What am I grateful for?
Bacon. Fried chicken. Butter. Barbecued chicken. Butter. Bacon fat. Eggs ... None of which you will find by the way at my new favorite restaurant, Café Gratitude. I went to the one in Berkeley with my old blackberry pickin' pal and new favorite massage therapist NFC, and even though I couldn't find no chicken-fried steak on the menu, I have to admit to having had one of the Times of my Life.
Has the chicken farmer lost her mind?
No! My old pal NFC has, because I would have taken her to Chez Panisse or even House of Chicken and Waffles ... Read more »
In the Thousand Years' War between beer and wine, beer has long enjoyed an advantage on the party battlefield, mostly because of the keg, the bunker buster of party drink delivery. Oh yes, kegs do run dry, they must, but has anyone actually seen it happen?
Wine, on the other hand, comes in bottles, and while some of these bottles are, in theory, party sized — the jeroboams and nebuchadnezzars that hold massive amounts of champagne spring to mind — they are unwieldy, lacking the keg's convenient tap. Could wine's secret weapon in the struggle for party preeminence be the box? Read more »
One of the stronger arguments for vegetarianism is variety: there are far more kinds of vegetables and ways of preparing vegetables than there are meats and ways of preparing meat, even if you eat mutton. (And know where to get it.) Fish and seafood too are more various than meats — or at least they have been. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Christ, I love quantum theory, how something can be something, and at the same time something else, and so on, right?
Nobody rides in my pickup truck with me except Earl Butter, because nobody else can handle the mess. When it got to the point where even he was starting to grumble, I decided to say that I had cleaned my truck, without actually doing a thing, same way he says he has hair on his head so now he does.
I cleaned my truck! It's spotless! It's clean! Smells nice too ... Read more »
A onetime San Franciscan now living in Manhattan recommended that we visit August, in the Village.
"It's our Delfina," he said. Delfina is of course a magic word, but the more interesting term in his little pronouncement was "our," which carried a faintly downcast sheen, the sense of a not-quite-comparable attempt. For he and I had long ago agreed that the food is better in San Francisco than in New York; the former is a food city, the latter a restaurant city, and the difference slight but meaningful.
August was quite nice, if more Mediterranean than Tuscan. Read more »
At the Front Porch, you will find a front porch. It's not the kind of porch you'd see at Grandma's house, with the bug screens and the swinging lounger; it's more a big-city version, a covered sidewalk garden casually set with small tables and Adirondack chairs — an alfresco waiting room for those waiting to score a table inside. Read more »
CHEAP EATS The idea of love at first sight is a ridiculous thing to me. Most people I love long before I ever see them. In fact, if I'm not already in love with you, try taking your knife out of my back and calling an ambulance.
You don't believe me. I don't expect you to! I don't believe me either or you or anything. All I do is see and say. And by see I mean see and feel and hear and taste shit and yeah, by way of a Purpose in Life, try and tell you about it.
For me and Orange Pop #2's second date we went to my new favorite restaurant, Penny's Caribbean Café. Read more »
Among the many excellent reasons to do some daytripping in the Anderson Valley is to refresh one's sense of hope that the stranglehold of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon on California's oenophilic imagination isn't necessarily eternal. Read more »
With time, one finds oneself bidding fond farewells to one's spicehound friends. Oh, nothing changes too dramatically, except that bit by bit (or bite by bite), onetime fire-eaters lose their taste for the thrill of capsicum. Certain alluring foods of yore — chili, pepperoni pizza, Mongolian beef — start to cause problems, especially if eaten too near bedtime. You still go out with them, your spicehound pack, but when they point at this or that on the menu, wondering which dishes are spicy, they are plotting routes of retreat now, not angles of approach. Read more »
CHEAP EATS It still says Carl's on the sidewalk in the doorway because that's what it used to be, and the light from the big scripted Carl's sign used to romanticize our windows. I was on the bottom (like I like it), and then Wayway lived upstairs from me, and Earl Butter lived on top of him. So anytime any of us looked out our windows, Guerrero and 18th, that was what we'd see: Carl's.
Ten years later, Wayway, having circled around the Mission, is back on that corner, haunting my old apartment (or vice versa), and Earl Butter still lives up top. Read more »