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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.



Monday, October 31, 2005

Total Trick or Treaters: 1

ONE??? How crazy is that? This is an all time low. Where are the sounds of little costumed feet stomping up my steps? All those full-sized, aren't-I-generous candy bars, wasted!

How can I feel good about myself while promoting terrible dental hygene? I even miss that obnoxious, “trick or treat for Unicef” goody-goody contingent. Ah well, guess that means it's off to work with the candy tomorrow (minus a Snickers or two.)

Spam is cool. Spam is hip. But Spam is jumping the shark big time.

The delicious luncheon loaf from Hormel is already a great product with a good rep. The marketing types have caught on to Spam's cultish status and are trying to make the meat product all 21st century edgy. Edgy... I hate that word. How much more edges do they want to give something that's already shaped like a oblong cube?

After reading the back of the label, my impression of Spam is that it is now much less cool:

The recipe for Spam macaroni & cheese is written in the most smarmy, too-clever-by-half, know-the-words-but-not-the-tune, lame-o way. These guys shouldn't try so hard, the more plain-wrap retro they style their product, the hipper it will be. Adding all the “smart” copy diminishes what we love about Spam. That is, if you're one of those who does love spam.

I actually love Spam's persona more than I actually love eating it. It enters the realm of true fetish food only when barbecued, IMHO.

Of course, you could barbeque a cue ball and it would be delicious, but if it were a cue ball that was full of pork and fat and nitrites, it would be extra delicious.


Chubby got some mail:

Gregory E. writes:

"Hi Chubby, I love the site, particularly the creative use of double negatives. You need to try the Blue Cheese burger at Gregoire for your hamburger rankings. I haven't tried everything on your list, but I'd rank Gregoire's burger above Cafe Rouge's, no contest. Gregoire's menu changes monthly, but the blue cheese burger is on the November lunch menu. A burger, an order of potato puffs and a chocolate mousse for dessert will make the perfect decadent lunch. FYI: The Cafe Rouge burger is available all day, even though it is only on the lunch menu. You can add a slice of tomato, but only when they're in season and it costs $1 extra. gregoirerestaurant.com"

Chubby replies:

Dear Gregory,

I agree. Gregoire has some yummy chow. I haven't had their burger yet, but now that you recco it, I'm going to have to give it a whirl. I wish they had more seating (since most of their food does not benefit from traveling and there are lids and cutlery to balance) but what can you do? They don't have a public bathroom, but Elephant pharmacy (across the street) has a passably clean one in the back of their store. They are opening a couple of new eateries, one in the soon to be opened food court on Shattuck and one in Oakland. So more good food is on the way, maybe even with some additional seating.

Your pal,






Sunday, October 30, 2005

Uove affogate alla Fiorentina ($8.95):

... is fancy talk for poached eggs on ham, spinach and bread with some béchamel sauce. When I punctured the yolk I was happy to see that the egg was perfectly cooked, the dish as a whole was just okay though. The filone bread (a cousin of ciabatta) could have used a solid toasting, it just sort of got spongy under the spinach and eggs. The sweetness of the thinly sliced ham didn't wed with the rest of the flavors.

The frittata con salmone affumicato ($7.95):

... didn't win me over either. The asparagus was nicely cooked, but this open faced omlette suffered from a toughness around the edges and the chunks of salmon were overly smoky, drowning out the chopped marjoram, red peppers, and onion. The potatoes looked like they might be crisp on the outside, but they had been kept warm beyond the limits of crispy retention.

It had been a while since I'd eaten here. I remember having better food for dinner, maybe brunch is just not the thing to get here, or maybe I just ordered poorly.

Piazza D'Angelo
22 Miller Ave.
Mill Valley, CA

One thing that I love about my hybrid car is that I don't have to fill it up frequently. It's a good thing too, because it pisses me off whenever the pump spits out my receipt. The cost per gallon posted on the sign is a big lie. They maximize their profit by adding 0.99¢ to the price which becomes magically visible after your purchase on your receipt. Skimming just under one penny probably doesn't even register on the radar as something to get upset about but it shows such ill will that it qualifies as unadulterated evil in my book. The architect of this scheme is probably in cahoots with the inventor of the “convenience fee” for paying tickets online or, my personal favorite, the “handling fee” as if “handling” were an option that you could decline. All of these costs are legalized trickery, extortion, or ransom. Maybe it's time to get one of those cars that run on old French fry oil…




Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Portabello Dosai ($9.00):

... at Tabla is a mixture of 'shrooms, leeks and teleme cheese in a crepe with crispy edges. The accompanying pear chutney, apple-onion relish, and guacamole with orange gilded the lily.

Today's specials included sautéed kale ($6.50) with chili sauce and thin slices of garlic and a yellow and green bean salad ($6.50):

... with heirloom tomatoes, minced capers and shallots in a vinaigrette. The fresh beans were cooked to a perfect crisp tender.

Tabla is always a great place to get locally farmed and wonderfully prepared casual chow. Sam over at Becks and Posh has nice things to say about this restaurant as well.

Check out what Chubby has to say about his visit.

I'm so happy about getting my extra daylight saving time hour tomorrow, the only thing that I don't like about it is the name “daylight saving” it sounds like I have some daylight account that I am making a deposit to when all I'm doing is sleeping in.

