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Thursday, May 23, 2019

THE FOODIST / PLAIN JANE SIDE OF NORTH PARK PERKS UP


The Gulch (aka University Avenue east from Florida Street to Utah Street, May 2019,) PillartoPost.org photo
By Thomas Shess, editor and founder of PillartoPost.org daily online magazine--When you’re a lifer—living in the same neighborhood—you remember details latter day newbie yuppies never had a chance to pick up on to.  In fact, I’ve only run across a handful of locals who remember the western part of North Park along University Avenue between Utah and Georgia Street Bridge as “The Gulch.”  [Endure the slow intro but we do talk food at end of this blog].

The Gulch’s undulating valley-like geographical feature can be seen in the above historical photograph was taken in 1907.
Top part of the picture is the Utah and University area, which is situated on a stubborn mesa covered with clay over a solid bedrock of granite.  The lower part shows the eastern end of the then under construction of the Georgia Street span.
Trolley tracks being laid along the Gulch looking east from the top of the Georgia Street Bridge, 1907, SD Historical Society photo.

From that vista point you’ll see what the gulch looked like before the early settlement of North Park (couple of miles northwest of downtown San Diego). The rails running east along University Avenue were part of early trolley transportation efforts.  Tracks were paved over (still exist) when buses replaced the trolleys in the early 1950s.

In order to get into the Gulch and beyond, the City had to make a cut in the hill.  That slice through the ridge along with the bridge has recently (2018) been modernized and its newly retrofitted beauty remains in the eyes of the beholders.

A 1930s image of The Gulch looking east along University to North Park.  Compared with the 1907 image above note the remarkable infill of structures in three decades.
Geologists know that the Gulch was formed ages ago because a  minor league earthquake fault runs beneath Florida Street (north to south).  Florida Street intersects with University at the Eastern foot of the bridge.

The fault has long been dormant at least before this blog was posted.

Oddly, the stretch from Florida to Utah Streets has never been a beauty parlor.  It’s like having a dozen kids and a couple of them won’t be as pretty as the rest.

The Gulch is that way.  All through the 70s, 80s, 90s and into the next century businesses along the Gulch have been scruffy architecturally.

Only recently has the Gulch hopped on the gentrification wagon.  Slowly, more trendy signs have been appearing:  a few roses among the dandelions.

Deja Brew took over a beauty parlor and made it into a perky coffee lounge, University and Arnold Streets, North Park (San Diego).
A cozy coffee lounge, Deja Brew, has brightened without destroying the craftsman house it recently took over.  Deja Brew, 2528 University joins Louisiana Purchase restaurant, 2305 University as a stylish newbie business.  The Creole-centric eatery was built into a modern residential complex taking over the first-floor corner unit.  It is the shining star style wise along the Gulch and is au moment wildly popular.


A Gulch mainstay Carnitas Snack Shack is now The Porchetta Shack, 2632 University.  Carnitas founder Hanis Gavin returns and is behind the new operation.

Big bucks are being spent to spiff up the eastern end of the Gulch.   Two Bleu Ducks restaurant, 2835, is being created in a long-dormant ex-liquor store.  Two Bleu Ducks is related to the popular Farmer’s Bottega in Mission Hills.

Two Bleu Ducks is definitely a welcome sight and hopefully will encourage new businesses in the area to join the few existing and successful Gulch based businesses like The Olympic Café, 2310 University; Bodhi Animal Hospital, 2200 University;  Mission Café, 2801 University; Smart & Final, 2235 University; Communal Coffee, Texas & University; North Park Nursery, 2335 University and Breakfast Republic Breakfast, 2730 University.

Yet, even with these new improvements, the Gulch remains that comfortable old shoe that we take for granted.  Much like we ignore North Park’s vintage glass bulb lampposts that run from Villa Terrace to 31st Street along University.

But that’s a story for another day.

Here are a few new flashes of life in commercial North Park:
--The Original 40 Brewing Company, 3711 University Avenue.
--Belgian Beer & Waffles, 2899 University Avenue (ex-Starbucks).
--Toronado 4026 30th partners on site with Anthem Vegan, which recently shut down on El Cajon Blvd.  Now called Anthem on 30th the vegan. Vegan lives.
--Shrimp Heads opened in January at 2832 El Cajon Blvd.
--Also on ECB is Medina, a tiny North African dining adventure, just east of Café Madeleine, near Utah Street.
--Coming soon: Flap Your Jacks takes over the long-dormant former Ramona Theatre, 3020 University Avenue. DIY pancake cooking comes to North Park.
--New too is North Park Breakfast Company, 3131 University Ave.
--Also check that BBQ joint at Thorn and 32nd Street as it has been revamped.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WORLD ARCHITECTURE / IEOH MING PEI, FAIA, RIBA 1917 – 2019.

