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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

the BUNRAB blog spot

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



January 1-8, 2009


go to next week's blogs


  Thursday, January 8, 2009

We’ve had good meals at Oliveto, but their cafe chow did not rock the ridge to match the sensibility of the upstairs eats. They have recently regrouped and the resulting downstairs diet has gotten some altitude.

The farm egg and radicchio pizza ($15.00):

... was a thin crust, tomato sauced pie with some satisfying arugula (which must have rocketed in as an unannounced radicchio replacement.) The egg was perfectly set and added a sunny dispie-sition to this wood fired round.

The spit roasted pork panini ($9.00):

... was a generous serving of hot, crunchy crusted, molten mozzarella melded, thinly sliced meat pecked with pickled Jimmy Nardello peppers (Peter Pipers must have been shorted along with the radicchio order). This was a worthy porcurement.

They serve antipasti, pizzas and panini straight through the afternoon into the evening in this casual and cozy wood accented (and burning) grub hub or you can drop by for a glass of wine, fried ceci beans or a cup of Teance tea.

We’re glad to see that the cafe now Olivetos up to the restaurant.

Oliveto Cafe

5655 College Ave.
Oakland, CA



  Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We were mildly disturbed by the fully stocked Valentines Day aisle at our local drugstore and went into full Hallmark card-iac arrest when we saw the Easter goods complete with Peeps baby chicks. Holiday hang time is officially a thing of the past. M&Ms, Reeses, and even candy corn get new ornamentation and packaging to punch up periodic purchases and have you noticed that Peeps is covering all their marshmallow bases with hearts, snowmen and pumpkins? How heinous (except for the rabbits.)

We entered Taqueria Bahia’s feliz festooned storefront:

... where I was able to clear my cabeza (from my plate) along with my usual lengua and tripas:

Chubby got his tacos (all $2.50 each) with chorizo, pastor and cabeza:

Even though the head tacos were a little dryer than usual, we looked to this reliably tasty meal to offer refuge from commercialized consumption while we enjoyed our repast hypnotized by a telenovela on the flat screen TV.

Taqueria Bahia
555 Francisco Blvd.
San Rafael, CA


From our Bunrab email bag, Dr. Biggles writes:


You remember a Far Side cartoon of The Boneless Chicken Ranch? Where all the chickens were just laying around, boneless? Your SPQR post with the piggy ears left me with a vision of all the little piggies in the yard wandering around saying, "What?"


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Dr. B.,

Maybe they can write each other notes with their pig pens.




  Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Those about to dine salute you

You can’t spell “SPQR”
without the “queue” and the weeknight crowd:

... was a sign that there are diners who can still buy a vowel in a consonantly shifting economy.

Those in search of cheep chow flock to the weekly chicken special on Tuesdays.

The buttermilk fried chicken ($20.00):

... is a generous serving of battered bird with crispy skin and a kicky cayenne accent. The dark meat was moist and delicious, but the white meat was overcooked and a little dry. We both enjoyed this dish, but we consider the Ad Hoc bird ruler of the roost.

We chose three antipasti ($21.00 for 3, $8.00 individually) from their tempting list of cold, hot and fried selections.

They leant us their pig ears:

... along with whole grain mustard. These were thick and gelatinous with a crispy, breaded and deep fried coating. We liked them, but this wasn’t our favorite configuration of this sound system.

The warming stracciatella:

... had a pleasantly saline, egg-streaked broth that we found eggsemplary.

Brussels sprouts:

... were deep fried until the edges were shatteringly brittle. These mini cabbages were tossed with fried, paper thin slices of nutty garlic with a cravable crisp/chewy texture. Lemon and parsley rounded and lightened the flavors with their citrus and herb influence.

There’s a good reason why the populusque rome to this casual kitchen. They don’t take rezzies so unless you are friends, you will have to wait like the rest of us countrymen for your turn to govern a table, but it’s worth the battle since I’m always glad-I-ate-here.


1911 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA

From today’s Bunrab email, Kate comments on change you can believe in (if you are superstitious.)


I am in agreement with your musings about Marin County's Chinese offerings. On a different note, haven't you ever wondered why Jennie Low doesn't "86" the 88 cent prices on her menu? What the duck sauce?


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Kate,

There is a Chinese superstition that “8” brings good fortune. So Jennie is actually trying to radi-eight prosperity in your direction to make you a duck of the lucky purse-eight-sion (so I wouldn’t count on any change of change on the numerologically nuanced belief-based bill.)

Stay Lucky,




  Monday, January 5, 2009

Chinese food in Marin caters to a local audience that wontonly demands soup, pot stickers, sweet and sour pork and other chow main street fare.

Interesting ethnic restaurants thrive in areas fertilized by a dense, urban topsoil or within an origin common community so it comes as no surprise that cities with Chinatowns have a duck leg up on the flock.

