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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

the BUNRAB blog spot

Do you need to answer back? You can send me comments if you want to.

If I want to, I'll post 'em in this very blog.



July 24-31, 2007


go to next week's blogs


  Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We went with K and J to check out Piccino:

... the newish Café in San Francisco’s Dogpatch nabe.

K had a cootie so he graciously let us check out his Pappa Pomodoro soup ($6.00):

... before he tucked into his curative, chunky, fresh flavored, tomato therapy.

The Antipasti plate ($8.50):

... had a chickpea snowball, olives, mortadella, salumi and pickled carrots. This anti gets my pro vote. These simple, toothsome, savory, salivation primers were accompanied by crunchy, sea salt sprinkled flatbread.

We shared a bunch of thin crust pizzas.

A Margherita ($8.50):

... with tomato and mozzarella, a pepperone ($9.25):

... a Napoletana ($9.75):

... with olives and anchovies and a Piccino special ($12.75):

... with kale, house made sausage and pecorino which had the best textured crust of the four. I’m guessing this dramatic difference was due to its slightly thicker base and the sauce lapping the edge before baking.

This is the sort of café that you want on your block, a friendly, casual place to duck into for a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee, a snack or a meal. They use locally sourced ingredients in this little corner pocket.

801 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA

Catching up on our bunrab email, GraceAnn W. writes:


What kind of camera do you use for your food photos? No flash, I assume. They look like they were styled and shot in a studio.

GraceAnn W.

Gutenberg replies:

Dear GraceAnn,

Thanks for the compliment. You are correct - no flash is involved. We don’t want to disrupt other diners with our shots, and besides, natural light looks better. We use both a Canon PowerShot SD550 and a Fujifilm Finepix F30 which stealthily slip in a pocket since they're about as big as a bar of soap (but superior to soap for taking photos.) The Finepix is especially useful for its high sensitivity in dimly lit restaurants.


Ron L. writes about Simmer being reduced to a baby simmer.


Simmer Restaurant in Corte Madera is now closed.



Gutenberg replies:

Dear Jim,

We agree, but at least we can take comfort in the thought that they are keeping kids away from Chef Boyardee with their Chefables.


James H. writes about yesterday’s Yankee post:


I agree on Yankee Pier. The first time I went we sampled about eight different things and had a great meal. So I was very excited about my return visit a couple of weeks ago. Very disappointing. Sandy clams, bland flavors -- and I absolutely agree -- horrible, doughy lemon meringue pie that ruined the entire meal.

James H.

Gutenberg replies:

Dear James,

I think that it’s too easy for people to put less thought into their desserts when (as you so correctly highlight) it is the note that you leave with.




  Monday, July 30, 2007

A long while back I emailed Yankee Pier:

... complaining that their stellar lemon meringue pie had been swapped out for a doughy, lackluster version. They replied that people liked the new one better. After that strange interaction and some oily, fried clams, I wanted to jump off the pier, but their consistently good burger kept this casual clam shack in my rotation.

Today I decided to order some fish and was delighted with my chunk of wild king salmon ($24.95):

... which I requested “obscenely rare” and they delivered to my specifications This  block of pink flesh was delectable. Their entrees come with a choice of two sides. I  chose a double dose of broccoli which as  cooked a little more than my personal preference, but this was easy for me to overlook given my fish victory.

It was nice to sit out on the patio:

... (my two least favorite spots are the table nearest to the restroom and the bar stool closest to the kitchen door where I get bumped every two seconds.)

There were some diners that hadn’t heard that the Lark Creek Inn had discontinued weekday lunch and sauntered down the road for a more casual meal.  Since these two establishments are in the same restaurant group, they may have succumbed to financial pier pressure (since neither place appeared to reach capacity during a typical weekday lunch.)

Yankee Pier is hit and miss. Luckily, today was the former.


Yankee Pier
286 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA



  Sunday, July 29, 2007

The House of Prime Rib:

... is a San Francisco cow concession that was crammed with carnivores for supper. It has been about a decade and a half since my last visit to this old school beefateria and not much has changed. They specialize in aged prime rib roasted in a salt crust, wheeled around in customized air stream trailers. 

There are a few options, but the full-on "House cut" dinner ($34.85) starts you off with a salad that they toss tableside with theatrics that crack me up. They spin the salad bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice:

... as they pour a deluge of mayo-based dressing over the top. They announce the arrival of your “chilled salad fork” with the flourish of a jar of  Grey Poupon emerging from a glove compartment.  I suppressed a gasp at the heavy downpour of dressing as the salads were spun and plated:

The greens had more red liquid dumped on them than Carrie at her Senior Prom…and like Carrie, the carnage was about to begin.

