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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 25-30, 2006


go to next week's blogs



Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One lumpia or two?
Down the rabbit hole:

Belden Place is a dining destination for locals and tourists.

The tables spilling out into the street give it a European vibe and restaurants such as B44 and Plouf keep the street hopping with the business lunch crowd.

Just down the way, there is a subterranean food court:

The décor is upscale Greyhound bus station meets free clinic. What I like about this food bunker is that it is the antithesis of the Ferry Building (don’t get me wrong, I love the Ferry building, it’s just good to have an occasional palate cleanser…or palate dirtier as the case may be.)

Once you descend into this white tiled food asylum, you can peruse the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Mexican and Vietnamese offerings. I made a lap, and went with Filipino chow at The House of Lumpia:

Shanghai Lumpia ($1.50 for 3):

... were little deep fried cigars filled with seasoned, ground pork. These flakey fingers were served with a little pot of sweet/sour dipping sauce that could easily double as siren red nail polish. I liked these crisp, meat sticks, but I, would not build a house out of them.

You get a little tub of complimentary soup with your order. This tangy tamarind and chicken flavored broth had  a few stray bits of tomato, beans and potato. This was served up from a section of the steam table which housed a chicken dish, so it’s sort of a tasty, waste not, want not byproduct (which is fine by me.)

The Kare-Kare ($6.13):

... came in a big bowl with a plate of rice. The oxtails would have been even better with another hour over the heat to make them acquiesce to my fork without resistance, but it was still a tasty dish with green beans, eggplant and cabbage. It’s mild peanut sauce complimented the rice well. You get a little plastic pot of pink shrimp paste to add your desired level of fishy salinity to your tail.

I will definitely return to try the Tilapia (they had beautiful ones both steamed and fried for $6.13) as well as some of the other dishes that I noticed some of the regulars wolfing down. The daily entrees have student friendly pricing at $4.20 and $5.13 for one or two items over rice.

This isn’t Chez Lumpia, it’s not fancy, there is no dining here, it’s only eating. In the main eating room, customers take their cafeteria trays and orient themselves towards the wall mounted television to watch the news (with an annoyingly incorrect aspect ratio that stretches out the anchorman’s face like silly putty being pulled sideways.)

This isn’t the sort of place I would bring out of town guests, but I would come here for a cheap and quick bite if I was in the ‘nabe (before they shut down at 3:00.) It’s the sort of homey, comfort food that just makes me happy. It’s not going to blow your mind, but it’s good, solid, Filipino home-style eats served up by extremely friendly and helpful people in a rabbit hole in San Francisco.

The House of Lumpia
Lower Belden Place
380 Bush Street
San Francisco, CA





Monday, May 29, 2006

Anagramically speaking, we like to Co-eat at À Côté:

Chubby and I were about to put our names on the half hour waiting list at  À Côté but a couple seats at the bar became available immediately. The friendly barman took our order and we got our chow at an impressive speed.

Asparagus soup ($7.00):

... was very girly in appearance with it’s little field of chive blossoms and scattering of snipped chives over a lace of crème fraiche. The pale green soup was delicious with a tangy twist to this flavorful, fresh tasting herald of good things to come.

Mussels ($12.00):

... were roasted in a wood oven until frozen in their PacMan power pill eating pose. These black shells housed plump packets of juicy goodness that floated over a pool of nicely spiced, Pernod laced, broth. I only wished that the long slices of bread were toasted for a crispy, contrast to these tender feet.

Grilled pork tenderloin ($12.00):

... was oinkilicious. This other white meat was complemented by a mustard punctuated apricot-plum and soft polenta supplemented with kernels of corn. Wonderful contrasts of texture, richness and acidity.

The flatbread ($13.00):

... was singed just how I like it. This amoeba shaped pizza had many sausage nuclei, and it’s cell walls encased thinly sliced onion, broccoli rabe and Marzolino cheese. It was slightly damp crusted in the center, but nothing that spoiled the overall tastiness of this fine sausage delivery system.

Friendly and efficient staff and great chow make this a bunrab friendly dining spot.

Chubby has been bellying up to many bars recently. Check out his latest review of Bar Crudo.

 À Côté

5478 College Ave.
Oakland, Ca





Sunday, May 28, 2006

Life isn’t always Ferry:

My favorite bakery chocolate chip cookie is gone. The Sharffen Berger, crisp, buttery, flat, chocolate mine field has been disarmed and destroyed. We now have this replacement ($1.75):

... and to add insult to injury, it costs a quarter more. There was a full display of these at the Ferry Building outlet and they all had the same scarcity of chocolate chunks, they aren’t those nice little, bitter, squares like their predecessor contained. Don’t they have any contacts who sell chocolate?

