Daily Feed Archives:

This month

February 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005


Check out our other stuff:   Yummy Chow   |   Photo Hutch  |  Home



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.



March 25 thru 31, 2006

jump to the next week of this blog


Friday, March 31, 2006

Sandwiched between SFO and San Francisco:

The default bread at Darby Dan’s is Dutch crunch, but you can also request white, wheat, light rye, sourdough roll or sliced sourdough. I never liked the name “Dutch Crunch” for bread because it sounds like a coffee cake and it has that unappealing, stretch mark look. But a name is not enough to dissuade me from ordering a meat filled roll of any denomination.

The Darby Dan ($6.50):

... is slathered with a zingy jalapeno spread and inflated with ham, mortadella, Italian salami, tomato, lettuce and cheese. The ingredients were fresh and flavorful and made for those more interested in tastiness than daintiness. It has been my experience that most places with uber-supersized portions are neglectful when it comes to taste. Luckily for me, this double D of a sandwich did not waver on flavor.

I used to think that “piccolo” meant small, but that was before I ordered a Piccolo ($6.50):

Ham, turkey roast beef tomato, lettuce and cheese separate the Dutch doors of bread. This wasn’t as tasty as the Darby Dan, but it was still good.

This isn’t the sort of place:

... that is filled with ladies who lunch and blow air kisses. It’s a cafeteria style sandwich shop filled with big, hungry boys.

Darby Dan’s Gourmet Sandwiches
733 Airport Blvd.
South San Francisco, CA





Thursday, March 30, 2006

No Novato:

I intended to visit a Japanese restaurant today, but Haru had closed and was replaced by a Chinese restaurant that didn’t fit my mood, so I returned to Café Bangkok.

My larb ped ($7.25):

... had a generous portion of roasted, sliced, slightly fatty, duck. The cilantro, mint, chili tomatoes, red onion, carrot, scallion, cukes and iceberg lettuce was a pleasant marriage of crunchy freshness with a pleasantly sour, savory depth.

It looks like I will be spending less time in Novato so it was good to end of a sour note. The Novato food that I enjoyed the most was from Boca, Kitchen and Quezada Market. When the folks from Kitchen open their new endeavor across the street, I’ll bet it will be good too.

I had mostly bad luck with the Chinese, Mexican and Japanese restaurants. I found Thai food to be a better Novato option at Chao Praya and Café Bangkok.

So it’s so long to Novato for a while. I will come back if I’m in the ‘nabe for a Boca steak or a Quezada tamale or if I want to hob nob with the Vikings.

Café Bangkok
2007 Novato Blvd.
Novato, CA





Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Gelato Milano may sound like a highly abbreviated haiku or a Pepperidge Farm enhanced ice cream but it’s really a little scoop shop near the Berkeley Bart station.

See’s candies used to be rooted here, but grafted onto it’s sugary stump is now a gelateria which serves up some fridged raters.

I got a small cup ($3.00):

... which you can fill with up to two flavors. I chose Asian pear and grapefruit. From the sound of it, you might think that these are light ices, but they are actually, cream enhanced, fruity concoctions. The Asian pear was good but I favored the grapefruit which had a nicely balanced tang and sweet level.

The space is Spartan verging on clinical but warmed up by a hospitable counterperson. I’m glad to see this glimmer of gelato hope in Downtown Berkeley which always feels like a hub rather than a destination. Busses and bart shuffle people to school and work as they cel yell (or just yell without the cel.) Most of the shops are uninviting, the vibe is cold. But now there is somewhere both cold and inviting to visit on the warm days to come.

Gelato Milano
2170 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA



Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm guessing that Epicurious Gardens
will be in full gear by next weekend.

So far what I have tried here shows promise but I feel like it's a poor man's Ferry building (okay, a rich poor man.) That might sound like I'm knocking it, but I'm not. It's just that there are branches of Ciao Bella and the Imperial Tea House as well as chocolate shops, a caviar shop, rotisserie chicken and a Japanese deli in the spacious Ferry Building.

Is this the beginning of the Gapification of food? Will all the Panda Expresses and Jamba Juices of the world be replaced with Gregoire Kings and In N Out the Doors? Only time will tell.

I picked up a little sampler box ($7.00):

... of mini chocolates at Alegio. These chili, espresso and scotch dark chocolates are made in New York by a woman who supplies custom creations for to this shop.I particularly liked the heat of the rich chili ganache.

This is a pretty little jewelbox of a choco-boutique.

The people who run it are very friendly and knowledgeable. They were also slicing off samples to test drive before you buy. Gotta love that.

Alegio Chocolate
1511 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA




Monday, March 27, 2006

Soop is good Food:

I checked out the half dozen liquid offerings at Soop:

... in the new Epicurious Gardens. They were out of the black eyed pea and kale so I scanned the rest of the pots.

