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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.



Friday, September 30, 2005

No Chicken, no cry:

Shalimar was busy today:

I got my Chicken Karahi pronounced “cry” ($6.95): and naan ($1.00.):

They don't look like much, but the chicken cooked with tomato and spices was delicious with the sauce absorbing naan. It's a good idea to phone ahead for takeaway because they cook everything to order. I think their best dish remains their brain masala, but that's a no brainer.

532 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA

It was also bring your carnitas to work day:

...(which is miles better than bring your child to work day.) Who ever thought it was a good idea to build the day around bringing your children to work? What if you are a pole dancer or human cannonball? Sounds like an inappropriate concept. Anyway, these meaty treats were much better than having to surrender your swivel chair to a sticky fingered tyke. KP, who knows his way around pork, spent two days making this carne neat.





Thursday, September 29, 2005

Halloween has officially arrived. Cyclone fenced pumpkin patches line the freeways and the perennial holiday stores have opened:

They are like a Kmart hit squad. Cheap, Targeted and gone in an instant. Who decides on these mass produced, impulse purchase items? Obviously everyone wants to be a rabbit:

... but there are those who use their day of amnesty from good taste to dress as a toilet, baby or make some ham-handed innuendo:

The shelves are laden with bags of “fun sized” candy. Personally, I think that I have more “fun” with a full sized candy bar. This is the worst example of corporate spin. Put the word “fun” in to make up for a major deficiency. “No, no, that's not a paycut, it’s a 'fun sized' check.” The real problem with those teeny bars is when you eat your fill, you have a conspicuous super sized pile of empty wrappers, what fun is that?

Chubby said I was right (for once) about what constitutes fun sized candy and went to get satisfy his sweet tooth on some filo based patries. Check out his latest review of A la Turca, a cool Turkish restaurant in the Tenderloin.

Chubby got some email from Hawaii...

Kiyo writes:

"Mahalo for your great San Francisco restaurant reviews and photos. I was lucky to find your website and appreciate the fact that you review restaurants in the Bay area quite often. We travel to San Francisco twice a year and the main event is eating, of course!

PS - Mahalo for your "bathroom" reviews as well. Your witty comments always make me laugh and of course it is very important to have good "accommodations".



Chubby replies:

Aloha Kiyo,

Thanks for your mahalo. I’m glad you are enjoying the reviews and I hope that they help with your trip planning.

Hang loose,

Your pal,





Wednesday, September 28, 2005

“the theme thing has officially crossed the line" (A meme)

I am of course talking about eating out of toilets. I don't think that this theme restaurant is going to catch on like the ones that make you eat in the dark or raise your hand to go to the bathroom or get chained to the bar. I used to see flyers South of Market for Bondage-a-go-go advertising, "women chained to the bar before 7 drink free." I guess that makes up for earning a quarter less (for every dollar) an hour than men. Let's see, if you normally spend $20 a night on drinks, times 365 drinking days a year, working a 40 hour week, you are actually leaving the men in the dust by $6780 annually with this chained-to-the-bar-deal. Lucky.

I was checking out Joy's site and saw that we were listed on her people/rabbits tagged on our first ever meme. Chubby is still hopping around saying, “Joy loves me, she really loves me.” Whatever.

A meme is a unit of cultural transmission that replicates and mutates. In this particular meme, you take the fifth line of your 23rd blog posting and post it in your blog, tag 5 others to do the same and voila, you have made your me-me a you-you for those lucky five.

I am tagging Dr. B at Meathenge cause he always has something meaty going on.

In Praise of Sardines who also has praise for bunrabs, so we like him.

David Leibowitz a former bay area pastry chef, now in Paris.

Chez Pim who made fabulous chicken satay at the blogger bbq.

The Amateur Gourmet who always has something fun to say.

Lunch was dull looking, yet good sandwiches from Klein's deli. They name them after notable women (that I hope earned on par with their male counterparts.) The Ferraro ($6.50):

... is a sourdough roll filled with salami, roast beef, provolone and pepperocini. The McGinn ($6.25):

...is a sweet baguette with turkey, provolone and pesto.

Klein's Deli
501 Conneticut St.
San Francisco, CA





Tuesday, September 27, 2005

These pretty purple Chinese eggplants were sautéed with bean sauce, red bell peppers and basil. This Pad Ma-kuer ($6.25):

...was good but needed a splash of hot chili sauce (which sits among the condiments on the table) to round it out. This long, shiny, dark vegetable is a far cry from it's off white ancestor that actually looks like an egg (hence the name.)

