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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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May 24-31, 2007


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Thursday, May 31, 2007

They always give a generous serving of the crisps from Frog Hollow Farms. My cherry crisp ($4.50):

... was made from their own Froggy fruit. Walnuts added a nutty crunch to the topping, but made me feel overly bold about chomping down on this  fruit dessert. I thought that I broke a back tooth on one  of the pits:

... that I crushed during my cherry fueled feeding frenzy but, thankfully,  it was the stone that gave way instead.

It was delish, but I don’t think I will play dental roulette again. I’ll bet it was a fluke, but  I think I’ll stick with some of their other tasty goods in the future.

Frog Hollow Farm
San Francisco Ferry Building





Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The New Zealand Wine Fair  was held in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

We attended the media and trade event which had over 30 participating wineries.

There were lectures, tastings and snacks to keep us interested and engaged.

Not only was there a surprisingly flavorful boxed meal:

but Hog Island was shucking up some tasty bivalves:

A brief talk on NZ Rieslings included a variety of South Island samplings.

Representatives from each winery had maps close at hand to show their vineyard locations for those (like us) who were unfamiliar with the districts. And speaking of location, it’s also important to pick the right territory for your table:

This one was a little off the beaten track.

The wine industry is beginning to flourish in New Zealand and it will be interesting to see what emerges.





Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We waited a spell before returning to ‘Wichcraft:

... for lunch. Our previous visit wasn’t as magical as we had hoped, but we conjured up our appetites to see if this was indeed the wicked ‘wich of the Westfield.

We liked munching on our bags of Tim’s chips (which are included in the cost of the sandwiches):

... while we waited for the guy to match our food with our order number standee.

I got a roasted turkey sandwich ($9.50):

... which had meat that was dry enough to be used in place of the sillca-gel packets (and should probably had their same printed warning as well.) The onion relish offered some moisture content, but not enough to catch this fowl butterball. Even the cavalry of the kitchen didn’t rescue this turkey - bacon can act as the defibrillator to lifeless chow, but sadly, this breast didn’t resuscitate. The avocado was ripe though.

A correctly made sandwich relies not only on the ingredients, but on their distribution:

Every bite should taste balanced and flavorful. Spreads must extend to the edges, with a few exceptions, there should be no isolated clumps of ingredients and most importantly, they should be constructed with consideration to the end user.

My turkey sandwich did not satisfy my sandwich criteria, but Chubby did much better.

His grilled cheddar ($6.50):

... was imprinted with waves of panini-maker treads. The crisp exterior, melty interior and evenly distributed ham was given a slightly sweet twist by poached pear slices. Chubby and I exchanged sandwich halves and I think I got the better end of the deal. Although I don’t think that I would order this again, it was good.

I may give it another chunk of time before I return to check out other options.

868 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA





Monday, May 28, 2007

The Seattle International Film Festival kicked off to a fun Memorial Day weekend of film and food. We had skipped most of the parties in favor of flicks but we joined in on this evening’s festivities at the Waterfront Grill.

Our party was treated to appetizers, salads and a choice of filet mignon, scallops or chicken. Chubby and I split one order of each surf and turf:

They cooked their colossal scallops to a pleasing rare and the meat to a perfect redness.

This restaurant may cater to tourists who like a nice water view, but they actually know how to keep from overcooking their chow. I always deduct expectation points when I see a gorgeous view and a flaming baked Alaska as I enter a restaurant, but now I’ll have to re-evaluate my expectation equation.

We were lucky to be seated with an interesting group that was up for controversial discussions and lots of laughs.

Waterfront Grill
2801 Alaskan Way
Pier 70
Seattle, CA





Sunday, May 27, 2007

Grounds Zero

Seattle is a lot like Berkeley with it’s college, coffee and white people with dreadlocks.

Just as Africa is the cradle of civilization, Seattle is the cradle of the grande latte. We happened upon the original Starbucks:

... which is distinguished by its less anatomically stylized logo.

There are so many Starbucks in Seattle that they seem like Russian nesting dolls. It’s kind of like walking on a treadmill on grounds-hog day.

Across the street is the Pike Place Market which is famous for its fish tossing mongers:

... and public market. Locals shop here for their produce but the tourists seem to support the other businesses. It’s like a less posh version of the San Francisco Ferry Building without the Slow Feud..er I mean Food Movement.

We crossed the street to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese:

... and got a small tub of curds ($1.95):

... which are fresh cheese bits reminiscent of Halumi due to their styrofoam-against -tooth feel. They turned out not to be my thing. I should have gotten some mac and cheese instead.


1600 Pike Place
Seattle, WA


From the bunrab email bag our pal Amy writes about our Foreign Cinema dinner:


I may be alone in saying it, but I'd take Foreign Cinema over Zuni any day! It's also a terrific spot for brunch should you head out of the hutch early some weekend. I had the best scrambled eggs ever there, and on the brunch menu are always plenty of lunchy things for folks who are ready to move on past breakfast fare. Still need a reason to go? The Mission is usually sunnier than the rest of the City.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Amy,

Good point on the sun + screen. We’ll have to check out the brunch situation during our next weekend inter-mission.


Chubby also got some email about his quest for the best burger. Deborah and Stan write:

Hi Chubby:

Thought of you last Friday. We were at Park Chow to satisfy a burger craving. We rated it second to Cafe Rouge. We think you would enjoy this outstanding offering and feel it should be in the Burger Holy Grail.

Be Well, Deb and Stan

Chubby replies:

Dear Deb and Stan,

Thanks for the cow-tip. We’ll have to park our burger loving buns over there to check it out.

