Food & Drink

The magic number

A better use for "43"
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The magic number

"Forty-three" — as in Bush 43, as distinguished from Bush 41, a.k.a. Poppy — is a number that will live in infamy, for reasons I need hardly mention. And 41, father of disastrous 43, isn't likely to do much better. On the other hand, 41 can't claim to be part of the name of a fabulous liqueur, while 43 can. Read more »

Socked and odd

Lombardi's
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Sockywonk's sister Sisterwonk made Socky a sock monkey with multiple piercings and horns, so she named it after herself. She named it Socky. Now I have to call Sockywonk "Wonk" for short, to avoid confusion. Read more »

Elisa's Cafe and L's Caffe

One F or two?
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paulr@sfbg.com

No matter how you prefer to spell café — or caffe, or even cafe — you probably have a favorite one. Haunting a particular café is a prerogative of city dwelling, and in a coffee-involved city like ours, the possible forums for such socially acceptable loitering are vast, even including places that don't have espresso machines. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Cafés, you see, don't have to be about coffee, really, though most serve it in some form and some serve it in many forms. Read more »

Heaven's kitchen

A Mendocino idyll --minus the scorpions
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As an unreconstructed autocrat of the kitchen, I was surprised to discover recently that two cooks working in the same space need not sting each other to death, like scorpions in a bottle — even if one of them is me. It helps, of course, if the space is adequate and the cooks have agreed beforehand as to who is making what. Read more »

Switching sides

One word: beets
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS The whole time that Earl Butter was with us, from New Hampshire to New York to Michigan, there was something I wanted to ask him but couldn't quite put into words. That is, until he and Phenomenon hugged me good-bye and drove away, leaving me, at 44 years old, for my first time ever at camp.

Then, as soon as it was too late, the fog lifted from my sentence and the wording was clear and succinct: "How do I learn hopelessness?" Huh? Help me. Read more »

Sudachi

The way to cook, or not
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paulr@sfbg.com

Trends fade, except when they don't — and then you have hip. Sushi is hip food; its appeal to the cognoscenti is perennial. Tapas (a.k.a. small plates, little plates, or shareable plates) have been a trend for quite a number of years now and have assumed all sorts of ethnic guises while their claim to permanence has strengthened. At Sudachi, a new restaurant on Sutter Street at the edge of a still-sketchy run of Polk Street, the tapas appear in Asian guise: Eurasian fusion on a small scale. Read more »

The pleasure principle

Cruelty-free gourmet
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Gourmet is a word that almost visibly oozes pretentiousness, but if we are to believe the writer B.R. Myers, it also carries an implication of moral obtuseness. Myers is the contrarian whose 2001 Atlantic piece "A Reader's Manifesto" pointed out that many of our most lauded writers are in fact bad writers and frauds; he is, in other words, a bold debunker of received wisdom, and his current piece, "Hard to Swallow" (in the September 2007 Atlantic), takes a demolitionist's view of our epoch's uncritical celebration of gastronomy. Read more »

Butterfly bride

Tortas El Primo
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS There was a man on a tractor talking to a man who wasn't on a tractor. There were a boy and a girl by the road, in the grass, playing with something in a bucket. There were two men going into a broken down building. There was a woman sitting on her porch steps looking at her hands.

I didn't cry at the wedding, but the next night I came home from a next-night barbecue, closed the door to my room, and Patsy Clined into a saucy puddle on the bed. Read more »

Jang Soo BBQ

Tongs: a study in indispensability
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paulr@sfbg.com

You won't find kimchee mousse on the menu at Jang Soo BBQ, but that's not a criticism, since you probably won't find it on any menu in town. Korean cooking, despite its many charms — could it be the most winning of the spicy cuisines? — has so far resisted the dressing-up that has given a Cali-French gloss to food traditions from around the globe. If you're eating Korean food here, you're almost certainly in a traditional Korean barbecue joint, with a grill (charcoal or gas, lighted or not) in the middle of your table. Read more »

Cousin, cuisine

Eat This! 1001 Things to Eat before You Diet
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Given the state of English food, it should not surprise us that English food writers are either embittered and caustic or looking for a way out of their mildewed isles. In the latter group we find Ian Jackman, who hopped the pond hither 15 years ago and has now published a book, Eat This! 1001 Things to Eat before You Diet (Harper, $14.95 paper). Read more »