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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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August 23-31, 2008


go to next week's blogs


  Sunday, August 31, 2008

A mob gathered in front of city hall with pitchforks and torches, but they were for the bales of hay and barbeques that facilitated seating and eating for the Slow Food Nation event.

"Hey Bunrabs!" Shuna called out from one of the outdoor kitchens. We hopped over to say hello as we sunk our teeth into heavenly ham filled biscuit sandwiches ($6.00):

.. which she was gilding with Strauss butter. Scott Peacock cut out these dough food rations:

... (made with lard hot off the press from Toponia and Taylor's Fatted Calf Charcuterie.)

...and check out the grill on their new muscle car:

This high performance vehicle creates hot rods that fire on all ate.

We split a sandwich of Fatted Calf fennel sausage with sweet peppers and onions ($8.00) which was up to their usual stellar standards.

Imperial Tea Court made thick, hand-pulled noodles ($6.00):

... with a pleasant, doughy texture but they were too light on the salt to fully enhance this chard and pepper bowl.

The sole-full huaraches ($7.00):

... from Veronica Salizar of El Huarache Loco:

... made everyone loco-voracious with Rancho Gordo beans and chopped veggies over this masa sandal laced up with onions, cheese, salsa and cilantro.

We made carbon footprints over to the Victory Garden:

... and checked out the stations where you could spout off free filtered water or just spout off on the soap box.

It was an impressive line up of talent, gardening and good planning. We can't wait for Slow Food Nation #2.

Slow on the Go

Slow Food Nation




  Saturday, August 30, 2008

Unless you have been spending the last several months blindfolded, on Quaaludes, in a coma, and barricaded inside of a sensory deprivation tank, you have probably heard about the big Slow Food Nation event which has sluggishly taken over San Francisco. The Victory Garden at City Hall, concerts, dinners, lectures, films, market and Tasting Pavillions have all been sparking discussion and digestion in this meditation on mastication at the gastero-intersection of tooth and consequences.

Tickets for the today's tasting event were exchanged at the door for "Slow Dough" cards. These had 20 circles that were filled in as each taste "purchase" was made. Items ranged in price from 1-3 of these units.

The Festival Pavillion at Fort Mason was subdivided by food category into culinary cubicles called "taste pavilions". There were 16 of these salivation stations including olive oil, beer and fish.

We caught up with Christopher Lee in the charcuterie meating place:

... as he sliced his delicious Toscana and Finocchiona (which he serves at his Berkeley restaurant, Eccolo.)

The pig flight included a crouton spread with crema di lardo which was fat-tastic:

Wood burning pizza ovens were setup outside to fire margherita and rapini and sausage 'zas.

We split a crisp crusted wedge of the meat and veg slice:

...which was made from Acme bakery dough and assembled by a crew including some Chez Panisse-ians.

In the parasol peripheried poison parlor we spotted Lance:

... who hooked us up with some of his Absinthe Verte:

We loved this herbal brandy potion made with stinging nettles, lemon balm, wormwood, star anise, mint, fennel and tarragon. This man makes some fine fairy fluid.

The chocolate chamber offered a plate with cocoa nibs, cocoa mass and chocolate in a tracing of chocolate fabrication pod progression.

A flight of honeybee juice:

... (in the preserves and honey hutch) displayed a deepening of color and flavor. This is a result of the bee-team's progression of intensifying collections affected by the blossoming of flowers and ripening of fruits in their pollination path.

The pickle station was a lot of fun with hot, salty, vinegary, earthy and fruity bites and their super cool mason jar lid drop ceiling:

The ice cream station couldn't scoop fast enough for the screaming masses who were also getting lactose line intolerant in the (non-government) cheese line which stretched out the door. It was actually a nice break to stand outside:

...as they brought out samples of various cheeses and walnut bread as cheese experts circulated to answer questions. And who should we see but the lovely Stephanie when we made it all the whey to the front.

We were introduced to a barista as we wound up our slow food caffeine-nation visit.

He made us perfect macchiati from Ecco Caffé's Brazilian Taste of the Harvest beans.

We had a great time catching up with pals and chomping on chow at this testimony to time-intensive tasty tidbits.

