was traveling back and forth to Washington D.C. On my first two days, I visited all the tourist places like The National Mall, The White House, and The Smithsonian Museums. Although I had visited these places already last year, it was still such an interesting experience. I have always taken interest in history and it was just astounding to be in the midst of it. Aside from its historical values, I explored the local attractions as well. I went to Georgetown, a quaint downtown village that offered great eateries and shops, that is also famously known for their Georgetown Cupcakes. A few observations I took from D.C. were the age group was typically older than most places I had lived. Since many of their citizens were business people, they were usually 30 years old and up. They are not very culturally influenced as most of the population consists of Caucasians. And the most interesting thing - people are in a rush all the time but still kind. At most metro stations, you see people running frantically and prying subway doors open with desperation, yet they still manage to say sorry for every shoulder the push.

I loved both Virginia and D.C. and it was particularly great because they both contain many unique characteristics I am unable to spot on the west coast or New York. I wish I had spent more time there, but will be traveling back on the fifteenth of August. Until then, I will be continuing to bring you all on my journey in New York City!

Staff Spotlight: Julie Ni

A member of our engineering development team, Julie went to the Dominican Republic for a summer vacation. Here are some highlights!

A week in Punta Cana was the ultimate vacation of relaxation. I'm not a great writer, so I'll keep things simple and sweet. I spent many a night chilling by the poolside and indulging in wonderful food.

Things I've learned from my trip:

  • Pure coconut oil keeps away bugs, keeps hair shiny, and makes you uncontrollably need to go #2. (according to the tour guide, that is).
  • Even though homes don't have air conditioning, the huge hut houses built out of cana leaves are at least ten degrees cooler than the surrounding temperature. The breeze was so refreshing under their manmade canopy.
  • How to roll tobacco and that the tobacco leaves are imported from Connecticut

The birds are pretty friendly, too.

On the tour to the residential areas, we stopped by a place owned by the tour for souvenirs and gifts. I myself bought a butterfly clip made out of coconut shells, and thought these items of jewelry were beautifully handcrafted.

One of my favorite shots of the trip, a child reaches out to sell us a magnificent red mango.

You can see her relative peeking through the leaves

And although the Wifi here was pretty spotty, I still brought my work with me because well, hey, where else better to work than under a hut by the clear, turquoise ocean waters?

Thing I learned: Vacations are necessary. Take one to be recharged and ready to dive back in the game. Until next time, ¡adiós!

Staff Spotlight: Vivian Chung

A member of our marketing and business development team, Vivian shares with us some of her travel adventures from the summer. First stop: Montreal!

As an avid travel enthusiast, it is my goal to visit different places in the world that offer cultures and experiences unique to what I am accustomed. When the chance came up to visit Montreal, a beautiful Canadian city, I gladly accepted! I had never been to Montreal but had heard stories about its charming French architecture and fancy European foods. In this post, I'd love to share with you all the highlights of my family's trip to Montreal!

The first stop we made was to get food, of course! Our Montreal-based friends recommended Europea, a European infused restaurant, for our first meal. In America, we often think of European food as just pasta, breads, fish, etc., but Europea presented a whole different array of foods. Putting its own unique spin on many common dishes, my favorite was definitely the cotton candy tree dessert!

Another one of my favorite things from Montreal was that there were macaroons everywhere! As someone with a major sweet tooth, I've always had a weak spot for macaroons. After asking around for the best macaroon cafe in Montreal, we came across A la Folie. It was delicious! In addition to macaroons, Montreal is known for Queues de Castor translated as beavertails (not real beavertails, but a sugar coated donut). This popular snack is found all over Montreal, but we tried it while visiting Old Montreal.

Other than eating Queues de Castor, Old Montreal was definitely my favorite spot throughout the entire trip! Montreal, once a French colony, still resembles a French town in its architecture and language. Not only is the main language French, the entire city has preserved the French styles and traditions. While in Old Montreal, the small restaurants, bakeries, shops, and architecture made me feel as if I were visiting France instead. Overall, Montreal was a breathtaking city that I would love to visit again in the near future!

