These days it is hard to be sure if the American way is war or plastic. Probably both, and since plastic is a petroleum product, and petroleum is a perennial occasion for war, we are probably not talking about a meaningful difference. Kevin Phillips describes the United States as the petroleum hegemon in his recent book American Theocracy (Viking, 2006), and the proof that he's right is all around us. To the extent that we make anything at all anymore, we make it out of plastic: dashboards, lawn furniture, coffee mugs, picnic knives, even clothes. Read more »
As you step into Roy's Restaurant, you will notice the names of many cities stenciled in gold on the glass door — places where other Roy's Restaurants can be found. You might feel as if you are sidling into one of the branches of a Parisian house of couture or the district office of some international brokerage firm. My eyes darted briefly to the end of the two-columned list, half expecting to see the reassuring words "FDIC insured." I didn't see them. Read more »
Wintertime has descended, which means it's high time for wonderfully unhealthy, heavy eating (a food coma is as close to hibernation as you can get). The chilly nights practically demand that you keep yourself in extra cuddly form, but at least you can hide your pale, flabby body under coats and sweaters. Read more »
While we wait to be instructed on the lessons of Iraq by James A. Baker III — the Bush family consigliere assigned the Mosaic task of leading us forth from the Mesopotamian desert — let us consider the lessons of the Thanksgiving meal just past.
The bane of all holiday cooking is starch, and the Thanksgiving meal is the apotheosis of holiday cooking. Therefore: Thanksgiving = starch. You have your mashed potatoes, your bread stuffing, your bread, your pie crusts. Read more »
CHEAP EATS I should say a few words about Weird Fish. Not that I didn't thoroughly exhaust the topic in last week's restaurant review, but because it's just so fun to say the name of the place. Weird Fish.
Weird Fish is a new nice little Mission-y restaurant at Mission and 18th Street. On the basis of its great name alone, it's my new favorite restaurant. The food was good too, but if I tell you how small the plates were, my faithful fans will all write to me and say, like they did when I wrote about Café Gratitude, "Come on! Read more »
As a partisan of salt, I could hardly help but love a restaurant called Salt House, and I did — and do — but ... how funny that there apparently are no saltshakers at the bar. I was casting about for one, wanting to salt something up a little while waiting for someone to arrive, but I had to settle instead for pouring myself more water from the glass jugs the staff set out for your very own. Read more »
CHEAP EATS THE CHICKEN FARMER IS HOT. It took several tries to get the big block letters to stick, but finally I had stated my case — in homemade egg noodles inside the lid of an egg carton, where normally you might expect to read nutritional facts about eggs.
Where normally the eggs would go, I put 12 pretty stones.
The Chicken Farmer is not normal. One of her favorite things to do is to lie face down in the fog for hours at Sonoma beaches, the ones with tiny stones instead of sand, and sift through the pretty colors, taking home a handful of favorites. Read more »
Changing public consciousness is an inglorious task that seems to involve a great deal of repetition. There is an art to repetition, to saying the same thing over and over without boring or infuriating people or losing one's patience at their benightedness and resorting to jeremiads. Read more »
Regrets? I've had a few. At the top of the list is that, due to circumstances beyond our control, I will never get to see Beethoven play the piano — unless we have misunderstood the time-space continuum. This seems more likely than not, given the reliable arrogance of human science, and I do retain a shred of hope.
The also-rans run well behind. I do not expect my idea for a sport-tuned, high-performance Prius — the Priapus, a Prius for men! — to make it onto a Toyota production line any time soon, alas and alack. Read more »
CHEAP EATS In honor of my French sister's birthday I ordered a chicken pesto crepe with fromage and how-you-say, toasted almonds, hold the mushrooms ($8.50). It was eight in the morning.
The waitressperson looked at her watch.
"Is it too early for crepes?" I asked. "Do I need to get an omelet?"
She looked at her watch again, shrugged, looked toward the kitchen. It was five in the afternoon in France, but luckily I didn't need to argue this point, because she let me have my crepe, pesto and all.
Earl Butter wasn't eating. Read more »