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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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June 1-8, 2007


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Friday, June 8, 2007

A lot of people hate the  Japanese dessert called manju.

It’s probably because they don’t like the idea of sweet bean paste in the middle of pounded rice or a pancake-like wrapper. Maybe they have an aversion to gummy things that aren’t shaped like bears. But if you like these starchy, slightly sweet pillows stuffed with mashed beans, it’s good to have some from the Benkyo-do Co.

Benkyo-do Co.
1747 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA




Thursday, June 7, 2007

I knew that I ordered the wrong thing
the second that I sat down with my number standee and waited while a parade of fish and chips passed my table.

I like Fish. restaurant in Sausalito:

... but have found that you have to order wisely. My hamachi ($22.00):

... was unremarkable. Sure it was fresh and hot from the grill, but it verged on dry and needed more encouragement than a lemon wedge could offer.

I also chose poorly when asked if I wanted it as a salad, sandwich or over pasta. The salad would have been more interesting than the pasta shells with olive oil and Parmesan. Sure it’s a whimsical shape that suits the restaurant, but these al dente carbo-conches were as palate-lulling as the yellowtail.

I understand why you have to fork over some clams for high quality ingredients, but given what I know now, I would have saved a fin and went with the beer-battered halibut over their tasty chips with a cold one.

Oh well, at least I know for next time.

350 Harbor Dr.
Sausalito, CA





Wednesday, June 6, 2007

We stopped by Café Cocao:

. . . for breakfast and got a couple chocolate scones ($2.75):

. . . to wash down with their Peet’s coffee.

These wedges of tender dough bind melty pockets of bittersweet chocolate. Bread and chocolate are such a good combo – the staff of life paired with the meaning of life.

In case you haven’t been to the Sharffen Berger plant, Café Cocao is the café that shares the building with their production facility.

It’s kind of sad that the factory tour:

. . . is destined to be a huge disappointment to everyone who takes it. They employ gracious and knowledgeable guides but if you have seen or read any Willy Wonka material you will have expectations that will leave you with an Oompa-less feeling as you search fruitlessly for the room where you get to run around the chocolate river. The way you can tell the Sharffen Berger staff are courteous is that they don’t lose their “temper” when hearing the same “golden ticket” comment or “but I want it now” from the audience.

We took the tour ages ago, but I don’t imagine that it has changed much. The best part of the tour can be had as you enter the café – that wall of fragrance which practically knocks you over when you enter.


Café Cacao
914 Heinz Ave.
Berkeley, CA





Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Mangia Manga

We opened up our 7x7 magazine to find a friend of the Bunrabs, Sam, featured in the Best of Eat + Drink issue listing some of her favorite local chow.

The editors listed several of their San Francisco picks including a dessert from ‘witchcraft (where we had a so-so lunch recently.) When we placed our single item order, the lady behind the counter said, “7x7 article?” We get no points for originality here, but where chow is concerned, all that’s important is that it’s tasty. 

This peanut butter sandwich cookie ($1.00):

... wasn’t bad at all. Crisp, sugared allergen discs encase creamy allergen paste. It is apparent that these products are manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts well.

After our sugar fix, we took advantage of our favorite San Francisco art fix – on the first Tuesday of the month, you can check out what’s up at some of the local museums free of charge.

The Asian Art Museum had a room of OsamaTezuka Manga:

... on display, if you like to look at Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu) illustrations:

... and the MOMA has a pile of shirts:

... with a lady who sits in front of them and erases pages from a book for four hours a day. For shirt and eraser enthusiasts, this work stacks up well.

868 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA






Monday, June 4, 2007

Picco Pizzeria was the antidote to yesterday’s less than festive food situation.

We started with one of our favorite menu items - an order of cold Zuckerman asparagus ($8.95):

... with citrus aioli and baby basil leaves. These spears are best chucked into your piehole by hand.

We got a pizza ($12.95):

... topped with mozzarella, parmesan, spring onions, peppers de padrone and favas. A perfect fire-kissed (and embraced) crust was the basis for a great combo of flavors and textures. The tangy tomato sauce countered my fava-rite bean, the richness of the cheese was cut by the pepper and onion with some roasted garlic to add its creamy texture and nutty flavor.

Straus soft serve choco-vanilla ice cream swirl with El Rey hot fudge sauce ($4.95):

... was seriously spot hitting. The two-tone, creamy, cold spiral firmed up the streaks of cooling fudge sauce which caused it to assert its presence a little longer than it did in its original liquid state. This was the exact flourish that we needed to nip yesterday’s disappointment in the bud.

