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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

the BUNRAB blog spot

Do you need to answer back? You can send me comments if you want to.

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



August 1-7, 2006


go to next week's blogs



Monday, August 7, 2006

Communing with fellow wizards:

Sam had the juggling act of wrangling a large crowd for dinner at The Helmand:

... to welcome a couple of New York food enthusiasts to town.

Amy took charge of ordering the tasty appetizers and Derrick ordered the wine.

The Helmand has something good on the menu for meateaters as well as vegetarians.

We strolled to Gelateria Naia:

... for dessert (with some people who really know dessert.)

Sam made some gorgeous (and tasty) cookies:

... for everyone to take home but nobody could wait to devour their spheres of sweetness.

A great time was had by all and it was nice to make some new acquaintances.

The Helmand Restaurant
430 Broadway
San Francisco, CA

Gelateria Naia
520 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA




Sunday, August 6, 2006

This morning was spent catching up with some old pals in North Beach. When the afternoon hit,  Chubby and I needed some quick chow. We saw a line at Gold Mountain, but (fortunately for us) it was larger parties that were stalled, so the two of us got a seat at one of the communal tables in the back.

The carts and trays circulate counter clockwise from the kitchen. Even though we were seated near the end of this loop, there was plenty of hot dim sum to be had.

Our impulse shopping meal included standard issue shui mai, shrimp dumplings (both fried and steamed versions):

... pork buns, and shrimp stuffed peppers and eggplant.

All of these were fine, but nothing noteworthy or head and shoulders above the competition.

The heaping bowl of tripe:

... was the standout dish with the succulent chunks of gastero-goodness. The steamed pork buns did double duty as juice soppers.

We capped off the meal with some decent, but slightly oily, sesame balls.

They don’t compare to the version at Yank Sing. but it’s difficult to justifiably complain when the whole meal came to a grand total of $22.50. You don’t need a lot of gold to pay for this mountain of food.

We went for a short walk but there were a mille of North Beach tourists congesting the sidewalks. One engaging obstruction was a funeral procession which followed a marching band.

I like this old school touch. I hear that in New Orleans, some funerals have marching bands that weave through the city to the regular haunts of the deceased as part of the ceremony. How cool is that?

Gold Mountain Restaurant
644 Broadway
San Francisco, CA


Our Bunrab email contained a note about yesterday’s post from our friend Amy:



Picco this, Picco that, when are you going to get over to Mo's in North Beach and check out their burgers and fries?


p.s. order them extra crispy, the fries, not the burgers.

Gutenberg replies:

Dear Amy,

I should have read your note before we headed to NB this morning! We keep meaning to check out your Mo recco to add to the burger grail…and you know we love crispy fries. 






Saturday, August 5, 2006

I was going to hop out for a quick pizza at Picco Pizzeria, but decided to duck into their restaurant next door instead. Even though Picco Restaurant is pretty jammed on weekend nights, there is usually a stray bar seat to be had without a wait.

Fresh, insanely delicious, albacore ($18.75):

... was seared and served on a bed of hot eggplant foam. Underneath was a sauté of eggplant, yellow cherry tomatoes and opal basil.

These Mediterranean flavors were accented by their recco of a Pinot Noir from Lake Chalice. This New Zealand wine had soft tannins which didn’t conflict with the delicate tuna, it also offered a fruity reinforcement to the tomatoes and eggplant.

Not only do they keep their menu and winelist updated, Picco has replaced their Absolut with Hangar One vodkas. Chubby agrees that it’s the best spot in Marin for drinks and small plates.

Picco Restaurant
320 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA




Friday, August 4, 2006

Pallet-able food

There are a lot of reasons why I can’t set foot in a Costco.

1)  I don’t have a membership

2) I become a nuisance to the serious shoppers by standing with my jaw on the cement floored bunker of goods that brings out the miser in me.

3) My sense of scale is thrown so far out of wack that I need to buy a case of portobellos to eat off the side that makes me big again.

4) When I unpack these groceries I have a supersized case of buyer’s remorse.

Costco is designed to make you feel like an old fogey. They know that your brand loyalty will not be swayed by popular culture. You are set in your ways. No amount of advertising will get you to change your laundry detergent or brand of toilet paper unless it’s at the right price point.

They taunt you with their faith in your routine, your lack of adventurousness with your toothpaste selection and your weakness for an extra first aid kit for the car and earthquake supply box. They know how you think. Creepy.

No card is necessary when dining at Costco. All you need is a few bucks to have stadium cuisine without the bother of a game.

My generic meal was prepared without a scrap of love. If Hollywood made a movie about it it would be called Like Polluted Water for Chocolate. But for a fleeting second, there is a nostalgic feeling of beach snack bars and baseball games.

I don’t remember the security system on the chopped onions:

... back in the day. But I guess onions and lox have always gone together.

And at a whopping $1.50 for my hot dog, (with a soda):

... and an additional $1.99 for the slice of pepperoni ‘za:

... the dollar to calorie ratio is student worthy.

There are several indoor plastic tables that always seem to be full, so standing around eating in the parking lot with my friends F, K, and W completes the effect.

There is a place in my heart for this kind of non-heirloom, organic, free range, heritage, virtuous-glow-of-being-eco-trendy chow. I wouldn’t eat here everyday or even every month, but it’s an occasional niche that need to be scratched.

But if you really like your dog, Costco gives you the opportunity to repeat the experience:

... in the privacy of your own home…over and over and over…





Thursday, August 3, 2006

The idea of going to a cafeteria appealed to us today. Not the kind with ‘tots or a square of are-you-going-to-eat-that birthday cake, but a cafeteria with cops, truckers, and people who want quick, cheap chow without any pretense. I checked for heath violations to be sure there wasn’t anything too current and we headed to the Mariposa Cafeteria.

