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.
Swine About Town:
... had two slices each of Soppressata, Crespone, Felino,
Sanguinaccio, Toscano, Rustica, Lonza and Prosciutto. Each were distinctly
flavored and textured and all were fantastic. The fat in these
salted chubs had a buttery texture and wonderful depth of flavor. Chubby
asked the server when Paul Bertolli’s salumi
factory was going to open and she said that they were waiting on document
processing (before the meat can be.)
... of "cooked 'round the clock" pig was stuffed
into triangoli of pasta and cooked to a perfect al dente.
I turned these into my own personal Bermuda triangles and made everything
within the area disappear.
... was spit roasted and sauced with
marsala. I poured my Bianca di Spagna beans ($4.50) onto my ham plate
in order for these bland, undersalted, legumes to get a leg up in the
I had been hearing raves about their bread pudding (small $2.50):
... which they make with brioche. This
pretty, currant and apple adorned comfort food wasn’t my thing.
I liked that it was served warm and wasn’t too sweet but it was
a little to soft and eggy for my taste.
... should require a prescription. The top is flakey
and shatteringly crisp. Coarse bits of orange cinnamon
sugar are wound through this hypnotic spiral leading you to a buttery
fate. The base is dense with a carmely, butteryness where all the calories
decided to put up camp. This zone is normally the undesirable “stump”
area when you are dealing with muffin real estate, but in this wondergob,
it is the ambrosial, moist and chewy heart. If it’s more important
to you to have a good time than to live a long time,
these are your new best friend.
... are more like “gorge airs.”
These oversized eggy balloons are inflated with black pepper and fresh
thyme leaves. Pass the wine and tear off bits of these light and tasty
...puckery lemon curd layered between
moist cake and gilded with singed meringue. This is not only pretty, it’s
... are the worlds flattest. They only exist
in 2 dimensions. This is because they worship the at the alter
of the crispy, butter god. The chocolate chunks are not as integrated
as they could be, but they offer a nice punchoclation to these shattering
As is my restaurant karma, I walked in for lunch a
little after 1 o’clock and the place was empty. I was greeted
warmly by (I’m guessing) the owner who steered me away
from ordering the gigantor combo plate (for which he would have made more
money, but I would not have fit out the door after eating it) and towards
something he felt would be a better lunch option.
It's always packed, but I like going there anyway since it's so good that... it's always packed.
Jatujak Pad See Ew ($7.50):
Koh Samui and the Monkey
Take a spinach leaf and fill it with a little of each the chopped ginger, red onion, peppers, lime, toasted coconut, tamarind sauce and salted peanuts:
The combination of textures and flavors
from the sweet, salty, crunchy, sour, astringent, tangy, smooth, and sharp
is a great way to get the meal started. I miss the little, dried shrimp
that I’ve had with this dish in other restaurants, but it’s
still very tasty.
... comes in a big bowl with a clear, fresh tasting broth filled with wide rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, zucchini, poached chicken, scored squid (that curls up to resemble a mini pinecone) prawns, broccoli and snow peas. I gravitate towards this dish when it’s cold outside.
Comforting, tasty and warming, this has become a standby.
Chubby and I decided to grab a cup of coffee at an ubiquitous mermaid caffeine station:
... and found that that the rumors were true. We each asked for a cup of fair trade coffee (only a small percentage of Starbucks’ coffee is fair trade) and they plucked a bag from the shelf, ground the beans and made a nice French press pot:
... and brought it to our table with two porcelain cups. It took longer than getting the already brewed stuff, but to get fair trade coffee at the same price was a good deal. It was better tasting than their normal brew too.
Spanish style architecture mixed
with new sprawling housing developments make you feel like you are in
Southern California somewhere.
... medium rare. It arrived bloody rare on a crusty ciabata roll with one small slice of tomato, a strip of iceberg lettuce, jack cheese that never reached melty status, some wilty slices of red onion (that had been sitting around uncovered for too long) and a little too much mayo. The meat itself was good but the rare meat squished out between the firm bread with every bite. I'm guessing that they usually serve these medium and it's not a problem for most people. The fries were the frozen variety served limp from an abbreviated visit to the deep fat fryer. A standard issue mesclun salad filled out the plate.
I saw a lot of crepes being ordered from the brunch
menu (I'm guessing that they pull out this menu on holidays.)
... with chopped ham, sautéed mushrooms,
avocado, onions, green pepper strips, tomato and jack cheese. The crepe
needed to be thinner to have less of a doughy influence
over the other ingredients. There were more ingredients than flavor in
these cigars of blandness.
