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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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May 8-16, 2008


go to next week's blogs


  Friday, May 16, 2008

During Monday's Flavors of San Francisco event, we met Lennie and Anthony DiCarlo who run a local business importing Philippine sea salts:

We picked up one of each of their white and their pink tinged, moist, coarse-grained salts.

The clean, flavors and quickly dissolving, yet crunchy texture impressed us as we savored these saline specimens. The darker one gets its hue from shrimp, which take a swim in the liquid, pre-salt version of this cravable crystalline condiment.

Both of these moist salts are available on their Xroads website the white one is called Ilocano Asin ($10/5oz.) and the pink shrimpy one is Sugpo Asin ($12.50/5oz.)

If you've dined at Michael Mina, you may have already had crossed roads with this very mina-ral.




  Thursday, May 15, 2008

I figured that the tray of supermarket cookies were a normal fixture when you report to fulfill your civic duty, but as luck would have it, I hit the 52:1 jackpot of being called in during Jury Appreciation Week. Woohoo!

I guess it makes sense since there is never a defendant appreciation week and every week must be a Judge appreciation week – nobody wants to be held in contempt of appreciation.

I am the last person to look a gift cookie in the mouth, but I couldn't help but think that all of my fellow jury contestants would rather have their tax dollars applied to either upholding the integrity of the judicial system or better cookies.

They had us stay close by during the brief lunch break so I headed to their commissary where the food is a corruption of justice. I got a "Cobb":

... which made me want to purge-er myself so this suspect salad could have an early release.

I have grave concerns about the chow that is made available to those in charge of generating life and death decisions. This food makes me want to put myself out of my own misery, imagine how a steady diet of this soulless nutrition presented in a plastic coffin would assasinate any joie de vivre. Forget that famous last meal, I think a convict should pick what their judge and jurors eat. Whether or not you buy the Twinkie defense, food is mind altering - especially the food they serve here.

They get a little touchy about you taking photos of anything inside the courtroom (even during Jury Appreciation Week) so I sat around without being called upon they reached their quota.

All they told us was that it was a personal injury case. I wonder if it was because the plaintiff also ordered the Cobb…

Jury Appreciation Week 2008

May 10-16, 2008



  Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Best O Burger recently opened on the opposite end of Belden Alley from the House of Lumpia.

We slid in for some sliders at this small sandwich site where they sear fresh Angus beef patties on cast iron pans:

... before placing them on their soft, house made buns.

I got a 1-burger bag ($3.58), which came with fries and onion rings. The rice oil fried potatoes were pleasingly crisp:

... and the paper-thin sliced, fried onions had a sweet flavor and delicate crunch.

The burger had too much sauce for my taste:

... and I kicked myself for not ordering a double-pattied "Fat Bob" ($2.79) for a more balanced bread to meat ratio as well as lettuce and tomato (.25¢) I had forgotten about these options, which I had seen on the "secret menu" on their website. I'm guessing that it's an homage or hamage to In-N-Out Burgers secret menu.

Chubby got a 2 Cheeseburger bag ($5.57) The melted American and Cheddar cheeses lent a Velveetaey texture to his double fisted order which also came with spuds and tasty o-strings. Chubby and I were in agreement about the skipability of the sauce and the cheese.

The staff is very friendly and we were told that they plan to extend their hours from their current 4 p.m. closing time to 8 p.m.

An important thing to keep in mind is that this place has no seating. We thought we could plunk ourselves down at the vacant tables just outside their door, but those actually belong to another restaurant. This place is for takeaway. They pack up rows of mini burgers like boxes of doughnuts for the desk-bound or urban picnickers such as ourselves..

We took our bags across the street where we sat next to the skyscraper and luckily, their security let us slider.

89 Belden Place
San Francisco, CA


Mark your calendar

Do the names David Kinch, Michael Mina, Chris Cosentino or Elizabeth Faulkner ring a Pavlovian bell? They are part of an army of major culinary talent scheduled to invade Fort Mason this Sunday for the Star Chefs & Vintners Gala.

This annual, black tie, Meals on Wheels benefit will also feature some famed fermentations. Cakebread, Ridge and Etude are just a few from the cask-cading list.

