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  • Best Web Surfing

    Hotel Nikko

    There are a growing number of cafes and hotels around the city where you can surf the Internet through a wireless card installed in your laptop. The Hotel Nikko is the only one we're aware of where you can surf the Net, appreciate an elegant collection of modern Asian art, and tip back a cocktail all at the same time. While the Starbucks attached to the hotel lobby offers lattes and wireless access, we far prefer the martini/Web combo that... More >>

  • Best Bookstore to Find African-American Authors

    Marcus Books

    Despite the recent explosion of new African-American storytellers on the scene, trying to find books by and about African-Americans can be a true test of one's investigative skill. In many bookstores, you may find that small corner marked "African-American," with the works of a few well-known authors like Terry McMillan, but new, lesser-known writers are deemed unworthy of display. So, why hasn't someone capitalized on this growing market trend? Actually, someone has -- for the past 43 years. Dr. Raye... More >>

  • Best Furniture for Book Lovers

    Books and Bookshelves

    As with being too thin or too rich, you can never have too many bookshelves. Unfortunately, they're damned expensive. If you'd rather not spend multiple hundreds for the chichi rustic style of Pottery Barn or risk loading a decrepit antique with heavy volumes, stop by Books & Bookshelves, a modest corner shop with a surprisingly complete collection of unfinished shelves (plus tables, chairs, and other furniture). For about $150, you can get a simple six-shelfer that you can paint or... More >>

  • Best Place to Print Photos

    Photoworks

    It's easy to get caught up in the whole digital camera thing -- especially if you travel a lot or have kids -- but printed photos speak a language that pixels never will. Here's proof: Pull your old point-and-shoot out of the closet, fill it with decent black-and-white film, shoot random pics around town (dogs in the park, construction sites, funny signs), and take the results to Photoworks. Ask for matte prints and sloppy borders, and when you pick up... More >>

  • Friendliest Video Store

    Four Star Video

    Proprietor Dave Ayoob took over this little business in the Bernal Heights hippie-yuppie district last year. He's purchased tons of new movies and has plenty to say about what is good and what sucks. Ayoob and the usually cordial staff seem to know most of their steady customers by name. With luck, you might get to be Customer of the Week (COW) and have your five favorite flicks listed in multicolored chalk on a blackboard for all the world to... More >>

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