World class architect, I.M. Pei died this week at 102 years.  Above, he is posed in 1979 outside his design for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Of course, American aficionados of excellence in architecture will believe I.M. Pei’s National Gallery of Art, East Building in Washington DC is this Chinese-American’s ultimate work.

If you’re French, the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum in Paris, is Pei’s pièce de ré·sis·tance.

Those living in Doha, Qatar will vote for the Museum of Islamic Art, as Mr. Pei’s masterpiece. 



Tuesday, May 21, 2019

HUMAN KINDNESS / GIVE THE KID A HUG


Slade Thompson, of upstate Pennsylvania, waited patiently for his new friend, registered nurse Annie Hager. Thompson came to UPMC Health Susquehanna Health in nearby Williamsport last month to get his tonsils out. It was his second surgery this year.

"He's been through a lot this last year," Slade's mother, Layla Thompson, told the media. "We had been in the children's hospital, so we were kind of nervous just going to a hospital to have it done."

The day of surgery came, and things went well. Slade's mom was in the waiting room.

"They came out and said, 'He's awake,' and we thought, 'Oh, my goodness,'" Thompson said.

But before mom could go back to see Slade, a team of nurses had to check her son's vitals.

"When I told him mom couldn't be there until they finished checking him, he asked if I would snuggle him and I said, 'Sure will,'" said RN Annie Hager at UPMC hospital.

That single act of kindness made Thompson's concerns for her son disappear.

"You want someone to treat your child the way you would treat them, you know, so whenever I turned the corner and saw them, I went, 'Aww!' We both started getting a little teary-eyed," Thompson recalled.

She snapped a photo went “viral” on social media.

"Anyone that works up there would have done the same thing," Hager said.

When Slade and his mom came back for another appointment they brought a gift: flowers and a hug for their new friend.

"I cried, yeah," Hager said. "It's humbling."

Monday, May 20, 2019

MEDIA MONDAY / WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?

Chris Davis, a Baltimore Orioles hitter launches a home run off of Chicago White Sox pitching
 at a recent game inside a deserted Camden Yards stadium, Baltimore.
FORBES.COM
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ATTENDANCE DROPS TO 2003 LEVELS. Click here.

CNN SCIENCE
ROCK FOUND ON MOON CAME FROM EARTH. Click here.

NBC MACH
MORE BAD NEWS FOR MOTHER EARTH. Click here.

AL JAZEERA
LEAKED DOSSIER FROM PAKISTAN ON BIN LADEN’S RAID. Click here.

CNN BUSINESS
SUPERMARKETS GO NO FRILLS TO SUCCEED. Click here.

MONEYWISE.COM
CITIES AMERICANS ARE FLEEING. Click here.

NBC NEWS
WHAT’S WITH THE WORLDWIDE HELIUM SHORTAGE? Click here.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

SUNDAY REVIEW / PICASSO, MODIGILIANI AND MATA HARI


Mata Hara, an international woman of intrigue, an entertainer/dancer, courtesan, and alleged double agent spy, is posed in her late twenties in Paris.
A New Delhi based critic writing a review of Paulo Coehlo’s 2016 novel “The Spy” mentions a brief encounter in Coelho's narrative between Mata Hari, Pablo Picasso and Amadeo Modigliani sometime in the teen years of the 20th century.

Photograph (above) was taken on a sunny summer afternoon in Paris,  Amadeo Modigliani, left, with Pablo Picasso, along Avenue Montparnasse most likely near Le Dome restaurant and Café de la Rotonde on Saturday, August 12, 1916, one of a series of photos taken one afternoon by artist filmmaker Jean Cocteau.
Here’s what the critic wrote:

“...Mata Hari, in her exotic dance, removes her clothes one by one and in the process, she realizes that she is absolutely comfortable with her body. She is now the much written about cultural personality of Paris and everyone wants to be with her and of course to sleep with her. In one of the episodes, we also see how a young artist of that time namely, Pablo Picasso trying to flirt with her and as she understands, to ‘bed’ her. But she likes an Italian artist present there, Modigliani and he treats her with due dignity...”

