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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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May 23-31, 2008


go to next week's blogs


  Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bragging Rites

We hopped down the coast to Fort Bragg and grabbed some dinner at Mendo Bistro.

Seared scallop salad ($12.00):

...with favas, caramelized onions, rocket and bacon had the richness of its perfectly cooked seafood balanced by the fresh beans, onions and herbaceous greens.

The linguine ($14.00):

...with white shrimp and garlic was house made and this simple presentation was spot prawn.

Our fave was the local black cod ($19.00):

... which was a pristine piece of fish so good that I took the Romesco sauce and put it on the potatoes since this seafood shone so well solo. Grilled asparagus and caramelized cauliflower were homey, delicious sides to this great dish.

The staff is friendly and efficient, the artwork is supercool:

... and they don't age profile before dispensing crayons:

What's not to like?

Mendo Bistro

301 N. Main St.
Fort Bragg, CA



  Friday, May 30, 2008

Shroom for Dessert

This fun guy couldn't pass up mushroom ice cream. Cowlicks is a Fort Bragg company:

... that churns out this groundbreaking meal capper:

...shattering the mold of the expected flavor line up.

Chubby got a went with a creamier chocolate peanut butter cone:

... while I dug into my brown flecked snow cap. ($3.00 per cone)

There was a mapley flavor to my microbial munchie and although it did grow on me, it was a frozen fungustatory find during our food forage that seemed to stem from its novelty factor.

Chubby's selection was the better choice for pure ice cream satisfaction, but I couldn't resist ordering the umami of all desserts.

Frankie's Hand Made Ice Cream
44951 Ukiah St
Mendocino, CA 95460




  Thursday, May 29, 2008

We stopped by the Downtown Bakery and Creamery:

... for some pizza, only to discover that their café menu is only served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Luckily for us, they still had some ready made sandwiches so we got one of each remaining variety ($5.00 each) and filled our bellies.

They were bread intensive, but the bread was good focaccia with a nice sprinkling of sea salt over the top. Both had real, non-anemic, flavorful tomato slices and some baby lettuce. We polished off the smoked mozzarella:

... and the ham and Fontina:

... before moving on to dessert. Their ice creams looked great, but we went with less chilly chow and chose a brownie ($1.75):

... with walnuts and frosting which is fully licensed to arrest any choco-craving. And an almond tart ($1.75):

...which was made famous when Lindsey Shere (a co-founder and owner of the bakery) baked them as pastry chef at Chez Panisse.

This sunny bake-atorium was filled with tempting galettes, cakes and cookies:

It's located right off the 101 making it a 101 if you are planning to pull over for a savory snack, sugar shot or coffee kick.

Mr. Espresso coffee perked us up to hit the road.

Downtown Bakery and Creamery

308 A Center St.
Healdsburg, CA



  Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We peckishly flew to Wood Tavern for an animated cel-libation. When we visited in January we had a couple of delectable sandwiches (one with pastrami and one with porchetta.) Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, they have swapped out the porchetta for a surf and turf sandwich ($10.00):

This baguette stuffed with Oregon sweet shrimp, avocado, garlic mayo, lettuce and bacon was tasty, but due to the toothpaste-tube effect of the soft filling inside of crusty bread, it was impossible to maintain the intended bread to filling ratio. Their burger, pastrami and porchetta sandwiches are self-anchoring and are less smoosh-prone than this soft avocado, and seafood loaded physics lesson. Don't get me wrong, I liked the flavors, but this sandwich is best enjoyed by those with sharper beaks.

The pastrami and Emmenthaler ($10.00):

... was nicely balanced with a horseradish kick to this mustard lined sandwich.

Both dishes came with a nice pot of coleslaw:

... but the house made pickles that we enjoyed in the past and that were listed on the menu didn't make it to the plate.

The service was friendly and efficient without a trace of wackiness at this Woody retreat.

Wood Tavern
6317 College Ave.
Oakland, CA



  Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sure, you can get some amazing macarons or tartlets and such at Bouchon Bakery:

... but there are also some taste-talgic options for those who want a retro bakery experience. BB's take on the Nutter Butter ($3.00):

... isn't shaped like a peanut, but the flavor transfat-ports you back to the days of the less wholesome, chemical effluent version of this aller-generic, factory fresh n.b.s Nota Benne – these are nuta bene.

TKO ($3.00) aka Thomas Keller Oreo:

There is nothing "technical" about this cookie's punch. This double fisted coco-knuckle sandwich makes you want to knock out any musings of mass marketed merchandise.

Bouchon Bakery is also a great place to grab a quick sandwich or loaf of bread. You can also pick up pet treats if you need to get out the dog house with your locavore pooch.

Bouchon Bakery

6528 Washington St.
Yountville, CA



  Monday, May 26, 2008

Quinoa (pronounced "keen wah") is a high protein grain that is easy to make and delicious. You can cook it like rice and serve it as a side dish or dress it up in a million different ways. It's good hot, room temp or cold. Most people we have served it to think it's couscous (unless we serve the red variety.)

Now that it's BBQ season, a handy dish to have on hand is a quinoa salad:

This recipe is for the dish in the photo, but there are easier variations if you are crunched for time. One simple plan is to use all plain cooked quinoa mixed with peeled, deseeded, chopped cucumber, crumbled feta, vinaigrette and chopped mint. Preserved lemons, parsley, tomatoes, and all sorts of vegetables make their way into our quinoa concoctions. They sell an organic quinoa at Trader Joe's, but you can get it at health food stores, Whole Foods or any well-stocked grocery store.