Hamilton does not set a president and I wouldn'tre-elect it for another trip, but if I found myself wandering around this defunct airbase hungry, I'd order a medium burger and ask for my fries extra crispy.
B from Meathenge
wrote twice in one day, once about yesterday’s lunch:
... for our Sunday lunch. All the outdoor tables were
vacant (due to the chilly weather) and we waited a few minutes for one
of the six indoor tables or a couple of stools at the bar to free up.
This gave us time to deliberate on our order.
This cold stack of spears was topped
off with a snowy cap of sieved egg, parsley and breadcrumbs. A lively,
acidic, lemon vinaigrette unified this tasty starter.
... came with a shower of capers, paper
thin garlic slices, and a hint of chilies. Although this room temperature
dish didn’t deliver on the promise of “spicy”, that
was easily remedied with a sprinkle of the dried red pepper. The florets
were given the George Hamilton treatment and their toasty brown color
translated into a depth of flavor that played well against the garlic
and ample portion of capers. I worried when I saw so many green dots punctuating
this dish that it was going to taste like the Bonneville salt flats, but
this thought bubble burst with my first not-too-salty mouthful (and I
ate them all.)
... arrived first. They told us there was a problem
with our other pizza and they were remaking it. So we began with this
hen o’ the woods, chanterelle and trumpets of death
topped pie with melty tallegio binding this fine pizza. It was good, but
the crust was slightly blonde for my taste and I asked for our other order
to be “scorched.”
... had a great crust. Check out how they gave it a
nice tanning treatment in their pizza oven.
Parking can be an issue, you can park
at Cherin’s appliance lot at night, but that doesn’t do you
any good for Sunday lunch.
It was a little slower than the usual
weekend night at Picco,
probably due to the cold weather keeping people by their Marin fireplaces.
...was thinly sliced and topped with red and green
micro-minced chilies and cilantro sprouts. Firm fleshed
and citrus marinated, this was a beautiful and tasty ceviche snack.
... but you can even out the number to four for an extra $3.25. I don’t know how anyone can get a drink at the bar and pass up these savory, burger bites.
In the morning, the multiple security lines extended
all the way through baggage claim and out to the sidewalk.
In the evening, I returned (on a delayed flight) to a mecca of frustration.
I must have heard a dozen people cel-yell, “my flight’s delayed…no,
I don’t know when…”
This “zero” is communicated by your
bagel, doughnut, cheerio, fruit loop and apple jack. If the first
typographical information that you ingest is “null” aren’t
you willingly taking in a unfavorable prophecy? In the interest of building
a more positive society wouldn’t it be better to have breakfast
foods that comported a message of excellence? Are we stunting the mental
stability of our youth by imprinting their plastic minds with a losing
It was just too cold today. My ice shield wipers:
... were rendered useless in this temperature.
If I couldn’t have hot weather, I wanted hot salsa.
...which arrived with hot corn tortillas,
standard issuere fried beans and rice. The self serve salsa was helpful
in getting the Mojo (de Ajo) working with the battered and fried Alaskan
Pollock, shrimp, sautéed green peppers and mushrooms. The shrimp
were stiff and dry from being overcooked (luckily there were only two
of them between me and the rest of my lunch.) I wish that the filet wasn't
battered (which created a doughy, wet skin around the fish) but under
this eggy sweater, it had a dense and moist texture which was accented
by garlic sauce and a squeeze of lime.
Peanuts are a ninja food. They
say they’re nuts, but they are really in the legume family. They
sneak around so stealthily that there are warning signs everywhere reading
“may contain traces of nuts” (hmmm... shouldn’t that
read “traces of legume?”)
... might look unappealing, but the over zealous
scoop of curry peanut sauce conceals a mound of steamed
spinach and tender chicken. The emerald colored broccoli offered an aesthetic
relief from the Skippy inspired robe of nuttiness.
I was drawn to the heat lamp illuminated prime rib in this cafeteria style, chandeliered, establishment.
I asked the guy manning the meat “Do
you make sandwiches with this?”
... was carved into manageable bits, placed on a crusty French roll:
... and served with a pickle slice and bowl
of jus for dipping.
... is not the place to go if you are on Atkins. You
must eat rice with the food that is served here, if you
don’t the seasoning will seem off balance (like having straight
vegemite as a snack…well maybe not that bad, but you won’t
get the full effect.) The smoky, salty and hot flavors won’t work
their alchemy on the white, steamy flavor delivery system that is an integral
part of the Hunan experience.
