Noe Valley Voice December-January 1997-98


By Anne Gates

Storetrek is a regular feature of the Voice profiling new shops and businesses in the neighborhood. This month we introduce a Balinese arts shop in "Downtown" Noe Valley and a medical clinic located on outer Church Street.

Rumah Sorga/Heaven's House

3961-1/2 24th St. (at Noe)


Australian sisters Felicity and Fiona Jan brightened 24th Street when they opened their shop Rumah Sorga on Sept. 24. A lavishly decorated orange and purple stairway leads customers past the wind chimes into the small storefront under 17 Reasons, in the middle of the block between Sanchez and Noe streets. (The space was formerly occupied by Chocolate Covered, which moved a few doors up 24th Street last January.)

Rumah Sorga, which is Indonesian for "Heaven's House," presents a wide selection of arts, crafts, and jewelry from Bali. Co-owner Fiona Jan, who is based in Los Angeles, has been traveling to Bali for more than 10 years, scouting the island for new handicrafts to import.

Co-owner Felicity Jan says her sister often strays off the beaten path to discover unique crafts and little-known artisans. A new shipment of merchandise is expected to arrive in early December, she adds, and the shop is likely to showcase bamboo furniture in the future.

Felicity Jan and store manager Jennifer Peters staff the incense-scented shop. Among their special wares are the festive paper lanterns for $12, colorful batik sarongs for $26, and exotic sparkling bead and fabric lamps ranging in price from $150 to $250 ("we're the first to have these on the West Coast," says Jan).

Bamboo candleholders, about three feet tall, go for $15 to $20. A set of three rattan and wood trays sells for $45. But the most entrancing item in the shop may be the silver Buddha statue for $350.

Rumah Sorga also offers a variety of natural Indonesian soaps, lotions, salts, and bath oils in popular scents like vanilla-coconut. The toiletries can be purchased individually or in gift sets in handmade boxes or bags for $16 to $40. Handcrafted silver jewelry is priced at $150 to $250, and glass jewelry runs $20 to $30. In the "must-see" category are the giant acrylic bead necklaces and the speckled coconut-shell chopsticks.

Rumah Sorga/Heaven's House is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Pacific Family Practice

1734 Church St. (at Day)

Phone: 920-2700

Appointments: 202-9837

Noe Valley is now home to a satellite medical clinic affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center. As the name implies, Pacific Family Practice -- staffed by a team of two doctors, a nurse practitioner, and a medical assistant -- is a family practice that is open to all ages.

"We call it womb-to-tomb care," Dr. Sophia Mirviss says with a smile. "We're a continuity care provider--we see people over a period of time. We see a lot of multigenerational families, which we love."

Pacific Medical Practice started in Pacific Heights about 15 years ago, and a branch clinic is still there today (at 2300 California St.). A Noe Valley branch originally opened in the 30th Street Senior Services building, as a multicultural medical clinic with a focus on geriatric care. The local clinic moved to Church Street last March.

The clinic has continued its elder care role and still offers bilingual resources (Spanish and Cantonese), but it has expanded to include more women's and family health care. "We do almost everything but obstetrics and deliveries," says Mirviss. "We like to see the global picture of a family's health, and we try to appreciate the whole person, not a group of component pieces. We're providing top-rate medical care.

"We're very low-key," she adds. "We're part of the neighborhood." Indeed, it might be easy to miss the unassuming storefront next to the Coin Wash & Dry, though the office inside is surprisingly spacious. Dr. Mirviss and Dr. Rosanna Chow are both Noe Valley residents, and Kathy McKeon, the group's medical assistant, also works at Little Italy Restaurant.

Nurse practitioner Mary Lawrence Hicks usually focuses on annual physicals, minor illnesses, and health education and preventive care. She's also developing her knowledge of herbal, homeopathic, and alternative therapies.

Mirviss points out that Noe Valley has some wonderful alternative treatment facilities, from massage therapists to yoga classes. She says Pacific Medical Practice refers patients to these resources as necessary. Should the services of a full hospital be required, the clinic will turn to California Pacific Medical Center, or occasionally to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

Pacific Family Practice accepts most insurance plans. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 202-9837.