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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.



January 16-23, 2007


go to next week's blogs



Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We were feeling like a locals’ breakfast in San Rafael so we hopped over to Bobby’s Fo’c’s’le Café for some off the radar, uber casual chow.

There were some old timers talking about cholesterol counts:

... and arthritis with the friendly waitress (who seemed to know all her regulars and their cholesterol levels.)

I received my bacon and eggs ($6.95):

... extra crisp and extra soft (respectively) as ordered. The wheat toast and grilled tomatoes were spot hitting in a unsustainable or non-heirloom kind of way.

Chubby got a burger patty with eggs ($6.95):

Both were a little over cooked, but forgivably so (this ain't Chez Fo'c's'le.) He also got the tomatoes but opted for an English muffin sans nooks and crannies. Like some insidious, cheery jingle, Thomas' has subliminally warped my mind into thinking "nooks and crannies" are the defining characteristics of this bread product.

I admire Bobby's for being retro without trying. It’s a good local hangout to discuss Lipitor over steak and eggs.

Bobby’s Fo'c's'le Café
102 Loch Lomand Dr.
San Rafael, CA




Monday, January 22, 2007

Izzy’s is a chain of three restaurants in San Francisco, San Carlos and Corte Madera:

After a "meh" dinner in the Corte Madera branch we hadn’t been back for a while, but today we decided to pop by for a meaty lunch.

My cheeseburger ($9.00):

... arrived to the requested medium rare. The meat was on the lean side with good diameter matching of bun and patty. Standard issue anemic tomatoes and lettuce capped off the slice of melted Gouda. The bun was a little softer than my personal preference but it held up to the job.

You get your choice of sides including fries or broccoli. I opted for the healthier option which was okay, a tad more cooked than I prefer, but to be fair, it is likely that they have more experience with their fries. For a decent burger at less than ten bucks in a sit down restaurant with your choice of sides it’s difficult to complain.

Chubby got the prime rib sandwich ($12.00):

... which was served with a cup of jus. The bun looks more robust than it’s actual tensile strength, but it made for a tasty and substantial nap inducing meal.


Izzy’s Steak and Chop House
55 Tamal Vista
Corte Madera, CA




Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome to all our new visitors who read Le Monde this weekend. Eyeball’s favorite (okay, currently his only) photo gallery is represented on the cover:

...as well as several inside pages of the photo magazine that is included with the prominent French newspaper. We’re happy that so many Le Monde readers have clicked over to this side of the cyber pond to check out the newly enlarged gallery of sleep pix.

People from every side of the pond gathered together in San Francisco today for the 32nd Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center.

I always thought it was funny to have a food gathering at a place that sounds like translated Italian for “fly flavored ice cream.” But I guess you can’t knock something til you try it.

Oils were big this year. There must have been a tanker full in the convention center. Grapeseed oil was presented in this calamari and citrus salad that Mark Dommen from One Market Restaurant was demo-ing:

The trouble with prepping this dish in front of the food crazed crowds is that pass holders started to take the incomplete preparation as the chef was trying to work. He was very nice to the grabby, oil-starved masses, but it must have been frustrating.

Sectioned citrus, sautéed calamari, daikon sprouts, fried ginger and a grapeseed oil dressing were delish and refreshing.

There was also tea everywhere:

Flowering, magic rocks-style tea, cold tea, soda that is flavored with tea, as well as lots of chocolates with tea.

We stopped by the Charles Chocolates booth:

... to try their teance tea infused confections and were very impressed with their tealicious flavors and friendly, non-orange, chocolate industry workers.

Another local fuser of tea and chocolate is Coco-luxe. This Sausalito based, pod-ducer makes chai and green tea ganache filled squares as well as a mean peanut butter bite.

Also on the local front, we spoke with the Tsar Nicoulai Czar about egg-zactly what is on the horizon for their caviar and fish this year. They plan to make full use of their mega-smoker so sturgeon and salmon, your days are numbered. A plan for more varieties of trout roe is also being hatched and they plan a minor redesign of their San Francisco Ferry Building café to optimize their limited cooking and storage areas.

Chubby and I were bummed out that Halen Mon  was not present. Although there were a ton of salts represented this year, these guys are pretty amazing and we missed the friendly presentation of their family’s wares.

While we were scoping out the International aisles, we came across Chilean carica:

This peachy, yellow, mango-scented fruit was slightly crunchy after being deseeded and preserved in a very lightly sweet syrup. Suggested presentations include in a sorbet or paired with seared foie gras. Sounds good to me.

Cheeses, Salsas and Cookies were all strongly represented. I did notice fewer hot chocolate displays and only one of those wacky chocolate fountains (which seems like it would act as a vector for disease in such a large and grabby crowd.)

I was surprised to see that people are not the only target audience:

... the cat and dog dollar are being fetched as well.