I am not the only person who has disappointed-out the issue to the very nice counterperson. She explained that their baker left. I guess that I shouldn’t be too hard on these replacements, it’s just that they had an impossible act to follow.

I went to the Ferry Building smoothie stand and found it dismantled. The person at the produce counter said that they were remodeling and that they should re-open “soon” (but she said it with a sort of “I’m not telling you everything” look in her eye…)

From today’s bunrab email:


Loved the update on Hamburgers 737 which I used to hit regularly 20-30 years ago so it's great to see something still going. It would also be great if you ever get in a Fish & Chips mood to update my other stop from that period that I believe is still there (although not H.Salt anymore) on the other side of the Casa Madrona Hotel. But hey if not I love all the reviews so keep up the great work.

- Steven C.

Gutenberg replies:

Dear Steven,

Thanks for the chip tip. I’ll keep it in mind next time I’m in a mood for F&C in Sausalito.





Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bridgeway Hamburgers:

I used to get a burger here a few times a month, but when my migratory habits changed it fell off the list. My last visit must have been over a year ago and I had a fine burger with excellent fries. So I figured that it was time to take advantage to the incredible weather and head to Sausalito.

I felt like a bonehead when I realized that tourist season is now in full swing. As far as tourists go, the ones who make it out to this side of the GG Bridge aren’t bad. I just have to stop every 4 feet as I walk down Bridgeway for the groups who stop smack in the middle of the walking path (like lethargic zombies who have had their fill of human flesh)  to discuss whether they want to venture into a souvenir shop or art gallery. Fortunately for me, my destination wasn’t a big tourist draw since it’s so small and funky.

They make the food to order so I usually gaze at the revolving grill as it merry-go-rounds my cheeseburger ($6.60):

... to a smoky doneness. After they toasted the sesame seed bun on the hypno-heat-wheel, they top it off with iceburg lettuce, onions and tomato.

The meat is ground in house (wouldn’t it be gross if it were “out house” ground meat?) and had a good texture. Their bun is a generic sesame seed variety and it gets gummy. This is the burger’s Achilles heel (they use all sorts of meat trimmings in these burgers.)

Today’s fries ($2.45):

... were not an example of their best work. I have had these frozen, crinkle cut spuds when they were very crispy and very moist in the appropriate places. Not so with these passable, yet weak in-the-crispy-department potatoes.

Chubby didn’t read the name of the restaurant and got the hot dog ($4.75):

... that was like ordering fish at a steakhouse. A butterflied (which is kind of a pretentious word to use in this case) a split wiener had no snap factor and was asking for condiments to distract from the so-so nature of this doggie.

It’s best to take you food across the street and eat by the water on a day like today, but if you prefer, they have a similar arrangement to the Rosamunde/Toronado situation with the bar next door.

If you do eat al fresco, the seagulls know the drill. Do not feed them. If you do, you will flip the psycho switch in their little bird brains and they will become aggressive beggars, follow you home and steal your identity (all without remorse.) It may seem cute at first when they stare at you pleadingly, after a few minutes they hop to a closer vantage point, then they slowly scoot towards your fries. You can’t blame them, but if you do weaken, they will probably turn around and slap you with a birdhood obesity suit. So do yourself a favor and ignore them.

737 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA

From today’s bunrab email bag Michael writes in about Incanto’s offal chow:


There's a good reason why they make dog food out of the offal in those dishes. I was at that dinner and the sacking of the meal by a neighboring table was actually laughter at the absurdity and affectedness of the whole affair.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Michael,

Offal in a nice restaurant is definitely a bizarre juxtaposition when you think about its history of being a less than desirable peasant food. Why pay big buck-a-ding-dongs for elbows and eyebrows when for the same chunk of change you could get a juicy, dry aged steak? Why not cover up those testicles with some casing and grind them with some other odd bits? Why go to all this fuss over stuff that should really be converted into puppy chow? These are all valid questions.

For me, there are a couple of reasons that I enjoy a restaurant prepared meal of variety meats.

First, the peasants who had to deal with these bargain basement organs did all the experimentation in finding the best cooking methods for these (often temperamental, labor intensive, tough or extremely delicate) body parts. The chef at Incanto builds upon the tried and true methods as well as adding local, fresh produce to the mix. The second reason is that the average Joe can’t source these ingredients. You don’t find cockscombs at Whole Foods or Safeway. So it’s an opportunity to try something new. I appreciate that this type of chow isn’t for everyone and it just seems gross to a lot of people, but I like it fine.