And what is up with some states deciding not to participate? What makes you so great, Arizona? I mean, sure you make a commercially available iced tea, but do you really want to be a party pooper by resisting peer pressure? Is it your form of time anorexia? By obtaining from time change are you expressing a control over time, hence space, hence the universe? Are you sitting there in your land locked smugness feeling an allergen-free superior glow? I guess you are in your own Time-azona, except that is, for the Navajo Nation within your state, which does participate. What is up with that? It's time to give it up and say you were wrong. How are the other states going to take you seriously? Especially when it turns out Arizona Iced Tea isn't even made in Arizona? (A - if you are reading this, I'm sorry about dissing your home town, but, it is really stupid)




Friday, October 28, 2005

Picco the evening:

It was 9:55 when I hustled into Picco to secure a bowl of risotto ($8.75):

... before the last possible 10:00 order. They make it on the half hour but Friday's cutoff is rigidly enforced. The creamy, sage infused, chive-topped, squash blended with the perfectly cooked Arborio. It was worth the rush to get a bowl of this comfort food.

The broccoli de ciccio ($6.95):

... was delicious. These tender, fetal stems were sautéed in olive oil with garlic.

Had the usual mini burgers as well as the most wonderful plum sorbet over watermelon granita with a cornmeal cookie:

The pizzeria next door was jammed due in part to the glowing Michael Bauer review last Sunday and also due to the oven warmed interior on this rainy night.





Thursday, October 27, 2005


The Jeopardy Game board style menu at Asqew Grill

...encourages you to mix and match skewers, salads and starches. This is a chain restaurant with four San Francisco locations.

The roast pork was cooked by someone overly wary of trichinosis, so it had little flavor and juiciness to impart to it's spicy couscous bed.

The seasonal vegetable skewer with crookneck squash, zucchini, mushroom, broccoli and onion were fine alongside the tasty grilled pear salad with bleu cheese and red peppers.

The sunny patio with a fun Castro crowd combined with the game show variety of choices make this a lively, sunny, lunch alternative.



Asqew Grill
3583 16th
San Francisco, CA


And from the “say it ain't so” department:


Gully F. writes:

"Hey, bunrabbies,

I know any self-respecting seahorse should know about his fellow denizens of the deep, but since you're the denizens-of-the-deep-as-food expert, perhaps you know something about the following: I've long enjoyed a good swordfish steak. So much so that not even the recent disquieting news about mercury in fish has managed to cure me of my habit. But what I heard this afternoon might: I was taking my lunch at my sushi bar, when it occurred to me to ask the chef, Satou-san, why he's never served swordfish nigiri. He informed me that ALL swordfish is rife with parasites, which are killed by the cooking process. Do you know anything about this? Is it true? If so, it's almost enough to put me off my favorite repast. Say it isn't so, wise bunnies!

Your fishily, Papa (G.F.) Seahorse (Ret.)"

Chubby replies:

Dear Gully,

How I wish I could tell you it was merely a fish story, but I found this out many years ago when I was marinating swordfish and found icky parasites. I promptly took the offending steaks back to the fishmonger who chuckled at my distress and explained that this is true of all swordfish. He was nice enough to give me my money back even though it wasn't technically "bad" fish.

I have chef friends who won't touch the stuff outside of preparing it at work. They see it raw and find it unappealing.

Should you make sure those critters are dead before you eat it? Yes. Is it gross when you think about it a little too much? Yes. But the bottom line is if you like your favorite food enough, just say the heck with it!

Your friend,






Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No Vato:

The waitress told me that she liked the enchiladas so I ordered the shredded beef enchilada with a bbq chicken tostada combo ($7.95):

It was all okay, but nothing that I would return for. The food had a mild sameness to it. There was no crunch to the base tortilla of the tostada, the finely shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and chicken needed a good shake of hot sauce. The rice and beans were standard issue.

The enchilada didn't rise above this monotony, but to be fair, I'll bet that to some degree, they cater to their audience. The place was full so they must be giving their regular customers what they want.

La Hacienda Taqueria
1401 Grant Ave.
Novato, CA


One more opinion about my driving while eating rant:

sam b writes:

"a friend of mine ended up being arrested in Marin after an eating-in-the-car mishap in Marin. Cars are for driving not for eating, unless you've pulled over safely and stopped before stuffing your gob. People should concentrate on only the road, not on reading a novel/talking on phone/tweezing eybrows/shaving/applying makeup/drinking coffee/drinking anything/eating cereal from a bowl/clipping their ear fluff/playing the mouth organ/or kissing a pet parrot. Yes I have seen all these ludicrous things and more being done by so-called drivers since living in the USA and no wonder the drivers here are so inept. In the UK you can get a ticket for drinking water whilst in the car or get done for being on the phone without a headset and frankly everyone drives a little more alertly than they do here. Eating anything in the car (except galaxy minstrels) = as bad as eating bunny anywhere else!"





Tuesday, October 25, 2005


The cheeseburger ($10):

... at Kitchen is made with natural ground chuck and Shasta Greenfield Cheddar. Requested medium rare, but arrived medium. It was still perfectly tasty though. The bun was a little on the soft side, but held up to this juicy patty. I liked the red, ripe slice of tomato that came with the leaves of iceberg lettuce and thinly sliced red onion. The fries were very good. Slim, crisp and perfectly salted. Not a destination burger, but perfectly good.

They have a Early Kitchen Supper from 5 til 6 that sounds like a steal. On Saturday it consisted of Spinach and Leek soup, Grilled Skirt Steak with butterbeans and cipollini onions and blackberry sorbet, all for $15. Considering their high quality ingredients, this seems like it would be worth popping by to make an early evening of it.