Here is what Coehlo wrote of the same encounter:

“This is Pablo Picasso, the artist I was telling you about.” [Mata Hari’s words in a letter written to her lawyer in the days leading up to her execution, October 15, 1917]. 
         [She continues]: From the moment we were introduced, Picasso forgot about the rest of the guests and spent the entire evening trying to strike up a conversation with me.  He spoke of my beauty, asked me to pose for him, and said I needed to go with him to Malaga if only to get a week away from the madness of Paris.  He had one objective, and he didn’t need to tell me what it was: to get me into his bed.

I was extremely embarrassed by that ugly, wide-eyed, impolite man who fancied himself the greatest of the greats.  His friends were much more interesting, including an Italian man, Amedeo Modigliani, who seemed more noble, more elegant, and who at no point tried to force any conversation.  Every time Pablo finished one of his interminable and incomprehensible lectures about revolutions taking place in art, I turned to Modigliani.  That seemed to infuriate Picasso.

“What do you do?” I asked Amadeo [they conversed about sacred dances].
Picasso interrupted the conversation the whole time with his theories, but Amadeo, elegant and polite, knew to wait his turn and return to the subject.

“Can I give you some advice?” he asked when the dinner was drawing to a close and everyone was preparing to go to Picasso’s studio.  I nodded yes.
        
“Know what you want and try to go beyond your own expectations.  Improve your dancing, practice a lot, and set a very high goal, one that would be difficult to achieve.  Because that is an artist’s mission: to go beyond one’s limits.  An artist who desires very little and achieves it has failed in life.”

I never ran into Pablo or Amedeo again.



AVAILABLE VIA AMAZON. Click here.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / A CUP WITH ROSEMARY WILLIAMS & STANLEY KUBRICK

Showgirl Rosemary Williams posing for a Look Magazine
article on her that was photographed by Stanley Kubrick
It’s been 20 years this week since the death of movie director Stanley Kubrick (“Eyes Wide Shut, Barry Lyndon, Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining" and, of course, "Lolita).”

It’s been 70 years since Stanley Kubrick, then a fledgling Look Magazine photographer, snapped this picture of New York showgirl Rosemary Williams drinking a cup of coffee and smoking a Chesterfield in a New York City coffee shop.

His Look editors had him follow Miss Williams around for a day in the life article of the attractive club dancer.  His penchant for including tall, stunning women in his films stayed with him his entire career, especially in “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Good chance his camera’s eye for beauty began with this cup of coffee.


Rosemary pours coffee in her New York flat.  Photo: Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine, 1949
Stanley Kubrick back stage with showgirl Rosemary Williams

Friday, May 17, 2019

THE BREWSPAPER / INSIGHT INTO SAN DIEGO’S SIMMERING CRAFT BEER PETTINESS

View from Jim Millea's OB Brewery in San Diego, California mid-winter
Editor's note: This opinion essay first appeared on West Coaster monthly print craft beer magazine and website.   

GUEST BLOG / By Jim Millea, who is head brewer at OB Brewery, named the country’s best small brewpub at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival.

It’s remarkable how much great beer is produced in this wonderful City and County of San Diego. In the almost 20 years I’ve lived here, it’s been amazing watching the industry grow and I feel “pinch me” lucky to be a part of it. Much of this growth and change has been for the better, but along with it has come an expanding dark cloud overshadowing its greatness. No, I’m not talking about “big beer.” I’m talking about the lack of unity that helped establish this town as a beer-making powerhouse.

Jim inside his brewery
What has always struck me about the excellence of the San Diego brewing community is the willingness of brewers and breweries to work together and help each other out — sharing a bag of grains or hops when another is in need, for example. Or sharing ideas on techniques and recipes, helping each other set up a tent or a jockey box at a festival, being fired up for each other’s success… these are major factors that drew me in from home brewing as a hobby to brewing professionally as a career. I would argue that this factor alone has contributed immensely to the success of San Diego as one of, if not the best place to make and drink beer.

The collaboration of brewers and breweries still exists, but we have started to head off-course from what I would consider the best way to steer our ship through the fermented waters of our industry. I used to hear how a rising tide floats all boats, and the tide of the beer industry in San Diego has indeed risen to mind-blowing levels since its humble beginnings. It has risen to such an extent that our relatively small sea of breweries has spilled into the ocean of “big beer.” Is it bad or good? That can and will be debated as time goes on. But now instead of simply talking about breweries and beer made in San Diego, many have decided that some of the breweries in our great city are no longer wanted or were never wanted at all.

