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August 24-31, 2006
Breakfast of an Oakland airport baco-muffin:
... was a herald of the strangeness that lay before us on our trip to the Telluride Film Festival. Ridiculously delayed flights were eased by interesting seat mates. We happened to sit next to San Francisco Weekly's restaurant reviewer, the fabulous Meredith Brody who made the flight, well, fly by. Denver airport has many dining options, sadly, they are all bad. We went to a Wolfgang Puck Express and got a Chinois salad ($8.75):
... which contained chicken meat that bore the chef's signature (it tasted exactly like a Puck.)
On the second leg, we sat beside a longtime friend Alice Waters who was smart enough to pack her own chow.
By the time we finally rolled into town, most of the eateries were closed so we went to a loud, dark, bar and ate chicken wings before stumbling back to the hotel to crash.
-G (with 3D, from Colorado)
My all time favorite fast food lunch is the O'Chame bento ($7.50):
Not only does it take a second to dash up to the bar and pick one up, but it tastes great and is virtuous enough to give you a sense of entitlement for some Sketch ice cream (across the street) later.
It's not fancy, just good. Salmon, miso spinach, shitakes, pickled vegetables, a tofu cake and rice buttoned up with a pickled garlic clove. I confess that there have been moments of gluttony that I have gotten two (one for "later") and have ended up eating them both for lunch.
When I eat in the restaurant, I take advantage of their incredible tea and sake list. The fish special is always a good bet and on cold nights I like the udon. O'Chame gets top marks for both their fast and slow food.
From today's bunrab email, Sarah writes:
Given your post from a couple of days ago, I thought you might be interested in the following article from today's L.A. Times on cured meats.
Thanks for the charcute-report. Nowadays everyone's baloney has a first name, but it's Taylor, Toponia or Paul.
Being ignored is a big drag when you are hungry. I languished at my table at Adagia until I had to practically feign death to summon a voice, “have you decided?” I looked up weakly and uttered, “lamb please.”
Moroccan lamb sugo ($12.25):
... was served over triangles of fried polenta on a bed of wilted gem lettuces. The feta and mint added a nice boost to the braised meat which needed more preserved lemon and spices to pass admissions to the collegiate eatery.
I liked the crisp edges of the corny Isosceles and I would come back again, but I was bummed out by the impersonal, can’t-be-bothered style of service. Eye contact is kind of a minimum buy in and a smile is pleasant bonus, slapping the bill on the table as you walk by like you are tossing a can of bud out the pickup truck window doesn’t work for me at all. But the nice busser looked me in the eye, smiled and asked if he could take my plate (so I didn’t feel like I was a robot at a discount robot recharging station.)
Lots of people rave about this structure which feels like you are in an University Library. It’s perfectly nice, but the side effect of having a restaurant in an older wood floored building is that when people walk by there is a bounce to you meal if you are seated in an aisle chair. The tables are close enough together that when a larger server strides by, you know about it. It becomes especially obvious when your chair is given regular nudges by people trying to buss and serve under these conditions. I guess they aren’t good at Adagia-ing. Next time I’ll ask for one of their outdoor tables which will eliminate the trampoline factor.
The winner by a Nos.
The Fra’mani salumi selection at the
Pasta Shop had improved recently.
... and Nostrano (all $21.95 per pound.):
Soppressata was a clove and pepper gigantor-chub.
It was good, but a little moister, lighter, and with a less focused
flavor than the thinner battering rams.
The Pasta Shop
Here’s the scoop:
The anxiously awaited ice cream shop that has been churning out more publicity than dairy products may break out the cones soon. Ici is undergoing final inspections today and tomorrow and if all goes well (but you never know about this stuff) they plan to open this Friday, September 1st. Call first to insure an ici reception.
What do you get when you have all the San Francisco Bay Area food bloggers:
... together for a picnic? A great time with the best chow.
of the usual suspects attended and we met some
new faces as well.
...there was no shortage of grilled meats, tasty salads and appetizing ‘zers and ‘zerts.
Mostly it was fun to see everyone while devouring the best potluck ever. Thanks to the bloggers who ran and organized this annual convention.
Chubby filled his belly before returning to the hutch to finish his report on the restaurant that put Los Gatos on the map as a dining destination, Manresa.