The meat guy pulled up with the metal armadillo trolley and carved off:

... some Fred Flintstone worthy slabs of protein. The meat:

... was fine, especially accented with some hot horseradish.

If you polish off your meat wad, you can have more if you wish. The creamed spinach was an inedible puddle of paste flavored greenery. I’m not sure what they did to put this in a vegative-state (and I don’t want to know.) The potato:

... russet-tated the meal with enough butter, sour cream, bacon-bits and chives to equal the caloric value of the energy needed to power the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile across America.

The service was friendly and efficient. They don’t try to upsell your water, they just give you some.

There is something to be said for the kitch-value of this S.F. Institution. The décor remains frozen in time and (for the most part) the patrons seem to love this place. It’s popularity must stem not only from tradition, but from the certainty that it won’t challenge Aunt Rita with duck testicles or gender illusionist servers.

The bathroom was a horror. I have to believe that I caught it during its worst moment ever. Enough to put me off my chow (I will spare you the details.)

If you are looking for a favorable dollar to calorie exchange rate, look no further than the HOPR but if you are seeking superior chow, leave the house.


House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA




  Saturday, July 28, 2007

Meals on wheels

There is no vehicle as eye-catching as the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile:

We had to ketchup with this red hot wheel to relish this link and town car. As these gentlemen put it, “that is one sick ride.”





  Friday, July 27, 2007

T&K made hot, fresh, crunchy plantain chips:

... to have with mojitos. It was difficult not to plant my face in the basket and scarf down all of these nicely salty discs.

Delectable halibut Veracruz with olives and raisins in a tomato herb sauce was served atop cilantro rice followed by a Mexican style flan:

... for dessert. Why is it that the most interesting people are also the best cooks?





  Thursday, July 26, 2007

Café Rouge didn’t have any tables free, so I hopped up to the bar for some California White Bass ($17.00):

... with chickpea crisps, green and yellow beans and a red dollop of Romanesco sauce. I requested my fish rare and they delivered the goods. This thing was still flapping on the plate with freshness. After recent fishy disappointments, it was a relief to get a piece of seafood that wasn’t run through the deflavorizer.

I usually go with one of the stellar burgers that most of the diners at the bar were gobbling down, but this fish gave me no reason to have patty-envy.

The service was gracious and efficient as usual. I have to bring Chubby here next time even though he (justifiably) thinks they are bastards (read his review to see why.)

Café Rouge
1782 Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA




  Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A movie crew set up a Faux-mers’ Market on a median in front of the Ferry Building today:

I guess the Ferry Building has gone Hollywood now…

I ducked behind the façade to grab a quick bite at the Slated Door:

There was a wait for groups but I snagged an orphan seat at the bar immediately.

I got the yellowtail collar ($15.00):

... which was listed as “grilled” on the menu, but was really deep fried and then heated on the grill. This Homer-ized fish neck was served with nectarines with fish sauce accented by ginger, soy and Thai chilies. It had lots of tasty crispy bits and a moist interior, but it wasn’t an item that I would re-order.

The service was downright icy. It seemed as if they were tired of the crowds of tourists and just want you to eat it and beat it. But to be fair, there was a person sitting next to me with a dietary restriction and they were exceedingly good about checking with the kitchen in order to prevent a medical issue from unfolding at the bar.

Although my meal was fine, I prefer my Out the Door experiences for lunch. I think that the Slated Door is more of the kind of place you should go with a group at a table.

The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco, CA




  Tuesday, July 24, 2007

O Chame didn’t have any bento so we sat down to order from the menu. Chubby got the Salmon ($17.00):

... which migrated to the top of some peas, enoki, and zukes. He was pleased with his pink and green ensemble.

I asked for my bass ($17.00):

... “very, very, very rare” but it arrived cooked through. It was still good with its beans, seaweed and spinach accompanyment, it just didn’t sate my rare-tooth. This is the second time this has happened to me this month at this restaurant (hence all the “very”s in my order.) It could be mis-timed visits – on both occasions the runners seemed jammed and didn’t inquire if the fish was properly under-cooked. O Chame is one of my faves so I hope it’s just a fluke.

O Chame
1830 4th St.
Berkeley, CA




back to last week - July 16-23, 2007



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