Regional Bias 2010: John Vanderslice, photo by Charlie Homo

John Vanderslice – “Sea Salt”

Aside from being one of the Bay Area’s most beloved indie rock musicians, John Vanderslice is also a small business owner (Tiny Telephone), and he knows how to strike a deal in the city he’s been living in for almost two decades. So, who better to ask for some strategies on ways to save money and still enjoy the many amenities San Francisco offers to musicians and non-musicians alike?

John Vanderslice plays a (((folkYEAH!))) Presents show this Friday at the New Parish (9pm, $12, All Ages) in Oakland with Tartufi, where he’ll be celebrating his newest album, White Wilderness.

We’re giving away one pair of tickets to Friday’s show — entries should be sent to contest

[at] and should include your full name and the subject line “John Vanderslice is the deal dude.” We’ll announce a winner (who will be picked randomly) on Wednesday, February 9th.

JV’s Tips for Affordable City Living

1. Visit’s Favorite Taquerias.

It’s where I discovered La Espiga De Oro, an unassuming mexicatessen within walking distance of Tiny Telephone. Tamales are $1.85 each, they have suora, pollo and some great veggie options: strawberry, pineapple, and hurrache. They’re rightfully famous for their tamales, but don’t sleep on their pozole or grilled fish.

Charles Hodgkins (who I’m proud to say I’ve had a burrito with) is the master of ceremonies. He is incredibly knowledgeable and unbiased, he often takes down San Francisco titans, and champions forgotten or ignored taquerias. He rates the quality of the slab with mustaches. (Ex., Taqueria San Francisco has a 8.20 cumulative mustaches.) This guy is a genius.

2. Park in temporary construction zones.

Those white, ratty “No Parking” signs attached to construction saw horses or parking meters can be the easiest place to park in SF. Contractors will often block out spaces for months of “planned construction.” Most of the time, these guys are on another job or enjoying Black and Tans at a nearby pub. If it’s after noon and there’s no sign of construction, I park with impunity.

3. Visit the de Young Museum Observatory.

It’s free, and it’s in one of the most remarkable buildings in the city, inside a park that’s packed with cheap thrills: Strawberry Hill, Fuchsia Dell, Rose Garden, and the Botanical Garden (they now charge for non-SF residents–I call bullshit on that!!!).

4. Go to the Alemany Farmer’s Market every Saturday.

My wife and I hit the market every week. We’re drowning in so many delicious organic fruits and vegetables, we feel too guilty to spend money in restaurants. There are half a dozen super-reliable farms there every week (including Tomatero, Blue House, Twin Girls, and Ferrari). Grow a kombucha mother and a sourdough starter and you’ll never leave home again!!!

[Note — JV and I followed up on this last point via e-mail:

TBB: I actually go to the Alemany Farmer’s market, too. Have you ever gone to the pasta guy for the confetti dough butternut squash ravioli? Did you even think such a thing could exist?!

JV: That pasta guy rules!!!! We get that same pasta!!!]