Chinese food carries along more expectations than any other cuisine. We want it tasty, fast, cheap, plentiful and delivered, but our expectation level was contained within the name of the Chinese restaurant just off Target in Novato.

Jennie Low’s makes a huge effort to deliver what their customers demand, with low fat, low oil, easily identifiable ingredients, but the result is more kung than pao with standard issue dumplings ($5.88):

... and moo sui ($10.88):

This is not to say that it isn’t reasonable food to tank up on, but put to a vote, we would orient ourselves towards San Francisco.

Jennie Low’s

Vintage Oaks Mall
Novato, CA



  Sunday, January 4, 2009

The pizza oven:

... gave Picco Pizzeria even more of a toasty a-peel when we rolled in as cold as one of their flash frozen takeaway ‘zas.

Our Caesar ($8.75):

... displayed a Julius-dicious use of anchovy and garlic invaded by a cavalry of crunchy croutons over columns of Romaine. The crisp corinthian collection was powdered with parmesan after a premature chicken sauced each caesarean section. This titused us over deliciously until the delivery of our pizza.

Today’s special ($14.95):

... had nicotine-patch-thin sheets of house made coppa which capped off ricotta, house made mozzarella and Grana Padano along with braised pork, fennel, roasted garlic, arugula and a nice hit from calabria peppers. Picco sous chef, Jared Rogers made the addictive salumi that is capo and shoulders above the crowd. As usual, there was a nice, singed, thin crust and a perfect balance of toppings to wash down with red wine (which they take care to keep below the Sahara room temperature.)

We have yet to have a pie in Marin that approaches Picco’s, but on days like this, we’d just come here for the warmth.

Picco Pizzeria

230 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA


From our Bunrab email bag, Toni writes:


In looking at your photos from Bubba's I am struck by how delicious the bacon looks. Do you think they deep fry it? I can't think of any other way it would be cooked to make it so perfectly rendered, curly and crispy all over. Also, is the muscle portion of the bacon tooth-shatteringly hard, or is it still on the chewy side?


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Toni,

You are correct. Since I request my bacon extra crispy, they dunk it in the deep fryer to make it shatteringly and delicately crisp (but not hard). If you look carefully, you will see that it picked up a French Fry barnacle on the way. Yum.



Mike also writes about yesterday’s post:


Bubba's vs Bette's? Which is the better?


Gutenberg thinks about it for a while, then replies:

Dear Mike,

As much as we enjoy our meals at Bubba’s, Bette’s is our longtime fave since we love their chow, staff and they have a health plan for their crew.

But we really have a soft boiled spot in our hearts for both.




  Saturday, January 3, 2009

Calendar-based vice reduction turns the page on personal responsibility as it infantilizes the guilty and relinquishes the parental role of governance to a non-existent entity. These imagined relationships pack the gym, push the nicotine cud and pollute the interwebs with de-flavorized snacking solutions.

All of this virtual virtuousness strengthened our resolve to maintain our courses as we shot over to Bubba's:

... for some porcine portions. I got my standard bacon and eggs ($9.95):

... while Chubby got a smoked pork chop ($15.95):

... which had a hammy succulence that we will recall the next time it’s on the list of specials. The perfectly fried eggs and fluffy biscuit sealed the deal on this resolution pollution solution.

Bubba’s Diner
566 San Anselmo Ave.
San Anselmo, CA



  Friday, January 2, 2009

Whipper Snapper is like a wacky, eccentric aunt who doesn’t concern herself with what is whispered by the members of her bridge club. From what we could tell, this funky and friendly addition to fourth street has Caribbean, Spanish and Martian influences.

Our sandwiches ($8.00 each) were served on soft French Bread without any artisanal aspirations. Chunks of tri-tip:

... were cooked in a sweet barbeque sauce which wasn’t our thing, but we found the Mahi-Mahi:

... more to our liking. We asked that the fish be cooked lightly and they delivered a moist Mahiwich which came with a choice of salad or fried plantains (we got one of each and preferred the standard issue greens to the starchy, spiced, banana sticks.)

The tapas dominant menu is inexpensive and features eccentric aunt-friendly food. It isn’t the sort of place that will wind up on our regular rotation but if you like a break from Pottery Barn decor (with the av-aunt guard artwork) and seek a friendly vibe (from the av-aunt-ular staff), this is the place for you.

Whipper Snapper
1613 4th St.
San Rafael, CA



  Thursday, January 1, 2009


Earlier this week, we decided to get a jump on our hoppin’ John (since the flavor is improved the day after it’s cooked) and found that the first two stores that we visited were sold out. I guess the Pea R of this traditional New Year’s chow has spread to those who have their finger on the pulse and hand on their purse.

We view the legumey legend that each pea consumed on January 1st represents a day of good luck in the coming year as a reminder to heat up a pot of these ebony eyed eats rather than a slavish sanctioning of a superstitious supper.

This delicious antidote to last night’s reveling provides a pork accented protein propulsion into 2009.






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