It’s a wonderful thing to have good friends, but it’s even better when they know how to cook.
J & D hosted a fun bunch for an evening of animated conversation and incredible chow.
... was cooked to the perfect doneness for this pristinely fresh shore thing from Monterey Fish Market.
The deep red heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella:
... and savory bread pudding with leeks:
... were way too good to pass up on seconds.
All of this was complimented by incredible wines and capped off with a decadent frozen caramel mousse with strawberries:
... (made from Lindsey Shere’s recipe.)
With all of this fantastic food and no-holds-barred discussion, the time slipped away but I hope there’s enough to fit in a snooze before tomorrow’s picnic…
Taco the town
Met up with A for lunch at the El Tonayense Taco Truck.
I got a cabesa, carne asada and carnitas taco ($2.00 each):
... all doublebaged with two small corn tortillas, spicy hot salsa and a thin slice of jalapeño. The head and cow cheeks were not unlike tasty ground beef (which they actually are when you think about it), The other beef and fried pork tacos were good as well, with a nice balance of meaty, greasy, corny, picante, salsaey flavors.
Today’s bunrab email had a nice note from Mariss:
man, can i just tell you how much i love your blog? it is regularly updated with great descriptions of the food. i can't even get my day started now without finding out where you've eaten lately! thanks! it's like a public service for the local san franciscan.
Thanks for the words of encouragement!
After a long wait, Bay Bread opened a Mill Valley addition to their La Boulange empire. The other six café and bakeries are in San Francisco (where they have a central kitchen that feeds all of the outlets.) Yesterday marked the opening day of Boulange de Strawberry in the recently refurbished Marin mall which also houses Pizza Antica.
La Combo ($7.00):
... comes with your choice of
any half tartine with soup or salad. I selected the broiled
chicken with bacon and Swiss open-faced sandwich. The bread
had a good crust and sour tang accented by Dijon mustard. It would
have been even better if it were toasted before being topped and
broiled, (but that’s
just getting picky.) The slices of chicken breast were topped with
flabby strips of bacon and shrinkwrapped with melted cheese. It was
okay, but would have been better with crisper bacon.
... which was much better than the last ones I got (from the same kitchen, but purchased at the Polk Street store) which were liquidy on the inside and George Hamilton on the outside. Today’s was better but a little colder than I prefer to enjoy them. I washed it down with a large black coffee ($1.65) which they serve in a café au lait bowl (minus the au lait.) The surface area of the coffee is so great that it causes me to drink it anxiously (so that I will not have to endure cooled coffee) I guess I shouldn’t complain, I mean, my secondary motivation for imbibing this beverage is to create a mild anxiety which will propel me productively through my day, but next time I’ll ask if I can take my large coffee in smaller (less surface area to mass) cup sized installments.
In addition to sandwiches, they serve salads and soups for lunch. For breakfast they have French toast, (I’m glad the Congress didn’t change it to “Freedom Toast” during their Pommes-de-terrible politicizing of menus) Frittata and of course, baked goods.
focus on organic ingredients, and putting “es’s” after “soup” and “salad”.
There is indoor and outdoor seating at this counterservice addition
to the Marin dining scene.
Boulange de Strawberry
From today’s bunrab email Steven writes:
You have compiled a wonderful coffee table sized book here. How about a search feature ? I say this because I went to the Lighthouse Diner yesterday and knew you've been there but it took a while to find it. Today the mention Myth Cafe (formerly Zero) and I thought, I wonder if he's been to Cafe Prague, or Grumpy's, or Cafe deStijl but was too lazy to go through every fabulous post.
You’re right. Our cyber hutch is getting pretty full and it’s
time to add a search feature. We’ll hop to it (sometime after
Elle also writes about meals past:
Loved your review on Farmer Brown's - mostly I like the watermelon drink for cheap-have I asked if you have reviewed The Roast Haus in San Rafael (Terra Linda)... forgive me I have CRS disease-can't remember shit.
Sounds like we really do need that search feature because I also have CRS and had to look up my February visit to Roast Haus (but it was the branch in Novato, not the one in Terra Linda) for a meaty prime rib sandwich with horseradish and a big bowl of jus.
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