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.
... with capers, onions, celery and nicoise olives.
The locally line caught, poached albacore was accented
by lemon mayonnaise in this generously sized sandwich. The torpedo roll
looks like it could be crusty (it is heated but not crisped.) This soft,
warm roll works okay in this preparation (although generally, I’m
a big fan of crusty bread.) To satisfy my need for crispy bits, crunch
was supplied by the mountain of fries. I neglected to request mine “extra
crispy” but was happy to receive these crisp on the outside, soft
on the inside shoestrings.
Going with the grain:
... is bacon, lettuce and trout
sandwiched in baguette with oven dried tomato, rocket and tartar sauce.
It was tasty served with a red cabbage slaw, house made pickles and a
tangily dressed, mizuna salad, I just wished the bacon was crispier for
textural contrast with the other ingredients.
... was mighty good. Strips of cod
were battered and fried until crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
The chips were nicely prepared with crunchy exteriors and soft, starchy
centers. The tangy house made tartar sauce and some good shakes from the
malt vinegar bottle made for one tasty meal.
... rare and these seared, sumac, thyme and sesame
seed coated kabobs arrived on a tasty house made flatbread scattered with
cherry tomatoes, peeled and seeded cucumber and onions. I made
little burritos of the ingredients with torn off pieces of the
tender flatbread binding the chewy, flavorful, red, lamb, firm chunks
of cucumber, acidic bits of tomato and crunchy slivers of onion. Not bad.
... were good as well. The house made refried
black beans were soupier than expected, but still good. Perfectly
poached eggs floated on top of a tomato salsa, cumin yogurt,
sliced, ripe avocado and two crisply fried corn tortillas concealed under
the black bean lava.
The rain didn’t keep the crowds from Fort Mason Center today.
The 2006 Zinfandel Festival was jammed
... red plastic tumbler (for spitting), midget baguette
and bottle of water.
... resist the opportunity to taste a multitude of 2000-2004 Zins as well as barrel samples? I enjoyed the Chase Family 2003 Reserve from St. Helena which was nicely balanced with peppery notes and a licorice finish, the medium bodied, Gnarly Head 2004 Zin:
... is a good California vin ordinaire, priced at a
Hamilton, and the lighter 2003 D-Cubed Howell Mountain was a friendly,
... but he decided to stop when his teeth looked like they disappeared. He asked the guys pouring out the emptying buckets:
... if they were rebottling it as two buck Chuck.
They looked at him and walked away. Enough said.
... and that it’s about the wine, not the flashy
Vegas style presentations. There are no mascot bottles of wine
posing with the kiddies (there aren’t even any kiddies.)
There was a subliminal tiding in the water that I found unsettling:
... arrived with a onion ring toupee
covering what was listed on the menu as “slow roasted” meat.
Sadly, it wasn’t cooked to the point of tenderness and it’s
reheating didn’t get it to that bell ringing surrender-to-the-touch-of-your-fork
that activates Pavlovian responses. The bed of roasted leek enriched mashed
potatoes was reheated until warm, but not hot, but the o-rings were freshly
made. I did detect a glimmer of inspiration in the dried cherry chutney
that acted as a tangy, acidic counterpoint to the richness of the dish
(although I wouldn’t order it again.)
... with Swiss and Cheddar came
with tomato, a thick slice of red onion and lettuce. It was good, not
great. The sesame seed bun wasn’t robust enough to hold up to the
meaty juices and the patty was generic tasting. It needed either more
fat or some herbs to give it that extra boost.
... came with a cup of egg drop soup:
... that contained celery, cabbage, fungus, and ribbons
of egg. It was better than the one at China House, but
not by much. The entrée consisted of thin strips of pork hidden
among large, soft, strips of peppery eggplant. It had a nice heat to it,
but the eggplant was tired and lacking in flavor while most of the piggy
stayed home and didn’t make it onto the plate (but for this price,
what do I expect?) The deep fried wonton skins drizzled with a sweet,
blood red sauce weren’t my thing. It’s hard to go wrong with
something deep fried, but they overcame the odds. It was like a vegetarian
imitation fried pork rind substitute.
...without random numbers or statements of fact. It was actually a fortune. I haven’t gotten one of these in years. The cookie wasn’t even stale.
... and saw two Philly Cheese Steaks sizzling
on the griddle. There were a bunch of locals sitting around with
their PCS subs and I decided to get one too.
... since the whole version ($8.20) looked like enough
for two Vikings.
Then you’ll like this place. It’s a funky, little wax paper lined plastic basket sandwich shop. The service is quick and friendly and nobody is wearing designer anything.
Vikings in Novato?
It is also clear that they like to surf
the internet while they Norse their drinks.
... in China House restaurant when I
sat down for lunch. I was slightly concerned that the
vacant tables were a herald of back burnered food.