I like non plant eggs alot too. Whenever I separate egg whites I take out that little twisted cord that anchors the yolk to the center of the egg. It's called a chalazae. It reminds me of those things that fall out of the sky during that babydoll dancing scene in Eraserhead. I guess that's why I don't gobble them down…

Thai House Express
901 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA





Monday, September 26, 2005

The wood burning pizza oven made it too hot to sit inside, so I took my Cannondale Pizza ($12.50):

...to one of the freshly vacated sidewalk tables and dug into my thin-crusted dinner. The middle was made a little wet by the juiciness of the ripe and tasty cherry tomatoes, the thinly sliced salami was nicely peppery and the onions and mozzarella came together to make up for the fact that they had not added the promised basil to my pie. Oh well, it was still good.

They now carry chocolate soft serve ice cream (as well as their Straus vanilla.) I had my cone choco dipped ($3.00):

...and went for a post pizzarandial stroll.

You can check out Chubby’s review of Picco Pizzeria, Picco Restaurant or his newest review, this time of the trendy and oh-so-yummy Medicine Eatstation.

I got some mail from the doc at Meathenge:

Biggles writes:

"In regards to your post about the wasted breakfast, some bland egg and whatnot. Ha ha, that's what you git for reading the newspaper, foo. Remember, ignorance really is bliss.


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Dr. B.,

You are so right. I am actually working on disciplining my mind to be more ignorant. This program is called Kung Foo. My dojo is your dojo.





Sunday, September 25, 2005

Dinner is the most important meal of the day:

Breakfast was a wasted wish. Café Z Epicerie was listed in the SF Chronicles “best bargain bites” for this year and Chubby and I went to check it out this morning. I got the Breakfast Panini Sandwich with ham ($5.50.)

The Ciabatta roll was filled with a bland, overcooked scrambled egg, sliced generic ham and cheese.

Chubby did marginally better
with his Smoked ham (thinly sliced from the same ham loaf as my breakfast) and Gruyere panini ($7.50.):

His had the benefit of Dijon to pep up the shredded radicchio, and tomato. This would have improved with the addition more tomato slices, but it was still just “eh.”

You order at the counter and they give you a pager:

... that talks and vibrates when your order is ready for you to collect. It also doubles as a faux taser or remote while you pass the time waiting for them to overcook your eggs.

Café Z Epicerie
282 Bon Air Center
Greenbrae, CA

Whenever I get a dinner invitation from K & T I know that I’m in for excellent company and food. K is a modern day Indiana Jones and goes to exotic places to excavate not only antiquities, but unearths the best in local cuisine as well.

The Verdolagas con chile verde quesill was fantastic:

Verdolagas is called “purslane” here in the bay area and K buys it at the Berkeley Farmers Market. It’s like mini, thin, tasty cactus leaves – quite delicious. I have never cooked with them myself, but K has also paired them with fresh sliced tomatoes last time I was over and I was knocked out by that combo too.





Saturday, September 24, 2005

Socks and tear gas:

There is a deeply paranoid, nagging feeling that I cannot shake. I can’t remember a time that I have not carried this weight upon my shoulders. Whenever I mail a letter, I am compelled by some uncontrollable force to open the mailbox hatch to be absolutely certain that it hasn’t adhered to the door like a bug on flypaper. Keep in mind, that never in my life have I actually witnessed such an occurrence, nor will I ever. It’s a socially supported version of obsessive compulsive disorder and I’m not the only one who has it.

It’s like I take a crazy pill when I walk up to that blue metal box. The satisfying thud as the door slams shut would catapult an adult goat four feet, yet my brain will not process this simple display of physics. You hear about those people with alien hand disease. I think I just have a mild case. Anyway, I’m going to get this monkey off my back. I’ll start my no peeking mailbox drops with letters, work up to bills and then (gasp) DVD returns to Netflix.

Chubby says that it doesn’t hurt to open the door again, “you’re there anyway and that way you don’t have to worry about it.” He says that he does the mailbox thing all the time and that it’s not a big deal and that if I put too much energy into kicking my door habit, I’ll create more anxiety than I alleviate and I’ll transfer that anxiety into another vice that is waiting to bubble up just below the surface and that sometimes it’s good to share in the common cultural delusions as long as it doesn’t extend to pyramid schemes or religion.

I think he’s insane.

I came across this little shop on O’Farrell:

Check out what Alex considers good gifts. I can finally take socks and tear gas off my Amazon wish list and head straight to Alex’s.





Friday, September 23, 2005

Make a run for the bakery:

While on a shopping trip for Geek supplies at a South of Market venue, I stopped by this nice little taco truck to satisfy my hunger for "real food":

My torta Mexicana “the Missioner’s favorite” ($5):

...looked so promising. Tasty Carne Asada with crema, good quality guac, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, how could it be anything but sublime? Sadly, the bread on which they built this meat house was unsound. The somewhat over-the-hill roll's structure came unbolted to the foundation resulting in a messy sidewalk:

And speaking of sidewalk pizzas. Check out these In N Out Animal Style French fries:


I’d never had them this style before (you know, the way they do the burgers with cheese and the sauce baked in - off their secret menu.) It works for the burgers, but not the fries. I’m not just talking about their regurgitated appearance, they don't taste any better than they look. You know, it’s just a bad idea. Trust me.

