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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

the BUNRAB blog spot

Do you need to answer back? You can send me comments if you want to.

If I want to, I'll post 'em in this very blog.



December 8-16 , 2006


go to next week's blogs



Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rose Pistola’s booth:

... at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers’ Market serves up a mean breakfast plate of eggs with crispy prosciutto ($7.00):

They cook their scrambled eggs soft (the way I like them) with herbs and a scattering of hammy shingles. The home fries were well seasoned (which covered for the fact that the toast was a little blah.)

The cold weather kept the mega-crowds away and the person working the Cowgirl Creamery Express booth in a rabbity hat

What do you get when you go to a professional food critic’s house for dinner?

The most delish standing rib roast:

... ever shared among an interesting group of art and food loving Bay Areans.





Friday, December 15, 2006

Names with cutesy symbols in them:

...are just a turn off, but to be fair, if there was a focus group done on restaurant names, the committee would probably decide that the safest answer would be to follow the one solution that is even worse than little stars or hearts, they would use the tried and true structure of “The (adjective) (noun).” You know, “The Hungry Hunter” “The Red Lobster” “The Velvet Turtle”…all bad.

Ideally, names should give you a sense of what to expect when you take your first bite. Do not expect a serving of velvety turtle, or a room filled with famished Dick Cheney look-alikes with shotguns.

I generally prefer names like House of Lumpia or Falafel Hut or Hamburgers on Bridgeway, but whatever you call an establishment, sometimes you just eat where you happen to be when hunger strikes (whether or not you are a hunter) so I ducked into I ♥ Teriyaki.*

In the past, I have scratched my head when seeing people order fish at a steak restaurant so it finally occurred to me that my less than hearty meals from I ♥ Teriyaki were due to the fact that I was ordering their non-teriyaki items (which I assume that they don’t ♥.)

Certain foods fall into “tourist” category and chicken teriyaki and tempura combo ($8.25):

...are among them, but hey, I am open to “safe” food. Perhaps it was my lack of excited anticipation that caused me to be surprised by the juiciness of my chicken. The lightly battered prawn, yam, carrot and onion came in a not too greasy hay stack of crispiness. I tempura’ed my expectations and didn’t come out battered in the process. I wouldn’t go out of my way to come here, but as far as quick stops in the ‘nabe goes, it’s good to know what to order (even though they have an unappealing name.)

I ♥ Teriyaki
270 Potrero Ave.
San Francisco, CA


*if you're a Firefox user, you probably won't be seeing all the little "heart" characters. But believe me, they're there... I swear!





Thursday, December 14, 2006

I didn’t have time
for a sit down meal so I grabbed some chow from Bette’s to go.

My Cubano ($6.95):

... may not be the most traditional version of this sandwich I have ever had, but it was the best tasting. They started with a crusty baguette. In my Cubano past, I have always had them with less crunchy/chewy bread so this mustard-seed-speckled, pork and ham-filled lunch started out on the right bready foot. They panini-ize this meaty roll to melt the cheese and add more crispy bits. Normally I don’t care for pickles inside my ‘wich, but the ultra thin slices were just the right touch to take the “no” out of “Cuba.”

The people who work here are wonderful and the food is good, quick and well priced. What’s not to like?

Bette’s To Go
1807 Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA






Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Couleur Café was hoppin' during lunch but I got the last open table and there was not much of a wait for my Crepe Complete ($9.00):

A warm buckwheat pancake folded around thin slices of ham with melted Gruyere and was capped with a fried, sunnyside up egg served with a mesclun side salad.  Perfectly tasty, but not something I would go out of my way to reorder.

The service was friendly and efficient. I haven’t had anything here knock my socks off yet, but then again, I’ve only been here a handful of times.

Couleur Cafe
300 De Haro St.
San Francisco, CA

Menu for Hope has hit over thirteen thousand smackers thanks to the good people supporting the UN World Food Programme by picking up raffle tickets.

If you are a cookbook junkie, you can get your choice of three of Ten Speed Press’ fabulous offerings by buying a ticket for UW23. You can choose David Leibovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate, or go with Vice Cream if you are a vegan and lactose intolerant, you could choose Gordon Ramsay’s A Chef for All Seasons or learn to make tapas like they do at Cesar.

Remember Paul Aratow from early Chez Panisse days? He translated La Bonne Cuisine (which some say strongly influenced Julia Child’s works.)  There are also grilling, veggie, cocktail and goofy cookbooks to choose from and you get your pick of three of them if you win this prize.






Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Wow, Menu for Hope is off to a great start with over 9000 bucks and it’s only day two.
If you want to kick in ten bucks while helping a good cause (and enter to win fabulous prizes like your choice of three, count ‘em three cookbooks from the Ten Speed Press Catalogue – prize UW23.)