868 Grant Ave.
Novato, CA





Monday, October 24, 2005


Northpoint Coffee Company is right along the waterfront in Sausalito. There's a little deck in back and a cozy interior to enjoy your coffee.

The house coffee and the lattes are nice.

I like the china cups and wish there were non-paper plates for the panini, both of which had crisp exteriors and melty cheese, but needed a little boost.

The Prosciutto and harvarti ($7.25):

...could have used a couple of tomato slices or some acidic element to cut through the meat, cheese and bread.

The Turkey with Swiss ($6.95) would have also benefited from the addition of some roasted peppers with balsamic to bring out more of the flavor of the high quality ingredients.

They are new, so they are just finding their footing. I noticed that none of the tables of two got their hot sandwiches at the same time which led to polite waits with a cold reward.

The people who work there are nice and they are putting in a lot of effort. It is refreshing to have a non-chain coffee alternative.

Northpoint Coffee Company
1250 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA

Susan R. writes:

"For what it's worth, we were at Picco last night too. When I saw two people walk out of the restaurant and take pictures of the Pizzeria, I said to my hubby, "I wonder if that's the people from the Bunrab site." We eat there regularly but I haven't tried the two dishes you mentioned in your recent post. Gee, I guess I'll have to go back in a few days and give them a whirl. Thanks for the tip."

Gutenberg replies:

Dear Susan,

How funny, next time you see a blue and yellow rabbit snapping pictures of a restaurant, you should say “hi.”

Picco Restaurant is also making risotto on the half-hour and the buzz is that it's very good. I tried to order it on Friday at 11:00 p.m., but they stop at 10:30. I'll have to get their earlier next time.

Stay ahead of those Picco Pizzeria lines,






Sunday, October 23, 2005

Paper trail:

Dinner at Picco included a great crab, cucumber and pickled ginger salad dressed with rice vinegar:

... a tasty grilled squid over Israeli couscous:

... and some of those mini burgers that go down so well with a glass of red wine.

I heard that there were a couple of Michael Bauer’s friends next door at Picco Pizzeria who said that they wanted to have dinner there before it was impossible. Sure enough, the Sunday paper raved and when I showed up today for my evening soft serve cone there was a queue of people discussing the article as they waited in the chaotic line in which to go orders went to the head. I managed to make it out of there with my dairy confection, but it wasn’t easy.

I feel bad for the restaurateurs down the street at Ward Street Café. I went in yesterday for breakfast to try their Turkish eggs that I was curious about. Sadly, I was stuck with a mediocre pastry and coffee because they had “chef problems.” They are going to hire someone soon and should be back cooking in a week or two.

The papered up windows on the restaurant formerly known as Cinq (and before that Baby Sal’s) shows no supporting documentation of their targeted November 1st opening date. There is only a help wanted sign. It’s too bad that all the red tape with the ABC has caused such a delay from their opening date originally planned this month.

I got some mail regarding my vehicular meal last week:

Ruth S. writes:

"I disagree with your comment about eating in your car. I am currently a law student in San Antonio, TX and for the past 5 months on a daily basis I eat at least one meal in my car on my way to/from school work or home. In fact I am thinking about writing a cookbook of items that are made readily edible for the voyage. One of those shopping isle checkout things. I prefer to pack my meals as opposed to fast food, i.e. the sit on my ass for 14 hours a day precludes a greasy taco fetish. I like to each granola from a zip lock bag, it is better if it is chunky but a spoon works well if maintained in the console. Tortilla wraps/sandwiches are a good choice, keep in saran wrap to prevent spillage. Apples, grapes and snack bars are essential. Also since it is HOT here there is no need to have to heat things up. However it does preclude mayonnaised products. Cheese sticks are a nice moldable item sided with summer sausage and crackers. I am certain the winter will be just as beneficial. I do not think it disturbs my digestion either. In fact it is the one time that I am rendered immobile. Things to avoid anything red - like soda or sauces - spillage issues. Things that require 2 hands unless knees fit well around steering wheel. Tuna - makes the car stink. Grapefruits, unless peeled. The whole juice, spoon, and driving things is very unpleasant.

Much love your way.



Gutenberg replies:

Dear Ruth,

Sounds like I should give this a rethink. Guess my hot fondue powered by the cigarette lighter is a no go, but I’m sure that any of your above suggestions would do the trick.

Stay mobile,





Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gado Gado Hey:

The lunch special ($7.95) comes with Gado Gado, this bean sprout, tofu, boiled egg salad liberally drenched with peanut sauce and capped with shrimp chips. I liked this more when I got to the third bite. The crunchy, soft, sweet, eggy, fishy, peanuty mouthful was unexpected at first.
You get to choose 2 entrees to have with your salad and mound of rice. I chose the Sambal Goreng Hati Ampla which is chicken gizzards and stink beans (pictured on far right) cooked up in chili sauce and tomatoes. I liked this. It had that kind of chewy texture against the softness of the cooked beans.

I asked why the beans were called "stink beans" when their fragrance was so mild. The (I'm guessing) owner said that when they are raw they have a strong smell, although they don't "stink." The Association of Stink Bean Farmers should really consider renaming this legume. Even "trumpets of death" are called "black chantrelles" in squeamish company.

"What's for dinner?"

