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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.



May 1-8, 2006


go to next week's blogs



Monday, May 8, 2006

I found myself on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley hungry for some ‘que so I walked to Everette & Jones for a two way ($14.50):

I selected pork ribs and beef links with the hot sauce to go with the soft slices of wheat bread and church bazaar style potato salad.

E&J’s hot sauce is true to it’s name, it’s on the sweet side (as well as the drenched-with-sweat side if you eat the whole plateful.)

They should use this in the ER instead of those electric paddles. The ribs were a little too gristly for my taste and the sausage was good for a walk, but not a drive to lunch.

Everett & Jones Barbeque #2
1955 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA




Sunday, May 7, 2006


Children with heaping plates of bacon…cheesecake as an appetizer…

Las Vegas buffets are your stomach’s way of staring at the sun. A culinary anarchy takes place that would, under ordinary circumstances be too repellant to contemplate. Congee and French Toast are not good plate fellows but mingle in this suspension of pragmatism on a parade of steam tables.

Does a moth really think about why it’s drawn to the flame? No more than the buffet-goer thinks about why they are drawn to the prime rib heating lamp.

The designers also create décor to perpetuate dementia:

After the psycho breakfast, it’s back to the suite to pack up. The Wynn gets top marks on their gigantor bathroom.

The parting gift:

... (brioche probably intended for breakfast) from Jöel Robuchon at the Mansion (from last night’s dinner) will turn into high flautin’ peanut butter sandwiches back at the hutch.

Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV





Saturday, May 6, 2006

Walking into Jöel Robuchon
at the Mansion:

... from the MGM casino floor is a relief from the slot machine sound effects and the crowds queuing for Cirque de Soliel’s KA.

If you like gigantic chandeliers:

... lots of purple, and don't mind taking out a second mortgage, this is the restaurant for you.

Chubby thought it was wacky when all the American staff greeted him in French avec accents, but he loosened up after a glass of champagne and the amuse of little bits of apple cut into pachinko balls with a vodka granite.

This was followed by a dish that reminded me of an inverted version of the Cauliflower panna cotta with oyster gelee and sevruga caviar at the French Laundry. It was Oscetra caviar with a geleé, topped with a cauliflower cream. They give you a metal spoon for this dish.

Next, a wheeled table laden with the staff of life parked next to our booth. The mini loaves were like a carbo jewelry display. There were brioche, epi and a million different rolls. It became apparent, that these were made by capable hands when I broke into my first crusty and delicious mini loaf. I could have been left with a bottle of wine and this cart for the rest of the dinner and been happy.

Then came the terrine of foie gras and smoked eel which had a nice little haystack of radish salad to cut through the richness of the surf and turf loaf.

The tuna tartare was capped with a disc of red pepper and a fried quail egg and proved to be a good flavor combo.

For the first hot preparation: a tasty, truffled langoustine ravioli with some (intentionally) wilted cabbage.

A sweet onion custard and a pitcher of lettuce soup (to pour over it) was another nice juxtaposition of light and rich.

A cannelloni of scallops was mosaiced with discs of zukes and finished with a parmesan sauce.

The lobster was a little more cooked than I prefer, but was okay in it’s uni vinaigrette.

Then came a successful Kobe beef bone marrow transplant into my stomach.

I couldn’t find the abalone in the ginger infused artichoke soup, but there were some morels (maybe they subbed the fungi for the shellguy?)

Although the seabass had a nicely crisp skin, the fish itself was dry alongside the lemongrass foam and baby leeks.

The amadai was further evidence that the house style is to cook fish further than my preferred level of doneness. The lily bulb broth offered some liquid relief.

The veal was a little dry, tough and short on flavor. It came with pesto coated, vegetable taglierini.

A truffled and gilded wild oatmeal contrasted the basic with the refined.

I liked the subtle sweetness of the guava and papaya granite with crème de casis and a mini orange macaroon afloat in the center.

The caramel corn had absorbed a little moisture from the air and lacked the crispness that would have made it tastier over the poppy sorbet with cachaca syrup.

A tangy raspberry sorbet tamed the richness of the vanilla bean ice cream:

... layered with discs of meringue.