The San Diego Brewers Guild recently sent out an email to its members acknowledging that we now share our beer community with three of the largest alcohol conglomerates in the world. The Guild informed its independently owned members that those of us who choose to collaborate with these “mega-beer” brands are creating confusion in the marketplace by helping big beer blur the lines between what should be considered “true independent craft beer” and beer being portrayed by large corporations as craft.


What does “craft” mean anyway? Currently, the Brewers Association (BA) defines a craft brewer as small, independent, and a brewer. The BA further defines each of these words, and has continually changed its definitions every few years. We get so bogged down coming up with clever sounding words to define who we are, perhaps the most important part of our identity is getting lost: who is making good beer? Isn’t that what it’s all about? At the very least, shouldn’t that be part of the discussion?

I understand the main distinction the BA is trying to make is keeping a separation between huge corporations like AB InBev, MillerCoors, and Constellation Brands, and the relatively much smaller businesses. We should be concerned that these mega-brands are a “legislative force” with enormous resources and influence to try and change the rules to make it harder for the little guy to survive in this competitive market. Now that we have all three of these giant players right here in San Diego, however, is it best to shun them from our independent community, or would it make some sense to keep an open dialogue so we can better voice our concerns? Is there no potential benefit to utilizing some of the time and effort being spent demonizing the non-independent crowd into doing something more productive?

Maybe while they’re telling me how I’m creating confusion by supporting a mega-brand beer festival, the Guild could also tell me how they were working to create a panel with Constellation, MillerCoors, and even the evil AB InBev to provide an avenue for telling them our concerns face-to-face. Maybe this avenue could pave the way for us to learn what some of these breweries that have “sold out” have changed, and what they have continued to do the same. If the former World Champion Ballast Point could pioneer their way to becoming the largest craft brewery purchase of all time, maybe they can continue to innovate their way toward developing some relationships between mega beer and craft. If not, at least we can say we tried to partner with and learn from them, instead of trying to do to them what we claim they are doing to us.

I hear from beer drinkers all the time about how they love the people at Ballast Point but can’t or won’t support them because they are now big beer and not local independent craft. How about the hundreds of people employed by this company, many of whom were working there when they were still “independent”? Would it be best if they all quit? If they do, are all the local independent breweries going to step up and provide these people with jobs as well as the pay and benefits that this big beer company was able to provide? Is that really how we want to play it?

If we are going to excommunicate these guys from our group, let’s not be hypocrites then. If you’re a staunch supporter of independent craft, do you proudly refuse to drink a non-independent Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day? Do you turn up your nose at the thought of sipping on a non-independent Pacifico or Corona on a sunny warm beach in Mexico? Let’s say you belly up to a bar and are presented with a Sam Adams Rebel IPA, Elysian Spacedust, Lagunitas IPA, and a Sculpin… do you breathe a sigh of relief when you see the Sam Adams because they are defined as independent craft and the others are not? If so, I respect your decision, but I’m glad I don’t put myself in that box.

Years ago, the San Diego Brewers Guild put together a small festival at the World Beat Center in Balboa Park to celebrate beers made by local San Diego breweries. All that delicious beer was made by breweries right here in our great city! That’s what the Made in San Diego Block Party is all about for me. It would be refreshing to put politics aside for just a little while and give our taste buds a chance to simply enjoy some tasty suds made in breweries that physically exist within the borders of our city and county. Maybe we can even take a moment to admire some of the breweries that started out small and independently owned and have become so successful that we’ve started to change the way we label them.

Ballast Point has been throwing stellar parties since way before they were owned by Constellation Brands. I consider myself lucky to have been to many of them. I’ve learned more about beer from the good people at Ballast Point than I have from anyone else, and I’m proud to say I’ll be happily pouring some of my own OB Brewery beer at what I’m sure will be another first-rate event to remember.

Jim Millea at OB Brewery. Photo by William Prickett/Hoplight Social






ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

Jim Millea is head brewer at OB Brewery, named the country’s best small brewpub at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival. He earned BJCP (Beer Judge Certificate Program) recognized judge status in 2005 through local homebrew club QUAFF. In 2010, Millea began volunteering at Ballast Point’s Home Brew Mart location and learned to operate a large brewhouse. In 2013, he began attending UCSD Extension’s Professional Brewer’s Certificate Program (he graduated in 2015). In 2014, Millea interned at Ballast Point’s Little Italy R&D facility, before his first paid gig in the industry, at O’Sullivan Brothers in Scripps Ranch later that year. He also interned at Benchmark Brewing in 2015 while working at O’Sullivan Brothers. Millea helped build out OB Brewery, which opened on July 1, 2016.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