"Stink Beans and Trumpets of Death"

Nothin says lovin like something stinky and morbid from the oven.

The Empal Balado (pictured on far left) wasn't at all what I expected. It had a sort of beef jerkyish quality in it's dry, feel, but it wasn't dry in-a-bad-way like most dry beef would be. It was good with the chili sauce and rice.

There’s an old television set pointed at the dining room playing the video equivalent of junk food. The empty calories of video that I consumed with my meal included video of women, smiling, walking, sitting, walking, sitting, smiling all dissolving in and out from each other all subtitled with song lyrics that darken as the words are sung. Karaoke is it’s supposed to be an extrovert support system, not a cinematic event, yet it is strangely hypnotic in it’s nothingness.

This is a good place to drop in on if you are in the area and feel like Karaoke-less karaoke with some chicken gizzards with stink beans.

Indonesia Restaurant
680 Post Street
San Francisco, CA




Friday, October 21, 2005

Choked, smoked, stoked...


How is it that smoke can have so many identities?

I find it really disgusting to smell cigarette smoke when I'm trying to eat. Thankfully, since I spend most of my time in the uber-liberal SF Bay Area, where smoking cigarettes is practically illegal and absolutely immoral, this isn't something that I have to deal with often. But on trips to Europe or Bakersfield, the odor of stinky cigs wafting into my face and sensitive little nose during meals practically puts me off travel.

Cigarettes are dirty. You only have to see one coffee cup with a half inch of java and 5 butts, and you'll agree. I try to avoid anything with 5 butts just as a general rule. Unless it's 5 exotic dancers, I guess.

In some crowded tourist spots in the Bay Area, it seems like the local merchants need to remind smokers where to not put their stinky butts.

To be fair though, maybe the area's anti-smoking attitudes are backfiring, with no actual ash trays anywhere for miles, desperate smokers are bound to get creative.

On the other hand, some of my favorite places to eat positively reek of smoke. Not tobacco, but from other plants, or I should say, trees.

Smoking is one of the super-yummiest ways to prepare anything. Slow-cooked and tasting of hickory, cherry or cedar is how some the best barbeque is made. Good barbeque is very hard to find, and we only have a few real corkers in SF. We've spoken about the gorgeous outdoor smoker at the Buckeye Roadhouse, but I wouldn't call that place a real rib-ticklin' BBQ Shack. Nearby Star's Barbeque is a promising upstart, but it can't compare to a San Francisco barbecue landmark, Big Nate's. I went there the other day, right across from the Sports Mart near Division, to satisfy my smoked-meat jones.

A half order of Pork Ribs ($7.95):

...made me think about who could possibly consume a full order in one non-competitive-food eating sitting. The hot sauce was not scorching hot, but managed to make me break a sweat. Firm, chewy with good crispy bits, charred at tips. Doused in BBQ sauce, this was definitely a “wet” preparation barbeque ready for some for some serious dipping. Bog standard cole slaw and Wonder-esque brown bread top off a lunch meat-treat.

I saw Big Nate himself there. He's truly “big.” I guess he used to play hoops back in the day. Lots of pictures of him posing with sports stars up on the walls.


Big Nate's BBQ
1665 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA




Thursday, October 20, 2005


This is such a wacky looking place with a cave-like texture to the entrance, a huge wooden chandelier and diner furnishings.

I got my plasti-coated menu and asked for the octopus, but they were out. Luckily for me they had these delicious Anticuchos ($6.95.) aka beef hearts:

If I didn't have to focused like a green laser pointer this afternoon, I would have had these with a cold cerveza. Man, these hit the spot. Simply skewered, these marinated chunks of hearty food were perfectly grilled and served with a slice of potato with some pepper sauce. If I had only quit while I was ahead and ordered 2 plates of these, I would have been a happy camper.

I got a chica morada
($2.25) which is purple corn juice, lemon, cinnamon and cloves. Sweet and refreshing, but I heart beer more.

I asked the server for a recco and he said that the Lomo Saltado ($9.50):

...were good. They weren't my thing. Strips of perfectly good beef were stir fried with slices of sweet onion, tomato and french fries. In general, I am not a big fan of stir fried french fries, I think that the deep frying takes them where they need to go and by wilting them in a liquidy concoction, you defeat their own purpose. A fry is a terrible thing to waste.

There was a side salad
that came with this anti-crispy-bit testimony. The chopped iceberg lettuce was strewn with anemic tomatoes, pickled onions and boiled potato.

At least I know what to order here - beer and beef hearts.

Fina Estampa
1100 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA



Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I should have quit while I was ahead. That 101% good tandoori fish from Monday filled me with a false sense of tandoori confishdence. I ordered the Tandoori Fish ($8.99):

...which is listed as "chef recommended" on the menu at Chutney (down the street from the mecca of good fish.) The brilliantly reddened catfish came topped with sliced sweet onions and cilantro, the fish was moist and spicy, but it didn't reach that same 101% level of goodness as Lahore Karahi.

The Keema Naan ($2.99):

...was like a hamburger that has been passed through a pasta machine and put in the tandoori oven. I imagined that this naan stuffed with ground beef wouldn't have such a fine grind of meat. The texture was like a paste and the bread lacked the crusty, chewy combo that I craved.

