Archive for the ‘Dining’ Category

Another takeover robbery, this time in Daly City

Either the bandits who are terrorizing East Bay restaurants finally scraped together bridge fare, or the fad has spread to the West Bay: This morning three men in hoodies robbed a Denny’s in Daly City, taking the contents of the cash register while making everybody lie on the floor.

Being robbed at gunpoint — that’s a good story to tell around the water cooler. But being made to lie on the floor at a Denny’s: yuck.

They got “a very small amount of money,” say the cops, but I have the feeling they just don’t want to encourage them. If they said they got $3000* then you’d have even more robberies. View a Google map of all the restaurant takeover-style holdups this summer.

* A figure I just made up, and not intended to be taken as the actual amount of money stolen.

Rapid Restaurant Revew: Zuni Café

I must admit that Zuni Café is an old stand-by for me. It is my go-to restaurant for late-ish dining, for entertaining out-of-town guests, for enjoying a meal with hard-to-impress friends, and it seems, for constructing sentences with lots of hyphenated phrases.

I’m hardly breaking new ground by reviewing Zuni, but more and more, I’ve run into people who’ve lived in San Francisco for at least a couple of years and have never eaten there. My advice: invite some out-of-town guests to visit and take them to Zuni.


Rapid Restaurant Review: Cyrus

The second installment of Rapid Restaurant Reviews takes us to the North Country, all the way up in Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley.

Cyrus sits mere steps from Healdsburg Square which itself is mere minutes from dozens of wineries and tasting rooms. And what better way to end a long afternoon of tasting (and spitting, of course) wine than to sit down with an eight-course tasting menu with accompanying wine flight?

To the questions, then…


Free Cone Day at Ben And Jerry’s

Wishing it was warmer? Make believe it is and get a free cone at Ben and Jerry’s today.


Coconut Club

After dropping the kids off at school, I strapped on my crash helmet and pedaled through Golden Gate Park towards Trouble Coffee, which according to the map on the website is somewhere in the neighborhood of Judah and 46th Ave. I could tell you the exact address – and so could Trouble – but where would the fun be in that? In other words, if you’re curious, you’ll find it. Others have come before you, and didn’t fall off the side of the world. It’s right before you pass the serpents lurking in the waters beyond Ocean Beach. You know, across from 7-11.

Trouble is 225 sq feet of space, most of which is behind the counter. Very clever, in my opinion. The owner is named Julieta (Giulietta?), and she said it was about the size of a hotel room. Less is more, or as explained in her manifesto and the sign outside, “Make your own damn house!” Well, it looks like she’s done just that, and you’re invited. Except Tuesdays and Wednesday when it’s closed.

Besides espresso drinks and drip coffee dubbed “elbow grease”, she serves toast and whole coconut. Seriously. Every cafe should offer toast, and yet they don’t. So don’t be dumb. Order the toast. She gets the bread from Just For You Cafe. The toast was perfect, and came with cinnamon and sugar on top even though I didn’t ask any, nor did I complain, because I got the last piece of toast that day, which I think was some sort of omen in my favor.

Order a coconut. She gets them from trees. But don’t just drink the juice with the straw, use the spoon that was given to you. Don’t waste the good stuff even if you have to work for it. I’m not being bossy here, it’s just my advice.

Are you like Charlie Brown and say, “blech!” to the idea of coconut? Okay, fine. But be honest here, have you ever tried a whole coconut? I’ve had coconut in things like cookies and candy bars, but it was the first time I’d ever walked in to a place and said in a clear voice, “May I please have a coconut”… and I’m here to tell you today you won’t regret the experience.

Warm Days & Nights


Warm at 7am, no fog, and a beautiful sunrise. Looks like another hot day. Yesterday, in the Mission briefly, recognized the signs of a sunny day and no fog evening: Zeitgeist and Medjool outside eating and drinking areas were packed. It’s so strange and infrequent, to have warm evenings in the city.

Beyond Bourbon and Branch

Obligatory Menu Shot

Todd Smith, one of the founding fathers of the speakeasy-style bar Bourbon and Branch, has announced he will be leaving the bar to pursue new ventures, possible opening his own bar in the future. Although he is leaving the bar, he plans to stay connected with the popular Beverage Academy program there.