La Pachanguera
on Division Street, right outside Best Buy
San Francisco, CA

In N Out Burger
check out Chubby’s review that reveals the hidden religious messages on their packaging.

I got some mail today about a place that I haven't gone to yet:

Papa Seahorse writes:

"Hey there, Gutenberg.

I thought you and Chubby might enjoy a favorite spot in my old neighborhood, a fantastic Lower Haight restaurant called RNM (named after the initials of the owner's father.) It's by far the best restaurant in the Lower Haight, and one of the best in SF. If you stop by, say hi to Justine the owner, who most nights can be found heading up the staff in the open kitchen in back. I'd say please tell her I said hi, only she knew me by another name. Although reservations can sometimes be tough to get, as the place is small, a single diner can usually walk up and get seated at the counter in back, which is by far the best place to sit, as you get to watch Justine and her staff work. (In fact, that's a pretty good tip for tough to get into restaurants in general; solo diners can often get a seat at the counter even when most places are full-up, an added bonus being it's also a good way to get to know the waitstaff and earn status as a regular.) That's it for now.

Your pal,


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Papa Seahorse,

Thanks for the tip. Sounds miles better than my most recent torta and fries debacle.

Stay aquatic,





Thursday, September 22, 2005

I was walking down Larkin Street and came across these cool posters.

Very bunrab friendly. I wonder if this is a herald of good things to come in this little storefront..

You can order your Rare beef pho with the rare beef on the side.

That way, the meat only cooks in the hot broth for an instant before you slurp it up with the rice noodles and broth. Very delicious.

I like going into Turtle Tower as a solo diner because they ask you to share your table and you get to check out the slurping techniques of some serious noodle eaters. You get to see some masterful two handed eating (the spoon in one hand working in concert with the chopsticks in the other.)

Strong Vietnamese coffee drips over a thick layer of condensed milk in the pre-Starbucks version of a frappiccino. A good sweet kick for after a real pho lunch (all for under 9 bucks.)
If you don’t speak Vietnamese here, you are definitely in the minority. It’s not a tourist spot.

Turtle Tower
631 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA




Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The guy that hangs out in front of this tree:

told me that it fell over during a storm and the lady that owns the incense store down the street did this carving after fending off the City's tree removal thugs. It's too hippy for me, but I like the idea of it.

I prefer the name of this restaurant to yesterday's although I'm not sure what the monkey reference is about (not that it needs to be about anything I guess…) When you name your restaurant something unusual, you are then sentenced to an eternity of parroting the same answer to the same question, over and over and over. It's better to name your restaurant “Chicken and Waffles” or “Meaty burgers” than “Thai Stick 4.0”

Grilled Pork with Mango Salad and Sticky Rice ($10.95.):

Flavorful slices of tender piggy rested on their cushion of shredded cabbage. The mango salad and sweet/sour dipping sauce made for a nice counterpoint and the steamy sticky rice did it's job of soaking up all the juices. This dish could have used a bit of a caliente kick. Maybe I'll ask them to turn up the heat next time.

Koh Samui and the Monkey
415 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA




Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I have been weary about trying Thai Stick 4.0 but took the plunge today and had Pad Thai with prawns and broccoli ($8.95.):

The rice noodles in tamarind sauce , tofu, ground peanuts and nice crispy sprouts combined to make a normal, garden variety Pad Thai (if you have a magical garden that grows thai entrees.)

What perplexes me about Thai Stick 4.0 is it's name. Is it a software version of a high quality depressant? Can I upgrade my Pad Thai to the next version if it has too many bugs or crashes?

I've noticed that Asian restaurants in the Tenderloin that have televisions put them on the Animal Planet channel so that diners watch raccoons perform wacky antics.

I guess it makes sense. Not only do all the shows on this channel work without sound, they are kid friendly and may accidentally help you decide on what kind of meat to order.


Thai Stick 4.0
925 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA




Monday, September 19, 2005


I heard zero people talking like a pirate today. I'm guessing that this will take a while to become popular in the Tenderloin..come to think of it, some winos sound like pirates naturally. I'm glad it hasn't caught on in the little Vietnamese shops, it would be disconcerting to hear, “ahoy matie, sandwiches?”

Lunch in front of the computer again. I called the old standby Thai House Express. I was going to get their Duck Noodle Soup but it was too sunny, so I got the Kao Na Ped Pa-lo instead (aka five spice duck - $7.50.):

Tender with nicely fatty skin, the juices oozing into the rice below topped with some cilantro sprigs and some slices of cucumber to break up the duck fat on your tongue. It was just ducky, but not as cravable as the Pad Kee-Mao last week.

Thai House Express
901 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA

What marketing whiz came up with this advertising campaign:

...and what planet do they live on and can they please stay there?? Not only does this suggest that our craving for ice cream can be assuaged by some healthy legumes (a scientifically proven, physical impossibility) but it suggests that a billboard will get us all pepped up about doing so. I have one thing to say to the twisted mind that extruded this advertisement for crazy - no ice cream for you!





