Mr. Independent

Tony Leong keeps his cool and almost takes a few punches while running one of San Francisco's hottest music clubs.

PLUMES OF SMOKE usually hover over the crowd at The Independent. Sticking out might be a 6-foot-1-inch Asian American guy with a mohawk. Or, you might notice him chatting onstage with the band, or on his cell phone weaving through the masses between sets. He is Tony Leong, production manager and house manager of the San Francisco club since 2005. Leong was only 22 when he started, and three years later he still oversees a space that is now an important part of San Francisco's music scene.

Palencia Shows SF How Classy Manila Can Be

Archie Palencia

Last Saturday my culinarily-inclined friend Sherry and I attended the opening gala of Palencia, a new upscale Filipino restaurant in San Francisco's Castro district. Palencia is the first of its kind in the city. You can find Filipino restaurants here and there (Irma's Pampanga restaurant on Van Ness, the new Jollibee on 4th St.), but none are by any means upscale. Palencia is the opposite of what happens to many ethnic restaurants when they turn high end. Their food is not fusion, it's Filipino food straight up -- chicken bbq on skewers and lumpia just like Tita Baby used to make.

Danelle Lucero
When we arrived the place was filled with people from the Castro and the Mission mingling with Filipino lolas. We were immediately served glistening, hot from the fryer lumpias with a ginger-soy dipping sauce. Waitresses came by with white wine and bottles of San Mig Lite. The pancit was flavorful, and served with what I first thought was Tang, but was actually the classic Filipino cantaloupe drink. Even Sherry who is not usually a fan of that melon really enjoyed it. Everyone's definitive favorite though was the grilled marinated chicken on skewers. We and three other friends ate about 25 of them, collectively.

Palencia's dining space is warm and intimate, with huge shell chandeliers and old-style fish traps turned into lampshades overhead. Owner Archie Palencia and head chef Danelle Lucero form a Pinoy powerhouse, and have created a mood that combines the warmth of a Filipino home with fine dining. We were impressed by her culinary expertise and his Gabby Concepcion charm, and will definitely be back after the official opening to find out if their full menu is as delectable as their appetizers.

Photos by Andria Lo

New Album from NYC's Misha Released Today On Tomlab


John Chao and Ashley Yao are Misha, a charming duo from New York and Taiwan, whose equally charming new album drops today on Tomlab. Already hailed as "perfect summer pop," Teardrop Sweetheart is ice
cream for the ears on a hot sunny day and is just as delicious.

Watch for a full review in the upcoming issue of Hyphen. In the meantime, download a couple songs the band wanted to share with Hyphen readers (below) and visit the band's myspace page for more info.

Download "Summersend"

Download "Weatherbees"