The petit fours cart was an exercise in restraint that Chubby flunked. He selected many little tastes including a slice of apple marshmallow, (which had a flavored bubble gum nostalgia folded in) little signature Jöel Robuchon chocolates, a red wine tuille, chocolate coated almonds, and Bordeaux cake. I had a sake meringue.

I know that it’s not giving some of the people what they want, but I appreciate that they don’t automatically present those ugly little yellow, pink and blue envelopes of chemical effluent when serving coffee here. I’m sure that they will dispense them upon request, but it’s visually disruptive to have that litter-rainbow set on the linen next to a China cup.

All of the plates had some sort of accessorizing. There were little seashells, glass and rock accents. There were even little bouquets constructed from Brussel sprout leaves and mini flowers. They must employ injured Cirque de Soliel performers to do the microscopic contortions necessary to assemble these.

I’m more of a fan of the minimalist approach. With a few exceptions, I like to eat what is presented on the plate (especially after a few drinks) without worrying that I’ll pop a Christmas ornament in my mouth.

The staff was friendly and efficient. I only wish that they had “accidentally” run the bread cart over one diner’s phone. He had his Nokia ringtone (you know that super common tune that makes you want to tear your ears off and FedEx them to a remote corner of the globe with no cel service?) set on the maximum volume and he took about a dozen calls during dinner. His soon-to-be-ex-wife looked delighted.

After the second call, everyone in the dining room would lean over and give him a raised eyebrow when his electronic tune would sound, but Mr. Anytime Minutes didn’t seem to care.

The other audio event that broke the mood was the scratched Classical music CD. It was sort of like sitting next to a supermodel with hiccups, lovely, yet arhythmical. Actually, it may have been a super-crafty host trying to draw our attention away from the man who mistook the restaurant for his private office. Now that would be the ultimate sign of graciousness; to create a counter-irritant to take the heat off an ill-mannered guest.

What I loved:

The bread trolley

The juxtapositions of light and heavy in every dish.

The flower arrangements that looked like they weren’t so much “arranged” as transplanted.

What I wasn’t crazy about:

Fish preparations were cooked a little too long.

Food trinkets

Scratched CD

Americans with faux accents.

Jöel Robuchon at the Mansion
MGM Grand
Las Vegas, CA

KA had a cool set and incredible performers. The horrible thing about it is that after seeing all the other Cirque de Soliel shows on the strip, my expectations are set so high that they actually have to turn their bodies inside out and lasso each other with their arteries midair while juggling flaming chainsaws and getting a root canal to get my attention at this point. Was the show cool? Definitely. Is it fair to be slightly let down that it didn’t top “O”? Not really, but I can’t help it.





Friday, May 5, 2006

Cinco-ing meatballs into My-o stomach:

My order of meatballs ($11.00):

... in a tomato sauce were perfectly seasoned with just a hint of hot pepper. These porky pool balls went right into the corner pockets of my belly without scratching. I sopped up all the wine enriched, olive oil finished, tomato sauce with a couple thick slices of Levain bread. No regrets about my order, but on my way out I saw a pizza on the counter and was tempted to grab it and run, but if I were going to risk incarceration I would probably have to procure a cloud of their burrata as a treat for Chubby.

2355 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA

Chubby was all excited that he got some email from a famous chutney maker:

Alison writes:

Love your writing and just read the metro menu for New York - had already checked out the Ferry building metro menu (nicely done.) No plans to travel the states and add some more metro menus (Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Washington D.C., etc.?) I guess that asking quite a lot for you to do all the leg work and then for me to just enjoy with little effort - I’ll keep checking just in case you decide that it's a good idea. keep up the good work!


Chubby replies:

Dear Alison,

Glad you liked the Metro Menus. It will take a while to get more together, but that is the intention. I made an attempt to do one in Tokyo, but the streets and notations became impossible so I just left a crumb trail to find my way back to the hotel and hoped it would stay there for other visitors. Unfortunately, they keep that city pretty tidy.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Your pal,





Thursday, May 4, 2006

Maybe it’s revisi-stalgia, but I remember more Japanese shops in Japantown back in the day. There are however, holdouts like the Benkyodo Co. which is a small café frequented by Japanese old timers where they make manju, mochi and other Japanese foods.

