CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Way We Were

There is no doubt that the bay area has the best food in America, and is a candidate for the best food in the world. It is a sad fact, though, that there are just some things we don't have.

Jon is from New Jersey and I'm from Massachusetts with a family from NYC and we both went to school in Ithaca, NY. There are regional, ahem, delicacies that we just can't find here. I've listed some below:

1. A good sub. Italian style. I'm talking peppers and eggs on a toasted bun. Jon prefers salami, capicola and turkey with lettuce (always shredded), onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and oil and vinegar (that last bit is the key) on a toasted bun. We have yet to find an equivalent here. I've heard Roxie's Subs is good, but I also heard that from people born and raised in California. I'll have to check it out.

2. Pizza. Yes, we've got wood oven fired pizzas in their Chez Panisse/Oliveto glory. And we've got incredibly perfect Neopolitan pizza a la A16 (more on that in a later review). But we are sorely lacking in pinkish grease covered, thin, New York style slices. Arinell is the closest we've found (more on that later, too) and fortunately we live close to them. But it's still not quite the same thing, and it's the only one in the city (compared to a slammin' pizza spot every two feet in NYC). And the biggie......

3. NO DELIVERY! What the fuck? Not only does Arinell's not deliver, but no one does in this city. And if you do, that's a pretty good sign that you suck here. Only the sucky places seem to deliver. Now Sparky's delivers, and Sparky's can be good if you eat there. But order it for delivery and you get a soggy sack of shit after waiting for more than an hour. Whenever I talk to my best friends in NYC, they've just ordered something fantastic from anyplace you can imagine. Even the evil empire (ie, McDonald's) delivers there. Alas, when you are sick, tired or just plain lazy, your options for dining are sorely limited in the bay area.

4. Seafood. Best lobster in the world for $15 back home in Massachusetts. I paid through the nose for one at Michael Mina and it was the worst thing I've ever put in my mouth. Tough, chewy and just bad. I've had some good lobster here at French Laundry, La Folie and a few other places, but I've always paid a hefty price for it, and it's always accompanied by frou-frou veggies and stuff, which is great but....I just want my steamed lobster with drawn butter, lemon and some fries on the side for $15.95. I have to pay hundreds of dollars for a plane ticket and deal with my crazy ass mother for that $15.95 piece of heaven now. Same goes for scallops. There are good ones here, for sure, but the restaurants that serve them get them from, you guessed it, Massachusetts. We have our own type of great seafood here, but we're sorely lacking in some areas.

5. Buffalo Wings. Kezar comes the closest but they all suck. SUCK. SUCK. SUCK. It's like they're covered in ketchup. That's just bullcrap. They should be spicy and yummy and not so salty that you need an IV drip.

6. Bagels. Don't give me this Noah's bullshit. Even the Jewish school I teach drama at serves Noah's when they get bagels. That's just wrong. Noah's should be illegal. I've heard there's a place on Polk that ships their bagels in from NYC, but I haven't been there yet. Katz does a decent job. But I have yet to find a truly authentic bagel. And it's fucking cream cheese, OK? Not this pansy ass shmear crap. CREAM FUCKING CHEESE.

7. Hot dogs and pretzels from the street. Yes we have these here, but they suck balls. In NYC, they're actually a pleasant dining option.

8. Dunkin' Donuts (Jon's contribution). Krispy Kreme's are just too damn sweet. And Dunkin' Donuts has munchkins. And great coffee.

All that said, we are truly blessed with all of the wonderful food we have here. Sometimes I just want a decent goddamn bagel.


"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."
--La Rochefoucauld


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joy you are killing me. As a fellow east coaster I have complained about all the things in your list (right down to the pain-in-the-ass mother). Sometimes I wonder how I've survived these last 10 years. Noticeably missing in your complaints, however, is our lack of ice-cream shops. Other than that you've summed it up wicked awesomely!

6/04/2005 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My second-order grump in the pizza department is the lack of good SICILIAN pizza. A couple places TRY, but most fail miserably. Then they charge too much for it. Ptttth!


12/05/2005 5:07 PM  

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