Food & Drink

A lover's lane

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
Of the top 10 questions I am most often asked about restaurants in the city, the top two by far are “Which is the best?” and “Which is your favorite?” Since "best" is a snake pit of competing considerations and unacknowledged biases, I am happier with the second, which is all about acknowledging one's biases — about being in touch with the inner bias. For me, it is also far easier to answer, since my favorite restaurant in the city, the one I have recommended to inquiring minds for more than a decade, is Hawthorne Lane. Read more »

Enchanté

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
“You're not getting older, you're getting better” is one of those things you say to someone who's getting older and not better and is sensitive to the decline because of yet another birthday. (Birthdays beyond the 30th are at best memento mori, at worst a cumulative curse. After 30, one should count them by 10s.) Yet y-n-g-o-y-g-b is not just a mollifying phrase to be found on a Hallmark card; sometimes it is actually true. Read more »

Breema karma

|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS This Cheap Eats restaurant review is a thank-you note to a guy named John. He bought all the tokens for a Thai temple brunch for me, Bernie, and Laura last Sunday. And technically it should have been the other way around, me tokening him, because he'd just breema'd me.
If you don't know what breema is, I don't know what to tell you. They bend, push, and dance on you, kind of like a massage, only you're lying on the floor and it's all very musical. Then you're hungry and all relaxed and shit. Read more »

WITHOUT RESERVATIONS

Trust, but verify
|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
We tend to trust what we see, and when what we see is a computer printout, specifying in meticulous detail what we just had for dinner, we tend to trust it all the more. How can such a miracle machine as the computer ever be wrong? Being wrong is a human thing; it is an errant scribble on one of those pale green tablets on which servers write down orders at less technologically advanced establishments (unless they are show-offs working from memory). Or it is bad arithmetic. Read more »

Lap lessons

|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS This week's madcap adventure begins with a cute little kitten toddling into the chicken farmer's life and saying, in effect, "Help!" Must of been abandoned by its mama. People sometimes abandon cute little kittens too, in the wild, but usually not out back behind the water tank. They leave them in a box by the road.
So OK, what to do with a cute little kitten, so small it can barely stand and doesn't quite know how to eat yet? I took it inside my shack and showed it to a platter of milk and Weirdo the Cat. Read more »

WITHOUT RESERVATIONS

Just desertion
|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
Dear Las Vegas,
It's over. I'm sorry. Well, not sorry, actually — more like glad, ecstatic even: a shot of ecstasy with a chaser of relief, let's say. Not that it was much to begin with, just 48 infernal hours, like a dreadful bout of food poisoning, though your food is surprisingly not bad, considering that you're, well ... Read more »

Shack chic

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
The crab shack is a species of restaurant indigenous to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States, and so in these Pacific parts is something of a rarity. Back East, crab shacks tend to be found near beaches — my first experience of one was at Rehoboth Beach, Del., in the summer of 1987 — and to emphasize freshness and immediacy over elaborate preparation. Read more »

Loops and dashes

|
(0)

le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS A long-lost beloved cousin asks if I can still "write my name in the snow," and it takes me two days to figure out what this means. I wasn't sitting on my ass, either. I started out with slide rules, compass, protractor ... 26 ounces of iodized salt poured into a Pyrex baking dish, by way of a working model (necessary nutrients supplied). I was able to write my name, kind of, with the eraser end of a pencil. Read more »

The revolution will be drunk

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
We must now ask Rick Bayless, long the prince of high-end Mexican cooking in this country, to make some room at the pinnacle. Bayless is the chef and owner of a pair of Chicago restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, that were among the first to give a gloss of elegance to Mexican cuisine; he is also the author of a series of cookbooks that do much the same thing. Read more »

The reflecting pool

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com
A chicken-and-egg — or maybe fish-and-roe — problem: do neighborhood restaurants tend to reflect the character of a neighborhood or does a neighborhood take its cues from its restaurants? The answer is probably both, since that is usually the answer to such trick questions, but in general there is more of the former than the latter, I would say. The truly revolutionary restaurant, the place that makes a startling announcement of intention on a street of sameness, birds of a feather flocking together, is fairly rare. Read more »