I know lots of people who don’t care for this type of chow. Beans and rice aren’t always happily accepted as dessert on the Western palate.

But if you get a nice, fresh, soft manju made by these folks, you may change your mind.

The people who work here are happy to help you sort your way through the sweet and savory treats in the display case.

Most of these little, ricey bundles are about a buck.

They aren’t for everyone, but I think they’re delish.

Benkyo-do Co.
1747 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA



Wednesday, May 3, 2006

My first culinary achievement
was to create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There are so many particulars involved in this simple enterprise. Not only to you have to create the perfect balance of nut spread, jelly and bread, but you must insure that this distribution extends throughout the entire sandwich region. I know that I am not alone in this rite of passage. This is why I found it disturbing to find today’s sandwich broke the number one rule of sandwichiness. To create tasty bites that span the entirety of the bread encased event. Check out the pesto-less Siberia surrounding the center bit of pesto:

Is this what the world has come to? There is no thought to the end user in the creation of this soul crushingly, devoid-of-any-sandwich-empathy, phoned in, antithesis to a love letter. The person who generated this foodstuff didn’t envision the customer staring down at the plate and registering the uninspired feeling of a cook who finds sandwich making a tedious diversion from true cooking or is simply filling the hours until that quittin’ time beer.

My spit roasted lamb panini ($9.50):

... was dry. The lamb may have been spit roasted, but if it was, it was sliced and sautéed afterwards. It was slightly gristly and needed more support than the grilled onions and arugula had to offer to make for sandwich satisfaction. The pickled peppers, carrots, celery and cauliflower were a crunchy distraction.

To be fair, this was my one and only visit and I might have just caught them with their panini down. Speaking of which, to get to their bathroom you exit the front door of the restaurant, take an elevator up a floor and it’s down a hall. What is up with the architect?

777 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA





Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Chocolat is a small choco-shop on Solano Avenue in Albany. Formerly a frame shop, it is now an expand-your-frame shop.

They have a nice selection of Charles, Moonstruck, Jacques Torres and Dolfin treats.

I got a Dolfin sampler box ($8.95):

... with 24 squares of Dolfin safe chocolate. I had enjoyed their larger investment type bars before and it’s a nice option to take a cocoa tour for under a tenner. Not only does this assortment include the tea chocolate that I like so much, there are also cumin and star anise enhanced squares.

Solano Avenue is becoming more interesting all the time. Not only is there Sushi Sho, Bendean and The Bone Room (if you want to buy a human skull), but now there’s a place to get a cocao fix.

1485A Solano Ave.
Albany, CA





Monday, May 1, 2006

My navel is now based a couple belt notches out due to Hangar One’s Industry party.

Chubby and I headed out to Alameda this evening to see what was up at St. George Spirits’ gathering for the local mixers and shakers.

I got a “Forbidden Fruit”:

... made with Heirloom apple brandy, pear Aqua Perfecta, Campari and pear bitters. It did not have the expected side effect of expelling me from Paradise. They were also serving up some other newly conceived elixirs.

Not only were the drinks flowing (sometimes through decorative ice sculptures):

... but the food was seriously good too.

Taylor from Fatted Calf brought the cocktail weenie:

... to new heights. As Chubby did a Kobayashi-style job eating his way through these chubs, Taylor clued me into the not-on-the-menu item to request at the Taco truck:

Since it is a hangar, the truck was parked inside. Following Taylor’s recco, I asked for a lengua taco:

... and it had a tender and delicate texture and flavor accented with a tangy and slightly hot salsa, lime and cilantro (the man is a good judge of meat.)

I was happy to hear that Lance Winters had tried the I forgotto and is now converted to this to this simple and alchemistic dessert.

All the pieces were in place, the DJ, serious mixology:

... top charcuterie, inspired snacks and nice folks.

Hangar One
2601 Monarch St.
Alameda, CA



back to last week - April 24-30, 2006



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