Bunrab Quinoa Salad

1 cup plain quinoa washed in several changes of water and drained (otherwise it will taste bitter)

1 cup red quinoa check for washing instructions (the kind I use is ready to cook without washing)

4 cups stock (or water if you need to restock your stock)

2 Lemons (Meyer if you admire them, regular if you don't) zested and juiced

3 pounds of favas in their pods

1 bunch of small carrots peeled and finely diced

2 onions peeled and finely diced

3 bulbs green garlic chopped

4 oz feta cheese crumbled

1 small bunch of thyme, approx 1Tablespoon, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the plain and the red quinoa in separate covered pots, over high heat, each with 2 cups of stock or water. When they boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and you can see the little curved "tail" on each of the grains (you don't have to check every single one of them.):

Spread out the contents of each pot onto its own jelly roll pan to cool. Meanwhile put a large pot of water on to boil while you pod the favas. Once you have all the pods shuffled, download all of the beans into the boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil (in a couple minutes) drain the beans and alarm them in cold water. Once they are cool, remove and dispose of their skins (which should slide off easily if you pinch off an end and give a gentle squeeze.)

In a large hot sauté pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil before adding the onions. Stir occasionally over medium heat, after a few minutes when they begin to soften, add the carrots. After about 5 minutes when the carrots begin to soften, add the green garlic, being careful not to let it burn. Once the garlic is cooked, about 4 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Toss the cooled quinoas together in a large bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil, most of the lemon juice and zest, the onion mixture, thyme and pepper. Salt sparingly keeping in mind the saline influence of the feta which has not yet been added. Taste and adjust for oil, lemon and pepper. Add the favas and feta last (so that they don't get over worked in the mix) and adjust for salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 10




  Sunday, May 25, 2008

We had low expectations for the Sunday Marin Civic Center Farmers Market based on previous visits so we were pleasantly surprised by today's abundance of good produce stands.

We took a lap to do some comparison-shopping and found that the quality of the favas varied drastically.

We started filling a bag with the freshest looking ones (and also the most expensive at $2.50 per pound vs. the $2.00 per pound rate at neighboring vendors) as we were midway through sorting through our chow, they announced that they were cutting all the prices since it was close to quiting time so our huge sack of green sticks ended up ringing in at $1.50 per pound.

It pays to buy the more expensive produce.

We grabbed some Nantes carrots, green garlic, cherries and avocados before checking out the prepared food stands.

Not all of the offerings included hemp:

...Pizza Politana wheeled in their wood burning oven near the rotisserie chicken truck:

... and the oyster bbq stand.

There was some good que'in going on across the bay in R & G's backyard this afternoon where we picked up a tip on wood grilling – the fire staging area. Logs were started in this cage:

... and once they reached their optimal grill-worthiness, R transferred them to the BBQ.

Searingly clever.

Civic Center Farmers Market
Sundays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Marin Civic Center
San Rafael, CA



  Saturday, May 24, 2008

"I got a nice piece of pork" is how all phone calls should begin. K continued with an invitation to pop by for carnitas which was a neat reason to hop into a car and join in the 'nage.

AC's tortillas were disclicious destinations:

... for the smoky swine:

... followed by N's cold foamy sauce over fruit:



Mark Your Calendar

As you may be aware, we are big fans of Mariquita Farm's mystery boxes, but the next one has a twist.

The site for the Thursday, May 29th pick up is Globe Restaurant from 5-7 p.m. The restaurant will be having a special happy hour from 5-6 p.m with a Mariquita Mystery pizza. Chef Jason Tallent is also preparing a mystery farm menu beginning at 6 p.m.

If you love the idea of these boxes, but are cooking-phobic, this is your opportunity to enjoy the shoots of Mariquita's labor while circumventing the kitchen to savor them at Globe.

If you do like to cook, reserve your box before Wednesday at 6 a.m. (that's Tuesday night for you and me) and bring $25 cash.


Globe Restaurant
290 Pacific Ave.
San Francisco, CA



The Napa Valley Auction officially begins on June 5th but you can get a jump on charitable giving from the privacy of your own chateau. The E-Auction is now open for bidness.



The Golden Glass Slow Food San Francisco tasting event takes place on June 8th from 3-7 p.m. at Fort Mason.

100 International wineries will be represented including some serious Italians.

The Fatted Calf, Chez Panisse, Bi-Rite Creamery, Pizzaiolo, Delfina and the Swanton Berry Farm are only a few from the amazing list of purveyors that will be preventing you from keeping your golden glass free from smudges.

The Golden Glass
Sunday June 8th 3-7 p.m.
Tickets $50 in advance, $60 at the door, $45 for Slow Food members
Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA
650.589.SLOW (7569)



  Friday, May 23, 2008

Rice and beans for dessert? Only when it's in J town.

We always make a stop at San Francisco's mochi and manju mecca.. Benkyo-do when we find ourselves in the 'nabe.

There was a family in front of us who were compiling two boxed assortments. All the while my inner monologue pleaded with them to leave one of the three strawberry manju (since they sounded particularly appealing.) There were only three spaces left in their last box and, sure enough, they pounded those rice patties into place.

We regrouped and chose to go with a few standards of soft rice cakes filled with red beans and lima beans.

One reason that many dislike this confection is that they have only sampled stale versions that sat on a shelf for too long. The other reason that people dislike this confection is that it isn't chocolate cake – it's too freaky to eat. But these soft, handmade, rice snowballs must be purchased at the source and devoured when their freshly made, little beany hearts are still beating.

Chubby suggested that we try the peanut butter variety on our next visit. A big, soft, gummy, rice cake with nutty adhesive hidden in the center? Sounds like an airway plug to me, but I suppose that disaster would only happen to a careless nut ball. Count me in.

Benkyo-do Co.

1747 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA




back to last week - May 17-22, 2008



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