Street-wise (at least as far as Boulevards are concerned) chef chair Nancy Oakes is steering the wheels on this meals event. So if you want to support a great cause while treating yourself to top-notch chow, you know where to pull over.

Meals on Wheels of San Francisco
Star Chefs & Vintners Gala
Sunday, May 18th
5 p.m. – 11p.m.
Black Tie
$400 per person
Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA


Another way to unStelvin this weekend will take place this Saturday at Ghirardelli Square.

The UnCorked! wine festival is a partnership between Ghirardelli Square and Copia and will present wine seminars in addition to a wine tasting. If you are the designated driver type, you can enter the event, but a ticket must be purchased if you want to bend an elbow.

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA
Saturday, May 17 from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Tasting tickets $40 in advance, $45 at the event


From today's Bunrab email, Susan M. writes:


Any plans to check out Portelli Rossi in Novato? I need a good review before we go on Saturday!


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Susan,

I had lunch there last month right after they had opened. My visit wasn’t enough to give me a feel for how the chow would be overall but the staff was friendly and it's nice to have a Novato outdoor option during this hot weather. Please write next week and let us know how it went.




  Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Butter Flights

Rosé Avengers and Producers aka RAP put on their annual tasting at Butterfly Restaurant this evening.

This tasting of still and sparkling embarrassed wines was the Monarch of all blush tastings with apt pupals fluttering around in their nectar-seeking my-grape-tion.

With the limited number of by the glass rosé selections in most restaurants, this annual event is the best way to look at this world of rose-colored glasses.

We sampled many interesting takes on rosé but one that took flight for both of us was Etude's 2007 Rosé of Pinot Noir:

... which is aged in neutral oak for 4 months. Etude has been making Rosé since 1988 and this 100% Pinot Noir is priced just below $20.

A gold metal winner from the skating arena is now a figure in both the rink and the pink. Peggy Fleming Jenkins:

... and Greg Jenkins are producing Victories Rosé, which takes the pink theme a step further. They donate two dollars from every bottle sold to breast cancer research.

Attendees snacked on sliders, Kalua pork , pizza bites and other finger food:

... from the Butterfly kitchen as chef Rob Lam greeted all the participants and made sure they were getting enough to eat.

There are men who think of rosé as liquid quiche, but this sort of pigment-headedness is not something that I can 'gris with.

This event sold out weeks ago so if you plan on attending next year, don't plan on winging it or you will be without a pink drink to clink.

RAP Pink Out! SF 2008
Butterfly Restaurant
Pier 33
San Francisco, CA

We checked out the shuttered Capay corner pocket at the Ferry Building to confirm what we heard about Boccalone's new Salumeria.

We can't wait to have their panini or another of those salumi cones filled with their salted pig parts like they served at the Dasche Cellars open house which were seriously cone-tagious.

1924 International Blvd.
Oakland, CA
…and soon to appear at the SF Ferry Building



  Monday, May 12, 2008

San Francisco Small Business Week 2008

Gavin Newsom:

... presided over a gay marriage of networkers at the Flavors of San Francisco event held this evening in City Hall.

There were samplings from many local restaurants including Triptych, Yuzu, and Frisee.

All had queues that were prohibitively long (due to the free food factor.)

One of our favorite local businesses, La Cocina:

...was on hand to spread the word about their commercial kitchen space available to low income food entrepreneurs. I wish there were more of these all over the State.

There were a record number of state representatives attending this event; I chalked this up to confusion between pork barrel and pork belly spending.

Mr. Mayor discussed ways he is streamlining the process of starting a small business in the city. One resource he highlighted was that by dialing 311 you can get "one stop shopping" answers to your city queries. Operators may be standing by, but most of the attendees could not be torn away from the food.

Flavors of San Francisco

San Francisco City Hall
Small Business Week May 12-17, 2008



  Sunday, May 11, 2008

We had a bunch of assorted cheese odds and ends. Some Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, along with some goat cheese shards leftover from a dinner party. Some went into breakfast omelets, the rest were put to excellent use in this mustard and cheese cracker recipe , in which I subbed out the Swiss with an equal measure of my cheese cocktail. This is a good way to use up delicious odds and ends and you can even form the dough into logs to freeze for your future impromptu appetizer needs:

If you have mystery needs, place your order for your Mariquita Farms box with Julia before she sells out and pick up your box o' grub on Thursday, May 15th at Incanto between 5-7p.m. with $25 cash.

