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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.



April 9-15, 2006


go to next week's blogs



Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Bread Workshop:

I selected dark meat on my Mexican Chicken Pibe plate ($7.25):

This bird is stuffed under the skin with ground pumpkin seeds, poblano chile, cumin, cilantro, lime juice and garlic but didn’t have the flavorful punch that the description implies. It was okay, but I’ll order one of the sandwiches instead next time.

This dish comes with a mesclun salad and quinoa which was fine, but would have profited from some carrots, celery or chopped herbs. The bread had a uniform, thin, crisp crust and a homogenous crumb which was not to my taste, I go for a crustier, chewier style baguette.

I also checked out some of the goods in their bakery case:

The cheddar, green onion and Aleppo pepper scone ($2.75):

... sounded promising, but this heavy, doughy ball didn’t deliver the peppery punch that I had hoped for.

The bittersweet chocolate chip cookie ($1.95):

... erased the scone letdown and delivered chocolatey satisfaction.

I was surprised that they only charged three bucks for the lemon-lime meringue tart:

It’s pretty cloud of egg whites shielded a tangy curd and crisp crust. Not bad.

The University Avenue location and their hours are both convenient. Because they make a million different items, there are going to hits and misses.


This sunny eatery is staffed with friendly and efficient people. There are students and locals filling the well spaced tables at this counter service café.

Even though I wasn’t knocked out, I will probably come back to check out some other baked goods soon.

The Bread Workshop

1398 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA






Friday, April 14, 2006

Universal Adapter:

Friday is the only day that Universal Café serves lunch. My theory is that this is a restriction mandated by the San Francisco Health Department to protect diners from spraining their vocal cords.

The place is an acoustic trampoline on steroids washed down with a six pack of Jolt Cola.

Chubby got the pulled pork sandwich ($12.00):

The milk braised pig shoulder was flavorful and tender but the ciabatta had an overly crunchy crust (not something I normally object to, but it was so crunchy that even the Cap’n would raise an eyebrow.) The combination of that hard roll and too much mayo left the meat overpowered. The broccoli rabe was an interesting addition. I just wish that it wasn’t so tough and stringy. The mesclun was oily from an abundance of vinaigrette, (but that didn’t keep Chubby from eating every leaf.)

My lamb burger ($12.00):

... was a densely packed patty with chopped onions and parsley. Grilled radiccio, soft goat cheese and grilled onions provided added tang and dimension.

It was okay, but the meat had a gamey quality and was too compacted for my taste. The foccacia was a little weak to hold up to the meat juices (and got slightly lamb logged on the bottom.)

It has been a long time since I was last here for Sunday brunch. Everything was made with good quality ingredients, but we didn’t have luck with the items that we ordered today. Looking around, the fish, the pizza and the fries all looked worth ordering next time from the friendly and efficient servers.

Universal Café
2814 19th St.
San Francisco, CA




Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mr. Meathenge emailed to say that he was on the Jerky report – I can’t wait to see that. On his recco, I went to check out the special ‘za in Berkeley.

When I walked in the door, I thought I was in for another disappointment. I came to Gioia specifically for the Fatted Calf sausage topped pizza and it wasn’t listed on the menu. But the pizza gods were smiling upon me and my fennel sausage and black olive slice ($3.00):

... was heated and served up within minutes.

The well seasoned meat was the star of the show. It harmonized with the crisp, thin base with a brushing of tomato sauce, some mozzarella and herbs. The only downside was that the crust lacked enough salt to make the handle end of the pizza toothsome on it’s own. I love a good pizza handle and this would be so much better with just a tad more sodium, otherwise, it was a darned good triangle.

And speaking of meat tubes, Paul Bertolli’s new chub factory, Fra’Mani now has sausages available in the following California shops:

* Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes)

* BiRite Market (SF)

* Boulette's Larder (SF)

* Cheese Plus (SF)

* Lucca Deli (SF, on Chestnut Street)

* Dean & Deluca (Napa)

* Pasta Shop (Oakland)

* Cheese Store of Silver Lake (LA)

* Divine Pasta Company (LA)

* Artisan Cheese Gallery (LA)

* Tuco's (Davis)

Their fresh pork sausages are now available in two varieties:

Classic Italian sausage which is flavored with anise and garlic and spicy Italian sausage, seasoned with a mixture of hot and sweet peperoncini (dried chili peppers) and garlic.

