Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)
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If I want to, I'll post 'em in this very blog.
BZ and R know how to put together a New Year’s party:
A great group of people, delicious coq au vin, leeks, zukes, and spuds:
... rang out 2005 culminating with a flan de queso:
I’d never had
this delicious Puerto Rican hybrid of flan and cheesecake
A great ending to a great year.
Susan R. writes:
I checked out the Scharffenberger.com recipes and decided to make one of their chocolate cakes:
As I folded in the
egg whites, I realized that I had made this
particular recipe before. It’s Lindsey Shere’s Rich Chocolate
Cake recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts minus two tablespoons of butter.
Maybe it was an honest mistake, but it seems like they could acknowledge
that this is an adaptation of her recipe since they use her wording verbatim
in most of the instructions.
The NEW METRO
MENU is centered a couple of blocks away from Boulevard at
Francisco's Ferry Building, which has a vast aray of fantastic
chow. It’s a particularly handy place this time of year when you
want a roof over your head as you eat your way through some of the best
foods in town.
they put their holiday info on their website. sigh.
...at home instead.
A break in the rain meant all of humanity spilled out into the streets today. The Ferry Building was jammed and, as always, the hostess at the Slanted Door gave instructions to hover over the bar for vacated seats:
Those without rezzies
vultured over diners shaking down their beef but I decided
to quit while I was ahead (it looked like it could get vicious.)
... and reflected
that tourists must come here and think this is representative
of San Francisco. Eeek.
It’s a musical instrument that is “played” by the waves. It’s best to come during high tide (for less subtle musical action) but it’s also a nice place to just take in the view.
The big candy bar companies are always coming up with synchronous “special edition” releases. They have covered the white chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, inside out, orange, and giant versions, now it’s time for “extra creamy.”
I think that this
is a misnomer. It tastes like it’s extra melty through
the addition of some softening agent or extra oil. Ew. The only permutation
that I have enjoyed in the past is the dark chocolate KitKat which is
not good chocolate, it’s just good in a mass produced, fast food
kind of way.
The French roll was hollowed out a bit to create the correct bread to meat ratio but the sturdy texture of the bread was too much for the underseasoned patty. Instead of the usual slice of tomato and onions, there were a few pepperocini and pitted black finger puppet style olives alongside. In a moment of health consciousness, I asked to sub out the fries with veggies. Boy, was that a mistake:
They cook them 70’s
style, you know, when the objective of cooking vegetables was
not to enhance their flavor, but to kill every single microorganism within
a one mile proximity to the vegetable matter? The handy thing about cooking
in this fashion is that you can tell when you have reached your objective
but looking into the pot to see if everything has lost any trace of green.
I don’t think that this completely conforms to the ethos of the
slow food movement.
impressive in its hollowed out sourdough loaf with a heap of
sautéed onions. Sadly, it looked better than it tasted. We had
high hopes for our lunches as we watched the cook grill our burgers over
the glowing charcoal to the specified medium rare, but Chubby had the
same issue with the texture of his bread. He was better off with the addition
of the grilled onions (some of which I nabbed to give my burger a bit
more oomph.) Chubby ordered his fries extra crispy. They didn’t
have that nice textural contrast of a soft interior, they were dried out.
It could have been due to the special cooking request so I can’t
really fault them.
It feels like you are killing time before an Elks meeting.
... I have ever eaten in my whole life. Not only did it have all the cosmetic appeal of a perfectly browned, magazine cover ready bird, it was cooked just right. No dry white meat here. The skin was crispy, the dark meat (always my personal fave) was fantastically good. I’m usually not a big turkey fan either, but I can quit eating it after reaching this pinnacle. It didn’t stop there, every imaginable side dish paraded out of the kitchen to test the capacity of the dining room table:
... (as well as everyone’s
stomachs) partnered with wines from Kermit Lynch (who
is getting a legion of honor award, how cool is that?)
... were also fine
in their porky, mushroomy way.
... which relied on
it’s deep fried status to distract from it’s
lack of green onion (or any other interesting flavors.)
... had bits
of pork inside and were fine with a bit of hot chili sauce.
... contained nice
chunks of chicken but were bland.
... was your garden variety preparation. Nothing to rave about and nothing to complain about (except maybe that it did not live up to it’s “spicy” promise.) All of the lunch specials came with a choice of a fried or soft spring roll. (I chose the soft, which was good in a generic sort of way) rice and a house salad are also included.
I think that there
should be a law against green “house” salads
being served in Asian restaurants. It’s a concession to Western
tastes that always misses the mark. They usually go by the following profile:
Iceberg lettuce with some grated carrot and dressing on top. They are
never, never, ever, tossed (there’s reason why you don’t hear
about Japanese salad bowls or Thai salad tongs.) Usually they are composed
in advance on plates that are loaded into a fridge for the server to grab,
squirt with dressing and bring to the table to pacify you as the main
course is being prepared. It’s like airline food without the security
check. Nobody likes these enough to crave them, they are just busy work
for your jaws.