Your pal,


Roger also writes about the Holy Grail quest:


I was wondering if you guys were going to try Burgermeister someday. where does it fit in the burger holy grail? i like it well enough for a chain burger. we have been making our way through the burger holy grail and have had about 6 or 7 of your choices. give big mouth burger a try on 24th street. it is a good cheap choice. $5.95 for the burger with fries.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Roger,

Burgermeister ranks after Burger Joint and above Sliders on the fast food burger rankings. Chubby is busy updating the Grail as we speak... Burgermeister and many others will soon be included.

Big Mouth Burger sounds enticing. I have read that they offer roasted garlic on their nicely priced patties. We’ll have to check out the goods.






Saturday, May 26, 2007

Before taking off for Seattle, I tore out a page from the June issue of Bon Appetit magazine that listed Seattle’s Tavolata restaurant as their top pick.

They mentioned an agnolotti filled with brains and ricotta that was the best pasta on the menu. Sadly, it wasn’t on the menu during our visit.

We started with an octopus salad ($13.00):

... with cannelloni beans that were a touch underdone and octopus chunks that were tough and bland. The olive oil and parsley didn’t do much to perk up this lackluster dish. The waitress didn’t act very surprised with our lack of appreciation for the food that wasn’t octo-gone.

The rigatoni ($16.00):

... was bathed in a watery tomato sauce with some marjoram and chunks of sausage under a snowcap of Parmesan. The tubes of pasta were cooked to an al dente but their correct texture wasn’t enough to make up for the lacking depth of flavor in this kid friendly dish. When the waitress asked if we enjoyed this prepartion she didn’t ask why we were less than pleased with it.

The dourade ($32.00):

... looked so promising but the golden brown slices of potato were devoid of crispy bits. It was like a rub on tan for spuds had been applied to these pretty, but dull taters. The fish was a gorgeous creature stuffed with herbs and lemon slices. Unfortunately, it was cooked a little too much making its moisture factor drop from potentially delicious to only okay. I liked the yellow beets that studded the arugula salad though. Our waitress by this time didn’t raise an eyebrow to our lack of love for this entrée.

If I were to turn back the clock, I would have asked her for recommendations because they clearly have access to some good ingredients. Perhaps we just struck out due to bad luck or bad ordering. I was impressed by how we were asked if we found the food enjoyable yet when we responded (that we didn’t) there was no investigation as to how it might have been remedied. To be fair, she was busy with her weekend crowd and it felt that the management may not have spelled out a standard way to respond to a non-disgruntled yet unsatisfied customer.

This popular gathering spot is bustling and loud.

There is a cool communal table that runs down the center of the long, cement walled room. An open kitchen shows off the efforts of the busy chefs.

Even though our experience could have been a fluke, I don’t think that we’ll give it another try since it was a drag to drop our dough on a meal with disappointments that were shrugged off by the staff.

Tavolata Restaurant
2323 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA





Friday, May 25, 2007

Sticky situations

Oakland Airport is shameful.

Sure, it looks bad during their seemingly unending renovation that makes it look like a bombed out husk of a condemned government building, but this does not supply them with an excuse for their treatment of their clientele.

There are many other airports that supply ziplock bags for liquid and gel bogus security screenings but at Oakland they sell these plastic bags for .50¢ each. 50¢ isn’t a lot of money, but it’s a gesture of ill will. They know they have you if you didn’t plan properly and they stick it to you.

Every time I go to Oakland Airport I see people being treated poorly by security. To be fair, there are plenty of nice people who wand and screen but there always seem to be one or two who know that they can bust your chops since you don’t want to get involved in anything that involves missing a flight or searching a cavity.

Once you complete your public reverse strip tease and get your shoes and belt back in place, it’s time to explore their selection of prison food before settling down on the cushioned seats:

... that should come with toilet seat covers for your protection.

Today’s journey took us to something far less disgusting than Oakland Airport. We made our pilgrimage to the famous gum wall:

... in Seattle. We knew it was across from a bar in Post Alley, so we wandered into a random bar to see if they could give us the ABCs of finding this attraction. The barman looked up from tending to his regulars and gave us detailed directions that stemmed from the (also famous) brass pig:

... at Pikes Market. He then explained to his confused customers what the gum wall was and instructed us: “just don't touch it”. We headed down the stairway on the pig’s right side and there it was, across from the Alibi room.

We made our own contributions to this collaborative work of art (having planned in advance by packing some Bubble Yum) and headed down the alley away to soak up more local color.

The Gum Wall
Post Alley
Seattle, WA





Thursday, May 24, 2007

On previous visits, we had acceptable chow at Foreign Cinema but nothing that made us rush back for more. After being denied a spot at the Zuni this evening, we decided to project ourselves towards the Cinema.

Tonight’s dinner started with some perfectly seared scallops ($12.00):

... which were circled by toasted pinenuts in a band of curry sauce and onion jam. These milky white rounds were tasty but the onion preserve verged on being too sweet, but it was still darned good.

This panfried Maryland soft shell crab ($13.00):

... had a peppery mayonnaise and microgreen salad. It was cooked with a light hand and had that nice gushy center against the cartilagey exto-bits. Yum.

I requested my salmon ($25.00):

... extra rare. This fresh, lightly roasted, pink slab was delicious over white corn kernels and morels.

Chubby got the duck breast ($25.00):

... which was cooked to a nice pink degree of doneness. The soft polenta, roasted peaches and peppery goodness of the balsamic-bathed beaksome quacker provided fowl-mouthed goodness with every bite.

For dessert, I couldn’t resist the peach and strawberry pot pie ($8.50):

... which came with a little pitcher of cream. This flaky crusted, almost tart yet almost sweet bottomless pie hit the spot.

I’m glad circumstances directed us back here for tonight’s dinner. We’ll have to put it back on our rotation.

If you are interested in snacks and a show, they project films on the wall of their courtyard.

You can look up the current movie on their website.

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA





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