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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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December 9-15, 2007


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  Saturday, December 15, 2007

We were lucky enough to be invited to an annual party with interesting people and great food (including an expertly prepared standing rib roast.)

For those of us who are fortunate enough to be well fed, it’s time to put up a few bucks for Menu for Hope.

Have the Bunrabs ever bought Girl Scout cookies from you or pledged for your whatever-a-thon? Then you are required to buy some tickets before your pro quo deficiency takes hold. If we haven’t pledged for any miles or thin mints, buy some tickets anyway just because you know that you want to kick in for a good cause without being subjected to a Sally Struthering.

If you pick a ticket for UW03, you are in the running to win three cookbooks of your choosing from the 10 Speed Press catalogue. Their catalogue includes Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts (she’s the citizen behind the San Francisco’s cake and cupcake enterprises.) If you have a meat-tooth instead of a sweet tooth, they have all sorts of other books to utilize those molars and while you’re at it, you can get a ticket for UW04 – the Boccalone Boar Sachetto.

Tasty Salted Pig Parts. This is truth in advertising, my friends and with perfect timing - yule get it after the holidays when everyone goes all crazy-Atkins. If you are the lucky winner, you can claim your sow purse during a salumi society gathering and get serving tips and swine pairing info from their artisans.

When you buy a ticket, your money is going to support the school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa through the UN World Food Programme. Click here for more details on these prizes.




  Friday, December 14, 2007

The best thing about the tortilla making station at Picante:

... is that it gets packs of screaming children to focus their attention on the hot off the grill flatbreads. Fresh tortillas are passed under the sneeze guard when these juvies plead with wide eyes through the plexiglass (this is good training for the kids destined for the slammer.) These corn pacifiers are also available to those who prefer avocados to abogados. I got a carne asada and a pescado taco ($2.50 each):

They don’t double bag these single ply snacks, so it’s best to lean over the plate when taking a bite out of the chopped grilled steak with peppers and onions in a chile sauce. It was good, but I preferred the battered, deep fried snapper with cabbage, mango and jicama.

Chubby got the enchiladas de mole ($8.95):

... which was seriously chocolaty. It was difficult to determine if there were more cocoa beans or black beans on this plate of chicken tubes. It was good, but not a reorder.

The reason to come to Picante (other than to train your children how to behave as wards of the state) is to have an inexpensive meal that is made with good ingredients. It may not be as authentic as your favorite taco truck, but it’s a quick and peppy pit stop.


1328 6th St.
Berkeley, CA



  Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back when there was only the funky little Slanted Door on Valencia, we couldn’t have imagined it opening up into this empire hinged on a sparkly Ferry Building anchor restaurant.

We swung by for lunch in their bustling, sunny, glassbox of a dining room and were greeted by some food encrusted glasses. We prefer to encrust them ourselves and the server carefully examined the replacements to ensure our crusting enjoyment. Chubby also discovered that his chopsticks were broken and they replaced those as well.

After we got our tabletop in order, the Spanish mackerel ($12.50):

... arrived, it was the fattiest (in a good way) that I have ever eaten. This pig of the sea had a hot ginger and scallion oil dressing, but it was good enough to eat without adornment.

The grilled lemongrass pork ($10.50):

... was good, but the version that we had at their Westfield Out the Door was a meatier interpretation. The rice noodles, bean sprouts, cukes and mint caught some of the porky juices and were a refreshing contrast to the imperial roll that comes with this dish. They were out of the pork and shrimp rolls, so a vegetarian taro root and cabbage took its place. This deep fried cigar was good enough that we didn’t lament its protein deficiency.

The Monterey Squid ($14.50):

... was briefly cooked to maintain its tender, juicy flesh, but the jalapenos were hot enough to distract from these pristine curls of seafood. Tomatoes added a bit of sweet acidity to this slightly unbalanced dish.

We also got their signature Shaking Beef ($24.00):

Cubes of Meyer Ranch filet mignon were tender and nicely medium rare. Watercress and green and red onions accented these meaty blocks. It was good, but not something we would definitely re-order.

Now with the Out the Doors and other Phan-ciful eateries in the works it’s difficult to imagine how it doesn’t keep from being a sliding door. Sure, we’ve had both hits and misses, and sometimes it feels impersonal due to the crowds that are processed through their popular semi-touristy locations, but somehow they manage to keep a handle on their operation.

The Slated Door
1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco, CA



  Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The ever-expanding Universe seemed to mock us this evening.

Ask a Scientist is a cool lecture series organized by Juliana Gallin. Last month’s topic was synestheisa and this evening, Stanford Physics Professor, Patricia Burchat discussed dark matter and dark energy:

She broke it down into layman’s terms and kept it culinary with the use of wine glass lenses and raisin bread analogies. Ask a Scientist is the best way to put some jumper cables in your brain without a commitment of anything more than a couple of hours.

We orbited around Axis Café (where the event takes place) for some edible matter and were denied entrance to Levende Lounge:

... where a party had bought out the entire evening. We then gravitated to the newly opened Serpentine:

... eagerly anticipating the “honest food” promised on their website but when we bellied up to the bar, they said it was drinks only – the kitchen wasn’t dishing up dinner yet.