It had that cornstarch-thickened texture
that I’m not crazy about but a bit of non-astronaut tang pepped
Chai latte white chocolate cookie (A) ($2.00):
I should have known better than to have ordered this.
It sounded interesting, but, to be fair, I am not a fan of white chocolate,
and this was sweeter than I would have liked. I will give this moist,
chai flavored concoction a pass next time. Lemon pout cookie
(B) ($2.00) is topped with
coarse grains of sugar that give a nice crunch to these citrusy treats.
These put a lemony smile of my face.
This light textured, moist little cake had a tender
crumb and good chocolate flavor. The chocolate frosting completed the
effect to create a delicious, juvenile comfort food that any adult would
also love. Ginger lemon cupcake (B)
($3.00) had a good ginger flavor and was pretty tasty, but there was no
competing with that chocolate sour cream cupcake. Brownie bite
(C) ($1.00) is a bargain not to
be missed. These are little, moist, chocolaty, dense and delicious
brownie experiences. The tops have that wonderful, crackly paper
thin layer that yields to a rich interior. Fantastic.
... topped with dulce de leche frosting is not the thing
to order when you can get the cupcake instead. The cupcakie is like a
muffin top, it’s denser than the cupcake, but doesn’t own
its denseness in the sumptuous way that the brownie does. It just hovers
in a chocolate limbo between the land of chocolate sin
(the brownie) and chocolate heaven (the lightness of the cupcake.) Its
frustratingly non-committal texture doesn’t work for me.
... and extremely patient with the crowds of people who want to mack on some cupcakes.
They serve Mr. Espresso coffee ($1.50) which you can take outside to one of the benches to wash down your snack.
Teacake Bake Shop
We celebrated D and J’s birthdays
over a tasty meal.
French Laundry list:
...that included fleur de sel, sel gris,
Montana Jurassic salt, Hokkaido and volcanic salts.
... the scant portions of apple slaw
and mango bbq sauce combined with the pig were flavorful and juicy, but
the dry, brittle, lavash detracted from what should have been a better
meaty roll up. I vowed to order the more enticing sounding Reuben on my
next visit (which was today.)
... was a travesty. When it was delivered to the table,
my dining companion exclaimed, “Now that’s a skinny
Reuben” The thickness of the grilled bread exceeded that
of the filling. A 2 bit sized coin of sauerkraut with the war ration of
fatty pastrami had so little dressing that it resembled Paris Hilton skinny
dipping after dermabrasion.
It’s a great place to sit out on an unseasonably warm, February, San Francisco afternoon…maybe they aren’t totally evil after all…
Attracted by the late-in-the-season Christmas decorations, I couldn't resist heading inside to see what the Chao was like.
I ordered the spicy duck ($6.95):
... and was pleasantly surprised with the fragrant, red curry dish that migrated to my table. Thick slices of slightly fatty duck, peppers, pineapple, onions and basil were bound together with the red curry sauce. I worried that the pineapple chunks would overload the scale on the sweet side, but the fruit complemented the dish in a non-cloying way. The steamed spinach and cabbage added a nice texture as well as that satisfying feeling you get when you eat from the correct segment of the food pyramid (I’ve had more of a food rhombus lately.)
My friend D told me that the reason why this place (that was supposed to open it’s upscale food court doors in 2005) is still struggling to pull it together is due to the fact that each vendor hired their own different contractor – how crazy is that? I get that people want their individual needs and style catered to, but it must be like having a dozen divas in charge of one trendy party.
A brief visit to Thong:
I had just walked up and got what looked good from the steam table:
... incorrectly assuming that all the options were laid
out before me. I had missed something very important.
There is a kitchen in back that cooks dishes to order and their house
specials are not posted, you have to request a paper menu that is tucked
away behind the counter.
... which consisted of thinly sliced, fatty
(but good) duck breast. This isn’t a crispy skinned preparation,
it was roasted with a bit of honey and served with two sauces, one soy
sauce based, the other sweet with a hint of pepper. A little mound of
plain steamed spinach filled out the Styrofoam plate.
... were fried, curried fish cakes
with a tofu like texture studded with bits of green onions. They were
a bit greasy and didn’t have a crispy component to them (not that
they were meant to, they just weren’t my thing.)
... which was refreshing and healthy to boot. The chilled,
steamed spinach, shredded carrots and bean sprouts were tossed
with a light vinegar dressing and topped with a shower of sesame seeds.
I would order this again.
... which was the star of the meal. The pork
wasn’t ground, (like I have had it in this preparation
at other restaurants) it’s chopped. I liked this cilantro and lime
dressed, green onion and lettuce combo. It was mighty tasty.