THE FOODIST / TEN HOT AFFORDABLE U.S. NEIGHBORHOODS & WHERE TO EAT THERE




Redfin, the Seattle-based real estate firm, says the Linthicum neighborhood in south-central Baltimore is the 7th best affordable neighborhood in the U.S. to buy a home.  Pillar toPost.org is tagging on to Redfin’s report by adding a cool restaurant from that ‘hood. G&M Restaurant.
One of the nation’s leading online realtors says expensive coastal hubs remain the most coveted places to live, but current research shows neighborhoods in Baltimore and Philadelphia are gaining popularity as the most desired affordable neighborhoods in 2019, according to
Redfin's Hottest Affordable Neighborhoods report is an adaptation of the annual Hottest Neighborhoods report. The Hottest Affordable Neighborhoods report determines which hot neighborhoods are within reach for the average homebuyer by incorporating a price cap of $294,000, the national median home price.

This year, the hottest neighborhoods within reach are concentrated mostly in Baltimore and Philadelphia, two metro areas that are often considered affordable alternatives to Washington, D.C. and New York. Neighborhoods in Chicago, the Portland, Oregon and Boston metro areas and San Antonio also show up in the rankings.

Below is the complete list of Redfin.com's hottest affordable neighborhoods
this year research and an industry trends research from Redfin (www.redfin.com), a NASDAQ traded real estate brokerage based in Seattle, Washington. All statistics on median sale price, average sale-to-list price ratio and percent of homes that sold above list price are from late 2018.

ADDED: Hot restaurants in each neighborhood were added by PillartoPost.org, publisher of the blog you are currently viewing.

Here’s the List

1. McKinley Park, Chicago, IL
Median sale price: $270,000
Median sale price for metro area: $230,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 97.9%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 35.1%

"Homebuyers are flocking to McKinley Park because it's just south of Pilsen, which is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the country, and it's just west of long-established Bridgeport. People who are priced out of Pilsen are looking in McKinley Park," said Redfin agent Niko Voutsinas. "People who live there have have excellent connectivity to downtown because it's right off the L and the expressway. The neighborhood has a beautiful park with public amenities, a pond and an outdoor swimming pool."
Cool Restaurant:  Huck Finn’s, 3414 S. Archer, Chicago, 24-7; family style and known for its Becky Thatcher biscuits and hub cap size Texas doughnuts.

Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Ave. in nearby Mt. Airy
2. East Mount Airy, Philadelphia, PA
Median sale price: $200,000
Median sale price for metro area: $199,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 98%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 28.1%

"East Mount Airy is attractive to homebuyers because it's close to the center of the city and transit options. It's also near Fairmount Park, which is one of the largest urban green spaces in the country. Compared to other neighborhoods in Philadelphia, homes tend to be reasonably priced and they're larger with lots of character," said Elizabeth Tumasz, a Philadelphia Redfin agent. "Easy access to cafes, shopping, co-ops and bookstores is an added bonus."
Brew Pub: Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Ave. in nearby Mt. Airy

3. Parkville, Baltimore, MD
Median sale price: $204,900
Median sale price for metro area: $270,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 98.2%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 24%

"Parkville is popular for people who want to live slightly outside the city of Baltimore. People appreciate that they're not too far from downtown, but the property taxes are less expensive and the homes tend to be larger," said Redfin agent Juliana Weaver. "There are also a lot of cute Cape Cod style homes in the area, so I always recommend Parkville to people looking for that type of home."
Top restaurants: No shortage in the area for top seafood and the beer boiled crab and crab cakes that make this ‘hood a culinary.  Pappas Restaurant is a busy but tasty local.  Taylor and Oakleigh Rd.

4. Hamilton, Baltimore, MD
Median sale price: $159,500
Median sale price for metro area: $270,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 98.5%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 31.6%

"Over the last few years, a lot of homes in the Hamilton area have been renovated and that trend is expected to continue. There's still a lot of room for it to grow," said Redfin agent Juliana Weaver. "The neighborhood is known for smaller single-family homes with small yards at a slightly lower price point than is typical for Baltimore. People love the neighborhood because there are a lot of local restaurants and small business."
Local pub:  Hamilton Tavern, 5517 Harford Rd. Farm to table pub standards and wide selection of microbrews.