Katherine finds best of NYC

I am back in New York City and loving every minute of it. It is amazing how many things there are to do here. New York City has always been a hopeful dream for many people, but when they actually come to visit they are often disappointed. At a first glance, the city is dirty, filled with homeless people and rude businessmen, and everything is unreasonably expensive. They visit Times Square, Union Square, The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Top of the Rock. Although they are of course beautiful, they are also constantly crowded with confused tourists and pushy tour guides; so really, how could anyone learn to love New York by just visiting those places? What people don't realize is a great culture and creativity the city offers. The streets are infused with art and allow room for people to emphasize their individualism.

For starters, there are dozens of local cafes and pastry shops within a two-block radius. Because of the abundance of cafes and their small spaces, the decor in each of them are always so unique and interesting. I've even seen swing sets as a main method of seating at a cupcake place! Second of all, there is so much opportunity for people especially striving musicians and artists. For example at almost all subway stops in Manhattan, there is a music performance underground. I've seen violin, saxophone, keyboard, drums, and many more. They sell their CDS or just have a sign that direct people to their Youtube channels and what not. Surprisingly, many of them get a really good responses as well as donations. In addition to, there are many free and fun activities that are open to the public. In Brooklyn there is a program called B.A.R.C. and it is a volunteer program where people can sign up to walk dogs for an hour around the Brooklyn Bridge - allowing pet lovers and dogs to benefit from this program. One of my favorites is kayaking. Throughout the week, there is free kayaking around the Hudson River as well as under the Brooklyn Bridge. What an amazing and selfless thing it is for people to open these kayaking businesses for the pure purpose of the public. Lastly, there are a large variety of cuisines for a large range of prices. There is room for old business as well as new, modern ones. On the same block you can find a popular 99-cent pizza joint with a fancy and expensive Italian restaurant filled with just as many people. The city gives room for contemporary restaurants without giving up the good old traditional ones. And of course there are always things in between, for example last week a popular Ukrainian restaurant had a 1920's night. Usually their dishes cost a pretty penny but on their 20's night they honored the prices they had back then offering dishes from 50-cents to 3 dollars.

All in all, for those who see New York at a first glance are not at fault for the bad impressions they get of the city. But for a local and a native, it can arguably be one of the best cities in the entire world.

Skive it Reward System

Unlike many other social media platforms that have the potential of creating an overdependence on online interactions, which reduces real world social skills to make in-depth in-person connections and increases loneliness (Kraut et al, 1998; Marahan-Martin & Schumacher 2003), Skive It provides a glimpse of different corners of the world through videos with rich content. In doing so, the ultimate goal is to encourage people to get out to the real world for entertainment, socialization and community engagement.

An article on indicated that although 90% of people use online reviews, only 6% of people have posted reviews. Despite a more convenient review format - real time video with one click vs. text, we are focusing on motivating users to share videos. We continuously evaluate the reward system and further fine tune the reinforcement schedules based on data collected. For example, using an intermittent reinforcement, continuous reinforcement, superimposed reinforcement schedule, and shaping to encourage users to post quality videos more frequently.

Staff Spotlight: Katherine Huang

A member of our marketing staff, Katherine Huang, is traveling along the east coast during the summer. With plans to travel to New York, Washington D.C., and Boston, she shares her personal experiences with us: beginning with New York City.

Whether it's because of its alluring skyline, diverse cultures, or distinct cityscapes, New York City has always held a very special place in my heart. I have admired the city ever since I was little which is why I was inspired to journey out here for the summer. Despite having come so many times already, my love for New York has only continuously grown.