Both are coarse ground and stuffed on natural hog casings. Sounds like it’s time to fire up the grill.

The first salami
will probably be in stores in early May. If it’s anything like what he’s served up at Oliveto, it’ll be great.

I can’t wait to check out the remodel at Tajine. I hear the chow’s the same, but they gave it a makeover restaurant edition. Check out what Chubby had to say about it before the change of scenery.

Gioia Pizzeria
1586 Hopkins St.
Berkeley, CA



Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Lunch at Rustic Bakery is not something that you should plan, they are new and gearing up which does not translate into a reliable supply of sandwiches. I figured that I could walk to one of my favorite lunch spots (on the corner) if they were out.

It turned out that lunch was a go. My smoked salmon sandwich ($7.50):

... was a simple roll (which they called “housemade foccacia”, but I don’t think that I would identify it that way in a criminal bread line up.) It was slathered with Gina Marie cream cheese, chives and tender leaves of bibb lettuce. It was good, but it’s not a destination sandwich (and to be fair, I don’t think it’s meant to be.) They usually have two sandwiches to choose from as well as several baked goods including croissants (almond, chocolate and other varieties):

...ham and cheese biscuits:

...low fat muffins:

... granola and their famous flatbreads. They also sell Cowgirl Creamery cheeses.

I’ve tried their morning pastries and they are fine, but it’s difficult to sway me from my devotion to the items at Tartine bakery.

They serve (actually, it’s self serve) Equator coffee which was extremely welcome on such a grey day.
The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is not at all Rustic. They plan on extending their hours to close at 4’oclock next week (instead of the current 2:00 Tu-Sa.)

Chubby is getting in the Easter mood with some chow from the far East(er.) Check out what how great he thinks Great China is in his latest review.

Rustic Bakery
1139 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA





Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Uno dose of Tres:

We braved the rain and Giants fans supplemented traffic to head to see the caged rocks at Tres Agaves.

The guacamole ($8.00):

... was a more generous than expected serving of fresh, chunky, avocado dip. I ended up giving it a little more zing with their housemade salsa.

Tacos al pastor ($9.00):

... came on tasty corn tortillas. When they arrived at the table, I asked the server which one of the identical looking tacos was the pork. I was told that I altered the normal order of one pork and one chicken to be two chicken tacos. I told her that I had no recollection of this but she insisted that I did (multiple times.) I asked if I could please have it as it was listed on the menu, and she reluctantly acquiesced. To be fair, I did write about multiple personalities just a few days back so maybe my inner Sybil has been summoned to the surface…

I’m glad I sent it back, because although the chicken was good, the marinated pork and pineapple salsa taco was the better of the two.

Chubby got the Pollo al Pastor ($17.00):

... which came with those nice little corn tortillas. He likes his starches and was pleased to find not only rice and beans, but fried potatoes as well.

He made fast work of the bronzed half-chicken with it’s tangy orange and peppery herb rub.

Later in the day, I called one of the partners at the restaurant about the taco discussion (without mentioning the blog of course) I told him about the odd note during lunch. He said that he would mention it nicely to the server involved. It didn’t feel like he was blowing me off and he was also very kind about his staff member. Very cool. It’s no wonder Tres Agaves is an anagram for “Great saves.”

Tres Agaves seems like the kind of place that starts really hopping after work. I had to keep my head on straight this afternoon or I would have tried one of their “rocks..no salt” margaritas.

Next time for sure.

Tres Agaves

130 Townsend St.
San Francisco, CA

Dr. B writes:

Hey, do you have any ideas for restaurant or a menu for home that deals with water food? Such as, when I look outside, all I see is water. Do you have anything to go along with that? Or rain, water or rain. Cause if I look up, it's rain. And I look down, it's water. I need something that goes with these things. See, if it were just cold? I'd know what to do. Hearty soup or pot roast, easy. But what goes with water?

Any help would be much appreciated.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Big Gils,

Chubby and I are here for you man….clear, blue, ocean….er, scratch that…um, maybe it’s time to think dry to offset all this rain with some dried meats. How about a Jerky report at Meathenge?