It got pretty crowded about an hour and a half into the festivities so we were glad we were the early birds who got the wormwood…and pizza and cheese…

Slow Food Nation
Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA




  Friday, August 29, 2008

If you want to be surrounded by Adobe employees, go to Grand Pu Bah for lunch:

We sat down in a flash while we wondered if the other diners created their badges in Photoshop or Illustrator.

We acquired some Calamari ($9.00):

... which initially appeared to have a disappointing amount of packaging material (in the form of lettuce) to boost its xy coordinates, but this turned out to be a delicious salad that complemented the crispy squid sauced with chili and lemon aioli.

I downloaded a grilled pork ($15.00):

... which had a background layer of lemongrass with crispy bits bordering this other white-meat-balance element. Sticky rice composited seamlessly along with a green screen of papaya salad.

Grand Pu Bah is a good vector for grabbing a megabyte if you need to decompress.

Grand Pu Bah
88 Division St.
San Francisco, CA




  Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lulu's 3 course prix fixe lunch menu ($17.99) kicked off with a Caesar salad:

I prefer whole leaves, but I guess they make this dish for fancy business people who want it cut up in baby pieces, but I did like the anchovies which swam happily in this choppy sea of lettuce. The other starter option was a pleasant prosciutto and melon:

... served with toasted hazelnuts and honey.

The pasta:

... was overcooked in the institutional meatball entrée, the better selection was the roast pork sandwich with BBQ sauce:

The toasted bun to pork ratio was just right with a balanced bbq sauce and crunchy slaw.

There was only one dessert selection, but that's all they needed since it was delicious. The crisp:

... made with figs, melon and blackberries had a citrusy kick and was cooked just enough to cajole away its fruity inhibitions but not enough to shed its integrity.

Lulu's set lunch was good, but I wouldn't get the 'ghetti again.

Lulu Restaurant
816 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA




  Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Waist Management

It would be a hazardous waste to rubbish a dining option based purely upon its location. The Marin dump can be a source of both land and stomach fill with the Taqueria Santa Cruz truck positioned in front of the Marin Resource Recovery Center.

This dump truck dispensed tacos ($1.50 each) with slices of radish, jalapenos and lime. My lengua:

... and buche:

... (tongue and throat – I was in an upper-respiratory mood) impacted my environment with toothsome, articulated, bites littered with cilantro and onion. Lime juice runoff completed the treatment of these offal offerings which I disposed of quickly.

The dump is a good lunch stop whether you prefer to put junk in your trunk or take it out.

Taqueria Santa Cruz
Marin Resource Recovery Center.
565 Jacoby St.
San Rafael, CA



  Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When A16's new cookbook arrived at the cyberhutch, I read about their meatball secrets and their pizza methods, but I knew that the first recipe I had to make was their irresistible trippa alla Napoletana.

Before I left my honeycomb hideout to go on my tripe transaction trip, I took at look at wine director Shelley Lindgren's exploration of Italian wine, which acts as the onramp to this merging of wine and food. Her discussion of Chianti-free drinking has something to offer anyone interested in the subject, whether they prefer the fast or slow lane.

Chef Nate Appleman has included recipes and techniques that will help get you on the speedway to Southern Italian eats. I particularly loved what he said about his own culinary leanings, "the more I cook, the more comfortable I am finishing a dish with just a spoonful of broth, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a few shavings of cheese. Keeping the food simple allows each ingredient to shine…"

This tripe recipe is absolutely delicious and I will definitely keep this in my cooking rotation.

Trippa alla Napoletana

Serves 8 as a first course, or 4 to 6 as a main course

2 pounds honeycomb tripe
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
Kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
½ red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
¾ cup dry white wine
2 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes with juice, coarsely chopped
2 cups water
1 egg
¼ grated grana
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted

Rinse the tripe well under cold running water. Place it in a large, heavy bottomed pot and add vinegar, a few healthy tablespoons of salt (it is important the water is salty), and water to cover by several inches. Bring slowly to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer, and skim off any foam from the surface with a ladle. Cook the tripe, uncovered, for about 2 hours, or until it can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the heat and let the trope cool in its cooking liquid.

Using tongs, transfer the cooled tripe to a large cutting board, and discard the cooking liquid. Cut the tripe into 2-inch-wide ribbons, and then slice the ribbons crosswise into thin ¼-inch-wide strips. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, parley, garlic, chile flakes, and about 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomato paste changes from bright red to brick red. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pot, dislodging any browned bits from the bottom and reducing the mixture until it is almost dry. Add the tripe, tomatoes and their juice, and water and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or unit the tripe has absorbed the flavor from the sauce and is very tender.