We were bummed that we couldn't place an order for the last veggie rendezvous since we were busy in Napa rounding up that Fatted Calf Porchetta – that was one of the finest roasts we have ever eaten. Taylor instructed us to rub it with some olive oil and fleur de sel, brown it at 375, lower the heat to 300 for a few hours until the internal temp reaches 140 and slice it up after it rests.

All our poker associates raved about this herby, spiral of crackin' covered cookery and among the 7 of us, we powered through the whole porcine plug. This meat wad is so insane, they have to tie it up. We're definitely going to call and reserve another soon. If you can't take the heat, you can get out of the kitchen and onto the phone to ask them to cook one up for you. Slow fast food anyone?

The Fatted Calf Charcuterie
The Oxbow Public Market
644 C First St.
Napa, CA



  Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fire and water combined in San Francisco tonight when the KFOG fireworks event was mixed with rocketing bottles ignited by the tenders at Waterbar. Combustibles and comestibles shot out of launchers and into lunchers (okay, it was really dinner, but "out of mortars onto molars" didn't sound pyrotechnically correct.)

A party is a great way to experience this restaurant. We dropped anchor at one of their cozy booths next to a pillar/aquarium for most of the evening, but we also had a chance to explore the other dining rooms of this bay front eatery.

Everyone was on a seefood diet as hors d'oeuvres circulated to tankful guests. There were crispy, greaseless, crab cakes:

... gougers with speck and arugula:

... house cured salmon:

... risotto fritters, tuna tartare:

... hamachi, avocado and blood orange skewers:

... tangy, rich and chewy porchetta and sauerkraut pretzel bread sandwiches:

... corvina was being carved:

... for inclusion in tacos, there was insanely good scallop ceviche:

... savory pulled pork sliders with a slightly sweet sauce in a soft bun:

In a bold move by the kitchen, whole ears of buttered, salted, sweet corn:

... were dispensed to diners. Whole cobs as a passed hors d'eouvre? Yes, please. These fresh and gently heated cylinders were hitting on all ate.

The gentlemen doing the oyster shucking:

... had their hands full as those in urgent need of bivalve replacements hovered like nest-bound baby birds with gaping beaks, but this was an anomaly as the gathering was kept to a happy and manageable size in which all the guests were well fed and watered.

Before moving on to wine, I started with one of their specialty cocktails - The Lawn Party ($11.00):

... Hangar One Buddha's hand citron vodka, Pimm's No. 1, ginger, cucumber, lime and lemon juices were combined in their take of a Pimm's Cup - an excellent way to jump the gun on Tuesday's kickoff to SF Cocktail week.

Little desserts started to appear just before explosion time. Brownie parfaits drizzled with caramel sauce:

...cookies, and these innocent looking apricot tarts:

... which had puff pastry that would have floated off the tray if they weren’t tethered by the slices of nicely acidic, juicy fruit with a hit of sugar to catch the 'cot flavor.

We took to the streets to get a better view of the air show:

...(and to walk off some of the chow.) Waterbar is considering a similar party for the fourth of July, but we think it should be an everyday event.

Waterbar Restaurant

399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA



  Friday, May 9, 2008

Food for Thought 2008

The Grand Ballroom of the Westin St. Francis Hotel:

... housed the largest gathering of Asian Chefs in the SF Bay Area during this evening's HIV/AIDS prevention fundraiser, Food for Thought.

The best local Eastern-inspired restaurateurs ran up to the wok, tucked and rolled, and curried flavor at this bountiful buffet.