Sunday, September 18, 2005

Look who I came across in a car parked near mine.

Who knew SB was so trendy that he's participating in talk like a pirate day …a day early? I told him about his scheduling faux pas, and all he said was “Aaarrrrr.”

I had given the Left Bank a rest after some “eh” meals, but I decided to sate my burger craving there this evening:

The burger with blue (or as they say “bleu”) cheese was pretty good ($9.75 + $1.00 for cheese.) It's made with Dakota organic beef that is ground to a nice texture and cooked (as requested) to a lovely medium rare. The bun stood up well to the juices from the meat and slices to tomato (strangely there were no lettuce leaves with this dish.) I ordered my fries (or as they say “frites”) “extra crispy” which made them extra good. I'll have to bring Chubby back here soon.

Left Bank
507 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA


Chubby got some mail from Sandra K. today:

Sandra K writes:

"Aaarrrgghhh!!!! I want to cry when I viewed your site,got your link from Tenesee Reid. *sob sob sob* So much beautiful food pics and the descriptions...Whhoooaaa!!! That does it! I'm going on a food holiday next round! Gaaaa,lunchtime just doesn't come fast enough!!! *.* *goes and cries some more* "

Chubby replies:

Dear Sandra,

You sound seriously passionate about food n' stuff. Thanks for the enthusiastic praise.

Your pal,






Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kit Kat Kar-leidoscope:

They put these cool kaleidoscopes in the newly repaved area in SF.

You can check out a trippy view of the traffic while you wait at the crosswalk for the light to change. When I see something like this I am relieved that tax dollars are actually doing something interesting.

I was addicted to the limited edition dark chocolate Kit Kats, so when I spotted these coffee ones I did not hesitate to grab a stack.

What a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, I know ghetto chocolate isn’t supposed to be good, but it IS supposed to satisfy the inner rabbit. Unfortunately, it was too sweet and too imitation coffee-y.

The reason why they don’t make the limited edition versions of Kit Kats available with any sort of regularity, is that the marketing execs found that they would create competition with their base product and that by generating a false premium on a new item sales would go up and to the right (not unlike how Disney releases and withdraws DVDs from the market to create a feeding frenzy.) I hate being a pawn in this sick candy bar and DVD chess game, but I my frailties feed right into the corporate strategies aligned to drain me of all self control and fall into the sugar driven, mind numbing, consumerism that I simultaneously despise but am powerless to defeat, as it is my personal kryptonite.

Chubby said that I shouldn’t eat so much bad candy because it makes me, “creepy to be around” and he went to the Ferry Building Farmers Market to get a slab of fruit crisp ($3.75):

... from Frog Hollow Farms which he greedily devoured without leaving any leftovers to share with “others.” I am hoping that my food luck with turn around tomorrow.





Friday, September 16, 2005

Faked out again Cha Ca Chien $2.25:

Well, they looked to me like chocolate chip cookies and they share the same initials too (CCC) so I pulled one out of the basket. Hmmm, it's a little limp and the plastic is a little greasy feeling. I take it to the counter of the Vietnamese shop and say, “cookie?” She suppresses a laugh and says, “fish cake.” Hmmm.. doesn't sound like a good dessert to me.

This melon cake ($2.50):

...was 100% fish free. A flaky, light pastry encases a faintly sweetened winter melon filling. Much better than eating a greasy fish patty. Golden Gate Bakery saves the day.

Check out Chubby's page about shopping at Golden Gate Bakery here.






Thursday, September 15, 2005

A day of fake outs:

I thought that it was time that I checked out this Vietnamese “sandwich” shop on Larkin:

I went in expecting the official greeting of the Banh Mi shop owners: “sandwiches?” Nothing. I walked towards the counter. Still nothing. I looked at the lady behind the counter and gave an unsure, “uh..sandwiches?” She replied, “No, no, sandwiches.” I took a look around and figured that they sold cartons of cigarettes as their cash cow.

Down the street I went to Baguette Express for a Xiu Mai Banh Mi. (pork meatball sandwich $2.25.):

Although good, the sauce on the pork was a little too sweet and slightly too mushy for me although the crunch of the shredded carrot, cucumber, jalapeno and freshness of the cilantro pepped it up. I prefer the pork meatball banh mi at Hoang Dat that I had earlier this week.

I grabbed this can out of the cooler because it said, “ with meat.”

A drink with meat? How cool is that? Well, upon closer examination, it didn't really contain any animal flesh, just logan's juice ($1.) I'd never had this before, it was slightly sweet tasting like a hybrid of iced tea and fruit juice, with big bits of logan sinking to the bottom.

Dessert was Banh Chuoi ($1.25):

... which is what you would get if you imagined a slightly doughy, banana, tapioca jello with a dense, coconut dipping sauce. Very tasty (if you are in that kind of a mood.) They get their desserts from Hung Phat (hey, I didn't name the place) on Jones Street.