2007 Winter Fancy Food Show
Moscone Center
San Francisco, CA


From today’s bunrab email, Anne writes:


Re: your French Laundry visit: As my grandfather always said, "It takes no urgin' to eat sturgeon!"


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Anne,

Your grandfather’s got that right. Especially the French Laundry version which is worthy of an incursion.



Sarah writes to Chubby about his never ending quest for a good burger:


for your burgers list, there are 2 posh boigahs i can recommend - nopa, and street on polk street. also you already have chez maman listed, but be sure to include their union street location. we go there with a burger craving almost weekly. for a fast food recommendation - Burger Factory (119 Sacramento St.) from the amazing sandwich guys at focaccia next door. fantastic boigah! check them out!!!


Chubby replies:

Dear Sarah,

I haven’t had that Nopa burger since mid-last year and need to go back to check out the current state. They call it a “grass fed hamburger” which makes me think of these Mayor McCheese-like animals chomping on a lawn somewhere.

Thanks for the tips!

Your pal,






Saturday, January 20, 2007

French Laundry List

I have never had sturgeon:

... prepared with beef fat and salt or uni on flapjacks before. The monkfish liver with trout roe and citrus danced along a tightrope of salty, sweet, creamy, waterballoony goodness which married in a crazy way. The French Laundry could easily stick to their greatest hits list and get away with crowd pleasing preparations, instead they take chances with insanely innovative combos that blow my mind.

Chubby and I just finished a five hour dinner and are now well marbled and truffle infused. Here's what we had:

Champagne washed down some amusing amuses:


Salmon tartare sesame seed cornets filled with red onion crème fraiche.

Muscade de Provence (a pumpkin that they are growing in the French Laundry garden across the street) soup poured over diced Muscade de Provence and pomegranate seeds.

Artichoke soup over diced Serrano ham with crème fraiche and parmesan.

Sabayon of pearl tapioca with butter poached Beau Soleil oysters and Russian sturgeon caviar.

Russian sturgeon caviar over cauliflower panna cotta with an oyster glaze.

Dr. Loosen Riesling "Kabinett" 2004.

Steelhead trout roe over monkfish liver and orange.

Columella Sadie Family, South Africa, 2004.

Uni and black truffle topped blini with a truffle sabayon.

White truffle custard with black truffle veal stock and potato chive chip:

Coddled hen's egg with black truffle and brioche soldiers.

Hearts of palm with avocado coulis, mizuna greens and radish.

Roasted beets with celery, apple and beet coulis .

Skewis Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, 2004.

Risotto with beurre noisette and shaved white truffles:

Gnocchi with beurre noisette and shaved white truffles.

Columbia River sturgeon cooked confit style with beef fat and salt with fried spatzel, pimentos de padron and cabbage.

Butter poached lobster tail with madras curry infused cauliflower and poached medjool date.

Butter poached Maine lobster tail "Ceasar" with heart of romaine, parmesan tuille and grated botarga.

Terrine of foie gras with shaved Fuyu persimmons, sunchokes, chestnut puree and toasted brioche (which was replaced with freshly toasted slices when the first round had cooled.)

Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Etna, Sicily, 2004.

Liberty duck breast with crones, pomegranate seeds and butternut squash.

Quail two ways - breast crispy fried, leg wrapped in caul fat and prepared crepinette style, served over green lentils cooked in red wine.

La Spinetta, Barbera d'Asti, Piedmont, 2004.

Snake River Farms culotte de boeuf with globe artichokes, poached shallot, and chantrelles in a dijionaise sauce:

St. Nectaire cheese with Serrano ham, frisee and nectarine coulis.

Mrs. Quick's Cheddar cheese shaved over a broccoli and truffle gratin.

Buttermilk sorbet with candied grapes, poundcake and cocoa dusted sugar tuille.

Mango sorbet with pistachio foam over a saffron scented gelee.

Cappuccino semi-freddo with hot cinnamon-sugar coated brioche donuts.

Chocolate feuilleté with a butterscotch boite and praline base crowned with gold and candied peanuts.

Salted chocolate tart with praline and cinnamon ice cream.

Meyer lemon posset.

Tahitian vanilla crème brulee.

Chocolate coated caramelized macadamia nuts coated in powdered sugar.

Puff pastry papillons.

White chocolate fudge with dried cherries, fudge with pistachios and assorted truffles.

Shortbreads and candies packed up with ribbon to take home.

Time to hibernate until our next visit.





Friday, January 19, 2007

Lemon ricotta pancakes with chicken yam sausage and eggs ($10.95):

...was one of today’s specials at Bette’s Oceanview Diner. These cheesy flapjacks were moist and perfumed with citrus. Perfectly overeasied eggs and yammy meat tubes rounded out a delish breakfast for lunch.

Chubby got a Cobb salad ($10.95):

... which is one of his standard orders here because he likes the way they boil their eggs until they are just set and he believes that you can never get enough bacon or avocado. It’s a good homey salad without having to clean up the messy bacon spatters.