What bunrab could resist carrot soup? ($5.50):

This bright tasting, hearty, vegetarian soup was delicious. It’'s ginger infused rootiness was made with organic carrots from Mariquita farms, potatoes, almonds, sour cream and sherry. You can buy add ons like croutons, pestos and seeds, but I went with just the basic package and it was sooper.

Just down the way, Dom Petroff Caviar looks like it should open any time now.

The big question on my mind is if there is a caviar audience in the ghetto (okay, okay, gourmet ghetto.)

The footprint of this caviar-teria is very small and the idea of caviar is that it's a luxury food. Will this work in a food court? Will the elite meet to eat on the street? Maybe this can start a new trend. You know how Cristal Champagne was transformed into “Chrissy” due to its popularity with rappers? Maybe Dom Petroff will experience that same rapification. Maybe you will slide up in your Escalade for some 'petro” while others compare you to their local grocery to see that you've got more karats than aisle D and more bread than aisle G…and speaking of bread, doesn't this cash register seem a little small for this pricey operation?

(at Epicurious Gardens)
1511 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA




Sunday, March 26, 2006


I passed by the Kirala 2 stand:

... (which looked on par with the sushi in their restaurant) and proceeded to the Socca Oven:

... which is the latest addition to the sprouting Gregoire empire. Socca Oven makes little chickpea flour based flatbreads. These pizza-esque disks are baked in their non-wood burning (yet rustic looking) oven:

Little copper pans are filled with a thin layer of batter, baked and then topped with a choice of vegetarian or meatatarian toppings.

My Bay Scallops Socca ($7.25):

... was topped with braised fennel, a generous number of bivalves and a squiggle of saffron aioli. You get a little tub of olive oil with your socca, I tried it and decided it didn't really add anything to this particular preparation and I gave it a needed sprinkle of Maldon salt (that I happened to be carrying with me.)
It was good but didn't have the “wow” factor. I will be back for another visit to try the pork shoulder with mushrooms and truffle oil which sounds like it has tastiness potential. The base of the socca could have used another pinch of salt, it was on the bland side, but to be fair, they are just starting out so I'll have to see how things are when they settle in.

I do have a twinge of guilt when I eat at Gregoire's because of the nice, heavy duty, single use, packaging. Socca has a smaller version of this box and it's a shame that there isn't the option to use a small paper plate for customers who want to consume them on the spot (this is environmentally correct Berkeley after all.)

Gluten haters, dairy intolerant and wheataphobes should find themselves in a culinary womb. Their food doesn't even use sugar which I consider a health food (well, at least a mental health food.)

Socca Oven
(at Epicurious Gardens)
1511 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA




Saturday, March 25, 2006

Aftershocks at the Epi-center:

After confirming that they were indeed open, I ventured out to Epicurious Gardens to see what this Berkeley food court was all about.

The layout is not conducive to the smooth and intuitive movement of people. There should be at least triple the space in the mosh pit of a main hallway where people are waiting for their food during this inaugural Saturday. It felt like a pop up sponge version of the Ferry Building without the water.

I was bummed that there was not a drop to drink at Taste today. Red tape replaced red wine which translated into a nay on the cab. Their fancy wine dispensers (like the ones at Vino Venue in SF):

... were sitting dormant. The bottles of Sean Thackrey’s wine Siriusly mocking me (when I could have used a belt of Orion.)

I got a box lunch ($10):

... which contained a Moroccan spiced leg and thigh, medjool date and almond couscous and a slaw made with preserved lemon, harissa and chermoula.

I’m guessing that the reason why my chicken was overcooked was that they anticipated higher weekend bird sales. It was 1:30 on a Saturday and there wasn’t another chicken order placed while I was there. Anyway, for whatever reason it qualified as chicken jerky. It helped to roll bits of it up in the naan with a dab of the harissa.

The couscous was okay with it’s finely chopped micro bits of date and slivers of almonds, but the best part of the box was the crunchy slaw with earthy cilantro.

There is some seating along a bar in the sunny tasting room:

... or you can take your meal into the small courtyard.

Once they get the wine pump primed, I imagine that the bar area will fill up pretty quickly.

I will come back
to try Taste when they have a chance to establish a stride. It’s only their first weekend so who knew what to expect? They had a parade of people checking out their menu, but not a lot of diners. And with the wine permit-jammed, it just wasn’t the day to visit.

(at Epicurious Garden)
1513 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA




check out March 17 thru 24



BUNRABS Home | Contact Gutenberg | Yummy Chow | Photo Hutch
Entire contents copyright © 2006 by BunRabCo. All rights reserved.