Immediately after I snapped this picture, I tucked into to the chicken-livery goodness of this pomegranate geleé topped, silken, spread. This is the sort of rich, comforting food calls for a cold night, crusty bread and good wine.
Getting a noseful of Indian spices as I came in out of the Sausalito rain was herald of good flavor to come. The place was pretty empty so I was surprised by the slow and awkward service, but everyone was friendly when they did materialize. Once I munched on some of the papadom:
... I snapped out
of low blood sugar mode. A sweet and tangy tamarind sauce and a yogurt
based, coriander, green tea leaf, mildly hot mint sauce made for
... lunch special
which is a lamb curry served with carrots, peas, cauliflower,
and rice. The meat was a little dry, and the vegetables a little bland
but the accompanying naan was very good. Crispy fringed, doughybellied,
blistered, with just the right amount of salt and oil. I ate every bit
... which had a naan base topped with paneer cheese, shrimp, fennel and lemon butter. This is the dish to order if you are a linebacker and Coach tells you that you have to gain 25 pounds by Friday. Chubby gave me a slice and I thought that it would have made for a more balanced dish if the fennel was sliced thinly on a mandolin instead of the slightly too thick bits that lay under the overly thick blanket of gooey cheese. It was tasty though.
Dungeness Crab noodles ($11.95):
... seemed like a
good seasonal pick for lunch. The rice noodles decided to stick together
and make a little tangled yarn ball that was slightly sweet from the tamarind
sauce and flecked with green onion. The soft noodles and delicate crab
meat needed a textural contrast to make this feel less like I was convalescing
from lockjaw. I did however, eat the whole thing so it wasn’t that
Man, is this stuff good.
... was spiced with
ginger and cardamom. I appreciate the fact that they
don’t sweeten this tasty, milk enriched beverage.
I'll leave you with that. Sometimes my mirth gets the better of me.
... which turned out
to be a little sampler plate with a thick hummus, roasted
eggplant spread, tzatziki, roasted peppers and pita wedges. The tricky
thing about this dish is that all the ingredients are held in the fridge
(for obvious reasons) and had a chill that dulled their flavors and textures
(you know that slightly gelatinous mouthfeel you get from roasted peppers
and are sliced and chilled? Not good.) This dish could be livened up with
a some good feta, but I wouldn’t order this one again.
... was a round
patty in a rectangular roll which is a blueprint for poor meat
to bread distribution. I really like the burger at their affiliated restaurant,
so I expected this one to be the same delicious experience, but the bun
was under-toasted and immediately got a mushy interior, the patty didn’t
have the chopped parsley that the Chez Maman one has incorporated into
the meat, along with CM’s perfect bun and aioli. Oh well. But the
accompanying fries were perfect. I asked for them extra crispy and that’s
how they came.
... is a terrorist plot. The idea is that Americans will purchase these machines, fill them with delicious chocolate and create the perfect vector for disease. How evil is that? Chocolate as a viral delivery system. I guess if you gotta go, that’s not the most horrible way to do it.
Chubby wouldn’t stop chanting “chicken livers, chicken livers…” on the way to the French Laundry holiday party. Thomas Keller personally oversees the annual preparation of these toxin filtering innards and when Chubby saw the gigantic bowl brimming with this ambrosial spread:
but everyone has
their own fetish food. My addiction is their truffled popcorn.
They don’t just give a drizzle of truffled olive oil, nope, they
microplane black truffles into a bunch of fleur de sel and sprinkle it
over the freshly popped kernels. Yum.
...that I had to prevent
Chubby from upending a tray directly into his mouth.
One more thing that Chubby couldn't resist was adding his commentary to the guest book.
Most everybody drives to the market where they pull into a parking space to park, yet when they get their shopping cart these same people wheel it into the middle of the aisle to block all other traffic.
help but wonder if it is because there is no penalty for this
bad behavior (the way there is with a motor vehicle) or if it’s
just an oblivious, uncaring act. I was stuck behind two shoppers discussing
what brand of chocolate to buy for their new chocolate fountain. These
are the bread machine of the 00’s, people will use them once and
then shove them to the back of the cabinet.
...from Richard Olney’s cookbook Simple French Food.