Stay dry,





Monday, April 10, 2006


Sushi Ran used to be a regular stop but somehow it had slipped from my normal rotation. After yesterday’s red oil fest, it was time to treat my body like a temple (rather than an amusement park) and head to Sausalito for some zen chow.

At most Japanese restaurants, the lowest common denominator is the lunch special which is usually phoned in by the non-A list staff for the eat-it-and-beat-it crowd. At Sushi Ran, the sushi special ($12.50):

... is composed of one nigiri ebi, maguro, hamachi, halibut and sake all of which were pristine and tasty (although I’m not a cooked ebi fan, the raw is so much better in my book.) The avocado and cucumber maki was good, but the pieces of cuke should have been thinner so that they integrated with the rest of the flavors without a fight.

Marin has a shortage of good sushi. I’ve tried all the places that people swear by (both big and small) and Sushi Ran is the only place that delivers the goods. Even their goofy/trendy sounding concoctions (like the 49er roll) are just fine by me.


I also like their bar next door for evenings when you risk starvation while waiting for a table in the restaurant.

There is no better sushi to be had on this side of the GG bridge. The one thing that I just don’t like about SR is when you come on a cold and rainy night and have too much beer/sake/tea and have to go outside to the cold bathrooms. Hmmm…this may be why I tend to renew my visits towards the spring.

Sushi Ran

107 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA






Sunday, April 9, 2006


If you like watching Chinese Karaoke in PeeWee’s commissary while you dine on food hot enough to scorch your nose hair, look no further than Spices! II.

Chubby and I stumbled into this sequel to Spices! (on 8th Ave.) for a meal that was true to the restaurant’s name.

"Snack" portions of spicy pig ear in red oil ($3.95 on the pink fish-plate) and spicy Chinese bacon with garlic ($4.25 on the blue plate):

...both delivered in the caliente department. The thinly sliced ear had a pleasant chewy/crunch enhanced with scallions. I’m guessing that they froze these (after they shaved the hairs off) to slice them so thinly.

The other part of the pig was also strewn with green onions. This steamed, streaky pork dish was on the heavy side, and although it was flavorful, it doesn’t warrant a repeat order in my book.

Fish filet bowl in flaming red oil ($9.95):

Floundering in the red sea of bok choi, red pepper flakes and cilantro was some enticingly moist, tender, brain food. Not the dish to order if you are on a low fat diet, but if you are on a red oil diet, this dish has your name on it.

Cumin lamb ($9.95):

... may sound boring compared to the other names, but this thinly sliced meat is woked with green onions, onions, and lots of jalapenos. A mound of cilantro pulls together this savory, fusion plate.

They don’t close between lunch and dinner and are open late (for clubbers who need refueling.)

Good news for offal lovers – they serve all sorts of variety meats. Pork kidney, liver and intestine in blood all await your anxious chopsticks.

We will definitely come back to this restaurant that is hard on the eyes, but easy on the wallet.

Spices! II
291 6th Ave.
San Francisco, CA



Dr. Biggles writes about Sante Salvoni’s departure from the Slow Club:


Okay, spill yer guts. What happened to Sante? I understand it's all rumor, just wanted to know.

Dr. B.


Gutenberg replies:

Mr. Salvoni is taking some time off while he develops several different projects. This includes a small restaurant (about the size of Slow) with a limited (smaller than Slow), regionally focused, menu. We Bunrabs can’t wait for more of his yummy chow and will be checking in with Mr. S. periodically for updates.

Stay meaty,


Sam writes about yesterday’s L’Osteria del forno post:

No surprise at all. Someone at work asked just yesterday “what is your favorite restaurant in NB?” and my answer was Osteria del Forno (and Helmand). I used to live two blocks away and got take out all the time (at the time the kitchen I shared with my roommate was no bigger than a postage stamp so I did less cooking then). I have to admit to feeling just slightly smug when I could walk right pass the queuing throngs waiting on the sidewalk for their turn, ignoring their "hey what do you think you are doing pushing in"-stares to pick up my bag of delicious food (usually carpaccio and mushroom pizza) from the counter. Yum! I must return soon.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Sam,

The phone ahead, takeaway smugness factor rocks. Carpaccio diem!

I’ve been meaning to go to that incredibly well priced, weekday lunch buffet at the Helmand.

You have inspired me to move it up my list.

Stay posh,






back to last week - April 1-8, 2006



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