When I came up to the counter, I asked the guy at the register what is their most interesting/delicious preparation. I got the answer that I always dread,
"everything's good"
"yes, but do you have any personal favorites?"
"the lamb is good, the chicken is good..."
"there's nothing that you prefer over the rest?"
"the chicken masala is good"

Why do people always recco the tamest dish when pressed? Ah well. He said that he would sell me a half order of Chicken Tikka Masala ($3.00) which had a flavorful sauce, but the chicken was a little overcooked and dry.

I wish I came on a Thursday when they have goat. Thursday is THE goat day in the Tenderloin. All the restaurants have it then. There must be some Thursday goat truck that wheels by like an ice cream truck except with braying instead of that plingy music to entice kids to run into the street.

511 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA



Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The worst place to eat is in the car. Not only is it bad for your digestion, it’s just.. wrong.
Today, through a series of ill timed events, I found myself starving as I headed towards the Bay Bridge. It was 4 o’clock and I hadn’t had lunch.

There was a “take out” sign and the door was open. I quickly pulled over and walked into this cute little café.

They didn’t have their panini machine turned on so I got a vegetarian sandwich ($7.50):

...on baguette. I chatted with the woman at the counter as my sandwich was being made. It turns out that she is not only the owner of this cute little French style café, but she also owns La Note (which Chubby reviewed) and wanted to open up a simple, little place too. She opened this café in February with the intention that most people would take food away. It turns out that most of her customers like to grab one of the cute little indoor or sidewalk tables for breakfast, lunch, or a snack.

I messily devoured my sandwich as I headed over the bridge to the City. The fresh, crusty, sweet baguette was spread with a mild cheve and some aioli. A thin layer of roasted peppers, tomatoes and spinach made for a nicely balanced, driving snack. There were even some thick cut potato chips to munch on mid span.

I’m definitely coming back to check out their crepes and breakfast.

Café Clem
2703 7th St
Berkeley, CA



Monday, October 17, 2005

101% Good

Saturday's lunch promise of a "101% good" Fish Tandoori ($10.95):

...was a reality today. The owner really should put this dish on the menu rather than confide it's wonderfulness covertly.

The spiced seabass emerged from the tandoori oven and was mixed with sautéed onions, tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce on a ferociously hot iron serving plate. It was delicious as well as theatrical. The Chilean seabass was moist and flavorful over seasoned, pepper infused, Basmati rice ($1.25) alongside a cooling raita and an order of tasty Garlic Naan ($2.00):

I asked for the Saag Paneer ($6.00) spicy and it was, but not as spicy as the fabulous fish.

Two squeeze bottles arrived at the table with the bass. One was a sweet tamarind sauce, the other a yogurt based, herb sauce. Both were very good.

I'd never enjoyed a plain lassi ($2.00):

...as much as this salted (not sweet) version. The flecks of cumin seed (as well as the salt) brought out the yogurty taste. It was just the right level of thickness to compliment the food without being too thick and heavy.

The owner remembered me
from Saturday and was warm and friendly.
I'm glad I came back to try this. I might have given it a miss if I had just eaten Saturday's lunch (which was okay) and not chatted with the owner about what he does best. Sometimes it's just a matter of knowing what to order in a restaurant. Now I know.

Lahore Karahi
612 O’Farrell
San Francisco, CA




Sunday, October 16, 2005


It was so sunny out today, that a trip to Fairfax Scoop with my friends was in order.

The FS owners are very environmentally conscious. They have these biodegradable spoons made from potato starch and soy oil. B and C promptly tried to eat them:

In the process, they looked as though they were masquerading as bunrabs. I wasn’t fooled for an instant.

There was this group of about 6 women in line in front of us doing a chain massage thing, you know, where they massage the shoulders of the person in front of them and then the person at the start of the chain breaks off and rotates to the back. We were definitely in hippieville.

Fairfax is the land that time forgot. Yes, there are WiFi hotspots, but there are no Starbucks and other chains on the main drag. I respect it, but it verges on being a modernity deprivation tank at times (I guess that’s part of it’s charm.)

At a recent dinner party, I entered into a heated discussion with D about paper towels. D insisted that there is one brand that is better than all the rest. Later in the week I got this in the mail:

I road tested them and they are about a million times tougher than “my” brand. There is only one area in which they are inferior, windows. But then again, who wants to do windows?

Chubby got some mail today:

Monica S. writes:

"Dear Chubby,

I was reading your review about Picco in Marin County. Thank you ever so much for including a comment about the bathroom. It is more often than not, that the bathroom can put you off your food. Restaurants should make sure that the restrooms are serviced during the evening. In particular, these restaurants will not be seeing me again because of their bathrooms: Hawthorne Lane, Lulu, XYZ, Plump Jack and Acme Chop House. I am sure that I am not alone in caring about the status of the bathrooms when I dine out. Yuk!"

Chubby Replies:

Dear Monica,

I’m glad you share my concern about commode cleanliness. I agree that some can really put you off your chow. Thanks for sharing your list of those to be avoided.

Your pal,





Saturday, October 15, 2005


Weekends in the Tenderloin don't have as much baggage as downtown or the Ferry building or the "nicer" areas of the City. It's just business as usual.

I'm not sure what's up with my restaurant karma lately, it just seems like everywhere I go is empty. The upside, is that I don't have to wait too long for my chow.

I requested my Saag Gosht ($6.50):

... spicy, but I think he took a look at me and toned it down a bit. It was punctuated with lamb and only mildly spiced, but still okay. The Onion Kulcha ($2.00):

... was a sesame seed topped, cilantro enhanced, onion stuffed bread that went well with my spinachy entree.

