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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

the BUNRAB blog spot

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



December 24-31, 2007


go to next week's blogs


  Monday, December 31, 2007

A NYE party at B & R’s supplied enough calories to sustain us through the first half of 2008. K made an arugula salad:

... with Comice pears, pomegranate seeds and chopped hazelnuts with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette made with hazelnut oil. B made Boeuf Bourguignon J.C. style:

- Julia, not Jesus (although his name came up when we tasted this flavorful dish.) S. brought the cheesey spuds, J. brought one of those pastries with a hidden prize – a game in which the victor may win a trip to the dentist, but in this case he wore the crown on his head instead of getting one installed in his mouth.

-G (Happy New Year!!)



  Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bar Jules had a the smell of bacon as we sat down for brunch. There are no menus, only the chalkboards which list their market driven offerings.

I got the fried eggs with pork ragout ($10.00):

Two perfectly fried eggs next to porkilicious stewed meat with potatoes was just the ticket. The runny yolks and juices were too good to waste and I asked the server if I could have a piece of bread so I could sop them up. She appeared with two pieces of olive oil rubbed toast and I cleaned my plate completely.

Chubby got the cornmeal buttermilk griddle cakes ($8.00):

These corn circles had a wonderful texture from some coarsely ground meal. Melted butter and house made berry jam countered the tang from the buttermilk. Chubby had no problem polishing these off.

He also got a side of applewood smoked bacon ($6.00):

... which they cook limper than our preference. It’s grilled over a wood fire, so it gets a bonus dose of smoke.

Blue bottle coffee is served in press pots ($3.50 per person):

We noticed about four people with Starbucks cups and thought that was strange until we realized that they probably don’t charge lidage. We quickly drank our pot of coffee, but nobody asked if we needed another and we were having difficulty getting the attention of our server since the tables were filling up.

When the bill arrived I saw a charge of five bucks for toast:

I told the server that I would pay the charge, but when I had asked if I could have a piece of bread, it would have been a good time for her to inquire if I wanted an “order” of bread, or something to clarify that toast would be made for a fiver (since it wasn’t listed as a side on the chalkboard.) The neighboring table had the same situation and said they would have brought in their own loaf if they had known (crust-age anyone?) Even though I told the server to go ahead and charge us for it, they graciously took it off the bill and didn’t make me feel like an oaf for pointing it out.

We love the idea of this little eatery, which sources good ingredients but I wouldn’t bring Vincent Vega here since he still hasn’t gotten over the concept of a five dollar milk shake.

Bar Jules

609 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA



  Saturday, December 29, 2007

We both had seconds of the sweet potatoes with chilies:

... chicken:

... and couscous:

... from the deliciously spicy Tajine meal that N & K made for a fun and musical crowd.

K&J played up a storm on non-Guitar Hero guitars:

... (it took us a minute to figure out what those strings on the instrument were) while we sang along between bites of chocolate cake.




  Friday, December 28, 2007

We always know we are in store for an extraordinary feast when we visit M and Z. They are serious overachievers who go beyond the normal boundaries of cooking by making their own olives and wine.

I’m not talking about some half-assed, Sandra Lee meal here. They made the wine (from a ton and a half of grapes that they procured) and water cured the olives from the tree in their backyard. We sat down to a platter:

... of tripe sausages with mustard sauce, home grown and pickled green tomatoes, fingerling potatoes roasted in duck fat and a radish salad. Z made the main course, a duck confit which he served with lentils. He then capped it all off with house made wine poached pears (from the yard) and ice cream.

Every flavor filled bite and sip fueled our plan to kidnap Sandra and take her to M and Z’s for reprogramming.

Most guests bring a bottle of wine, but we got to take one home with us (along with a promise of refills.)




  Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Pasta Shop is a good resource for some hard to find groceries but when it comes to a quick bite, you take your chances. Perhaps it’s our heightened expectations reinforced by their well stocked shelves of tasty foodstuffs, but the prepared chow has never wowed us.

We got a pizzetta, a turnover, a Brussels sprout side dish and a bag of potato chips:

Our dough was limpened by the 'waving that gave them a damp-blanket-from-the-dryer feeling. To be fair, both the pizzetta and the turnover were superior in taste to most damp blankets. The limp Brussels sprouts didn’t ring our Bel-gium but we enjoyed our bag of cheesey chips.