Baguette Express
668 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA

Chubby got some mail from Susan R. today:

She describes herself as a, “Long time Mill Valley resident who enjoys the wide variety of Bay Area restaurants and never eats rabbit.”

Susan R. writes:

"Dear Chubby,

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your website. I've decided to try several new restaurants after reading your reviews. Your photos are particularly helpful in giving me a feel for both the restaurant and the food. Best of all, we seem to have similar taste in food and look for the same kinds of qualities in the places we choose to eat. Thanks a bunch! "


Chubby replies:

Dear Susan,

I think that you start to taste food when you look at it. I'm glad that you are finding the pictures enticing enough (or repellent enough, depending on the dish) to help in your dining decisions. Thanks for your kind note and for not eating those of the lagomorph persuasion.

Your pal,





Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thai House Express to the rescue:

I needed food and fast. I called T.H.E. and minutes later, when I popped in, voila. Lunch was bagged and ready to go.

Por-Pier Pak ($5.95):

These crisp, deep fried, vegetarian egg rolls are stuffed with silver noodles, carrot and mushrooms. The sweet and sour dipping sauce is confettied with red pepper flakes. I made short work of these tasty cigars.

Pad Kee-Mao ($6.95):

You get to choose among beef, pork, shrimp, combo seafood or chicken. I chose beef and I’m glad I did. Generous slices of tasty cow, peppers, onions, tomatoes, Chinese broccoli and wilted basil leaves mixed with pan fried rice noodles made for good eatin. Definitely a fetish food.

Thai House Express
901 Larkin St
San Francisco, Ca

Chubby was jealous that he had to miss out on the tasty noodle dish from one of his regular Tenderloin haunts. You can check out his Thai House Express review here.

He was also busy lounging around over the Bay in Tiburon watching the tourists taking the ferries in and out from San Francisco. Check out his latest review of Guaymas.


I got some mail from Gully F. today:

"Hey there, Gutenberg.

Love the site. Have you yet encountered the dining-in-the-pitch-dark fad that is supposedly sweeping Europe? It's recently sprouted down here in L.A., and is apparently on its way to your neck of the woods soon. The following site may at first strike you as tongue-in-cheek, but is apparently not: http://www.opaque-events.com/ I'd be interested to learn your thoughts on the matter.

Your fan,


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Gully,

As a rabbit, I have been eating in the dark for years. I highly recommend it. Not only are your taste buds more focused, you don’t have to worry about parsley in your teeth.

This is going to have great appeal to underage drinkers, illicit liasoners, Tyler Durden and the bashful.

Your pal,






Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The San Francisco Airport is broken. If you go there to collect a passenger on an arriving flight, there is no intuitive place to meet them. You aren’t allowed to go to the gate. You can go to baggage claim but they may not have checked items. The answer is that you have to go halfway up a stairway that allows you a far view the mob marching towards the exits and wave down your party from several hundred feet away like a crazed fan. It’s seriously undignified.

While I was waiting to lose my dignity, I checked out their cool vending machine. I have never seen one with both toothpaste and iPods before. Cool.

Ward Street Café opened up recently in the space formerly known as Magnolia Café (which was “eh”.) The new owner is nice and they didn’t change the space much.

I asked the server what his favorite dish on the menu was. He said “the Argentina” ($10.95):

...which is a grilled skirt steak, sliced and sandwiched with lettuce and slices of tomato in foccacia spread with chimichuri sauce. This was just fine but I was surprised at how they served the side salad. It was more overdressed than Elton John at a AA meeting in the Tenderloin on casual Friday.

To be fair, it’s new. I still want to check out their Turkish style scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Maybe I’ll take Chubby to check it out.

Ward Street Café
25 Ward Street
Larkspur, CA



Monday, September 12, 2005

I have a love/hate thing with NPR. The hate part is that I feel that they are trying to deceive me. It’s pledge time so it’s the usual drone of “we have a challenge grant of $500 from Microsoft and we’d hate to send the money back.” Yeah, I really believe that Microsoft is going to ask for their $500 back. That would be excellent PR for them.

Yes, I do on occasion send a buck or two to those manipulative, grey area, bend-the-language-to-make-you-feel-like-the-placebo-is-working, voice a genic, word jockeys. But I wish they would do something original during the pledge drives. How about stating with authority “if your name is Mike call in and give is $10 now”

I returned to Hoang Dat again today to check out their pork meatball sandwich (aka Xiu Mai Banh Mi $2.75.):

This was mighty good. The plump onion studded pork balls are stuffed in the roll with shredded carrot, cucumber, cilantro, scallion and jalapenos. They hollow out the roll a bit to make a nice balance of flavors.

The grass jelly drink ($1.25):

...tastes like flat cola with bits of coke jello floating in it. I like this too (but it wasn’t as cool as the basil drink last week.)