The (I'm guessing) owner was very nice but really perked up when I pointed at the speaker and said, "I love Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan" After that, he was my best friend. He told me that next time I come in I have to order his special dish that's not on the menu, and that it's "is more than 100% good, it's 101% good!" Well, I have got to order THAT. It's his Tandoori Fish ($10.95) and I should order it with rice and raita. That's definitely on the agenda for next week.

Lahore Karahi
612 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA

Chubby thought my Kulcha looked like a pizza. He has pizza on his mind every since he finished his latest review of Pizzaiolo in Oakland.




Friday, October 14, 2005

I popped into a vegan restaurant in the Tenderloin today. It was deja vuey from my visit to Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant (that serves meat.) I guess I'm being too literal. I went in during lunchtime and it was abandoned (just like my Golden Era experience) but I was made to feel right at home by the super nice staff member.

I ordered the Grilled Salmon ($7.50):

...which was a generous portion served with lime and a scallion and pepper dipping sauce. Steamed broccoli, carrots and cabbage rounded out my meal. It needed a little scoop of the pepper condiment from the little pots on the table. The fish was good, but not trip worthy unless you are heavily into Thai Vegan food whilst surfing the web (they claim to have the largest list of these T.V. options in the City, plus free Wi-Fi access.)

Yesterday was Halal/Thai today it's Vegan/Thai, I guess dietary restrictions combined with an ethnic cuisine make up today's “fusion food.”

791 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA



Thursday, October 13, 2005

Kang Dang Pumpkin ($6.95):

...was serious belly ballast. I am a big fan of thai basil in red curry with coconut milk (like the salmon at Royal Thai in San Rafael) but this fell a little short of hitting my curry spot. The pumpkin was starchy and dry. I cut it into bits to facilitate coconut hydration, but it was only okay.

The people are very nice in this teeny little restaurant with a counter and a small grouping of tables. Even though it I didn't find this place to be a culinary Mecca, I might make another pilgrimage here again soon.

All the meat here is halal which means that it is slaughtered in accordance with Islamic laws. One of the rules is that the animal has to face east during slaughter. If I were a cow, I'd get a compass and some grippy shoes.

Bang San Thai Cuisine
505 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA




Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yesterday’s pho at Them Ky got me craving the version from Turtle Tower.

It was so busy today that they directed me to that mysterious back dining room (out the restaurant on the side of the building.)

I ordered the same dish
as yesterday (Dac Biet.) This raw beef, brisket, tendon and tripe pho ($4.95):

...and this was vastly superior to the one up the street. Not only was there a higher tripe to beef ratio, it was flavorful and delicious in a clear, bright tasting broth with a couple jalapeno slices thrown in for good measure.

There was a lady sitting opposite me at the communal table,

“boy, you ate that fast” she said amazed

“yup” I said slurping up the last spoonful

Turtle Tower
631 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA



Tuesday, October 11, 2005


The overcast City meant one thing today - Pho. It was time to try Them Ky.

Dac Biet ($5.50):

...was served with a plate of bean sprouts, basil, sliced jalapeno peppers and limes. I have a thing for hot soup with thin slices of raw beef. The hot liquid cooks it through instantly. This dish also includes brisket, flank tendon and tripe (that delicate feathery tripe that looks like seaweed.) You can order the extra large (translated as “xe lua”) for an extra .45¢ but the normal size is pretty big and there are a ton of rice noodles mixed in with the meats and broth.

I'm getting my pho eating technique down. The real trick to eating this in a non-touristy restaurant it to do so with complete abandon. Chopsticks in one hand, spoon in the other, fill your mouth up with a big slurp and don't be all fussy and blot the corners of your mouth after every bite.

It's not a romantic date place, it's an Vietnamese/Chinese eating station with bare formica tables and hot chow.

The tenderloin is the nabe for pho. This was good, but I prefer Turtle Tower and Bodega Bistro. Turtle tower serves it sans side garnishes (Northern Style) with a bright tasting broth and tasty meats. Bodega has the leafy sides and is mighty good too. (check out Chubby's report.)

Them Ky
717 Ellis St.
San Francisco, CA



Monday, October 10, 2005

Persian Excursion:

Lunch at Alborz Persian Cuisine got off to a good start with a little chunk of feta, radishes, sweet onions, mint, basil, cilantro and lavosh:

Greek salad ($7.95):

...in a Persian restaurant? I should have known better, but the feta monkey on my back would not shut up. It was a standard greens, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, genericy combo. But to be fair, it’s not really a reasonable expectation to have a brilliant non Persian dish here… I need to stop listening to that monkey…

Joojeh ($14.95):

...suffered from a lack of umph. Although marinated in lime and saffron, the chicken was just a little bland.

I wish the Baghali Polo with lamb shank ($14.95):

...was spiced up a bit too. It was cooked til it reached that lovely off the bone stage, but the broth and the meat were neglected in the seasoning department. The basmati rice with lima beans and dill didn’t have enough of a textural contrast between the beans and the rice, but the dill permeated this dish nicely.

The people working there were very nice, but I didn’t have much success in the ordering department. Either I made the wrong selections, or this place does not worship at the altar of spices.

I saw a far from bland, altered rabbit movie on Sunday. Although Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Wererabbit contains bunrab peril, no rabbits are hurt in the making of this picture. I was sorry to hear about the production company’s warehouse fire in England. No people (or bunrabs) were injured, but much of Aardman’s memorabilia was destroyed. Very sad.