It has only been 14 days since my arrival, but truly feels as if I've been here for so much longer because of all the things I've seen. It's interesting that New York City is relatively speaking small but its five boroughs seem to offer a whole other world. So far, I have spent the majority of my time in midtown and the west village. These areas are also my personal favourite parts of New York. I discovered that people in the West Village are mostly students, business people, and transplants. This is probably a safe assumption due to the fact that both areas neighbour New York University and the Financial District and it's one of the nicer, while being more affordable, areas. The west end consists of many beautifully landscaped residential streets and is known for its use of brownstones in their architecture. It is easily considered the cleanest district of New York City and is often visited for its picturesque settings. Like when I continued to the very west end, I was encountered with a panoramic view of the Hudson right before my eyes with the skyline in its background.

As I travelled towards midtown, I noticed it was more densely populated. In midtown lies the famously known 5th Avenue and Broadway that run through NOHO and SOHO. Streets are filled with a spectrum of people, tour buses, live music performances, and food carts. There is always something to do like attending a free screening of an old movie at the park, watching street performances, or visiting the many unique local eateries. It's amazing being in the heart of it all and watching how culturally diverse the city is. The city inhabits all different types of people with their own individual lifestyles. I encountered people of all kinds: homeless veterans, immigrants, business people, tourists, extremely wealthy individuals, and the list goes on. One of the things I would say is so special about New York City is that all these people with different lifestyles get along. I am travelling to DC for a couple days, but will continue exploring beautiful New York City when I come back. I'm excited to take you all with me along the ride!

Founders' Note

1/7/2013: After getting very good reviews from India, we have decided to launch in India in parallel with launch in San Francisco Bay Area.

12/10/2012: After many months of hard work and endless fire drills, I am finally ready to launch my company, Skive it, a Social mobile platform for real-time video reviews and personalized ranking for ANY place, whether it is night clubs, ballroom studios, cafes, shops, restaurants, parks, beaches, etc. Did you ever wanted to figure out how is the vibe of dance place before you pay that 15 dollar cover charge? If yes, you should Skive it! The first target audience for Skive it is social dance places including ballroom studios and salsa clubs. You can participate by:

  • Start using the web version today:
  • Sign-in to create and account to participate in the Skive it community.
  • Sign-up to receive the Skive it Mobile when it is ready shortly:
  • Social Persona for Places

    Skive it social persona provides a universal ranking scheme for any place generally, where ranking is customized based on a user taste. This forms a key technology innovation and Skive it “secret sauce”. Focus is on places that are night clubs, bars, travel destination (e.g. beach) or a public place (e.g. cafes, shops, apartments for rent).

    Using Skive it to Teleport

    You can use Skive it to teleport you (yes, teleport!) to a new location in space by going to your social profile and clicking on "teleport" and enter the new reference location.

    Capturing Videos

    This feature is only available if you have Skive it Mobile. Since Skive it provides real-time / near real-time video streams, we don't provide the capability to upload videos already stored on your device.

    Your iOS device Unique Identifier (UDID)

    Since Skive it Mobile is in Beta, we need the UDID to add your iOS devices -- for example an iPhone -- as a beta users for the application. Here are the steps on how to find the UDID for your device. You will need iTunes with your iOS device connected to the computer:

    Step 1

    Open iTunes and connect your iOS device. You will see the following screen under the iOS device (iPhone, iPad) button.

    Step 2

    Click on the Serial Number and it will display the UDID

    Step 3

    Copy the Identifier to your clipboard by choosing Edit -> Copy.

    You may have to click on Display bar button on the top right and choose "Show Menu Bar" if it is hidden by default.

    Once you provide us the UUID, we will set it up in our database and confirm. The confirmation will include the link that you can use to download Skive it Mobile on your iOS device.

    What is the UDID?

    Each iPhone or iPod Touch has a Unique Device Identifier (UDID), which is a sequence of 40 letters and numbers that is specific to your device. It will look something like this: 223ui2u3i2u3i2137be2e1730235f23dsds86.

    Why do we need the UDID?

    Your iPhone can only install programs that are approved by Apple. Applications in the App Store have been approved by Apple for general distribution, but beta customers get to try the application before it is in the store. We register your UDID with Apple so they can approve our application especially for your iPhone.

    How do I get my UDID?

    You can copy/paste your UDID from iTunes or email it directly from your device by using a free app from the App Store located here.