At this point, the tripe should have the consistency of a thick soup. If it is too thick and has a consistency more like oatmeal, add a splash of water to loosen it up. It will thicken further once you add the egg and the cheese. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg and grana until blended. Stir the mixture into the tripe stew and heat, stirring a few times, for about 1 minute, or just until the stew thickens.

Spoon the tripe into warmed bowls. Top each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from A16: Food + Wine by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press:

Photo credit: Ed Anderson © 2008

A16: Food+Wine



  Monday, August 25, 2008

There has been a lot of alternating current generating about the magnetic properties of the raised, glazed, rings at Dynamo Donuts. We motored over to convert these frosted flywheels into energy but received a jolt when we learned that they do not crank out their bacon-apple-maple donuts on a daily basis (we will call first next time.) They had three varieties in rotation for mastication:

Vanilla glazed ($2.00), Ginger Orange Twist ($2.00) and Spiced Chocolate ($2.50). These handmade hoops were tender and delicious stomped down with Stumptown coffee. Of this trio we preferred the cinnamon scented, choco-loop but we anxiously anticipate a visit for the porky permutation, the banana de leche filled or caramel de sel variations.

The friendly counter people at this nutty stand:

... rake in the dough as they roll out answers to the clientele:

... familiarizing themselves with this new frosted frontier of food.

There are a couple chairs in front and a little nook on the side for those who need an immediate carbo charge. I would love it if they sold donut holes too, but they probably have their hands full just keeping up with the nuts and bolts of the operation.

If you want to power up on some solid state double d's, Dynamo Donuts is the place to get wired.

Dynamo Donuts
2760 24th St.
San Francisco, CA


Mark your calendar

Emergency Tomato Day has been declared by the Mariquita Farmers who are overrun with heirlooms and San Marzanos. The Emergency Tomato Day ETD is Saturday, August 30th from noon to 2 p.m. at Piccino Restaurant. Check out their site for more info.

Mariquita Farms
Emergency Tomato Day
Saturday, August 30th noon-2 p.m.

Piccino Café

801 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA


This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one with the big Slow Food Nation event taking place at various venues throughout the Bay Area. There are a mind blowing number of options, but the one that interests us the most is the Taste Pavillions where samples and flights of top notch tastes will be available for visitors to enjoy.

Tickets for many of the events have already sold out so it would be best to check their website for availability.

Slow Food Nation



  Sunday, August 24, 2008

The 18th Annual Family Winemakers of California filled the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason with a mob of loca-pour enthusiasts.

Large and small wineries participated in this diverse demonstration of domestic drinks.

We loved the Turley Wine Cellars 2006 Napa Valley, Hayne Vineyard, Petite Syrah:

This blackberry perfumed, well balanced beverage will be released in November when Turley will make you re-consider serving turkey.

The 2004 Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards , Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon was plum tasty.

We stopped by the Six Sigma Winery pique-nigue table and sampled their basket-worthy, supple, Bordeaux style blend as well as their lush 2005 Cab.

Hope & Grace Wines brought their Pinot Noir to a delicious, peppery finish (as we did the same with our tasting tour when we were toast.)

With over 400 participating California wineries, it was hard not to AVA good time.

Family Winemakers of California
18th Annual Tasting
Festival Pavillion
Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA



  Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's easy to create a consistent product at places like Taco Bell, where everything is assembled out of a variety of cans, but when your kitchen tools are not limited to a can opener, you run into variations that are not always favorable.

We ordered lobster rolls ($17.75):

... from the North Beach Lobster Shack as take away (since we had a lengthy wait on our last visit) but we ended up eating them on site since there wasn't a hang up this time. The lobster meat was overcooked to a slight rubberiness, previous visits had yielded versions with sweet, tender-fleshed 'ster buldging from the crisp edged bun. Today's portions seemed smaller, but perhaps this crushed-ration is to keep their prices static while all their food costs rise.

I am guessing that this a rubbery fluke since the versions that predate this invertebrate plate we have found to placate.

North Beach Lobster Shack

532 Green St.
San Francisco, CA




back to last week - August 15-22, 2008



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