1245 Van Ness Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94109


Sunday, October 9, 2005


Christmas is here:

Whatever happened to waiting until Halloween to start pushing the merchandise? Do people really plan that far ahead with their Dora the Explorer advent calendars?

Instead of having them only cover December, they should make 12 month advent calendars to keep us in that holiday spirit all year long.

You really have to have some major Halloween spirit to get a costume for Fido:

This is tantamount to animal abuse. I don't care how much of a Star Wars fan you are, if you dress your dog up like the Dark Lord of the Sith, it's disturbing.

Went to Rickey's for brunch.

It's right off the 101 and you can hear the freeway if you eat poolside.

The smoked salmon was actually pretty good quality fish. They serve it with cream cheese, a toasted sesame bagel, capers, sliced tomato and red onion ($14.00):

Nothing exotic, but just fine.

The burger ($11.50):

...is made with Angus natural beef and served with bacon, swiss, and a nice chipolte mayonnaise that had a bit of heat to it. The sesame seed bun was too wimpy for the filling and smooshed down into a doughy sheet. If they remedied the bread situation, this would be a pretty good burger overall. The fries (ordered “extra crispy”) were fine.

The people here are friendly and efficient. It's nothing fancy and not a destination eatery. Just the sort of place you are happy to come across if you pull off the freeway.

250 Entrada Drive
Novato, CA



Saturday, October 8, 2005

French Laundry list:

Chubby and I are in a food coma now. As usual, dinner was impeccable with perfect service, great wine pairings and delicious food.

They keep the classics on the menu, but they mix it up by spinning in new dishes all the time. Both the carrot salad and the Asian pear salad were new, wonderfully conceived and refreshing. The sevruga caviar on avocado was so simple, yet so satifying. They have their old stand by Straus unsalted butter, but they have started to serve Orwell butter from Animal Farm in Orwell, Vermont. They add salt to in at FL.

Speaking of salt, their salt collection this evening included 2 red tinged Kona salts (with clay adding the color), a Hawaian black volcanic salt, Fleur de sel, sel gris, Jurassic salt from Montana, as well as Yokisho and Amagito salts from Japan.

Their new pasty chef crafted amazing desserts including one that tasted of fruit loops done right (the meringue composition) and one that was a high falutin’ snickers bar (the chocolate and peanut concoction.)

We ate:

Cheese gourges

Salmon tartare cornets with crème fraiche

Globe artichoke soup with black truffles

Celery soup

Sevruga caviar over haas avocado

Oysters and pearls - oysters with pearl tapioca and sevruga caviar

Nova Scotia bluefin tuna two ways:
1) “carpaccio” with crispy fried capers and sweet peppers
2) with rice and beans and lemon gastrique

Eggs benedict - poached hen’s egg on crumpet with hollandaise sauce and truffle

Egg custard infused with white truffle oil topped with a black Perigod truffle ragu and chive potato chip

ribbons of carrot with mejadool date, pumpkin seeds and whole grain mustard

Asian pear with Belgian endive, candied walnuts and black truffle syrup

Black truffle risotto

Black truffle tagliatelle

Branzino baked in salt served with a brunoise of fennel and a tomato marmelade

Lobster tail two ways:
1) poached in butter served with pommes maxim’s leeks and beet essence
2) poached in butter served with carrots and pea shoots

Foie gras two ways:
1) seared and served with butternut squash, cranberry jus and a deep fried chard leaf
2) tourchon served with apple relish, apple chip and toasted brioche

Calotte de boeuf – braised brisket with potato puree, poached prune, endive, fried marrow and marrow sauce

Hoch y'Brig cheese with fennel and mint oil

Andate Dairy Acapella goat cheese with fig bread pudding and port reduction

Pineapple sorbet with lime sponge cake, pineapple chip and passion fruit essence

Huckleberry sorbet with semolina cake and poached huckleberries

Coffee and doughnuts – coffee semifreddo and hot donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar

Meringue filled with key lime curd and surrounded by candied red currants in a citrus salad

Chocolate cake with a layer of caramel on top and a scoop of both chocolate and peanut ice
cream served with spiced peanut sauce

Panna cotta with fig preserve

Crème brulee with Tahitian vanilla

Mignardises - raspberry macaroons, chocolate ganache tart, strawberry financier, pistachio nougatine, cheesecake and shortbread

We find it exceeding difficult to move at this point.






Friday, October 7, 2005

The few, the loud…

Those Blue Angels were buzzing my building today like gigantic flies around my head.

What bugs me about them is that they are strictly a recruiting tool. There is no operation in which the Blue Angels is called to perform a rescue, attack or spy mission. They are to hook the kiddies into joining the armed forces and to make matters worse, they use over 3 million gallons of fuel annually (and guess who pays for it?)

I do support our troops and all that, but it feels like a bait and switch to have this demonstration of a job that doesn't exist except for in Crazyland. When you sign up and get handed a mop it's gotta be a bummer.

It was a raid-the-emergency food day. I couldn't get away from the computer and got out my suspiciously preserved food from TJ's.

They must irradiate this stuff in that hollowed out mountain in Nevada so you can store it in case you need an MRE. I got out the pouch of tuna panang which wasn't really very good, but it was very in front of me, so that's what matters. I guess every meal can't be from the French Laundry.




Thursday, October 6, 2005

Can I get some goat to go?