Check out the cool offerings of coffee with Thomas Keller, Dinner with a whore or Alice Waters’ crockery…

…which brings me to lunch…

I have driven by the New Crockery Café a million times.

Each time I wondered what was up with this strangely name plated eatery. Do they only use dishware once and smash it in some ethnic ritual? I don’t use the word “crockery” much. The word summons up old school images like churning butter, or in it’s diminutive form, it is often calls to mind something less pleasant.

There are often big rigs out front so it was not surprising that my cheeseburger ($6.59):

...was trucker sized. The toasted sesame seed bun hauled a big (but otherwise ordinary) beef patty topped with two slices of melted American processed cheese. They put mayo, mustard and ketchup under the patty which seems unwise since gravity will pull the meaty juices in that direction too (which risks a soggy undercarriage), but this bun didn’t become beef logged despite this lack of Newton acknowledgement. The O-rings were typical frozen variety, but they know how to deep-fry in this place so the battered circles were crispy and relatively flavorful.

My side of chili ($2.19):

...came directly out of the industrial-sized tin (and it tasted that way too.)

Why did they think that a salad bar:

...was a good idea at a restaurant for big, hungry boys? If they are baiting their hook for ladies who lunch, they need to examine their fishing hole.

If you like steam tables, large portions and canned chow this is the place to pull up your mud flaps with the girlie silhouettes, if you want a salad - keep truckin down the road.

New Crockery Café
1 Division St.
San Francisco, CA

From our bunrab email, Anne writes:


Sorry the Half Day Cafe was disappointing. We used to go there years ago, but haven't tried it for quite a while because of mediocre food (including the worst pastrami sandwich I have ever eaten) and equally mediocre service. Next time you're in a breakfast mood, you might want to try The Anchorage on Gate Five Rd. in Sausalito, just behind the Industrial Center Building. My mother and I had a great breakfast yesterday - spinach and swiss omelettes. They also have a lot of Mexican items, and my husband has pronounced the huevos rancheros "good" which is major coming from him. The coffee is drinkable and plentiful, and the people who run it are exceptionally nice. Give it a try!


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Anne,

I was less wise with my Gate 5 lunch order (I found out that Monte Cristos are just not my thing.) I will have to follow your advice next time. Thanks for the tip,



Michael M. writes with a photo question:



I really like the photos your site. I have some freelance web clients that ask me to take pictures or their food from time to time, what kind of camera do you use? My Nikon Coolpix is on it's last legs and I need to invest in a new camera.



Eyeball fields this one, since he got Gutenberg his camera:

Dear Michael,

The Canon SD 550 delivers a high enough resolution image for our purposes plus is small enough to slip in a jacket pocket (bar of soap sized.) You can even make little movies with it (like this one at the Toronado Bar.) Sometimes, when I go shooting with Gutenberg, I use my Nikon DSLR. Hope that helps.

Your friend,







Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu for Hope

Pim at Chez Pim has gotten food bloggers from around the world to work together to raise funds for the United Nations World Food Programme.

Sam at Becks and Posh is organizing all of the US West Coast participants and there are some cool gifts that will be raffled off.

We got to thinking about what food-related prize would be something that we would want to win and decided on cookbooks. Not just any cookbooks, but super cool ones like that Chocolate one by David Leibovitz or the Boulevard Cookbook by Nancy Oakes or maybe one of those Charlie Trotter chef’s books.

 The only problem is that if one of the books was already in your collection, it would be a wasted wish. Luckily the nice folks at Ten Speed Press were keen to kick in any three cookbooks that the winner chooses from their catalogue. That way you could go with the Cheeseboard, Cesar and Cindy Pawlcyn’s Big Small Plates OR decide that the Curiosities of Food, White Trash Cooking and the Twinkies Cookbook is the way to go.  They will even ship them to you (at one address for all three books.)

Thanks to our friends at Ten Speed Press for supplying such a cool prize!

If you would like to get a raffle ticket for this prize (prize code UW23) or any of the other fabulous offerings from food bloggers around the world, just follow these simple instructions:

1.   Go to the donation page at http://www.firstgiving.com/menuforhopeIII

2.   Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code - for example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for UW01 and 3 for UW02.

3.   If your company matches your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

4.   Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the results of the raffle.  






Sunday, December 10, 2006

The San Francisco Bay Area community pulled together in a showing of support for the victims of a horrible incident involving members of the Bar Crudo team.

Over 600 people gave donations of money, goods and services. Hog Island, Range, Zuni, Cav and the Ritz Carlton are among the list of those who supplied food for the event.

A silent auction also took place with Coco500, NOPA and A16 (among many others) kicking in to help the cause.

Food Bloggers were also there to support. Amy and L . and Mr. and Mrs. Sardine as well as evidence (from the silent auction sheets) of Sam.

For those of you who haven’t dined at Bar Crudo, now is the time to go and support this small and excellent establishment. Not only have they suffered personally, but financially. If you need some visual enticement, see Chubby’s review of this San Francisco jewel.