5. Fircrest, Vancouver, WA (Portland, OR metro area)
Median sale price: $282,500
Median sale price for metro area: $385,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 100.1%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 20%

"This area is a mix of new construction and older homes with large yards that have been fixed up, and both options tend to be affordable," said Redfin agent Rebecca Thompson. "It's an easy commute for people who work in Portland, the homes aren't cookie-cutter and it's definitely getting more popular among buyers."

6. Bustleton, Philadelphia, PA
Median sale price: $248,250
Median sale price for metro area: $199,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 98.1%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 29.4%

"Bustleton is located in the far northeastern part of Philadelphia. It's attractive because properties tend to be priced lower than those in the center of the city. It's close to shopping centers and it's also close to public transportation and major highways, which makes for an easy commute to the center of the city," said Redfin agent Elizabeth Tumasz. "Homebuyers like the area because they can stay in the city and still get that suburban feel. Homes in Bustleton tend to have nice, grassy yards, and there are a lot of coffee shops, restaurants and parks in the area."
Ethnic eats: Pierogi Factory, 9965 Bustleton Ave.  No better Polish cuisine than Philly.

7. Linthicum, Baltimore, MD
Median sale price: $271,000
Median sale price for metro area: $270,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 99.4%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 37%

"Linthicum is a small suburb located just outside Baltimore, and it's becoming increasingly popular for homebuyers," said Redfin agent Debra Morin. "It's a quiet, well-established community with a small-town feel and several walking and running trails, including Andover Park and the BWI trail. Linthicum has relatively affordable housing and it's close to Baltimore Washington International Airport, with easy access to public transit and major highways."
Crabcake central: G&M Restaurant & Lounge, 804 N. Hammonds Ferry Road, Linthicum Heights.

Mill City BBQ & Brew, 1018 Gorham St. Ain’t the prettiest but there’s pure taste coming out of this weathered brick café.
8. Lowell, Boston, MA
Median sale price: $249,250
Median sale price for metro area: $471,100
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 102.5%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 38.9%

"Lowell is an interesting area because it was known for textile mills back in its heyday, but it has struggled to find its footing in more recent times. But now we're seeing investors putting their money back into the area, with UMass and big-name local investors putting millions to work," said Redfin agent David Pollack. "It has a great downtown area with a lot of restaurants and bars, and it's home to a folk festival, a favorite in the summer. There's a commuter rail that takes you right into Boston, and it's also home to a minor league baseball team that brings in crowds. But you still get a lot of bang for your buck in Lowell, especially compared to bordering towns."
Cozy Neighborhood joint:  Mill City BBQ & Brew, 1018 Gorham St. Ain’t the prettiest but there’s pure taste coming out of this weathered brick café.

9. Fox Chase, Philadelphia, PA
Median sale price: $219,000
Median sale price for metro area: $199,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 98.4%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 30.2%

"Fox Chase is in Philadelphia, but it definitely has a suburban feel with a lot of ranch-style houses and twin homes with front yards. A lot of them have garages, too" said Redfin agent Michael Severns. "The neighborhood is perfect for people who commute into the city because it has easy access to main thoroughfares like the Roosevelt Corridor and Highway 611. A lot of people who grew up closer to the city in places like Fishtown and Kensington eventually search for homes a little bit further out in Fox Chase."
Brew pub:  Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, 785 Huntington Pike (mall).

10. Beacon Hill, San Antonio, TX
Median sale price: $213,264
Median sale price for metro area: $220,000
Average sale-to-list price ratio: 98.5%
Percent of homes that sold above list price: 46.2%

"Beacon Hill combines old San Antonio charm with 21st century urban living," said Perry Sanders, a Redfin agent who works in the area. "The architecture includes a mix of single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses. Combine that with Beacon Hill's plentiful shops and eateries, and you quickly understand why the neighborhood has gained popularity in recent years—a trend that's likely to continue."

The full Hottest Affordable Neighborhoods report, complete with research methodology, is available here: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2019/01/hottest-affordable-neighborhoods-2019.html. To read the full Hottest Neighborhoods report, including a list of the top three neighborhoods in each of 41 major metro areas, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2019/01/hottest-neighborhoods-2019.html.
Cool bistro: So Hill Café, 1719 Blanco Rd., Italian. Classic pizzas.

South Hill Cafe, San Antonio, Texas
About Redfin
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the next-generation real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer's favor. Founded by software engineers in 2006, Redfin claims the country's #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers. Redfin serves more than 85 major metro areas across the U.S. The company has closed more than $60 billion in home sales.