Keep laughin’





Friday, May 26, 2006

I Jet Blupointed home in time for happy hour. Chubby and I were in the FiDi and figured we couldn’t go wrong getting oysters at a place named for one, so in we went.

The margarita ($6.00 during happy hour) was okay. I prefer a less sweet version with a pucker from fresh lime juice. But I did make pretty quick work of it, so it wasn’t all that bad.

The orange juice enhanced, citrus margarita ($6.00 during happy hour) surprised me by being better than the regular margarita in it’s balance of sweet and tart. Still, it’s difficult to compete with the Zuni margarita…

They have buck a shuck oysters:

...from 5-7 M-F. These fruits of the sea were on the metallic side, but were aided by a dip in the mignonette and a few drops of lemon juice. The cocktail sauce wasn’t necessary.

Fish fritters ($9.95):

... were white meat fish coated in seasoned cornmeal and deep fried. They were served on a haystack of crispy, herbed fries. This was a good high falutin’ plate of fish and chips.

BluDeviled Eggs ($3.95):

... were almost good. These freshly made stuffed eggs had a perfectly cooked, tender white, but the yolk mixture was too loose to offer a textural distinction between the two eggy regions. It was almost revived by the crunch of flying fish roe on top, but it needed a firmer yolk stuffing to have bunrab appeal.

Cheese pizza ($6.95):

... was not my thing. Normally, I love a wood oven fired pie, but this was not aimed at me (although many pies have been in the past.)

It looked good with it’s bronzed crust and melty, cheesy, center. But the crust was thick, homogenous, and too bready for my taste.

Saigon BBQ ribs ($5.95):

... had a tasty, soy based marinade with a good balance of sweet and salty. The meat itself was on the chewy side, but it was flavorful, so it was worth the effort.

Blupointe is a fun place to go for a drink without unrealistic expectations for the Asian influenced food. The emphasis is on it’s clubby atmosphere.

It’s a place to de- (or re-) compress over some drinks, but I wouldn’t call it a food destination. The people who work here are very accommodating and friendly.

239 Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA




Thursday, May 25, 2006

I think that the reason that Oakland Airport’s “renovation” is taking so long is because those in charge of funding must utilize it’s cosmetically unsettling services.

There is no better incentive to expedite funding than a pus-oozing scab of a vector of human transport.

Speaking of transport, many major intersections in Hollywood were left without operational traffic signals today. I’ll bet all the cops:

... called on for shouting and waving duty ended up with sore arms.

And speaking of extremities. I got a multi-legged lunch at the Farmer’s Market. This Crab Po’ Boy ($10.95):

... may not be as stellar as the ones in New Orleans, but it’s not bad. I wish that the tomatoes weren’t under-ripe and that they hollowed out their soft rolls a bit before filling them, but it’s still very good.

What makes this cornmeal encrusted, deep fried, soft shell crab sandwich extra good is the addition of paper thin slices of whole lemon:

... (rind, pips and all) this sharp, assaulting, puckery flavor works well against the crunchy, warm, unarmored, meat.

The Gumbo Pot
6333 W. Third St.
Los Angeles, Ca

We got some bunrab email regarding yesterday’s visit to Umbria:

Sam from Becks and Posh writes:


We lived a few blocks from Umbria for a year. It looked cute and so I was excited to try it - we thought it might become our neighborhood spot. But after the first visit and the mediocre food we never returned and Flytrap became our regular instead.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Sam,

After checking out what you have to say about Flytrap’s limestone lettuce salad with pecans and Roquefort, Chubby and I need to pay another visit!


John also wrote in about having lunch with us yesterday:


Let me just say that I am honored to have eaten my Umbria meal next to the Bunrab team. I was one of your bar neighbors on your right (hopefully not one of the whiney ones) and I was wondering when the camera came out - "Are these food bloggers? They gotta be food bloggers. Maybe they're from that site I sometimes visit." Keep up the good work. As a local worker who splurges there (can we say expense report?) occasionally, I think your assessment is right on. Solid, especially on a foggy day, but nothing to go crazy about.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear John,

No you definitely weren’t a whiney one (there was a whinge or two coming from the folks on the other side.)

Whatever job you have that gives you an expense report to dine around SF is a good one!

Nice dining with you,






back to last week - May 17-24, 2006



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