Across the street, we spotted a place that Sam likes. Yield:

We stopped at this organic and biodynamic focused wine bar (half expecting to run into her and Fred) and saw that in addition to some artisanal cheeses, they are serving flatbreads ($10 each):

Their thin cracker-like crusts supported a tomato, red pepper, oregano, fennel and olive galaxy with tangy feta in this array of sweet, acidic, crunchy, creamy, tanginess.

The roasted squash flatbread:

... had a bacony vibe due to the smoked onions under the roasted squash and asiago cheese. The dressed arugula gave an herbaceous boost to this savory snack.

We were impressed by both of these vegetarian pie charts and will have to return to see if we are able to replicate these findings.

Yield Wine Bar
2490 3rd St.
San Francisco, CA

Ask a Scientist
Axis Café
1201 8th St.
San Francisco, CA



  Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amy and Lee mentioned that they had some good chow at Hime recently. We realized that it has been a year since we last rolled out so we went to check out the goods.

We were questioned about our reservation name (this is the second time this week our names have come into question) before being seated on the butt compressing wooden bench in this sleek, wood dominated, room.

Miso soup ($2.00 each) took the chill off before an array of seafood which included:

Hamachi sashimi ($8.00):

... which might sound pricey for 4 pieces, but these buttery, pristine tiles of yellowtail were sliced from a fish that was selected by a savy shopper (not a bargain buyer.)

Sake, Tako:

... and Saba nigiri ($3.50 each) also displayed their shoppin and choppin skills.

We enjoyed the fresh (not reconstituted powder) wasabi that was served with all the sashimi and sushi.

The dynamite ($5.00):

... was infused with hot sauce which added a charge to the rice and scallop. This isn’t a bomb, but it also isn’t something we would put on rotation.

Jennifer roll ($9.95):

... was an eel, avocado and hamachi maki that would have been even better with some crunchy counterpoint (like cukes) to all of the soft and buttery ingredients.

This sushi lounge has trippy music that is replaced by Japanese music when you hit the banjo (bathroom) which they keep clean and a little too orderly, going so far as to have hotel corners on the toilet paper rolls.

The service is attentive and friendly (even if they don’t believe your name) and the fish is satisfying and prepared with care.

Hime Restaurant
2353 Lombard St.
San Francisco, CA



  Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu for Hope

Pim’s campaign benefiting the UN World Food Programme mobilized bloggers, food and wine professionals and readers to raise over $62K last year.

Taking on the task of US West Coast regional host this year is Bee from Rasa Malaysia
Our friends at Ten Speed Press are participating again this year by allowing the winner to choose any three cookbooks from the Ten Speed Press cookbook catalogue which they will send to the lucky winner anywhere within the U.S.

They have a great collection to choose from including David Leibovitz’s Perfect Scoop, The River Cottage Meat book and Elizabeth Faulkner’s Demolition Desserts. Take a look at what last year’s winner, Catherine at Albion Cooks selected.

If you win this prize, you get to pick the 3 books that ring your Pavolovian bell and have them shipped to your U.S. address.

3 Ten Speed Cookbooks of winner’s choice is prize code number UW03.

A new company that we just love has opened this year and they have agreed to furnish a prize that makes us salivate. Tasty Salted Pig Parts:

Yep, the luck winner gets a “Boar” sacchetto from Boccalone.

You can have a salumi party in the privacy of your own home with this three and a half pound box of 5-6 varieties of seriously delish meat treats.

This prize is for a Bay Area local to pick up during one of their salumi society gatherings, which they hold alternately at Incanto Restaurant in San Francisco and at the Boccalone plant in Oakland. You will get to rub salty shoulders with the artisans who coax the flavors from these swine as you taste samples of their creations and get serving and wine pairing advice.

If you win this prize, you will arrange which salumi society pick up date and location is best for you (see their website for details) and you will enjoy some artisan salumi that is the most fun that you can have with your pancetta on.

Boccalone Boar Sachetto is prize code number UW04

But don’t forget that what you are really doing when you buy a raffle ticket for these prizes is contributing to a good cause so kick in a tenner for a chance at some cool books and one for a try for a box o’ pig parts.

Here’s what you do:

1 – go to the secure, Firstgiving page.

2 – specify the prize you are buying a ticket for in the “personal message” section.

Each ticket is ten bucks so if you want to buy one ticket for each of these prizes you would write “1xUW03, 1xUW04”

Winners will be announced on Chez Pim on Wednesday January 9th.





  Sunday, December 9, 2007

We found ourselves in the midst of cyber-squatters in the café at Barnes and Noble:

... for a meal that took a page out of some one’s binder. This ruled, three hole punched, pretzel ($2.95):

... received a grade of incomplete. They fold it into some parchment and place it in a panini maker to create a not so pee chee folder of twisted, jalapeno punctuated, Cheddar cheese filled dramedy which did not require mustard highlighting.

Chubby got a turkey and cheese sandwich with chipotle mayo ($5.95):

... that they placed in paper jacket before placing on the binding machine. Although he ate this cover to cover, it was a work of mild fiction that left him with more questions than answers – will the paper leach carcinogens at this high heat?

These inscribed paperbacks led us to believe that Barnes and Noble sells books to take away or eat in.






back to last week - December 1-8, 2007



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