The cup of egg drop soup was
slightly peppery but lacked any other sort of flavorful punch. Just a
generic, egg streaked, droppable soup.
Cookie Crumb at had a comment about yesterday’s trip to the Fancy Food Show:
Oh mah gah. In one day, *two* references to vanilla salt. Yours, and Ideas In Food (those wacky Colorado flavor-mad scientists). I think it's an idea worth pursuing, and I'm going to -- kids, put on your helmet and goggles -- try this at home. But is it already *over* on the very day I first learned of it? Jeepers.
PS: I sorta like the food show, but my aching hips and feet really rebelled last time -- it's huge; plus I got lost inside Moscone Center and couldn't find my way out! Then once I got outside, I walked the wrong direction... Bleagh. Also: Everything is *packaged* at the show. I guess there's no other way.
…you get the idea.
Other than the expected olive oils, cheeses, jams, sauces, chocolates, cookies and candies, there was an emphasis on upscale teas:
... drinking chocolates, charcuterie and exotic salts.
This company also produces professional baking
chocolates and I found their white chocolate the least offensive
of all I’ve tried so far (I believe that it is the primary responsibility
of chocolate to be dark.)
Their chocolate coated nibs, ginger,
champagne grapes and coffee beans are all good, but the nibs and the coffee
trump the others in my book.
You can now form buffalo curd in your
living room (provided that your living room has a drain in the middle
of the floor and hoseable walls.) Just fill the two water reservoirs,
load in the lactose and a-whey you go (buffalos not included.)
... like someone was trying to sell the contents of
stolen luggage as quickly and discreetly as possible.
We sampled salts throughout the convention
center, ones that were smoked over every kind of wine barrel wood and
infused with everything imaginable, but the ones from Halen Mon didn’t
have a harsh attack or chemical feel. Their thin, flakey salts are reminiscent
of Maldon’s, but when I mentioned this to the woman who
was presenting the salts she paused and mentioned that Maldon was their
... was not my thing. I can see how it could have
an appeal with it’s spiraled, blueberry dotted,
mildly sweet offer of comfort, but I purchased mine later in the a.m.
so it didn’t have a hot out of the oven freshness with a slightly
crisp outer layer yielding to a soft, steamy interior. It was more like
an enriched white bread with a thin, Danish filling spiral. I admit, that
the words “morning bun” make me expect the one at Bette’s
Oceanview Diner, with it’s crispy, cinnamon sugar coated,
flakey layers of buttery goodness so I went in with a major prejudice.
... was only okay. The deal breaker was that they
used mini chocolate chips which made for more of a chocolate speck
cookie experience. There needs to be a distinct area of chocolate
that maintains its integrity in the cookie. It’s the difference
between spaghetti with meatballs vs. with meat sauce, both are good, but
only one works when you want a meatball punctuation.
The only bad thing about them is that they aren’t
completely consistent. They are always good, but to be truly
great they have to work out the chocolate distribution within the cookie.
Each bite of the cookie must contain chocolate chips or they fail. Its
name makes a chocolate pledge that is not honored when you bite into the
vacant, yet buttery, cocoa-free desert of dessert.
... was on the special board. Their heart was
in the right place. They were trying to do something different,
creative and fun. But the dish didn’t orbit around the duck, it
migrated to the land of enchilada, changed course midway towards mango,
avocado, onion and cilantro chutney and looped back around to land near
a pond of black beans topped with melted cheddar cheese. I applaud their
sense of adventure, but it took them beyond the confines of appealing
to my particular palate. I liked the fact that the asparagus tucked between
the tortillas was crisp tender, but a simpler dish of smoked duck tacos
would have felt less like they put a few pot luck dishes together in a
bowl (albeit from a good pot luck.)
To be fair, it’s a
bakery, not a restaurant. The lunch that they serve consists
of soup and some egg salad and meatloaf sandwiches that are wrapped in
plastic and placed on the counter. (I was assured that these mayo laden
items were not sitting out long.)
I ordered a cup of the black eyed pea soup and the meatloaf sandwich ($6.50):
The soup ($3.00), was comforting in a retro
cooked-to-death kind of way. The boarders between the bits of
carrot blurred into the disintegrating black eyed peas. No herbs, no fancy
stuff. Just fuel-for-the-machine type soup.
Got an comment from the meathenge man about yesterday’s lunch debackle:
The stomach bone’s connected to the tooth bone:
... was listed on the regular menu at El Palmar. A few minutes after I placed my order, I was brought a foil packet of hot corn tortillas, my tripe soup and a plate of dried oregano, chopped onion, jalapenos and cilantro to add depth and texture to the tomato based broth. I added my condiments and gave a stir and it sounded weird. Not like organ soup, more like organ keys. “Clunk, clunk, clunk..” Hmmmmm.
