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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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September 17-23, 2007


go to next week's blogs


  Sunday, September 23, 2007

We are grabbing all of our food on the run during this visit to the Bear capital of the universe and one of the most popular hand held snacks in these parts are Döner Kababs.

My mind always goes to the party trapped in the snowy mountains when I get a mit of meat from a rotating inverted cone of protein at these ubiquitous stands:

Today’s was not bad at all. I got a chicken döner (2,50€):

…which came with the usual salady stuffings and yogurt sauce. It was satisfying in a craveable, fast food way.  If you want to take a break from the wurst and you don’t have time for a sit down meal, a Döner gets this party over the pass.

One place that is now easier to pass is the former East and West division of this German city:

We couldn’t help but notice the homage to Seattle:

…taking place here in Berlin.





  Saturday, September 22, 2007

After returning to our hotel, we learned that we missed half of the Holocaust memorial. The installation was designed to give a feeling of disorientation and it worked. We learned that there are a series of rooms beneath the field of stelae, which are the antithesis of the exterior site. The plinths are anonymous, but the exhibition below is personal.

First you have to pass though security (where I was given a zer Gut-enberg wanding, yet Chubby hopped through unfettered.) The entryway is lined with a timeline of events:

…from 1933-1945. This leads to a room illuminated by floor panels:

…displaying personal accounts of Jewish men and women. The visitors read these with a posture that not only suits the room’s composition, but also its mood. Stalagmites containing stories of 15 Jewish families hang from the ceiling of the adjoining chamber:

…this is a reversal of the polarity from the outside world. A dark box comes next with projected names:

…and audio with the biographies of these victims, followed by a room that documents the genocide of Jews.  A row of computers lines the hallway outside. These access information on other historical sites, events and related information.

We were glad that we managed to squeeze in another visit so that we could see both sides of this incredible memorial.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Stresemannstraße 90 D
10963 Berlin




  Friday, September 21, 2007

Last time
we were in Berlin, the Holocaust Memorial was mid-construction (even though our guidebook recorded it as completed.) We looked out onto the fenced-off field trying to visualize this project which was designed by New York architect Peter Eisenman. A couple years have passed and now this city block is filled with a series of concrete monoliths:

This installation is designed to be walked through.

You descend into an undulating field of 2711 slightly off kilter, grey rectangles that vary from inches high on the outskirts to heights that dominate you in the center.

Each of these stelae is unique in shape, size and placement. There is no set entrance or exit and it is open 24/7.

I stopped wondering how they police this site when a security officer appeared out of nowhere when I stood on one of the stones to snap a photo, but I think they took a break when a group of kids started jumping around:

... and running through this somber memorial screaming with delight at the hide and seek possibilities (and I don’t think Anne Frank was at the forefront of their little, playful minds.)

Like any interesting public work of art, there were disagreements of how it should be created and maintained. Eisenman rejected proposals for chemical treatment of the stelae to prevent graffiti because, “we cannot keep everything squeaky clean. That would be the same behavior as in the 1930’s.” I have read that they have since coated them in order to prevent anti-Semitic vandalism. He also put the kibosh on kitschy tourist stands cashing in on the Holocaust so don’t expect any wurst carts or plastic Lego plinth sets.





  Thursday, September 20, 2007


Wurst for the wear

Syncing up with the local time meant stumbling around like zombies with boosts of caffeine and a brat:

... for me (obviously, I do not subscribe to the “you are what you eat” theory.) This weiner appeared to have the same tailor as Pee Wee Herman and like P.W., it had a bratty snap. Not bad for just over a Euro at a random vendor.

Chubby got a Spezial Currywurst:

... which materialized as a mélange of curry infused Kechupy tomato sauce, sliced wurst, corn, paprika and peppers. This hot plate was a meal custom made for jetlagged zombies (it may have also contained human brain matter for all we know) in this wacky collage of college food.)




  Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pie before the Sky

Before a trip, it’s time to clear out the fridge so there is no fuzzy, fermenting, welcoming committee upon your return. When you have cheese remnants you have a choice of many protein, starch and salad avenues for alchemy, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as a humble pie.

I took a half tablespoon of dry yeast proofed in 2/3  cup of warm water, threw in the Cuisinart with a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt, a glug of olive oil and processed (with additional flour as needed) until it’s cohesive enough to turn out and knead for a minute. Pop it in an oiled bowl, flip it over to clog all it’s exposed pores, cover with plastic wrap and let rise til doubled.

