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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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December 24-31 , 2006


go to next week's blogs



Sunday, December 31, 2006

This bunrab is staying home on NYE so as not to infect my friends. Although I hate miss out on the fun, it would be wrong to start the year by giving everyone my cooties so the hutch is officially quarantined until 2007 (aside from trips to the pharmacy for Puffs, Dayquil and amusement.)

Some say that to understand a culture, you must first understand the music. I think that to truly understand a culture, you must learn what’s in their drug stores.

Check out the strategic placement of these select items. Valentines Day Chocolates, Mouthwash,  Soap, Headache medicine, Pregnancy tests and Q-tips:

I’m surprised that they do not supply an instructional brochure on their recommended order of use (after all their sign says “We’re here to help in any way we can.”)

I used to be shocked by the appearance of holiday promotions before the corpse of the outgoing one has dropped in body temperature, but I’ve resigned myself to this ever-advancing holiday marketing cycle. I even suspect that they are so far ahead of the game that is  for Valentine’s Day  of 2008.

Chubby wasn’t as interested in Candygrams as he was Anagrams as you can see by his new review of AVA.


From today’s bunrab email, Anna writes:


Hello Gutenberg,

I nearly crossed your path at Tabla - Table Cafe yesterday! I was on my way to enjoy and review it when my father had a sudden taste for Thai, so we stopped off at R'Noh instead!

Tabla/Table is one of my favorite places. Glad you like it too.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Anna,

Table is worth more than periodic visits. 

If they still have the sign up as “Tabla” with and “A” they need to issue an “E” IOU.


Gutenberg, Chubby and Eyeball add:

Everyone please have a fantastic New Year and a super happy 2007!






Saturday, December 30, 2006

The bacon and egg dosa ($9.00):

... at Tabla Café is the best breakfast in Larkspur. This South India inspired crepe cigared together crisp strips of bacon and creamy scrambled eggs.  The brittle salinity of the pork, the smooth subtly of the eggs and the slight sour tang of the bread made for a new and delish take on pigs (and chicks) in a blanket.

Chubby got the spinach, eggs and curried potato dosa ($8.00):

... which he liked a lot, but how could it compete with the bacon? When I was contemplating my bacon order I mumbled “everyone loves bacon” to which the owner replied, “even vegetarians love bacon.” No truer words have ever been spoken.

Our dosai arrived with chutneys:

... Apple-onion, pear-ginger and avocado (we both liked the green stuff best with our eggy rolls.)

We washed it all down with Equator coffee:

The only trick to having breakfast at Tabla is that they don’t open until 10:30. This is not a big problem for certain late risers, but it’s good to keep in mind if you are an early bird.

Sadly, early birds don’t always get the worm and Tabla Café will be changing their name in January. There is a Tabla Restaurant in New York that has more abogados than Tabla Café has avocados (unfortunately, abogados often prevail.)

Tabla Café in Larkspur will be changed to “Table Café.” (hmmm, I wonder if Vanna charges to exchange a vowel?)

Tabla….I mean Table Café
1167 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA


From today’s bunrab email:


Sorry to hear that you are under the weather. When cold germs plague us, we head for Tommy's Wok and pick up some Wah Wonton soup to eat in the comfort of our hutch. Nothing washes away the crankiness faster than a steaming hot bowl of their soup followed by a pot of tea.
Hope you feel better soon.


More helpful advice came in the form of this mail from our friend Anne:


Sorry you're feeling sick and cranky. You might want to try a bowl of the chicken tortilla soup at Grilly's on Miller Ave. in Mill Valley. I work near there and am addicted to it! Hope you feel better soon.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Susan and Anne,

Thanks for the get well wishes and soupy tips. I will have to check them out!








Friday, December 29, 2006

I have a cold.

When I have a cold I get cranky. This crankiness is amplified by the fact that I can’t hop into the market and get cold medicine anymore. Even if I buy the smallest amount of the stuff, they require I.D. I know it’s certainly not the checker’s fault, but I blurted out, “Do you really think that I am starting the world’s smallest meth lab to get into the Guinness Book of World’s Records?”

If you forget your driver’s license you will be forced to pick up some high-speed-chicken-feed on the street to backwards engineer into Sudafed.  This sounded like way too much work for me so I decided to go with nature’s Sudafed – getting soup fed.

Before my bowl of steamy, curative liquid arrived, I was forced to march through one of those wacky Thai restaurant salads:

Why are these the most phoned-in foodstuffs in the world? Not only are they assembled with the same amount of love that Brittney and Federline share, the number of calories it takes to eat them exceeds their nutrition value. It’s not Thep’s fault, this salad is the industry standard and they don’t want to hear people whine when they don’t get their pre-meal salad ceremony of refridgeratory ‘berg.