Well, I fished out several bones (that were used to enhance the broth, rather than dispose of a body, I hope…) and I heartily tucked in. This wasn’t a good idea. There were little bones too, just a couple, but that was enough to make me proceed with caution. I think that I will only purchase weekend menudo at the places I really like instead of going with the convenience factor.
Sadly the soup itself fell short in what should have been a flavorful, warming bowl, worth the work of inverting it into one of it’s own kind. No bones about it.
with grilled onions and peppers
(you get your choice of two toppings which also include sauerkraut or
... from different suppliers,
and that some are made specially for them.
This salt caramel
looks so innocent. Its simplicity is deceptive. Just a caramel in a plain
wax wrapper. It starts off all creamy and sweet but the salt finish kicks
in and your pupils roll back into your sockets.
Chubby got some email about the Burger
As far as the patties go, you’re right,
they aren’t as fleshy as Phyllis’, but that’s why I
get multiples at INO.
Simmer planned to open for Brunch beginning
in December, but then came a chef change and then the holidays, and now,
finally, the doors are open on Sundays from 10-2.
Roll over the photo and you'll see how I would have posted the news.
There were only a couple other tables
filled in this 36 seat restaurant during our leisurely meal.
... is not green eggs and ham, but
blue crab and eggs.
... which was an adaptation with the
eggs (two, not one) cooked over easy and placed inside the sandwich (not
on top.) It had more Black Forest ham then the standard issue model (which
falsely made it seem like there was too little Swiss cheese.) They may
do this as a pre-emptive strike against the “where’s the beef?”
(or in this case, ham) crowd. Just a guess.
E.T. Pho Hoa:
... was pricier than most other versions in the nabe,
probably because it had more slices of steak in it. Sadly,
the generosity that was displayed in steak was absent in the tripe department.
The flank and tendon were represented, but that stomachy goodness that
balances out this concoction was gastricly bypassed.
... which is described accurately as “salty
lemonade.” It would have been better if it were less sweet,
but I think the bits of lemon pulp combined with the salty flavor is a
431 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA
... arrived in a lovely,
light, briny, white wine enhanced, broth dotted with minced garlic
and parsley. They were perfectly cooked and I devoured them between bites
of baguette dunked into the liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
... was overdressed
for my taste and on the wilty side. It wasn’t interesting
enough to divert the direction of my utensils for long.
... has everything but the food. It’s probably due to some non-negotiable arrangement with the Moscone Center that there cannot be good chow for this convention. I walked a few blocks down the street to an Indian and Pakistani place called Shan.
... arrived I
braced myself as I took the first bite of tender, cubed lamb,
onions, peppers and spices. I would describe it as mild, not hot. This
doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. I ate it all along with some
naan ($1.00) which was good, but I prefer naan with thicker areas to provide
a chewy/crispy, charred/doughy contrast. I helped myself to a cup of free
chai to wash it all down.
even have a Starbucks. How can a major hub of
transport overlook the need for non-industrial grade coffee? I chalk it
up to a lack of civic pride. I went into each of the gift shops and asked
if they had t-shirts with “Ontario” printed on them. They
only had “California” clothing. Is it an inferiority complex
or a lack of branding? I think if a vendor with actual coffee was introduced
into their airport, they would wake up and smell the lack of regional
... which contained a high calorie to dollar ratio which would be a desirable quality if I were trying to survive for a week after a major earthquake, but I wish they had focused on the flavor instead. I atttempted to resusitate the stale flour tortilla, the cold, pre-shredded, Kraft cheese and the dull tasting meat with a shower of Tabasco. But this meal flat lined. It served as only fuel for the machine...
Whoever ordered this was dialed into just what this tired group needed to feel loved…meat and lots of it:
There was some pseudomeat for the vegetarians too, but there will never be a soy substitute for gnawing ribs:
*the last shot of the day
But everyone manages to soldier on fueled by Mexican food:
and the knowledge that we are close to the finish line...
... is fantastic. Kalamata olives punctuate this crusty
sentence of a bun. Olive this sour roll.
I'm not sure which is more disturbing: the normal bright-orange-fiberglass shopping mall food court like the truly cavernous one that I was in on Monday, or the insanely upscale white-and-chrome and tastefully designed one that I happened upon today at the Century City Shopping Center:
I mean, I fully expect some of the Hot Dog on a Stick aesthetic in a food court, and it's a little unsettling to mix Panda Express :
...with tasteful and modern graphic design. It makes me suspicious that maybe the General Tzao's Chicken won't have the pizzazz that I'm used to in the tackier environments.
This dilemma was too much for me, so I decided to run away as fast and far as I could, and made it all the way to a very nice little bistro-type joint in Silverlake that didn't present me with any disturbing contradictions, just some yummy comfort food:
Truffled Mac and Cheese ($6.00):
... was not exactly light as feather. Denseness aside, it was nice when you got a bite with some fungi in it (it needed a stir to get them evenly distributed.)
