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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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



October 8-15, 2007


go to next week's blogs


  Monday, October 15, 2007

You may be able to understand a lot about a culture by their music, but what that culture thinks about their visitors is communicated via the hotel buffet. A hotel buffet tells the story of what the indigenous people believe that their guests will enjoy, settle for or willingly endure. It can be generous or minimal, manipulative or straightfoward. This self-service offering contains their interpretation of your interpretation of their interpretation of the local morning cuisine.

It is no secret that items are presented in ascending order of monetary expense. Cereals, tinned fruit, rolls and gastero-packing material vie for your valuable real es-plate with the appearance of meats and cheeses as the post script of the breakfast procession.

If you examine each diner’s plate you will find a Ror-short-stack test that dissects the emotional impulses and sublimated characteristics of each subject. It is an evolutionary advantage to stow food for times of need and this primal impulse is awakened as soon as a chafing dish rubs you the right way.

Not only are you hypnotized into taking more than is good for you, the mentality is to take a bit of everything. This is like wearing all of your Gr-animals to the party. Not only is this layered, mismatched appearance unfashionable, it’s looney, maybe that’s why I love these displays of hotel sanctioned mania. 

My M.O. is to do a lap to get the lay of the land before I grab a plate to create a personalized assemblage in my state of buffeted consciousness. Step 2 is to make a plate of samples of what looks toothsome or just wacky with a mind to returning for the items that are repeatable. I used to think it was gluttonous to go back, but Chubby pointed out that it is  actually better than wasting of chow that you don’t eat.  Today’s combo was blood sausage, smoked and pickled fish in my paisley with houndstooth ensemble:

Chubby is usually less prone to recklessly weaving between the culinary lanes as he hops down the breakfast meat and egg trail.

This fueled us up for the kind of walking that we like to do in a new town:

(wouldn't this be the best name ever for a bar?)

... getting lost and then pulling out the compass to find our way back.





  Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tonight we drink” said J. as she dropped us off at our hotel. Turns out, she was right:

... and the drink of choice is wodka. We were cautioned to avoid Spirytus Rektyfinkowany (95% pure alcohol) unless our goal was to damage our health and reputation simultaneously, irreparably and enthusiastically.

We had various forms of food but nothing that has provided a greater service than to create a wodka shield. Over dinner:

... P. examined his sauerkraut and said, “you go east of the Dutch border and they start throwing cabbage at you.” I myself, did not (being new to area and not entirely sure where we were in relationship to this border.)

The Poles are fun and hospitable. So far people have been too polite to laugh when we say “yahk syeh mash”  (how do you do?) in our Borat-style butchering of their language.


Warsaw, Poland
Somewhere east of the Dutch border



From today’s Bunrab email, Tom asked what airline served yesterday’s smoked salmon. He correctly ruled out Delta, American, United, KLM and Air France (I guess he has had his share of flying fish.)

This inspired our question for a ticket contest:

If you are the first to respond with the correct name of the airline that served the airborne fish in the October 13th Bunrab blog, you will win two passes to Taste TV’s singles chocolate salon at Fort Mason on October 19th, from 6:30 p.m. -11:00 p.m.  We went to their International Chocolate Salon earlier this year.

There will be 8 Chocolatiers participating including Charles Chocolates and XOX Truffles (which Bunrabs are particularly fond of.)

So send your guess to the Daily Feed comments section if you want a chance to win those tickets (courtesy of Taste TV).

Please note that we have added a confirmation question to the comment section - you must complete a simple mathematical equation to prove you aren’t a spam robot  (although if you are a clever, chocolate-loving, single spam robot, you are welcome to submit your airline guess.)

Please include your name and email address in your comment (no, we won’t use it for any other purpose than the contest) and we will shoot you a note if you win.





  Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wine and snakes
tend not to do well when paired with planes. These sensory deprivation tanks in the sky drain our nasal enthusiasm receptors. Not too much that can be done to present a first class meal with altitude as reinforced by today’s in-flight beverage program. Individual bottles of screw-cap champers had goofy tops that mimicked the shape of proper champagne corks:

... a vestigial tail apeing its less evolved, resentful ancestors. 

This washed down our smoked food:

... while we thought about how we wished we were in San Francisco so we could go to Boccalone for their first day distributing salty pig parts, especially since they are cutting commitment-phobes some slack by having a few a la carte items available for purchase without a full subscription (while supplies last.)






  Friday, October 12, 2007

Pear pressure

Not only are we the beneficiaries of our neighbor’s good cooking, but they also pass a bag of fruit over the fence from time to time.