I’m guessing that there are better things to order from the deli case – like a simple salami sandwich, but the Pasta Shop remains a great place to pick up some Maldon salt, a poco dolce tile or a bag of chips.

The Pasta Shop
1786 4th St.
Berkeley, CA


Our Bunrab email contained notes from Bunrab readers who also endured the Ton Kiang Xmas madness as well as some advice for next time:


I highly recommend trying Lucky Fortune for dim sum in the future. It's just 1 block over from Ton Kiang. The line is just a fraction of the length of Ton Kiang's and the dim sum is far better, cheaper, and fresher. And a large majority of the patrons are Chinese families and senior citizens and which is the best indicator.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Patrick,

During our “30 minute” (hour long) wait, we perused the nearby Russian deli and also walked by Lucky Fortune (which was filled with happy Chinese diners.) We will definitely give it a try.

Thanks for the tip,




  Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A good recipe inspires new variations.

I decided to make David Lebovitz’s rocky road recipe (which always makes eyes roll back with delight) but using a firmer marshmallow :

...and bittersweet chocolate.

The changed road conditions caused a sugar crash, but luckily, the marshmallows absorbed the impact. The jaws of life weren’t needed as we were able to chew our way through unaided.




  Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas breakfast of dim sum at Ton Kiang was not an original idea but after we made our way through the crowd standing in front:

... we were impressed that the hostess was able to predict a 30-minute wait in the midst of all the madness.

We chatted with some of the other dim waiters outside and it became clear that she was telling everyone 30 minutes without regard to reality. The “30 minute” line was the new WMD deception (Wait Maximized Dim sum) most of our fellow calorie deprived loiterers:

... were hovering around the hour mark.

However annoying this might be to the customers, this works for their business. A half hour seems reasonable, but when 45 minutes goes by, you don’t want to consider it a sunk cost, you are now invested like some unshaven, stained t-shirt clad, online poker player at 4 a.m., who knows his luck is about to change.

The hostess walkie talkied the upstairs dining room our dim sum name and we were directed to our table where we impulse shopped all the hot dumplings:

... that would fit in our bellies as well as some grisly pork ribs:

... (which we’ll skip next time) and deep fried whole shrimp.

I am a sucker for taro balls:

... as well as the sesame balls:

... to tamp everything down.

We bounced down the stairs forgetting about the WMD fiasco deciding that we were too happy to even think of a conflict.

Ton Kiang

5821 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA



  Monday, December 24, 2007

The word “fruitcake” rarely primes the saliva glands of most listeners, but it’s distant cousins without the scary looking, clinically preserved cherries can be delectable as well as a way to use up a local bounty.

Whenever I see that hippy guy manning the persimmon stand at the farmers’ market, he is explaining this mysterious fruit to wary shoppers. The different varieties of this fringe fruit can be confusing because some are astringent and should be eaten when squishy, while the non-astringent ones, like the tomato-shaped Fuyu, can be enjoyed firm.

Our neighbor has a Hachiya tree that is trying to bury her in persimmons. These are a taller, acorn shaped, astringent variety which must be used when they are meltingly ripe. She asked if we wanted any and of course, we did.

Our go-to recipe is usually Lindsey Shere’s persimmon pudding, but we thought that we would make some mini persimmon holiday bread loaves for all our neighbors. After a quick look on the interwebs, we decided on the adaptation of a James Beard recipe by David Lebovitz.

Instead of the 2 full sized loaves, we made 7 mini ones:

... which were moist, delicious and boozy from the bourbon.

When we gave our persimmon tree neighbor her bread she asked if we could use more, but we had to decline since we still have massive numbers of these orange tribbles ripening for the next wave of persimmon baking.



From today’s bunrab email, Roger B. writes:


seeing you eat at french laundry about as often as i do my laundry (tee hee), have you eaten there for lunch? if so i see the cost is the same as dinner. is it safe to assume it is the same service as dinner? i try and try to get dinner reservations with no luck, so i have settled for lunch. well settled is probably the wrong choice of words. thanks, roger

Gutenberg replies:

Dear Roger,

I think that our laundry would stop fitting very quickly if we visited as frequently as you spin dry.

We have only been to TFL for dinner, but a trusted source for dining has reported phenomenal chow and service can be had during earlier hours. Definitely anything but a compromise...

Hope you cycle through a great lunch.





back to last week - December 16-23, 2007



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