I asked for my noodle soup ($8.95):


...without the noodles to increase the broth factor (to wash out the cooties.) This was a mistake because the result was overly salty since the noodles probably need that salinity to be tasty.

As far as healthful properties go, it was probably a good thing to have this shrimp, chicken, zuke and bean sprout bowl of steaminess, but I have never gotten into those mini rock tumblered carrots. To me, those little flavorless, orange bullets are robot-produced nubs to sedate dieters. They are the Twinkies of the vegetable world.

Chubby got the Egg noodles with pork ($8.95):


...which was a little on the greasy side. The noodles would have profited from more of a scorching (for crunch purposes.) It had a studenty high-velocity-calorie-delivery-system feel to it.

Today wasn’t our best schlep to Thep, but then again, I have a cold and I was cranky…


Thep Lela
615 Strawberry Village
Mill Valley, CA





Thursday, December 28, 2006

Chubby and I grabbed a quick bite at Pizza Antica but in addition to a pizza and salad we ordered their lamb ($17.95):

...which we didn’t expect to be too interesting (otherwise, they would have named it Lamb Antica right?) To our surprise, it arrived beautifully rare and although the salsa verde was unpleasantly cold at first, it soaked up a bit of heat from the meat to give a nice peppery, herbaceous accent to the tasty flesh. The sweet potato hash was fine but it didn’t go with it’s platemates. The sweet taste of the spuds dulled the tangy salsa and meaty flavors rather than act as a starchy support team. 

Pizza Antica isn’t destination chow, but it’s a good option if you want to pull off the road and put on the feed bag.

Pizza Antica
800 Redwood Blvd. #705
Mill Valley, CA


From today’s bunrab email, Anne writes regarding Harmony, the restaurant around the corner from Pizza Antica:



My daughter and I decided to try Harmony Restaurant for lunch this past Tuesday. I thought it was kind of dark in there, and the menu was a little hard to read. Our waiter was very nice, but wasn't able to give us a lot of pointers about the food. We had two orders of the vegetarian steamed dumplings (we actually just ordered one, but I think he misunderstood), the steamed pork buns, and the onion rings. We also ordered the chard which came late when we were too full to eat it. We took it home, but haven't tasted it yet. The vegetable dumplings were fine, nothing out of the ordinary, and the pork buns had too much bread and too little meat. The onion rings were fantastic, very crispy and greaseless. It looks like they came with the same chili topping as your calamari. It seems a little pricey when you're used to San Francisco dim sum places, but it's a pleasant place, and it's nice to have somewhere new to go.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Anne,

It’s true, the service is still ironing out the bumps, but they seem to be good spirited so I don’t doubt that it will happen.

You make a good point about the menus. Their type is small and very light for a dimly lit venue. We eat a lot of carrots, but for those who don’t, they should increase the size of their font.

I wish that they had a liquor license (not just wine and beer) for those who wouldn’t mind a cocktail with their fried starters, but that’s just greedy.

Thanks for the tip on the o-rings. I’ll give them a try.



Steve H. writes about the fire at Manka’s Inverness Lodge and Restaurant.

Howdy, Gutenberg.

Deb and I were devastated to learn of the horrific fire at Manka's. We wish Margaret Grade and her "family" all the best as they contemplate next steps.

Steve and Deb H. (Stamford, Connecticut)

Gutenberg replies:

Dear Steve,

We were saddened by this news as well, but were relieved that nobody was hurt in the blaze.

The hospitality and chow at Manka’s were truly spectacular.  They made you feel as though you were in a timeless oasis in your cabin with a fire, eating and drinking the best local bounty.

I hear that they plan to rebuild so perhaps it’s a renewal rather than a goodbye.






Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chubby and I grabbed a quick lunch at Harmony Restaurant. They haven’t had much time to get their qi flowing yet, so the room was not fully populated.

The diners were mainly of non-Asian extraction. I point this out because I typically scan a dining room to see if the ethnicity of the food Garanimals with the ethnicity of the diners. I take it as a herald of authentic chow if they create a matching outfit, but in Marin, this method seems to work best with Mexican cuisine. Ethnic diversity must exist on this side of the bridge…I am still trying to find the location of the gala Kwanzaa event in the North Bay, but have had no success.

We started with calamari ($8.00):

Chunks of lightly battered, scored, squid flesh were deep fried into greaseless waves of milk colored firm, fishy, jiggler of the sea. The garlic and peppers had no Velcro hooks to adhere to the coating and had to be scooped up separately. This was good, but not something that I would necessarily re-order without requesting some lime wedges.

