Food & Drink

Loops and dashes

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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

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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

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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 »

Squeaky wheels

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By L.E. Leone
le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS Hey now, don't forget about the Cotati Accordion Festival this summer. Every summer I tell you about it, and every summer you forget to go. I know because I live in Sonoma County and I've never been there either.
But of all our great country's famous yearly thematic bashes that I haven't ever once attended, the Cotati Accordion Festival is by far my favorite. It's ridiculously fun, you can just tell. Mark your calendar: Aug. Read more »

The halftrée

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paulr@sfbg.com
Somewhere in the enchanted realm of West Marin stands the Olema Inn, and in its rustic-chic dining room, at the end of a warm weekend afternoon, a few of us gathered recently for an early dinner. Under the aging sun, the garden glowed a brilliant green, and the dining room, with its many windows, fresh white walls, and wood-plank floors stained a rich coffee color, seemed invitingly cool and uncomplicated. Read more »

Mood elevation

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paulr@sfbg.com
Among proper names that suggest height or loftiness, few have a grander pedigree than Ararat, the moniker of the mountain or mountain range where, according to the book of Genesis, Noah's ark was supposed to have made landfall after riding out the flood. Today's Mount Ararat, a volcano rising nearly 17,000 feet above sea level, lies in northeastern Turkey, near that country's borders with Iran and Armenia. Read more »

Negotiations

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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS Let's see, last week I ate at TJ's Gingerbread House in West Oakland, and it wasn't cheap eats because it was dinnertime on Georgie Bundle's birthday. He'd always wanted to go there. As have I, and as has anyone else who rides BART and looks out the window.
Unless you have a very, very special occasion — which, if you don't know Georgie Bundle I can't even imagine what such a thing might be — satisfy your curiosity over breakfast. Get this: a salmon croquette, two scrambled eggs, grits, fruit salad, and orange juice for $6.95.
That's good. Lunch is ... Read more »

Pea play

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paulr@sfbg.com

Last week a friend presented me with a plastic bag full of English peas from her garden. A gift given from someone's garden is a profound gesture, and one should always be grateful; on the other hand, peas were a bugaboo of my childhood, apparently grown in the freezer and heated up from time to time for a mushy soupçon of dinnertime distress. Read more »

Aslam's Rasoi

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paulr@sfbg.com
If Rasoi, a gently fading South Asian restaurant on the tumultuous Valencia corridor, had collapsed altogether in the face of last year's Dosa challenge, shock would probably not have been the general reaction. Dosa (which opened last fall with a South Indian menu) was and remains the new wave, and its swirling, youthful crowds would not seem out of place at the entrance to a popular nightclub. Read more »

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Welcome to our dining listings, a detailed guide by neighborhood of some great places to grab a bite, hang out with friends, or impress the ones you love with thorough knowledge of this delectable city. Restaurants are reviewed by Paul Reidinger (PR) or staff. Read more »