The best thing about Bette’s is that most of the staff has been there so long that it’s like Cheers (but with bacon.)

Bette’s Oceanview Diner
1807 Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA




Thursday, January 18, 2007

Two Restaurant is the new incarnation of Hawthorne Lane.

We arrived a little early for dinner and hopped up to the bar. The two$ bar bites are reason enough to stop by. As the name indicates, all of these tasty nibbles are well priced. They have meatballs with red gravy, liverwurst on brown bread as well as soft pretzels which were served warm:

These had a nice sprinkling of coarse salt and a pleasantly chewy texture. I didn’t care for the mustard dipping sauce, it was too sweet and a bit grainy for me, but it really didn’t matter since these twists were good solo.

The oysters:

...had a nice lacy crispness to their deep fried batter shell topped with a celery root remoulade. Definitely worth a reorder (especially at a buck a shuck.)

Even though eggplant is an oil sponge, these aubergine fries:

...weren’t oil logged. A pot of marinara was the perfect tomatoey dip for these savory treats which we enjoyed with our bulk decanted 500 ml bottle of 2005 Jim Neal Sangiovese ($18.00):

Such a deal from the former verjus producer.

Our attention then turned to the dinner menu. They encourage grazing-style dining.

Chicken liver dumplings ($8.00):

... may not have been photo styled, but the hot bouillon was warming and flavorful against the fragile, decaying, filtration organs.

I loved the caramelized broccoli ($6.00):

... with Goodfellas style garlic and a citrus and chili kick. Delish.

The Brussels sprouts:

...had a nice browning and the bacon bits added a smoky influence.

Braised lamb cheeks ($16.00):

...were served on a puddle of soft polenta. For some reason, I expected this to be more entrée sized (it fell into the grazable category) but after I had half of this small plate, I was sated due to its richness.

Last to make an appearance were the marrow bones ($11.00):

...the menu warns of the wait for these slow roasted fat tubes. They come with toasted baguette so that you can poke out the skeletal filling and slather its creamy goodness over the crunchy staff of life.

A tomato and garlic sauce added a fruity acid counterpoint to this femuriilar dish done with a nightshade twist. The menu was right. It was worth the wait.

I asked for some bread to sop up some stray juices and was presented with these tasty Parker House rolls:

These enriched buns made me a happy rab.

I like the new casual vibe of Two. They still have some familiar items from HL days (like the lamb pastrami.)

If you are on a budget, go for happy hour on the first Tuesday of the month after visiting MOMA (a short walk away) on their admission-free day.


Two Restaruant
22 Hawthorne St.
San Francisco, CA

From today’s (confidential) bunrab email:

Thanks to Daryl for the date typo correction and to Tony for the restaurant tip.





Wednesday, January 17, 2007

By the time my thoughts turned to lunch today, I was closed out of my first choices. Bucci’s stopped serving at 2:30,  Bette’s Diner was shuttered and O Chame sold out of bentos.

I hopped into The Pasta Shop to check out their takeaway options.  The sandwiches looked boring and the pizzas looked a little coagulated so I went with the frittata ($3.95):

They asked if I wanted it heated and it got a quick blast in the ‘wave which didn’t toughen it up as I had feared. This eggy wheel was filled with spinach, ‘shrooms and Manchego…hmmm, maybe they should rename this dish to Manch-eggo. I happily scarfed down this tasty and cheap protein boost.

The Pasta Shop
1786 Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA




Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tucked away just off the 101 is a snack bar where you can grab a quick and simple bite.

The bread and butter of the Shelter Cove Café must be the bread and butter purchased by the office workers upstairs in this waterside mini business park.

The Hagi Baba ($6.95):

...is a pita filled with chicken chunks,  cukes, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and feta. This hand held salad was a nice and refreshing break from a standard sandwich.

The more substantial shawirma ($6.95):

...was a wheat lavash filled with cubed chicken breast, tomatoes, cukes and onions. This was heated in a paninifier which gave it the added benefit of being a good handwarmer on a chilly day. Even though there was tahini to moisten this slightly dry burrito-esque lunch, we both preferred the pita pocket due to its feta kick.

They have breakfasty foods as well as hot and cold sandwiches. Next time I’m driving by hungry, I might try the falafel or grab a breakfast burrito. 

There are a few counter stools and a couple of outdoor tables with a distant view of the Bay:

...on the other side of the office building. They have lots of candy, gum and chips to supply the surrounding offices with sugar and salt fixes in this little, tidy, nothing fancy sandwich shop just off the freeway.

It’s nice to see that Subway sandwiches and Jamba Juices haven’t taken over every corner of the world. 


Shelter Bay Café
655 Redwood Hwy Suite 177
Mill Valley, CA




back to last week - January 9-15, 2007



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