The Harmony signature beef ($14.00):

... sounded like required eating due to it’s Hancockian nature. It was tender with a nice char that laced around the edges of the meaty bits but this marinated meat needed something other than the crispy fried noodle base to give it depth and interest. It was fine, but not something I would necessarily sign up for on my next visit.

Broccolini ($10.00):

... was cooked to a toothsome crisp tender. Slivered garlic and a hit of pepper sauce made this a tasty vegetable side dish.

The people are friendly but are still working out the service bumps because this is such a recently opened place.

Harmony is focused on local ingredients, prepared to order in their Chinese inspired eats. The trick is that we are all conditioned to think of Chinese food as inexpensive so it’s easy to balk at prices even though they line up favorably with other cuisines.

Harmony Restaurant
800 Redwood Hwy. #401
Mill Valley, CA





Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Us Bunrabs have a good friend, K, who goes out on adventures where she gets shot at and eats good food. Half of that south of the equator equation sounds good to us Bunrabs.

We have learned a lot about chow from K.  She showed us how to acquire a raccoon and prepare it for dinner, taught us the purpose of cooking (to create crispy bits), and is the sort of person you should be around in event of any sort of disaster because she will know what to do and just as importantly, what to eat.

K had an interesting lunch in El Salvador recently. For a starter she had a soup with an unlaid egg in it:

If I were a chicken and was acquainted with the maker of this soup, I would ask them to be a little more patient. This is obviously the sort of person who opens all of the doors in their advent calendar on December 1st…

She passed over the iguana and river snails in favor of the armadillo with onion sauce:

... which she proclaimed “delicious with light meat and lots of small bones in inconvenient places…” This means that if you are in El Salvador, Restaurante El Jabali is worth a stop.







Monday, December 25, 2006


There is a reason for this name’s popularity among strippers, lands and cigarettes – it’s just that good.

Making candy is like deep frying; you want to keep the wackos and hard-crack addicts out of the kitchen because if they let their inner Gallagher loose it’s off for a holiday skin graft.

Sugar has more frienemies than Lindsay Lohan, but unlike Ms. L., it’s so refined that it has no bitter retort for these sour comments. Other than the lack of nutrition complaint, one popular criticism is the “sugar crash” I say that these people are dwelling on the negative. What about the mania? I love that insta-boost of energetic frenzy. Think of all the important ideas, artworks and actions that would never have reached fruition without some sweet embellishment and unlike the other idea accelerating, ingestible options, you get to keep your nose and brain cels. It’s also cheap. The ratio of pennies to calories is tremendously efficient and it gives you the umph to go and earn more pennies in it’s clever, sweet self perpetuating cycle.

Ants and kids understand the importance of sugar. Their little minds aren’t clouded and confused by the Splenda, Equal and Sweet ‘n Low marketing execs. Their pure craniums tell them “sugar good” it’s a base instinct, it’s unadulterated need, it’s our birthright as ants or babies.

Have a sweet holiday (even if you aren’t an ant or baby.)

-Gutenberg, Chubby, and Eyeball





Sunday, December 24, 2006

Shopping on Berkeley’s 4th street is a popular idea this time of year and it doesn’t leave much time for amping up the blood sugar with a leisurely sit down meal. If you want to go from zero to sixty (and then crash) you resort to sugar and caffeine instead of a “proper” meal. As much as I enjoy Peet’s coffee, I’m not nuts about their “artisan” baked goods. Don’t get me wrong, they are acceptable and if I were in a plane crash with my soccer team I would eat them before suggesting that we resort to human flesh, it’s just that the pastries across the street at Sketch are so much better.

The inner rabbit cried out for chocolate (and inner rabbits hate being ignored.) I got a pack of chocolate caramels ($7.50):

...which were topped with cocoa nibs. These Underdog energy pills of darkened sugar had a nice crunchy accent from the pod shards.

I was very happy with the chocolate pudding cake ($3.50):

...which looks so innocent. It’s snowy sugared top does not betray the moist and delicious secret within. Unlike most chocolate desserts labeled “decadent” or “overload” this is not that overused, molten centered thing that you see everywhere. This little chocobrick has the perfect amount of sweetness that is cooked up into a batter that had just set up enough to qualify as a solid. It’s edges have a slight crispness that contrasts perfectly with the creamy, chocolaty body of this satisfying dessert.

I have been ordering their baked goods solo lately due to the weather, but the point of them is that they pair well with their house made ice creams. Until I’m ready for a cooling dessert, I will stick to their cookies, gingerbread:

...peppery, nutty and chewy panforte:

... (I mean, where else can you get housemade panforte in Berkeley?)


1809A Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA





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