Food & Drink

David's Kitchen

The magic pan
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paulr@sfbg.com

In the kitchen of David's Kitchen, a tiny restaurant in the Sunset, you will find David. The kitchen is of the semiexhibition sort, viewable from the snug dining room through a rectangular aperture that looks as if it once might have housed a picture window or maybe a large plasma flat-screen television. Was this space once home to a sports bar? David is David Chang, a native of China who opened the place with his wife, Terri, about four years ago. Read more »

Disorientation

Route 1 Diner
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS The closest chicken fried steak to my shack is at the Route 1 Diner in Valley Ford. You probably know it, if you've ever been to Bodega Bay. And if not, what the fuck? The Sonoma coast has the prettiest beaches in the world. Surfers don't like it because they get eaten by sharks, but, other than that ...

Anyway, I'm not a beach reviewer.

Two chickens, like I said. That's all the chickens I have left is two chickens. One lays eggs, and the other one eats them. Or: tough times for a chicken farmer. Read more »

Eyes on the prize

Forking up a Pulitzer
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The recent news that a food writer from Los Angeles won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism puts us on notice that food writing at its best is an art form - also that LA is a serious food town, loath though we may be to admit it. The southland has access to all sorts of local agricultural bounty, a nearby wine country (in Santa Barbara County), and a polyglot population that represents much of the world. It also has something we don't have - an international border just miles away, with a genuinely different culture on the other side. Read more »

Piccino Cafe

Speck and sexy
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> paulr@sfbg.com

Although restaurants can be, and often are described as being, sexy, they aren't really sexy in that way, the people way. So far as we know, and for reasons that I need not get into, they don't actually indulge. Which means that Piccino Cafe, a petite jewel of a restaurant that opened a few months ago on a quiet Dogpatch side street between the furies of I-280 and Third Street, cannot be the love child of, say, Universal Cafe and A16. Read more »

Homecoming

Casa Mexicana
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CHEAP EATS There's only one thing in my refrigerator, and nothing at all in the nest. It's come to this, then: two chickens left, and one of them has developed a taste for eggs.

Two weeks ago today when I flapped my wings (venison lasagna + Ativan = liftoff, plus or minus an airplane ticket), I never felt more like I needed a vacation from my life. And yesterday evening, upon touching down again at SFO, I burst into tears, grateful to be not only alive on Earth, but alive in my exact life. And dying to see Sockywonk and Weirdo the Cat and my newest and littlest love, Z.Z. Read more »

Scott Howard

The men's club
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> paulr@sfbg.com

As an aficionado of the men's-club look, I was swept into Scott Howard as if into some beautiful dream. Beyond the set of fluttering drapes that shield the host's station from errant breezes blowing near the front door lies a world of coffee- and tea-colored wood (floor, table and chairs, wall trim), gently dim lighting, a slightly sunken floor like that of some kind of arena, and a brilliantly backlit bar standing against one wall like a sentinel.

But ... Read more »

Sympathy for the (she) devil

South Pacific Island Restaurant
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> le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS They don't have kickoffs. They just start the game. It was the Lexington Club Bruisers vs. the Diablas, and we were the only two people in the stands. Again. Me and Twinkle Wonderkid.

Crocker Amazon. The weather: football weather, foggy and freezing ... I had every intention in the world of rooting for the Bruisers. I don't know, the Lexington Club just kind of feels like the home team to me. Plus I like the pink shirts.

However, there was a lot more pink on the field than there was blue. Read more »

The importance of being imported

Appreciating Portugese wine
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If you think of Mateus or Lancer's when you think of Portuguese wine, then you may soon be thinking anew. Portugal's food and wines have been overshadowed by those of Spain, its larger Iberian neighbor, over the last generation or so, but the Portuguese viticultural tradition has its roots in Roman times and produces wines that compare favorably with any in the world. Read more »

El pollo greco

The wonders of Athenian chicken
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Herbs tell stories, and the association of certain herbs with certain experiences can be specific and powerful. Basil, for instance, is summer and tomatoes, while sage is Thanksgiving and bread stuffing. Oregano? Its strong perfume is the smell of pizza — but it's also Greek. It is, in particular, the herb that gives Athenian or Greek chicken its bewitching character.

For years I tried without much success to create at home a plausible version of the Athenian chicken that we found so irresistible in Greek restaurants. Read more »

Esperpento

A theater of the absurd
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paulr@sfbg.com

Spanish food may have struggled for recognition in this country and will almost certainly never be as well loved as its near relation, Italian cooking, but in the last decade or so the Iberian peninsula has given us at least one big present: the tapa. Tapas, the little plates that could, are so big now that they're often not even remotely Spanish: we find Cuban and nuevo Latino and even American versions, while small plates from other cultures end up being called "tapas" for convenience's sake. Read more »