Even though I have purchased a new copy of the book (since my original copy is falling apart from years of use) I continue to use the battered one. If I came across this book in a shop now, I don’t think that it would catch my eye next to all the books with glossy photos. Most of the recipes sound dull but there are some amazing acts of alchemy in the simple onion panade, sorrel tart or endive gratin.
de Young and de restless:
in the evening, my friends took me to a Brazilian place
for dinner which was a lot of fun. They introduced me to Caiprinha, a
drink made with limes and a sugar cane liquor (which was tasty and packed
a punch.) They also showed me how to mix the manioc root with the beans
and rice (I would have just eaten it as it was presented on the plate
and wondered why it seemed out of place…it’s good to go with
people who know what they are doing when you don’t.)
... created a mini carnivale – you can’t spell Brasil. without bra!
I heard that
they got a new chef at Fork and wanted to check out what changed
since Charles Solomon revamped the menu.
... was topped with
black trumpet mushrooms and served in a “bouillabaisse
sauce” that was studded with chunks of garlic. The broccoli was
fine, but the fish was dry and flavorless and the oily fungi and garlicky
broth didn’t work well together.
water in a glass so that for the first portion of your water-drinking
experience it stays at the bottom, like a reverse hour glass.
Café Fanny’s proximity to Kermit Lynch and Acme Bread makes for a convenient way to grab a bite while shopping. Not much has changed on the café menu over the years, but the grilled raclette sandwich ($6.95):
... grabbed my attention.
They use Acme’s pain de mie and smoosh it in their
panini maker till it’s melty. This cheese traditionally scraped,
all bubbly and hot, over boiled potatoes, but the bread was a fine substitute.
A layer of tapenade provided a salty, anchovy, punch, and there were a
few cornicions on the side. My only problem is that my appetite is way
bigger then this sandwich so I had to seek out supplemental food after
my mid day meal.
... on the side of
an apartment building today. He was dangling on this rope,
going about his work like he was Spiderman. My spidey sense tells me he
didn’t have his workers comp paid up…
Who is in charge of holiday decorations in SF? They are so fired:
I dislike most about lunch is that most restaurants have a cutoff
time of 2 or 2:30. I know they have to be cost effective, but it’s
a bummer to be denied mid-day chow. When 3 o’clock rolled around
I was happy to find myself in Larkspur where I knew I could get a great
... after seeing it
on the menu at Tabla on Saturday. It was pretty darned tasty. The crab’s
exoskeleton is replaced with a crepe which also contained red onion and
citrus aioli. There is avocado inside and it comes with avocado-orange
salsa too. The sweet crab meat, creamy avocado, crunchy onion and tang
from the orange wrapped in the crisp, savory crepe, really hit the spot.
The line at
Saigon Sandwiches moves in increments because the sandwich lady
asks about 5 people what they want, she makes the banh mi (with a helper)
and then they are quickly bagged as the next 5 or so people call out their
Although the pork
meatballs aren’t as big as the ones from Hoang Dat, I like
the coarse grind of the meat with the crunch of the toasty bun, carrot
strands, cilantro and jalapenos. The sauce is slightly sweet (which I
don’t ordinarily gravitate towards, but it works here.) I should
have asked for extra cilantro and peppers but I just wasn’t thinking.
I love taking a bite out of these toaster oven heated bread torpedoes
filled with meaty goodness. Mmmmm.
Although this looks as though it is a tribute to some obscure sports team, it’s really sweetened sticky rice cooked with coconut milk. The blob on the orange side is a prune and the speckles on the green side are sesame seeds. It didn’t take long before I gave up on using the wimpy plastic spoon and just picked it up.
...after an unfortunate
confrontation between him and a frozen one pound block of this yellow
The frozen chunks are blitzed with the white sugar which provides the traction to convert little golden rocks into a paste. Then it’s in with the rest of the ingredients:
... using the recipe from the back of the Nestle package (but Chubby subs out the Nestle chocolate with other brands that he prefers.)
Sam from Becks and Posh saw my entry about yesterday’s lunch and writes:
I was determined
not to have a bad lunch today (after yesterday’s debacle) so it
was off to Tabla.
He liked the chunks of turkey breast, caramelized onions, avocado and wilted arugula all rolled together in a big tryptophan cigar. The tangy meyer lemonade ($3.00) washed it all down deliciously.
... that I like from Chez Panisse Vegetables. You just chop up a savoy cabbage, slice a small red onion, chop some cilantro and a jalapeno, juice a lime, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some Maldon salt, grind some pepper and that’s it. It went alongside a Niman pork butt and some potatoes. Cranberry, pecan, pumpkin upside down cake and biscotti for dessert followed by Aqua Perfecta from Hangar One.
During dinner, J brought up an important issue. Should you floss before or after you brush. It turns out that I was the only one at the table who did both (I brush, floss and then brush again) this was looked upon by others as excessive (but at least I avoid this dilemma that others face.)
remember having a wonderful plate of house made pappardelle during
a dinner there long ago.
you want to consistently make this dish? The pasta was overcooked,
the clams were rubbery and gritty but at least that distracted from the
overall blandness of this composition. The salad was a mesclun that was
dressed almost exclusively oil. It was like the Exxon Valdez grounded
itself on my salad plate. As tempting as it is, I actually don’t
think it would be entirely fair for me to judge this place solely by this
unfortunate visit (given my pleasant experiences in the albeit, distant
past.) The problems were compounded by the rushed and surly service which
continually reminded me that I should have gone to Tabla instead for a
dosai in a hospitable environment.