The ambience was all that we had hoped for: the rumble of passing big rigs, mismatched, beaten up furniture and water-stained acoustic tiles.

Chubby got the pork special ($7.00):

... which was about the size of a whole pig. Kobayashi would have trouble finishing up this platter of chow. Surprisingly, the meat was pretty tasty. It had a char sui flavor buried underneath the salt and pepper encrusted skin. There were crispy bits, lean (but tasty) slices and meltingly fatty bites. Its bed of sautéed cabbage was a cleansing counterpoint to the piggy helping of meat. The rice and gravy pushed this over the caloric edge, but Chubby happily powered through.

For my plate of two items ($5.00):

I selected fried chicken and broccoli. The poultry was pretty standard and the broccoli was tired from overcooking, but it’s hard to complain when you go to a place that is focused on feeding hungry people who don’t want chilled salad forks.

The counter is staffed by an army of Chinese ladies who work quickly to send you to a table with a heaping plate of cheap eats.

It’s a run down relic with an emphasis on cheap and plentiful but the pork kept it from being simply belly ballast. If we return, I want to come back on a Tuesday when they have an oxtail special.

Mariposa Cafeteria
1599 Tennessee St.
San Francisco, CA


From the bunrab email bag, Steven writes:


If we hold a sign at the Golden Gate Bridge that says Chubby please post will it work ? If Chubby lost interest, how about a bathroom only restaurant site.

I vote for Khokkari as best, and E&O Larkspur special mention for odd but cool, how about you guys ?


Chubby replies:

Dear Steven,

I would love it if you did the sign thing, but I haven’t lost interest.

I promise that I will post when I get done with a project that has consumed me enough that I have not been consuming enough!

Thanks for your support and bathroom tips. I will have to check out the E&O WC.

Your pal,


Elle writes about yesterday’s java jacket:


hey, what's up with the Excedrin??? I got a sample at a Kono's Cafe in Pacific Beach in San Diego-it's everywhere. OK-I actually like Excedrin-it's got 65mg of caffeine-I guess that's why they give it out with coffee.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Elle,

I went to their website to see what the deal is with all these pills being given away, but there was no info. While perusing their site, I  increased my knowledge of migraines (which probably leads to migraines.) These free pills being given away all over California makes my conspiracy-ometer is peg (here comes a headache.)





Wednesday, August 2, 2006

This little piggy went to Market Street

We passed up the straw house and the brick house to have lunch at the Woodhouse.

Chubby got the soup and sandwich ($9.00):

The chowder had plentiful chunks of clam and potatoes in the creamy cup that comes with a bag of oyster crackers for additional body and crunch. The soft roll was toasted and filled with crab salad and melty Cheddar. It was fine, but not craveworthy. The fries were good, but would have been better ordered extra crispy.

My stuffed artichoke ($9.00):

... was a half hearted salad that bypassed the caloric vein of Chubby’s meal. This thistle was boiled and grilled before being filled with carefully shelled crab meat. It arrived atop a little salad with wedge of watermelon. The difficulty with this XXL flower is that it was tough around the edges, but the center didn’t offer any resistance. This is more of a light lunch than a hearty meal.

I was surprised that there wasn’t more of a lunchtime crowd with such good Market Street foot traffic.

Although this little seafood eatery may not be trip worthy, it’s better than some of the busier competition down the street. Are the nine dollar lunch specials the wrong price point for the nabe? Hard to say. Maybe it’s that they don’t give away free drugs like the coffee shop down the street.

Check out the latest in java jacket advertising.

Putting Excedrin on a cup of coffee is the result of an advertising exec thinking like a drug pusher. Find the weak minded (anyone pre-caffeination) and give them the first one free. Who better to make the introduction than your trusted friend, Mr. cup of coffee?

Excedrin has something up their sleeve this week. When I was at the San Francisco Ferry Building Plaza, there were people handing out envelopes of them to every passerby. Why do they assume that we are all going to need headache relief? Maybe it’s a public service coordinated with Paris Hilton’s record release.

Woodhouse Fish Company
2073 Market St.
San Francisco, CA




Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Flour Chylde has been open for a little over a week, but today was they inaugurated the coffee machine. They are brewing Ecco Caffé’s beans which makes the perfect accompaniment for their baked goods.

My raspberry scone ($2.50):

... was surprisingly light. I liked the tender crumb and tangy berries in this faintly sweet carbo-wedge. They had three varieties to choose from including a tempting chocolate scone which I will have to try next time.

The Lemon torte ($4.00):

... utilized everything (but the pips) from the Meyers. It’s like a lemon bar and a cake had a citrus tryst. This dense, moist, sweetly snow capped tablet was good, but didn’t have the power to distract me from my soft spot for the scone.

The people who run this new addition to Grant Avenue have a passion for their business, they animatedly chat with all the new customers telling them about the organic, locally sourced, ingredients. They also have wheat free pastries for the gluten averse.

They are finishing up the seating area which includes restored, antique benches and a large communal table. The sunny room is a great casual setting to lunch on one of their frittatas or a sip cup of tea.

Even thought the shop is new, the proprietors have been around the block two times. Now that they have a storefront, they have expanded the availability of their goods which were previously sold at Paradise Foods in Corte Madera as well as the local farmer’s markets.

Now you can have a coffee and pastries at Flour Chylde for breakfast, lunch at Finnegan’s, a tamale snack at Quezada Market and dinner at Boca or Kitchen 868. The Novato circle is complete.

Flour Chylde Bakery
850 Grant Ave.
Novato, CA




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