Bar Crudo
603 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA






Saturday, December 9, 2006

Bacon and eggs are the yin and yang of breakfast. Each element contains both the dark and the light (representing the masculine and feminine in Chinese philosophy which compliment the other in cooperative opposition.) I was less interested in Eastern philosophy than Stomach fill-osophy with my yen for this traditional Western morning meal.  If I really wanted to create this image of duality on my plate, I would have had to order my eggs sunnyside up, but I was in the mood for scrambled.

Our restaurant selection criteria was a two step process. It had to be quick and not disgusting. The Half Day Café:

...had a five minute wait.

I requested my bacon and eggs ($7.95):

... with extra crispy meat strips and eggs scrambled extra soft. Both proteins arrived without these attributes. The wheat toast was as you would expect and the fruit was tired but edible.

Chubby got the sausage and eggs ($7.95):

...which were fine. He bypassed the toast for an orange currant scone:

...which was aggressively citrusy. It had a nice crusty exterior with a moist currant freckled belly, but the strong Anita Bryant factor was enough for him to leave most of this carbo brick on his plate.

My coffee cup sat empty for way too long (but to be fair, I drink lots of coffee very fast in the morning) other than that, the service was fine.

We’re not rushing back anytime soon, but it’s a quick pit stop to keep in mind when you’re in the mood for the basics.

Half Day Café
848 College Ave.
Kentfield, CA


From the bunrab email bag John L. writes:


We read your review of Om South Indian cusine in San Rafael and decided to give it a try based on your review. We are glad we did--the Indian food was different than Lotus (also in San Rafael) and very good. We plan on returning. Thanks for the tip.

John L.

Gutenberg replies:

Dear John,

Glad you are now an Om-nivore. We plan to be om-nipresent again soon.


Justin W. writes about Berkeley ice cream:


While you were being Sketchy yesterday, a friend and I made the trek over to Ici, the other half of what has recently become the great ice cream debate amongst fellow Berkelians. After sampling each of the flavors, I settled on Malted Banana. Little did I know that I had made one of the best decisions of my life, thus far. In Borat-speak, this ice cream can only be described as "wah-wah-wee-wah!" Everybody reading this must drop whatever they are doing right now and head over to Ici to pick up some malted banana ice cream. They change flavors every four days. What are you waiting for?


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Justin,

I have been meaning for making it to Ici after hearing such niiiice publicity about their wizard’s sleeve custard - actually, maybe it was Earl Grey I’m thinking of…

Next time I’m on that end of town I’m going to make an ice cream time. High five.

Jak sie masz,







Friday, December 8, 2006

Hime is a Japanese lounge-uraunt. Trippy mixes play softy in the background as you mellow out with some off the hook fish.

We started with konbu marinated halibut sashimi ($12.50):

It’s silvery sheen and read-the-newspaper-through-it translucence were heralds of good the sea flesh to come. Wasabi salt dotted each piece allowing us to bypass the shoyu and pluck it straight from it’s icy bed to our gullets. Simply fantastic.

For our nigiri portion of the meal:

... we had the wild blue fin tuna ($7.50) which was good, but not “wildly” so. The scallop ($5.50) made up for Charlie. This silky yet firm ocean globule was delectable. The tako ($4.50) didn’t ring my bell. It was standard issue octo.

The gyuniku ($7.00) was nicely marbled kobe style meat, thinly sliced and blowtorch kissed to a pefect beefalectability. 

We should have quit while we were ahead but we asked for some suggestions for maki.

The hime roll ($14.75):

... was a fish cigar filled with shrimp tempura, avocado and spicy tuna. Eel is draped over the top and hit with a blowtorch before a scattering of flying fish roe caps the spicy sauce. The elements were good, but were less than the sum of their parts for my taste.

A yakusa roll ($18.90):

... had no sign of gangster fingertips concealed within this flashy dish. It was more bling than zing as far as my tastebuds were concerned. The 24k gold leaf was gorgeous against the black roe, but I found that the salmon went upstream to each end while the maguro and hamachi stayed center stage. The avocado and daikon sprouts added a nice vegi-freshness weren’t enough to get me to want to order it again.

My feeling is that the maki are intended to dazzle with their crowdpleasing moves and the nigiri are the understated elegant wallflowers. This idea was reinforced when I saw that fresh wasabi came with the nigiri, while the rolls got the reconstituted treatment.

Don’t get me wrong, these maki weren’t bad, they just couldn’t follow the opening act without being subject to the same scrutiny.

Check out the bathroom:

The service was friendly and efficient and it was wacky to see a Japanese restaurant with great raw fish and no sushi bar.

I would come back to Hime for the beautiful nigiri and sashimi.


Hime Restaurant
2353 Lombard St.
San Francisco, CA






back to last week - December 1-7, 2006



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