Picco Pizzeria took over the diminutive Roxanne’s To Go. The work area is very small and they have to handle phone orders, cooking in their woodburning oven, tables of diners, counter diners:

... wine bottle sales and their popular cone business. Because of their space limitation, they can’t throw more staff in the mix without creating a people jam. They try their best to be fair in attending to those who have waited the longest but their job often seems like they should don riot police gear when people get all pizza and cone carazee.

Picco Pizzeria and wine shop
320 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA





Sunday, June 3, 2007

We saw this banner:

... for the 17th annual Larkspur Flower and Food Festival and decided to check it out.

The first thing we noticed was the lack of flowers and food. It was mostly craft booths:

... which felt like a bait and switch.

Here is the award winning flower portion of the festival which was housed in the Fire Station:

Maybe I missed something, but I’m not sure why they cleared out the engines for this micro display.

There were a small number food booths:

... that included BBQ, chocolate dipped strawbs from the Melting Pot, grilled sausages, and this pan bagnat ($5.00):

... from the Left Bank.

This tuna, tomato and tapenade sandwich had uneven distribution and a higher bread to filling ratio than I prefer. The ingredients were all good enough to be enjoyable after mushing them into place and removing half the focaccia.

I wish someone rented a cotton candy machine and dotted the resulting sugar clouds with edible flower petals or sold snow cones flavored with rose and berry syrups to amp up the food and flower connection and make it feel more unique.

To be fair, there were people who seemed to enjoy this gathering, but it wasn’t our thing.

Larkspur Flower and Food Festival
Magnolia Ave.
Between Ward and King Streets
Larkspur, CA


From today’s bunrab emailbag, Chilebrown writes:


We just missed you at the Ferry Plaza. Our crew, which consisted of Myself, Ms.Goofy, Dr. Biggles, Cookiecrumb and the infamous Cranky were on a Meat Adventure. We kinda of rushed through because we had other meat destinations.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Chilebrown,

Something tells me you spent more than your fair share of time at the Fatted Calf booth. I’m surprised we missed your meaty group given the thinned hoards. We ended up seeing more familiar faces than usual due to the lack of tourists this last Saturday.






Saturday, June 2, 2007

The great thing about a less than sunny San Francisco Saturday morning is that it thins the crowds at the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market:

I’m not saying that it wasn’t busting, it was just less of a tourist scene than usual.

Breakfast was our standby Chilaquiles ($9.50):

... from Primavera. The way they were pumping the plates out, it seemed that we were not alone in our appreciation of this savory scrambled egg, tortilla chips, onion and queso cotija combo topped off with some ripe avocado and served alongside a muddy puddle of tasty refried black beans.

We also got two tamales ($9.00):

One filled with pork, the other with zucchini, jack cheese and corn. Both were okay, but these husky corn clubs didn’t beat their eggy competition.

Dessert was a strawberry and rhubarb mini galette ($4.50):

... from Downtown Bakery and Creamery. A crispy sugar dusted crust gave way to a well balanced tangy sweetness in this rustic tart that reminds me of a smashed flower.

Our haul today included some Marin Sun Farm eggs:

... which are produced by chickens that get to keep their beaks and walk around eating bugs.

We also nabbed a couple pounds of Frog Hollow cherries:

... (which have now all been reduced to pits and stems.)

San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers’ Market
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA






Friday, June 1, 2007

Plumpjack Café is part of the wine, food, and accommodation group that is partially owned by the Mayor of SF. Hmmm,  I wonder if they ever have any difficulties with permits…

The halibut ($17.00):

... arrived in a pea and walnut “tapenade” finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Although acceptable, this high quality piece of seafood had a better flavor and texture if it had been removed from the heat just moments earlier. I liked the pea-nut combo that provided a green carpet for the ‘but.

The aprium tarte tatin ($8.00):

... was a take on the classic apple upside down tarte. This version had pleasantly tangy apricot/plum hybrid fruit which came warm from the oven over some slightly undercooked pastry. The vanilla element in the ice cream was as aggressive as a coked up panhandler staking out an ATM at the end of the month. But even with the beany dominance and doughy base, it was good enough for me to eat it all so how bad could it have bean?

There is only one unisex bathroom:

... which has a clash of fru-fru decoration and high security tissue systems:

... (a result of Newsom’s support of the arts while being tough on crime.)

The staff was friendly and efficient in this cozy café.

I got the feeling that I didn’t catch their “A” game today as far as the chow was concerned but may be worth another try.

Plumpjack Café
3127 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA





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