Their pear tree was in overdrive this year and we have been feasting on these one by one, but in the interest of consuming our perishables before they fulfill their prophetic name, it was time to chop up a bunch:

... and toss them in a caramelized mixture:

... created from  a knob of butter, a handful of brown sugar, a lime’s worth of juice and a pinch of salt.

Some rough puff pastry brushed with a beaten egg and sprinkled with some demarera sugar tops off the fruit before the pan gets bunged in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and the fruit is tender.

These chased down some soufflés:

... made from blue cheese and herb remnants.

Emptying out the fridge can be almost as fun as filling it back up,  but any feelings of virtue are quickly extinguished by all that cheese and butter.





  Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sea Salt was peppered with only a few seasoned diners during lunchthyme today. I  sagely decided to cumin and have a savory bite to leaf hunger at bay.

My bahn mi ($14.00):

... wasn’t the sort you get in the tenderloin, instead of pork or chicken, it was filled with barbequed eel. Grated carrot, cilantro and thin slices of jalapeno gave it it’s bahn mi-esque quality, but I couldn’t shake my craving for rice to go with this unagi.

Crisp house made potato chips and a slaw came with this Asian-inspired sandwich. Although I ate the whole torpedo roll of chow, it wasn’t entirely my thing, (not that it was bad) I can see how someone might go for this fusion dish – it just wasn’t the thing for mi. and it’s difficult to compete with their famed fish and chips

Sea Salt Restaurant

2512 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA



  Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A cup of hot chowder ($4.00):

... cut through the chill while we sat on the patio at Fish. in Sausalito. Their New England style soup was less creamy than most (which isn’t a bad thing.) Our bacon infused, potato-studded clam pool hit the spot while we waited for someone to swap out our plastic number stand for our mains.

Chubby got the fish and chips ($21.00):

The Alaskan halibut had a puffy, slightly greasy, batter jacket which concealed some tasty, moist fish flesh. The chips didn’t have any crispy bits so he doused them in malt vinegar to create a tangy potato backdrop for the ‘but.

My Prather Ranch burger ($13.00):

... was delivered to the specified medium rare. Although it’s usually ill-advised to order cow at a seafood establishment, I make an exception for this beefy sandwich encased in an Acme roll. I foolishly subbed out a salad for their crisp and delish shoestring fries (incorrectly thinking that I would steal some chips from across the table) the salad was fine with shreds of carrot and slices of radish but their thin fries are hard to resist.

As we were tucking into our meal, we noticed that the crisp weather was causing a couple of ladies on the deck to shiver and they were brought a couple of blankets – now that’s service!


350 Harbor Dr.
Sausalito, CA



  Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I knew
that my specification of “rare” would be ignored when the server replied, “yeah, yeah, we cook it that way normally.” My grilled coho salmon ($13.50):

... with tomatoes, beets and arugula was a little overcooked for me, but not sawdust/silca gel overdone, just a little dryer than I prefer. Maybe “coho” stands for “cork your hole”.

I ended up gazing at K’s burger longingly, wondering why I deviate from ordering these tasty, Slow Club meatwiches. Every time I don't order the burger at the Slow, I end up coveting my neighbor's lunch. Next time for sure...

The Slow Club

2501 Mariposa St.
San Francisco, CA



  Monday, October 8, 2007

After leafing through our review copy of Modern Indian Cooking, we decided to make the cover recipe. We dove out to the fishmonger and came back with some scallops to make this simple and satisfying preparation.

Cumin Crusted Sea Scallops with Mustard and Garam Masala

Serves 4


3 Tablespoons Chili powder
3 Tablespoons toasted cumin, ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 star anise
12 large sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry

Combine chili, cumin, salt and pepper in a medium shallow bowl.

Dredge one side of each scallop in the spice mixture. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over high heat. Add mustard seeds, cardamom and star anise.

Place the scallops in the heated pan, spice side down and cook for 20 seconds. Reduce the heat to low, turn the scallops and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Remove from pan and arrange the scallops around the platter. Drizzle the spice oil drippings from the pan over the scallops and serve.

This is a quick, easy and tasty appetizer. As with any cookbook, you add a bit of what you like to what they illustrate. We put these divers scallops on a chiffonade of raw, dressed spinach which absorbed some of the spice oil and gave a re-leaf to the rich shellfish.

Modern Indian Cooking has photos to inspire and recipes that don’t require an intimidating investment of time.

You can find out more about the book on www.modernindiancooking.com & more about the author on www.harinayak.com


Modern Indian Cooking
By Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna
Silverback Books
$29.95 hardcover




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