The green bean dessert ($1.25):

was a simple syrup with little beans bathing in it. I liked it in a weird sort of way, but it doesn’t rank as high as a chocolate chip cookie in my book.

Hoang Dat
930 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA

Chubby went out for some fresh air and ended up at Oola. Check out his latest review.




Sunday, September 11, 2005

Dinner was a Blue Cheeseburger ($11.70) at Yankee Pier. One of my favorite dinners is a tasty cheeseburger washed down with a glass of red wine. Simple, satisfying and a good one is not as easy to come by as I would like.

I have to remember not to sit at the end of the counter by the kitchen door. Servers haul ass and the door bangs against the counter next to you (mind your hands and feet), your stool also gets bumped a lot by the rushed staff. I think that any architect who designs an eatery should be required to work in one for a couple of weeks. Check out the workspaces in Café Fanny or Pizzeria Picco. They both look great, but it’s a trick to circulate the food and personnel. Form definitely does not follow function. Form follows fashion.





Saturday, September 10, 2005

Most people are Chinese. I confirmed this today at the San Francisco Moon Festival:

It’s like a mosh pit and Chinese Thanksgiving rolled into one, but instead of turkey the food of choice in the moon cake.

Moon cakes are pastry encased, slightly sweet confections:

I queued in the line at the Golden Gate Bakery for almost an hour. It was time well spent people watching.

I finally made it the the front and ordered my assorted box of four.You get a choice of no yolk, one yolk or two yolk centers. I chose one yolk on each:

I got a white lotus seed paste ($5.95) Plain lotus seed paste ($5.25), Black bean paste ($$4.50) and a Coconut ($5.95). They were all good but I liked the White lotus and the coconut ones the best.

The yolk inside is bright orange. salty and slightly crumbly:

If you aren’t expecting it, you may freak out when you get to the center of these heavy pastries.

You might think that this sounds a little pricey for the bakery famous for it’s 95¢ egg custard tarts (yum) but when you consider the preparation that goes into these, it makes sense. The coconut one is filled with blanched almonds, macadamias and shreds of coconut with the yolk carefully placed dead center. The ornate pastry design molded on the top and the fluted baking forms make these pretty specialized. And they use their special holiday box (instead of the usual pink generic one.)

I wouldn’t have invested this much time to get these if it weren’t for the celebration of the Autumnal Equinox. You know, it’s like how you wouldn’t jam tangerines in your socks except on Christmas.

Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, CA


Friday, September 9, 2005


That’s the greeting you hear in the banh mi places in the Tenderloin instead of “hello”.

I had been reluctant to try this little place:

...in the past because I never spotted anyone inside. I am comforted when I see the line at Saigon Sandwiches or Wrap Delight. I mean, lines = turnover = fresh right?

Well, this was a fresh tasting curled pork sandwich (Thit Do Bachi):

even though there was no line. The pork is more of a flavoring element than a major player in this tasty sandwich. It is filled with the usual grated carrot, cilantro, jalapenos, cucumber and green onion. The fresh bread has a crisp exterior and is spread with pate on one side and what I think is margarine on the other. I think I’ll ask for it without the margariney stuff next time, just cause I’m not into transfats when I can avoid them. Even so, it was very good and only $2.50 (which is kind of the going rate round these parts.)

My bevarage was the coolest thing ever:

You look into you cup and a million eyeballs are staring back at you. Basil seed drink is surprisingly good. Next time I’ll shake it before I open the can so that the seeds don’t come out in a mucussy stream after the watery bit, but don’t let that put you off. It’s mildly sweetened with honey and sugar, they put some banana flavor in too, but just a touch. The texture of the little seeds is good, jelly like with a firm seed middle. I’ll be getting this again.

Dessert was a cup of sweetened rice balls in alcohol called Comroui. I can’t tell you what kind of alcohol, but I’m guessing it is a rocket fuel of some sort. Eating this is like having space food. It’s your main course, dessert and drink all in one. You put this in your mouth and it feels effervescent, alcoholic and like you’ve dropped your rice cake into your glass of wine and don’t want to waste it. This is not my thing, but I can’t complain when the grand total for lunch was five dollars.

The person behind the counter was very nice and helped me to understand the menu which is for Vietnamese speaking clientele. He spoke very little English so he held up the items and waited for me to nod. They don’t have chicken as an option unlike the shops on Larkin, but they do have some other interesting looking things. I’ll definitely be back to scope them out and have the green dessert that I didn’t get to today.

Hoang Dat
930 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA


Thursday, September 8, 2005

Lunch was Nuer Ka-na without the Nuer (beef) and with Gai (chicken) instead ($6.95.):

The chicken resembles little hamster fetuses, which would probaby be a bonus if you're a David Lynch fan... It was good belly ballast, but not the most delicious thing to order at Thai House Express. It’s my own fault, if I stick to their menu and don’t get all crazy with the requests they know what to do. Lesson learned. You can check out Chubby’s review if you want to see a better version of their chow.