Smith created many signature cocktails at Bourbon and Branch, including the Aperol Sour, pictured above. Bourbon and Branch is one of the bars that paved the cocktail revival in San Francisco within the past few years. You can find the recipe for the Aperol Sour, as well as read all about the cocktail revival in the Bay Area in this very excellent article in San Francisco Magazine.

I-5 Slow Burn …

While local dining legend SF’s Original Joe’s suffered it’s own fire on Friday, a scary big rig fire in a tunnel near Santa Clarita has severed the main commercial road artery through Northern & Southern California.
[ map of alternate routes around the I-5 south during closure after the jump]

The Governor, possibly eager to please the Republican voting base of Santa Clarita that helped get him into office, Arnie made sure to immediately declare the situation a “State of Emergency“.


One wonders if certain inevitable “Emergency” situations like this can’t be seen coming, and with the obvious transportation risks better managed or mitigated…

P.S Speaking of “State of Emergencies”, seriously, has the governor or any of his minions tried eating out here on the 5? Where the hell am I supposed to find a decent dining location with small plates, that has a trained staff capable of suitable bio-dynamic wine pairings, and perhaps proper vegetarian options out here that go with the smell of the horrendous cow sh*t…

Read the road rage addled rant of a Frisco Foodie Fraught With Fears For Us All after hours spent inching along the I-5 yesterday out of Southern California, miles from a decent warm organic frisee & Treviso radicchio salad topped with thinly sliced pear, sundried heirloom tomatoes, herbed chevre and bottarga in a Barolo-tangerine vinaigrette …

Is this California or Oklahoma for gawd sakes?

Maria Shriver (sans family) dines in the TL to reinforce family values

While Arnie stays home preparing to veto Mark Leno’s annual gay couple’s rights bill, California First Lady Maria Shriver comes to the TL, to reinforce family values…and wisely leaves the rest of her family at home.

Her appearance in the generally downright dangerous part of town on Turk St occurs to promote something dreamed up in Sacramento called ” It’s About WE &#153, ” which seems to be some sort of feel good concept idea that encourages poor people to stay off the street and for families with kids to spend more time together.

Perhaps this BAND-AID&#153 type solution to societal ills explains the presence of Johnson & Johnson as a sponsor of the dinner at the Tenderloin Community School tonight at 5:30pm. Indeed it appears free BAND-AID® brand bandages will be available to satiate any aching or wounded attendees.

It’s doubtful if the menu will include the type of fare Maria and Arnold have served in their Santa Monica restaurant “Schatzi On Main” which featured Austrian dishes like bratwurst, knackwurst, wienershnitzel, zwiebel rost braten, or an apple strudel (made from Arnold’s mother’s recipe). The press release issued promises “healthy” food from “The Network for Healthy California”, a public health effort empowering Californians to blah blah blah… something about Brita® filtered water and Splenda® No Calorie Sweetener…

Panhandle Pizza Vanishes…

Walked to Panhandle Pizza today hoping to get a delicious cornmeal crust slice, perhaps even toy with the popular vegan/soy cheese options…

But instead i saw the sickening site of a hollowed out storefront, devoid of ovens, refrigerators or anything related to pizza making. A couple bags of garbage were being dragged out, the sinking shock was so disturbing I shirked my journalistic responsibility and didn’t even ask the folks working , uh, what’s up?


The place has always been rather eccentric, a relic of daze gone by, sorta like the whole stretch of Hayes St. it’s located on. The workers were generally neighborhood teenagers, and an unreliable junkie delivery guy hung in there for awhile. I once asked the owner why he’d stopped selling beers, and he said it “wasn’t making any money”…

uh, I know it’s hard to lose money in the alcohol biz…but if ya try hard enough…I guess anythings possible…

There was an ad on Craigslist in May that this place was for sale, well I’ll just assume there were no buyers, and it must have finally just ended.

A cursory review of their last city health inspection in June didn’t look great and included several violations:

1. Certain food that is not hot enough or cold enough.
2. Food stored improperly.
3. Empty soap dispenser or towels.
4. Dirty utensils/equipment.
5. Improperly cleaned kitchen surfaces.
6. Deteriorated walls/floor/ceiling.
7. Unclean premises.

and my favorite

8. Severe Rat or mice infestation.

The grumpy hippie pizzaman owner who bought the joint a couple years back has hung up his Birkenstock cleats…

Maybe we’re all safer for it…

I’ll assume the “herbal relief remedies” biz continues to be better received around his social circle…

R.I.P another local small biz quasi- institution…

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