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 »
Although the Michelin guide is no worse an offender than Zagat as a distant judge of our restaurants — its offices are farther away, but only because the guide is French and cannot be blamed for the relative remoteness of France — there is nonetheless something galling about the colonialism of outsiders' kiting in to assess us, then trumpeting their findings to the rest of the country and world as authority.
Zagat relies on a vox populi method, actually: its surveys reflect the views of hundreds of locals. Read more »
Presidents are so seldom intentionally funny that when a genuine wit makes it to the Oval Office, we (the people!) tend to notice and remember. As a quipster, John F. Kennedy is without peer in modern times, and while his crack that Washington, DC, is "a city of Northern charm and Southern efficiency" might not be his best line, it's still a pretty good one — not to mention useful for certain latter-day restaurant writers, who admire the deftly phrased paradox while being perennially fascinated by the truth embedded in it. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Over the years I have said goodbye to a lot of cool people in this paper. Haywire went to Maine. Moonpie went to Pittsburgh. Rube Roy went home. E.B. Matt became S.D. Matt. Johnny "Jack" Poetry I packed up and delivered to Idaho with my own two hands and old van and creaking heart. Birdbrain Brad went to Denmark. Satchel Paige the Pitcher, Thailand. Noah, J.C., Jason.
Now this ...
Oof, me and Carrie moved here together 16, 17 years ago, after the earthquake. Drove across the country in my ’71 LTD with all our stuff in the backseat and trunk. Read more »
Recently a colleague reminded me — in the course of a brief correspondence heavy on mutual commiseration (for what are writers if not commiserators?) — that while change is often deplorable, it also must be accepted. "Hate change, embrace change" was her pithy, I might even say her writerly, formulation. Read more »