Missing chickens -- but plucking up the Old Clam House
CHEAP EATS I keep buying little plants and killing them. This makes me miss chickens, which are, in my experience, both easier to keep alive and more gratifying to kill. Now that they come from the grocery store, I cook more chickens than ever. Therefore, I would like to have fresh herbs in my kitchen. Therefore, I keep buying these little plants.
And killing them.
Luck would have it, I was in New Orleans when the 49ers beat the Saints. Did you see that? Both Coach and Wayway, with whom I was in constant textual contact that day, described hoots, honks, and general happiness in our neighborhood here. And that was before kick-off! I can imagine what it was like after.
Here there was dead-ass silence for a change. Except me and Hedgehog, who were writhing and screaming on our leather couch in front of our 50-inch flat screen plasmatic TV. Until we both wet our pants and had to jump in our Jacuzzi bathtub.
By our I mean someone else's.
Except the pants.
Next day on KCBS John Madden called it the best game he ever saw — which is saying something, as he's seen a lot of games. Me, I am not so prone to hyperbole. Either that or I am journalismically challenged by the old-fashionedest of lag times between my opinion of Things and publication. (Don't worry; as we speak, Hedgehog is teaching me how to twit.)
Well, whatever happens(ed) with the rest of this football season, I want you to know where I'll be watching the games next season, since in real life I don't even own a TV, let alone a big flat plasmatic one .. .
At my new favorite restaurant: The Old Clam House!
Twenty-two years I've been living in and around this city, and for exactly that long have I been meaning to eat at The Old Clam House. It's the oldest restaurant in San Francisco! In the same location! Since 1861!
To give you some idea of how long ago that is, think of it like this: 151 years.
Considering what all has gone down since then — the big earthquake, the other one, and Donte Whitner's hit on Pierre Thomas — it's amazing that even some of the Clam House is still standing. But the bar area is original, according to them. And from the photos you can tell that it is.
So that was where we sat. Checkerboard floor, wood trim, old-fangled ceiling tiles, and the Niners game on TV. Mind you, I had just played football, over at Crocker Amazon, so I probably didn't smell very pretty. Or look nice.
In fact I was starving, cold, and frazzled. And my hamstring was gone, so I had to sit on ice. We ordered clams paella acini and Swiss chard with onions and bacon, and Hedgehog ordered something stiff to drink, because as hard as it is to play on my football team, I think it's even harder to watch.
The paella was delicious, and in an unusual way: cioppino sauce, sausage, olives, cheddar cheese. And acini are little tiny pastas, between couscous and orzo. We'd have preferred rice, but it was good this way too. The clams were good, and plentiful, the sausage so-so, and the Swiss chard of course was great. (Bacon.)
As for the bread and butter, besides being pretty good breads and butters, I like it that they tell you on the menu not only where the bread comes from, but where the butter comes from: Acme and Strauss, respectively.
Butter does matter.
My favorite touch, however, was the little glass of warm clam broth with onions that they brought to our table first. That was a yummy, warming treat, and a very nice touch.
Plus I ordered a Coke and it came in a carafe.
But listen up, Mr. Madden: I totally agree. And for more up-to-date (and shorter) musings on sports, food, and Things, you can henceforth tweeter me at @lechickenfarmer. *
THE OLD CLAM HOUSE
Daily: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
299 Bayshore Blvd., SF.