“No goat”

“But it's Thursday”

“Only after 6 p.m. Thursday”

I ordered the okra ($5.00) instead:

I know that there are those who don't care for the slimy factor (which is present in this particular preparation) but they cook them with lots of onions and spices until they melt into a lovely (yet slippery) dish. The lamb with spinach ($6.00):

...was a tasty blend of spices, spinach and a few teeny bones hanging onto the chunks of stewed lamb. A naan ($1.00) was a necessary item to go with my veggie feast.

532 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA

I brought my lunch back to the computer and was annoyed with the blue angels roaring by on their practice runs over the city today. I know people think they are cool, but it seems like consuming a gillion gallons of precious jet fuel a second for entertainment purposes while buzzing my building and disturbing my okra consumption rubs me the wrong way.

The jets' sounds are not only loud and menacing, they are distinctive as well. I'm sure that the emotion stirred in people hearing their roar overhead varies from person to person according to their experience. I wonder if any of the many Vietnamese people in the Tenderloin have a duck and cover reflex.




Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Another day of refrigerator roulette. I had a hermetically sealed package of shrimp fried rice ($2.99):

...with bits of carrot, egg, green onion and a vinegar based dipping sauce. It was very tasty, studenty, filling food. They cleverly seal it with a plastic fork inside so you are equipped to penetrate the shrimp laminate (yes, it they CAN slice shrimp that thin.)

The pork and egg bun ($1.25):

...is nothing special. Stuffed with pork bits gathered from the animals elbows, eyebrows (or whatever can be pulverized from miscellaneous piggy scraps) glass noodles and a half of (an overcooked) hard boiled egg.

Sweet rice stuffed with banana ($1.29):

...is wrapped up in a banana leaf with black eyed peas and cooked with coconut milk. The banana turns purple when cooked! These were a little dryer than I prefer. The larger ones that they sell (fried without a leaf or steamed inside of a leaf) are tastier.

Wrap Delight
426 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

Walking back from WD, I spotted this artist’s rendition of what Chubby would look like as a conflicted alien:

Pretty good.





Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Got my Goat


...at Pakwan today. I asked for my Goat curry ($5.95):

spicy and it hit the spot. The only trick is to exercise caution eating the meat around the bits of bone. The hot and delicious Nan ($1.00) was the perfect goat transport device.

The place wasn't exactly jammed at lunchtime,

but that's not due to the food. It was pretty sunny and everyone in the Universe seemed to be sitting or lying on the sidewalk on my walk here today.

501 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA

If you like oysters and live in the Bay Area you can buy valves for a buck.

Café Rouge has started $1 oysters Wednesday from 7-9. You can wash them down with one of their charcutini's (it's a martini…with meat!)

Luka's Tap Room has 'em Mondays: 2221 Broadway, Oakland, 510/451-4677

And of course, who can forget about Hog Island Oyster Bar's (in the San Francisco Ferry Building) happy-hour dollar oysters. Thursdays along with $2.50 draught beers.

Know about any other Bay Area oyster happy hours? Let me know.




Monday, October 3, 2005

If you're not Chinese or Vietnamese you will be a conspicuous consumer at this Noodle house. If you're not into soup, you should go somewhere else.

It's all about slurping in this bustling, no frills, eatery. I got the Hoanh Thanh Mi Vit Tim ($6.05):

...which is a delicious duck leg propped up by won tons and egg noodles. You get to choose thin or thick noodles (thick is the only way to go IMO.) Not only is the duck tender, juicy and exceedingly tasty, the broth is quite ducky as well.

Hai Ky
707 Ellis St.
San Francisco, CA

Oh, and if you were looking for more medical justification to eat chocolate, here it is.





Sunday, October 2, 2005

So Chubby and I hop into Luka's Taproom for a brew:

... and who do we run into but Fatemeh (from Gastronomie) and Co. We last saw them at the SF food bloggers BBQ and have been inspired by her postings to refresh our croissant memory at La Farine soon.

After we drank up at Luka's, we popped by Café Rouge for one of their delicious, scrape-every-microbe-of-dessert-from-the-glass ice cream toffee sundaes with chocolate sauce. They presented it with this Bunrab friendly configuration of biscotti:

After Chubby's review of this restaurant, we have been treading lightly whenever we pop by for a bite, but I guess they have forgiven him for calling them bastards.

Luka's Taproom
2221 Broadway
Oakland, CA





Saturday, October 1, 2005

It was time to revisit Bungalow 44 in Mill Valley. The locals really fill up the place on the weekends, but luckily, there were tables freeing up around 10 p.m. We mimicked our order from Chubby's previous review and noticed some marked differences. The onion rings:

...were cooked through (not raw in the middle like last time.) The Chicken Paillard:

is a thinly pounded breast of chicken, grilled and served with lemon. It is very “diety” tasting. I wish there was some sort of salsa or herby boost to this dull entrée. The burger:

...wasn't drowned in mayo this time and the brocolini wasn't overcooked like last visit's broccoli raab.

Instead of a dirty knife (that Chubby got last time), I got a wine glass with lipstick on it (ew.)

The bottom line is that Bungalow 44 was okay. The food has improved and the service was friendly and attentive. It appears that they are packing the place and doing very well. I hope their food continues on an upward trajectory, but if they solely react to the numbers of guests, there may be little incentive to smooth out the culinary bumps.

Bungalow 44
44 E. Blithedale Ave.
Mill Valley, CA







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