Some of our favorite items included Hokkaido scallop tiradito with ponzu, coconut milk, chilies and Japanese cucumbers:

Kobe Beef Tartare with wasabi , caviar and capers nestled in pommes soufflés:

Srijith Gopinathan of Campton Place brought his delicious spot prawns:

Brenda Buenviaje of Brenda's French Soul Food made pork tenderloin and pearl rice dumplings, which she served in an okra gumbo:

We went nuts for Grand Pu Bah's nutty lemongrass stuffed betelnut leaves:

Tim Luym of Poleng Lounge made a flower bed of ceviche:

... as well as a crazy brown rice jook:

This event honoring activist Suki Ports also included entertainment:

...and a silent auction for this less-than-silent food fueled crowd.

Food for Thought 2008


Mark your calendar

Head to Waterbar Restaruant tomorrow (Saturday) for the best view with a chew of KFOG's 15th annual pyro party. Forget the 4th, this is the largest fireworks display in California.

$65 buys you entry to this Aquatic Arena with passed hors d'oeuvres including oysters, salt cod fritters and ceviche. It's a cash bar, so bring along some clams and an extra sea note.

Waterbar Restaurant
Kaboom Party
Saturday, May 10 7-10 p.m.
$65 per person (drinks not included)
399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

Tuesday is a busy day. If you dragged your legs on getting tickets to the sold out RAP Pink Out! SF event and aren't marching off to boot camp, there is a drink with your name on it waiting for you at the opening gala of San Francisco's Cocktail week - a week devoted to raising awareness that there are still many who go without cocktails every day in this very city. If you want to raise a glass along with your awareness (while simultaneously dulling it), head to Harry Denton's Starlight Room where you will be greeted with a complimentary cocktail at the kick off event from 6p.m. – 9 p.m.

RAP Pink Out! SF
Tuesday, May 13 6:30 – 8:30 p.m Sold out
Butterfly Restaurant
Pier 33
San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Cocktail Week
Opening Gala
Tuesday, May 13, 6-9 p.m.
Harry Denton's Starlight Room
Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Admission free – with a free cocktail!
450 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA



  Thursday, May 8, 2008

We were shocked to find that Ubuntu isn't a gimmicky restaurant named for the Linux operating system in which you initiate your meal by compiling bytes into your serial port served by a staff dressed like Tux, the Linux mascot. 

It is actually a yoga studio and restaurant run by a former man of Manresa. Oh well.

Chef Jeremy Fox created this yin and yang business – he puts it on and takes it off. How clever to create your own market – exercise and food, it's like running a bar in a detox facility.

We were curious to see how a Fox in a zen house would deliver the vegetarian vittles.

We spearheaded our meal with a cold asparagus salad:

Roscoe's Delta veggie poles and ribbons were served with a preserved lemon coulis. The arugula was plucked from the Ubuntu garden, located 6 miles away from the restaurant on the Silverado trail. This was such accomplished stalking material it required a restraining order not to order an additional plate.

The radish salad ($10):

... was layered with slices of watermelon, icicle, black, French market and yellow radish with baby radish greens. We spread a goat cheese and nori combo on these smoked salted, peppery rounds. This 'dish dish was both heavy and light in this rooty teeter and cheesy totter.

Their signature cauliflower in a cast iron pot ($13.00):

... looked small, but this hot spread awesomely blossomed with a buttery richness to be slathered over the crunchy croutons.

A deep fried egg ($15.00):

... looked like its Scotch cousin, but this had a soft yolk to eggment its highly sauced environment of gribiche, aioli and a smoked potato salad. A few greens scattered over the plate did not successfully camouflage the cholesterol count on this soft serve arterial impediment.  This is not to say that this would not a top selection for those with special needs.  It's an ideal choice for those who recently got curb stomped or have misplaced their dentures, but with or without chompers, this was toothsome (or gumsome.)

If you bring removable teeth, you can conveniently pop them in the jar that holds the cheesecake ($9.00):

This creamy, cherry dotted dessert had a pleasant contrast of acidic and sweet pitted fruit punctuations against the crust crumbs and smooth custard.

We chased our Cotes du Rhone with  some Blue bottle coffee to finish off our wonderful meal. It's nice to have a vegetarian repast that doesn’t get all preachy or culty. It's just good food in a friendly setting that takes a tree stance.

We were glad that we didn’t order more, otherwise we would have had to take home a downward facing doggie bag.


1140 Main St.
Napa, CA





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