Thai House Express
901 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

I got some mail today about yesterday’s Lotus Indian Cuisine post:

Bruce L writes:


saw the review of Lotus today and suggested to my wife she should try it. The lunch buffet was nice but the price wasn't $7.45. They charged $9.75. My theory is they read your review first thing this morning and it went to their heads. You have clout.

-Bruce L."


Gutenberg replies:

Dear Bruce,

Your email made me drunk with power. I called Lotus to investigate. Is it true? Are they gouging on the buffet due to the bunrab readers creating a flashmob of plate wielding, tamarind sauce lovin’, tandoori fanatics?

The fellow on the phone told me that they charge $7.45 Monday thru Saturday and $8.95 on Sundays.

So I guess my plan for world domination has not yet fully engaged….bummer.

Sounds like it could be a math error on the bill unless there was some sort of fancy beverage order in the mix..

Stay clouty,





Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Usually, when restaurants are concerned, “All you can eat” translates into “All you can stand” but this isn’t true at Lotus Cuisine of India. They make a fine buffet.

Not only do they have the usual breads and festively pink tandoori chicken, they do an okra dish, have a variety of wonderful sauces, grain salad and garbanzo salad. A great deal and tasty too. For $7.45 it’s the most fun lunch in San Rafael.

Lotus Cuisine of India
704 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA






Tuesday, September 6, 2005

I knew we were in bad shape when our delayed flight took off at the time that our connecting flight did in Denver. This meant taking the late flight back to the Bay Area. Chubby and Eyeball slept most of the way, but I stayed up and marveled at the anti-terrorist snack.

You get 2 sturdy metal forks, a metal spoon and a plastic knife. The plastic knife is fine with the wedge of soft cheese, but you can forget about cutting the hard one with it. Are butter knives that much of a threat? If so, why not make all the flatware plastic instead of highlighting the ridiculousness of the utensil mismatch?

And what is up with this stuffed bear they put in the terminal with a United Airlines uniform?

Is this some sort of anti-terrorist scarecrow or another flight attendant trying to get dooced?

Today’s five spice chicken ($5.89):

made up for my “vegetarian” chicken last week. I called in my order at Vietnam 2 and they had it ready to take away minutes later, when I arrived. It’s nicely charred exterior and five spice rubbed skin was tasty over the metric ton of rice that you get with this dish. It’s not as wonderfully addictive as their catfish hotpot, but it’s just the thing if you are in a fowl mood.

Vietnam 2
701 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

I have decided that the Vietnamese restaurants in the Tenderloin like to use tomatoes like curly parsley. You know, it’s just there to visually balance out the plate and should be treated like those green plastic sushi hedges they put in your supermaket maki boxes.

It’s important to work through lunch on the day after Labor Day. You have to build up all that lost momentum and reflect on how goofy the name of your last day off was.

I got a message about my meal at Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant last week:

Dr. Biggles writes:

"Dear Gutenberg,

Hey, on that Vegetarian restaurant post with the fancy (I mean, rank) Gourmet Chicken post. Don't be put off by that vegetarian meal, it was clearly not up to par. I know you've been eating good vegetarian meals for years, but not me. I know, shock. It's only recently, this year, that I've taken to making a vegetarian dish from time to time. Here's one of my first attempts, Vegetarian Mushroom Soup: This was one of the tastiest things I've made in a long, long time. Between the smoked paprika, creme fraiche and lamb sausage, how can you miss?

- Biggles"

Gutenberg replies:

Dear Dr. Biggles,

That looks seriously tasty. Mmmmm sausage. Is that Vegan too?



   Monday, September 5, 2005 

I walk the line:

In the film that I just saw by that name, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon deliver good performances in which they occupy the lives of the late countries stars Johnny Cash and June Carter. This musical biopic is aimed less at casual observers (like me)and more at hungry fans.

I thought it was kind of wacky that they made no mention of the television show that brought Johnny Cash into the front rooms of America. Whatever. I can't say that it's a must see unless you are a hardcore admirer of the man in black.

Speaking of walking the line:

that is how I spend a good quarter of my time in Telluride. About an
hour before a show, it's time to queue up and have interesting film discussions with my insta-movie-friends. It's a nice break from the keep-your-guard-up attitude in the City. Usually you get some good tips on which films to seek out (or avoid.)

On the last day of the festival, there's a big BBQ:

 Inevitably, I run into all the people I know
from San Francisco and catch up there.

Eyeball went back to his favorite food-on-the-go place:

This gyro stand is always located in front
of the Able Gance open air cinema and serves up a tasty meal pronto.

Chubby went to B.I.T. (Baked in Telluride) for his usual apple fritter:

These fat bombs are ugly
yet delectable with chunks of apple mingling with an alternately crispy and cakey dough with a sugar glaze. I think it's good we're flying back today.