... at Rosamunde’s. After all the hype
I was a bit skeptical, but it actually lived up to it’s
... and found a packed roomful of carnivores
in the same burger boat. On days like this, Toronado’s beer sales
must be like having the water concession in the Sahara. Once they called
out my name, I doubled back to grab my lunch. They don’t make fries
(but you can get a bag of chips if you need a spud fix.)
... that is wonderfully aromatic with
a spicy, honey nose which goes down with an unexpectedly smoothness.
... were mixing up a variety of cocktails at the main
tasting bar. Amy
had a “smoking gun” made with their St. George Whisky.
... (no, that’s not Satan, it’s Lance Winters
of St. George Spirits.)
... acted as alcohol inhibitors at this fun gathering in Alameda
On our way out, we picked up a bottle
and were pleasantly surprised that it’s a wallet friendly $39.00.
... was good but not great. The sharp, melted cheddar
fought with the fungus flavor (and won.) The poblano
chilies, grilled onions, house made mayonnaise and rocket added interest
but not enough for me to order this again.
... were grilled over mesquite.
The marinated tofu, mushrooms, bell peppers, yellowfin potatoes, onions
and fennel were “eh.” They were all high quality ingredients,
but not pushed to their full flavor potential. However, the cherry tomatoes
and yams gave the rest of the dish a nice (although brief) boost. Another
dose of the stone ground mustard vinaigrette might have kept these kabobs
from verging on dull.
My friend D had a poker game during which I discovered his new hobby. He now roasts his own coffee beans:
Is this going to be 2006’s answer to
the bread machine? Will the personal coffee roaster replace the
chocolate fountain as the culinary trend of the moment? The upside is
that these little machines do the job quick (about 15 minutes.) D doesn’t
have his in the kitchen because it permeates the room with such a strong
coffee aroma which he finds distracting. I understand that the fan (which
helps to circulate the beans for an even roasting) makes a bit of noise
too. I’m a bit dubious about single purpose kitchen machines. Don’t
get me wrong, I think it’s nice when things are home made, I’m
just wondering how they are going to design next year’s kitchen
counters with enough room for a chocolate tempering machine, sorbet maker,
raclette melter and chicken egg hatchery.
... which were seared and presented on a cloud
of cauliflower puree with slivers of fried garlic.
... was cooked to a perfect rare and
served atop sautéed broccoli, brussels sprouts, turnips and carrots.
This Australian sheep was bone gnawingly flavorful.
... was drizzled with a bourbon accented crème
anglaise which gilded this homey, granny smith filled, crispy-topped
... with great people and lively conversation.
Where to go when you’re near SFO and hungry.
15 minutes later I was seated in the
main dining room. There were so few carts and trays going by that I did
what it appeared everyone else was doing and I ordered from the menu.
... because I lack the agility to do
so with a dignified, I-do-this-all-the-time, casual aire. As claws go,
these were some of the better ones that I’ve had, but I can’t
say that these cartilagey motivators make a better substitute for the
foot I usually put in my mouth (although the black bean sauce had a nice
hint of heat that my feet usually don’t.)
... wasn’t the gelatinous square of turnip I expected
(I think that I meant to order the “turnip soft cake.” ) What
I got was an empanada-ish turnover filled with crisp ribbons of
turnip. These had a heavy, fat laden pastry that deadened the
root vegetable component of this dim sum.
... was perfectly deep fried to a greaseless,
lacy, golden brown. I’ve always loved the light and heavy contrast
of this dish. There is the frilly, crisp, delicate outside that collapses
into the thick taro middle.
... have translucent wrappers around fat little steamed
green and pink centers. I like the sticky outside and the dense middle.
... but it’s more fun to watch the live seafood waiting:
...for their impending (yet delicious) doom.
... with the appetizer of three baguette croutons
topped with cold, chopped chicken liver, a dab of whole grain mustard
and a mound of pickled onions. The richness of the liver, the crunch of
the toasts, and the vinegary bite of the onions were simple and delish.
... that was crisped on a griddle
and ladled with a crimimi mushroom and leek gravy arrived.
The thyme infused sauce was flavored with garlic slices that make me think
of that cooking scene in Goodfellas, (you know, when they use a razorblade
to slice the garlic paper thin?) This was far from prison fare, it actually
wasn’t “restauranty” either, just a homey, comfort food
kind of dinner.
... but it didn’t taste
dry or tough, it was a dense pound cake with a nice citrus flavor
and aroma. The opiate seeds created a nice texture against the dense cake
and crème chantilly.
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