Chubby and I did pretty well in the chip department and our host D, fixed up some fine ravioli from Phoenix Pastificio in Berkeley. Big pillows of tasty filled pasta where just the antidote to this afternoon’s lunch tragedy.
were roaring and lots of festive Jason-types were truncating
trunks and crucifixing the bottoms of pines. The house smells very treey
now and before I know it, it will be time to turn it into log logs. Hmmm
maybe I’ll mix some used coffee grounds in and save the planet.
was the clear winner with the tart cranberries against the sweetness
of the topping and the tender apples. In general, I prefer crisp toppings
to have a less homogenous texture (with clumps of oats, nuts, and bits
that the butter made stick together) but this was good anyway.
... aka spicy
calamari, were not as hot as all those slices of jalapeño
made me suspect. I gobbled down all of the peppers (with many little seeds)
and didn’t break a sweat. The rings and tentacles were not condomy
at all but I wished that the sauce had more depth. I liked the textures
of the tender squid, the bamboo shoots with a hint of crunch and the peppers,
but the sauce didn’t unify the flavors or lend interest to what
should be a more interesting dish.
Couleur me hungry
... was had nice
strips of crunchy seaweed with a touch of sesame oil and some
pickled daikon on top.
... felt like the culinary equivalent of paint by numbers. The sections were filled in, just to be filled in. Overdressed salad, noodle salad, edamame, and rice acted as the universal bento spackle accented by genericaki chicken and hamachi. But to be fair, who in the world would expect anything different with a name like:
That’s why I’m going to Kathmandu:
... is what you want
if you are carbo loading. A big plate of rice accompanies this
stew of sourly spiced (in a good way) potatoes, black eyed peas and bamboo
shoots. Filling and good belly ballast, but nothing to make a special
Susan R. writes:
Good tamales and bad luck.
... from Quezada and am convinced that these are the best in all of Novato. Okay, well, maybe that’s not like saying that they are the best in the Mission, but they are mighty tasty. Nice chunks of meat with a slightly caliente salsa, light masa, and all for a buck and a half. This was a better deal than this evening’s film.
The entire print had badly distorted audio. I found the manager to report the problem and they were already aware of it. This was actually the flawed replacement for the bad one they were projecting days ago. I asked if it was necessary for customers to ask if the movie is presentable before purchasing a ticket (this is not the only time I’ve been disappointed at this theatre.) I was offered a $2 pass for another movie, but declined. This venue is now officially off my list. Being blown off by the folks here was tantamount to a “Good night and get lost.”
smoked whitefish and sturgeon. yum.
... it made up for
it’s lack of visual appeal with a comfort food richness.
He needed to have
the tip of his nose reconstructed, so the surgeon cut
a flap of forehead skin and attached it to the nose's end. The flap stayed
attached to the forehead until the blood vessels in the nose fed the skin
newly attached to it. He’s all put back together now and you wouldn’t
know that his head had been rubix cubed so recently. He’s back to
his good looking self with just a teeny fading scar to show for all this
fuss. Modern medicine is amazing.
... and for dessert, my favorite persimmon pudding recipe from Lindsey Shere’s cookbook.
It was 1:30 and I thought there would be more of a lunch crowd at T Rex:
...but there were
only a couple people at the bar and a few people eating. I have been curious
about this new barbeque joint. It’s run by the same people as Fonda,
Lalime’s and Jimmy Bean’s.
... was made from
good pig, but was sweeter than I prefer. The bun to pork ratio
was a little too high. But to be fair, I ate the whole thing so it wasn’t
all that bad. I asked if I could sub out French fries for the BBQ chips
that were listed on the menu and it was no problem. The haystack of greaseless
shoestrings hit the spot. A little mound of apple cabbage slaw and a few
pickle slices provided some acidic, crunchy contrast.
They were still building the bar and hanging lamps when I peeked in today…maybe next week…-G
me inside for a quick lunch in San Rafael. Unfortunately, the
rays of good fortune did not shine on me inside either.
which is an openfaced
bruschetta with chopped tomato, ribbons of smoked salmon and saffron infused
mayonnaise. It was fine, with decent fish and passable tomatoes. I was
still hungry but the server was busy with other customers so I decided
to just pay and go. I was shorted on my change (which I believe was another
honest mistake which was quickly resolved) but there were too many little
things that didn’t go right that it doesn’t make me want to
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