I've found some of the individual vets here to be world-class; I've found others to be unpleasant and apparantly money-driven. The problem is that none of them are there every day of the week, so if you choose a vet, you may only be able to see them two or three days of the week.
The non-professional staff and the technicians seem compentent and helpful. There are often waits, but that's normal for a busy veterinary practice. Pricing is fair.
Incredible green thumb; makes plants grow where others can't. Excellent design ideas and wide knowledge of both native plants and other good choices for SF microclimates. But Ken's best quality is how hard he works. He charges by the hour, but what he gets done in an hour is a half-days work for other gardeners I've used. Very good natured and reliable as well.
Down on Bayshore boulevard, with pretty good street parking. A very small space, but with a huge number of plants crammed into it. The prices are standard for nurseries, but the quality of most of the items seems to be a little higher than usual. Excellent collection of native plants and unusual annuals. While the big Berkeley nurseries offer more variety, you're likely to get what you want (and nicer specimens) at Floorcraft.
While I think Cliff's on Castro may offer some more abstruse items, and far more interesting decor stuff, Cole is the place for plain, no-nonsense hardware with a lot of knowlegable advice and basic things that you can't find at the big depot stores. All their locations have semi-difficult parking situations, which is kind of a pain, and you may have to wait a while for service, but when they get to you they give you all their attention and reallly try to help.
You may find parking around castro street a little tough, but it's worth it to check out cliff's hardware and variety stores (they're actually two storefronts, one next to the other.) If nothing else, the window decorations are on a high level of surrealist art (marching armies of nuts and bolts conquering a fort of silverware). More important, this and Cole Hardware are the last of the old-time hardware stores in the city. An attempt at a pretty complete selection, definitely including stuff that the warehouse/depots won't have, and a lot of friendly and intelligent clerks who can help you with your problems. Plus many interesting decor items that you won't easily find outside the castro.
I was able to negotiate an excellent price with these folks on an inexpensive Honda. When problems arose, they jumped to fix them as though I had bought a top-of-the-line model at full price.
I'd certainly do business with them again.
It was annoying, therefore, that there were lots of the usual underpredictions of how long things would take, as well as a hard sell on an extra warranty which misrepresented what was covered on the regular warranty. All in all, though, better than a lot of the other options out there.
In the rarified realm of physiatrists -- the doctors who deal with muscle and skeletal problems -- it's hard to find a good one who accepts insurance. Dr. Minkowski does, and she is friendly, skilled, compassionate, and an excellent communicator. She is good at explaining things and at making practical suggestions. Her office on upper van ness is easy to get to and has plenty of metered parking nearby.
Apollo presents an excellent solution if you need heating work inexpensively. They do a competent job, they're neat and easy to deal with, and they get the work done on time. That said, they're not artists. They put the stuff in and it works. Not a lot of options as to things like noise level (my personal gripe with the installation they did for me). But you can't beat their price.
When I called with a washing machine problem, the owner was in the office and pretty much called what it was over the phone. He came, and sure enough, he was right, and it was a very inexpensive repair. He found something else wrong with my machine while he was there (there was a nail stuck in the tub!) fixed it, and apologized that he would have to charge another 15 dollars or so for the second repair.
I think his scheduling is a little iffy... he's a one man shop ... but he's worth waiting for.
Exceptional ability with neck and cranial pain problems. Helped me with a neck problem that other doctors could do nothing about. . Doesn't take insurance because she doesn't have to... she's the best in the business, period.
Her office is in the upper Polk area, and easy metered parking is always available. Dr. Hong herself can be a bit brusque, but she takes her work very seriously and does an excellent job.