French Beans ($6.00):
...had strips of delicious, dense, spicy sausage woven in. The beans were unremarkable on their own, but this chopped chub did all the heavy lifting in the flavor department.
The Short Ribs ($26.00):
...were tender and flavorful. Crispy bits on the outside guarded meat that fell from the bone. The bed of mash had a slightly grainy texture, but the blanket of meat was good tucker.
Blair's is a nice reason to visit Silverlake when one is in L.A.
It is my understanding that Methadone clinics and Starbucks share an architectural commonality. The premise is that, when you enter, there is a similarity (that translates into a familiarity) which automatically places the customer in their comfort zone of addictive consumption.
...about the Starbucks instructional tape.
... was accompanied by the mandatory Highway Patrol cops:
... who were very nice. I'm not sure, but it seemed like people cleaned up their language and behavior when they were around.
When you are being fed by others at work, you won't get chicken gizzards, stink beans or lambs' brains. You'll get something that everyone will eat. Today it was rotisserie chicken. No problem there. It just makes you savor the idea of regaining control over your own meal ordering and snack acquisition.
A random bicycle rider:
...and poorly timed leaf blowers:
... punctuated a long day:
“Craft services” is a misnomer. It should be called “snacks” instead:
Gas masks would be a good service for crafts people who work around machines that create a smoky atmosphere.
There was a lot of coughing from a bunch of people working near the smoke machine today, the same people who, when we took a break, ran out to light up cigarettes.
I prefer the sweeter vices.
Speaking of something called the wrong name:
'Fortune cookie' isn't an anachronism at all; it's a misnomer! Sorry, couldn't let that slip by the English Usage Nazi in me. Just keeping you honest. Keep up the good eats! I'm going to Lahore Karahi tomorrow thanks to you buns. Looking forward, I'm sure.
You got me dead to rights, the term that I should have used in yesterday's blog was indeed 'misnomer', but I made up for my mistake by using that word correctly in the first sentence of today's blog. I guess that fortune cookie could be an anachronism, but only if the restaurant in question was, let's say, in ancient Egypt.
Thanks for letting your inner proofreader out for me, I know that it's a temptation that's sometimes hard to resist. I'm glad to see that you're reading closely.
Just (don’t) do it:
They are also so
programmed into our goodie expectation software that
it would be unimaginable to conclude a Chinese meal without one. This
is why I am shocked that there is not some sort of corporate subsidy of
these bits of paper that are never left unread. This is an advertiser’s
dream. A micro sized banner that is guaranteed to have the undivided attention
of an audience with disposable income. Even people who don’t eat
the cookies break them open to read the hidden message. If Nike
sent these twisted confections filled with advertisements on one side
and fortunes insinuating that dreams will be fulfilled if you wear their
shoes on the other, they could prey upon the superstitions and weaknesses
of all the culinarily sated while their guard is down and their defenses
are at their lowest. They could even shape the paper into their swoosh
... was something
that I ordered out of nutritional guilt (always a bad
idea.) The florettes were nicely cooked to a crisp-tender but the sauce
had a sweet quality that didn’t appeal to me.
up to the “spicy” title. These sticky, deep fried
strips of lamb mingled with dried, imported orange rinds and
a couple of dried red chilies. This would have been better with more crispy
fried bits and more heat.
got a heart-warming comment today from a
"LOVE your site.. I am addicted to markets anywhere in the world. Moved to Florence from San Francisco... and found your site through Amy's! Love the market menu! I am in the process of making a gourmet walking tour of Florence map. I have a Florence dining guide online since 1998.. and loved your version! Very fun! Will follow the Chubby when I am back in the City in March!
Gosh, I don't know what to say, except now I really want to hop over to Florence and eat my way through town! Hmmm... Metro-Menu Firenze! Thanks for all the kind words!
Rainy hubs have dominoed
the effect and ticketing agents have asked that nobody ask any
questions while they get things sorted. What are they planning on sorting?
... which comes with a steam tabled corn muffin and two sides. I chose the frozen spinach and the cauliflower, carrot and broccoli atrocity. I really shouldn't complain, I mean, it's a food court in a mall:
I can't wait for
the new Berkeley food hall at 1509 Shattuck Avenue to
open (within the next few months.) I'm curious about the soup (or “Soop”
as they are spelling it) place and the new Socca that the Gregoire people
plan to open.
Acts of sweetness and desperation:
You can tell from the outside that it’s basically a Subway with an Italian angle so expectations were not soaring.
Chubby got the Mama’s Meatball Parmesan ($5.49):
... which was better than my sub-par meal (but his was still sub too.) The meatballs, marinara and mozzarella may abbreviate as “mmm” but it needed a crustier roll to hold the m’s together.
A perfect activity for a rainy day. This stuff won raves from some candy loving friends.
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