Roll it thin and top with the stray food bits from your fridge, bake at the highest heat of your oven until the chesses is all bubbly and the bottom is brown (when you peek underneath with a spatula) and you are ready for take off.




  Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Counter productive

We returned to the scene of our unfortunate pie incident (at the establishment known as Comforts) and found ourselves behind a Grandmother who had phoned in an order for mini-cupcakes for her grandkids’ party. She was told by a staff member that the catering department had gone home and that they were to blame for the mea-culp-cakea. The employee said that she could call the catering manager, but that the phone call would not produce the desired baked goods. Granny was miffed. She said that she had ordered in advance and that something should be done to accommodate her.

The employee (for reasons best known to herself) kept asking if Granny wanted her to phone the previously mentioned catering department employee (who she previously admitted could be of absolutely no assistance) and Granny said that she wanted the situation fixed and that she should be given the standard cupcakes in the case at the mini price. The employee eventually acquiesced and Granny stomped off vowing never to return.

Whenever I see and exchange like this, I think about how it could have gone better. First of all if they offered (what they eventually gave Granny) along with an apology, there is an off chance that everyone would have been okay with the situation. It did supply some post-dramatic stress disorder for those of us waiting behind her (since we were recent recipients of flubbed service at this very counter.)

We both ordered a blueberry nectarine cobbler ($4.00 each):

... which had a dough heart adorning the top (at least we now know where their hearts went.) Unlike the counter disagreement, this was sweeter than I prefer and (in keeping with the dispute) the heart was on the tough side. I think that we will give Comforts a rest until they get their hearts in the right place.

Maybe the staff of Comforts could watch this instructional video to aid them in addressing their senior clientele:



335 San Anselmo Ave.
San Anselmo, CA



  Monday, September 17, 2007

The Bacchus Management Group opened Spruce Restaurant:

... in a beautifully renovated, brick garage. We decided to get an olive oil change and rolled in for a refueling.

The dining room is filled with ostrich-impersonating chairs encircling white clothed tables. Despite the goose-bumpy furniture, the vibe is friendly and they leave the stuffiness inside the upholstery.

A couple hot gougeres:

... cleared our cylinders as we sipped our wine and perused their offerings. They serve from both the dinner menu and bar menu if you are seated in the dining room. We went with an entrée from each.

I asked for my seabass ($29.00):

... to be cooked on the rare side and it arrived with a crisp broiled skin shielding moist and flavorful fish flesh on a beach of minty tabouleh surrounded by ripe tomatoes and crunchy cukes. This Mediterranean inspired dish shows that they both know how to shop and how to cook.

Chubby ordered from the bar menu.  His cheeseburger ($12.00):

... was cooked to the requested medium rare with melty Cheddar, pickled onions, tomato, lettuce and pickle strips. The waitress told us that they make their English muffin inspired buns in-house. These rounds provided the perfect bread to meat ratio and didn’t corrode when exposed to meaty fluid displacement. The fries:

... arrived with soft, starchy bellies inside crispy, browned shells. Delish.

This is the sort of place that you would go for a celebration dinner or to grab a plate of their house made charcuterie to nibble on with a drink at the well stocked bar. They recently began serving lunch so we’ll have to come back and check out their mid-day offerings.

If this visit is any indication, we will not tire of putting this on our rotation.


Spruce Restaurant
3640 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA

From our Bunrab email bag, Steve writes about Boccalone: 

Howdy Gutenberg,

Boccalone sounds mighty interesting. Can we swine visit their shop and see their porcine product cured to perfection?



Gutenberg replies:

Dear Steve,

Due to USDA regulations, it isn’t feasible to give tours within the Boccalone production area, but if you visit the Oakland facility or Incanto during the designated Salumi society pick up times listed on their website, the artisans who make the meats will be on hand to answer questions about production.  There are a total of 7 Boccalone employees who are all well versed in the ins and outs of the operation.

As far as getting a play by play of what it takes to make these silky purses of swine, they plan to post some photos on their site illustrating the steps of their small scale production sometime in the near future. Additionally, in the paraphernalia department, they plan to market a meat slicer to use with their goods in the privacy of your own home.





back to last week - September 8-16, 2007



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