Urban Development, Wine Bars and Tiny Buildings

Okay, I’m getting closer to posting the linkfest on a Friday, although you wouldn’t know it with yet another Saturday posting. Anyway, a short one this week, but all good stuff.

San Francisco’s Skyline Fever

If you live in San Francisco or have visited anytime in the past two years, you’ll have noticed the numerous cranes towering over the open spaces where new high rise buildings are going up. For the first time in the memories of most city residents (ie, since the Transamerica building and the Embarcadero Center went up), the downtown (and beyond) skyline is changing. One Rincon–the highest residential tower west of the Mississippi–is the most obvious example, a sleek line of glass blocking the view of the Bay Bridge from the city’s hillsides.

Many of these developments are in formerly dodgy neighborhoods, places where it wasn’t really safe to walk at night, let alone stop off for a glass of wine and dinner, or consider buying real estate. But as this article from the Chronicle reports, the development trend is in full force. And wine bars, it seems, are an integral part of the demographic changes in the city.

And just what does the presence of wine and wine culture do for property values? I think of American Canyon near Napa Valley, or Paso Robles, once a rural town home to California’s Mid-State Fair and now, it seems, the St. Helena of the Central Coast. South of Market, under the freeway, might be up and coming with the city’s next hot spot on the corner, but the neighborhood is two small degrees removed from 1st Street & Crack Central.

I’m all for cleaning up the city–and man do we need new housing solutions. But I also find it interesting (perhaps sickening, too) to see what the forces of development believe necessary to build new neighborhoods and communities.

Tiny Buildings

Speaking of buildings, check out this awesome site where an artist has fashioned miniature buildings from business cards. One of her favorite topics appears to be restaurants, and you’ll find places here like Delfina in San Francisco and Blue Hill in New York (made from their business cards, of course)

(Visit the Tiny Buildings site here)

Stink Be Gone

And lastly, you can’t really have a blog that talks about wine, etc, without touching on new and exciting olfactory experiences. Or in this case, the exact opposite: something that seeks to strip away odoriferous offenses. Not sure how I feel about this–I’m known for appreciating a certain funk in my wines, especially those of the Champagne extraction.

(Go here to rid yourself of certain offensive aromas)

I’ll Pass on the 15% Zinfandel, But Hand Me the Soap

No link for this, but this evening while changing in the locker room at my climbing gym, I overheard two guys complaining about the high alcohol levels of California wines. Now this is something that’s been discussed in the wine trade for several years, but to hear it in the locker room at my gym means that the subject has truly gone mainstream. Gadzooks!