These are just plain bad for Chubby to be around.


   Sunday, September 4, 2005

Fateless is the best film so far. Not only are the characters fully realized in their Holocaust setting, but the cinematography is breathtaking. Eyeball was particularly impressed by the use of color. The palette narrows for the oppressive concentration camp scenes and evolves in support of the emotional progression of the characters.

They have a cool venue here that they named after an associate of Bugs':

I particularly like the ears. The Telluride Film Festival knows how to give props to BRs.

Food on the run is the only way to go here. B.I.T. (Aka Baked in Telluride) is my regular stop. They make a decent pizza:

(they were out of the meat one, so I ordered the Thai chicken) I wonder if the Asian Bird Flu epidemic association effects sales... A beef taco for Eyeball and we were off and running (with some of their cookies too – and not that hydrogenated fat stuff – real butter goes in their baked goods.) There's also a wiener venue called "Hot Diggity" that makes a well-decorated hot dog:

We also saw an Iranian film called Iron Island that takes place on a sinking ship. It didn't float my boat, but Eyeball said that it's “Relevant given the current political climate and serves as a metaphor for the status of the greybeard theocracy of Iran.” Whatever. I did think it was a cool, but there were holes in the storytelling that you could drive a cruise ship through.

Paradise Now is a film set in the West Bank under Israeli occupation. This is a must see. You are transported into the life of two young men who are recruited as suicide bombers. I haven't experienced a film in this way since that nitroglycerine trucking picture, Wages of Fear (not because they are all cruising around with explosives, but because you enter their lives to see what makes them (NPI) tick.

Chubby says it's crazy to go to 5 movies a day and is spending his time enjoying the mountain backdrop and hanging in the hotel hot tub with B.I.T.'s apple fritters and cast off copies of Variety.


 Saturday, September 3, 2005

Much apologies for the lack of an entry yesterday. I was up 'till after 2 and my eyes had smoke coming out of their sockets. I know that excuses are stupid, but here's the story:

I try to catch a bunch of films on Labor Day weekend in the little town of Telluride, Colorado:

So far I've seen Phillip Seymour Hoffman deliver a Oscar nom. Worthy performance in Capote. Sadly, the pacing of the film lags, but PSH is so good it helps make up for it.

Conversations with Other Women stars Helena Bonham-Carter and is a film entirely in split screen. She's good but this is a little too gimmick based to me (although they do a good job in the execution, it gets a little heavy for me stylistically.)

Edmond is a film that feels a little sluggish, but is made interesting by a fantastic performance by William H. Macy.

One thing I love about coming out here is that you have to endure a bit of airport food. This definitely increases my appreciation of the good chow that is normally steps away. You are a captive audience to culinary wonders such as this breakfast bagel. Somehow they manage to take the simplest of ingredients and screw all of them up. Bad bread, ham and these “eggs” which are really not eggs at all, but some chemical effluent from an industrial tub:

The last film that I've seen here, or rather half a film (I walked out) is called Three Times is a Taiwanese picture that isn't 3 times, but about 30 times too long for its content, which consists of practically nothing. This film makes yesterday's bagel look like a chef's menu at the French Laundry. I'm sure that there are some crazed super-geniuses at the festival that think that it's the ultimate in cinema and is much better than the more “conventional” movies that actually say something and have things happen in them, but they only think so because their heads are up their asses.

Telluride has some good food but it ain't the Bay Area. I like to grab something quick and eat it in the ever-present festival lines. Standing in lines is one of the most fun aspects of the festival, but since typing in line isn't one of the funnest parts (and I'm doing that now) we can talk about that tomorrow.


   Thursday, September 1, 2005

I thought I’d check out a vegetarian restaurant for lunch today. I have walked by this place a million times and thought it was time I went in.

As I was being seated, I asked the waitress to recommend something unique and exotic.

“the gourmet chicken”

“hmm. I was thinking about something a little more unusual”

“gourmet chicken”

“is that what you consider your tastiest dish?”


“Okay, I’ll have the chicken then”

You have to understand that I was a little perplexed to get a recco of a dish with meat. I mean, it all the signage and menus say “vegetarian” but after looking at the menu, I found that chickens and fish fall under their definition.

Well, the gourmet chicken ($7.25):

...was thinly sliced chicken with pepper flakes and lemongrass wok fried and served up with a iceberg, tomato and cucumber salad and a mound of broken rice topped with sautéed scallions. Well at least now I know how gourmets like their chicken.

I hadn’t had broken rice before. It’s rice that is broken (hence the name) sort of like the couscous of rice.

They would make more money if they asked if you would like a beverage. I guess I should be thankful for not being subjected to the hard sell. She automatically brought a glass of tepid water. Tepid water is actually not all that bad it went well with the abandoned restaurant vibe:.

I don’t think I’ll rush back for more chicken anytime soon.

Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant
572 O’Farrell
San Francisco, CA





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