There's a chain link fence around the Rainbo Bakery Store at 16th Street and Folsom in the Mission. The store is closed and it is likely that bulldozers will come and demolish the one-story building. I expect that soon this space will be occupied by live-work lofts or another new housing development.
The Rainbo Bakery Store sold day-old bread as well as milk, sodas, and a few other grocery items. I used to stop here on the way home from work if I needed something for dinner. The building was oriented at a 45 degree angle to 16th and Folsom streets and looked out onto the intersection.
This bakery store always felt like a little patch of Queens, NY. There was something about the 1960s architecture of the building, the litter in the parking lot, the dirty exterior walls and floors of the shop that just reminded me of some of the more rundown sections of Queens. Homeless guys often sat against the building or stood in the vast parking lot.
Inside, the shop was always lively. No one seemed in a particular rush and often long conversations between a patron and the clerk had to finish before I could pay for my hot dog buns or soda. It seemed to truly provide a service to those folks in the neighborhood, especially those who were on public assistance.
In the little square patches of dirt in the sidewalk outside the shop I managed to find many examples of Red Brome or Bromus rubens. This is one of the most common plants found on the street in San Francisco and I haven't been able to identify it until now.
Red Brome would be a good name for hard-boiled detective or a guy who puts out oil well fires.
Red Brome is a spiky plant with a seedhead that rises right above the main stem. Red Brome is not a native grass (it seems to have arrived in California during the early 19th century.) It is considered invasive and crowds out native species. It burns easily and is said to be a fire hazard. It's hard and spiky texture make it unpalatable for grazing animals. But it seems to have taken a real liking for the open patches of dirt in the South of Market neighborhoods.
(The photograph of Bromus rubens comes from the UC Davis Global Invasive Species web site.)