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

Saturday, March 26, 2005

This Is Your Pizza, This Is Your Pizza on Drugs...

Thursday Night. I'm driving home from juvie (I work with a super rad mentoring program that helps incarcerated youth write a play in two weeks). I'm so shit ass tired that I can barely see straight. I call Jon and we both confirm that we are hungry. What to do?

I bring up Arinell and Jon's all "hell, yeah, bitches!" So we decide to get a whole pie, because we figure that I can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day (Lucky husband of mine gets FREE lunch everyday). Jon says he's gonna give them a call. It's only 9:03, It's at least another 1/2 hour before I'll be there. He reminds me that it's never ready on time anyway. Point taken. He calls and orders. They tell him 15 minutes.

I get there the prescribed half hour later, and realize that it is Thursday, in the Mission and thus, it is a complete and total clusterfuck. No parking for me. So I double park as close to the next car as I can get so I'm not a complete asshole, turn my hazards on, use the ATM next to Arinell and head inside where it's pretty damn busy. Hooray for Arinell, not so hooray for me. Estimated time is 9:37. I am greeted by Stoner Number 1 at the counter. Here is what transpired in the form of a play:

ME: "Hi, I have an order for Joy."

STONER NUMBER 1: "Oh., that was for a large pepperoni, right?"

Uh, no, a medium cheese. (side note: we try to keep it simple for them)

(Stoner Number 1 TURNS to Stoner Number 2 and whispers)

It's going to be another 10 minutes, is that OK?

ME: Um, yeah. I'm just double parked so I don't want to block anyone.

STONER NUMBER 2: Just give me, like, 8 minutes (HE starts making my pizza. That's right STARTS making it).

STONER NUMBER 1: I'm really sorry. Would you like a free drink? Here's a large coke.

ME: OK, thanks. I'm glad to see you're so busy.

(8 minutes pass during which time I get a few more "I'm sorry"'s and "only 2 more minutes"'s)

STONER NUMBER 2: Here you go -- I'm reeeeally sorry.

No worries.


Can I have a piece of pizza?

I call Jon and give him the story. He's amused (but not surprised) and elated about the free coke. He's an easy one, that hubby of mine.

They threw it in the box so fast that the cheese is sliding to one side, but we don't care, it's still tasty as all get out.

I throw my grease laden ass in bed, glad that the next day is Friday. Except that I remembered just before I fell asleep that this particular Friday was Purim. Purim is a kick ass Jewish holiday that involves costumes and treats (some of which I just learned represent vaginas, which I'm slightly dubious about, but OK) and is NOT Halloween, despite what Jon thinks. And Purim is hands down, the longest day of the entire friggin' school year when you teach at a Jewish school, especially when you teach drama and the holiday involves doing a play.

At least I had some pizza to get me through it.


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

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New Deli (Miller's East Coast West Delicatessen -- San Francisco, CA)

Remember back when I bitched about no good east coast style eats here in SF? Brother man, I have found a ray of hope.

Miller's East Coast West Delicatessen is located on Polk St. It's got an unassuming little store front and when you walk in, you feel like you might have teleported to the corner deli at 86th and Lex in good ol' NYC. It's rad.

Their menu's got all the deli staples: corned beef, pastrami, knishes, rugelach, etc., etc... But the reason I was gettin' my Miller's on was because I had heard they flew in bagels from NYC. Holy shit.

This turned out to be true. They are boiled and partially baked in NYC and then Miller's finishes baking them here. So Jon and I settled in and got ready for our foodgasm.

Jon never shuts up about missing a good corned beef sandwich, so I'll give you three guesses (first two don't count) as to what he ordered. I ordered a bagel, of course, with cream cheese. And some eggs. And some bacon.

Our waiter was fucking awesome. He rocked my world. Just super cool, down to earth and easy like Sunday morning (FYI, it was Sunday morning). Made our dining experience completely un-stressful, which is saying something considering we were foaming at the mouth like rabid puppies at the thought of reclaiming our childhoods.

Our food came and I had to scrape Jon off the floor after he melted with sheer bliss over his corned beef. He ate it all.

And my bagel was everything I hoped for and more. Crispy, chewy and delish. Fuck you, Noahs!

The eggs and bacon were OK, not great. I'd get my protein elsewhere next time. But I'm definitely hitting Miller's again because they rocked my world.

Go get your grub on.


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

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Went to Tartine yesterday and Jon reported that their coffee has greatly improved and no longer sucks, which means that now everything there is officially beyond delicious. Is it wrong that I wanted to eat a coconut cream tart for breakfast?

Also, I just got finished watching "Iron Chef America: Battle Cheese" which made me want to roll around naked in a vat of ricotta, despite the fact that I recently ate my weight in cheese at A16 last night (side note: A16 is awesome).


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

It's a Thai (Thep Phanom -- San Francisco, CA)

You know what's just crazy stupid? The fact that I haven't posted about one single fucking Thai restaurant yet. Not only is it one of my favorite cuisines, but I'm headed to Thailand next month mostly to eat. So it's just all sorts of fucked up that there is nothing on my blog that backs that shit up. So here it is.

SF has a lot of Thai restaurants, and a lot of damn good ones at that. It's pretty easy to get a great Thai meal in just about any neighborhood in our fair city. The one that remains consistently at the top of the proverbial heap, however, is Thep Phanom in the lower Haight.

Thep Phanom is run by chef/owner Pathama Parikanont, who is cute as pie and can get her cookin' on like you've never seen. Their menu is super long (which can be overwhelming), but you can pretty much just point to anything with your eyes closed and it will be good. There's also a concerted effort to cook with organic ingredients so I gotta give some props there.

The first time I went there was back in 1999. It was a Thursday night, we had reservations, but we still had to wait. But it really didn't matter because a) it was worth it and b) I would never, ever want to be a restaurant trying to guess how long people will plan to linger at their tables thus fucking up the next turn.

So, six years (and one takeout discovery later), I'm still going there and still loving it.

Here are some of my favorites:

The crispy yam and taro root. These are covered in panko and fried and served with peanut sauce. Artery blocking goodness. When you order them for takeout, TP puts them in an open container so the steam doesn't condense and make them soggy. That's just fucking brilliance right there.

Pad Thai. The barometer of all Thai restaurants. Theirs is super fresh and delicious and you get a fuckload of noodles which is a big plus in my house. And they use actual tamarind instead of sugar -- imagine that!

Tom Kha Gai, spicy chicken and coconut milk soup. It's a crowd pleaser and a great way to get your tummy ready for some curry. Like a buffer layer or something.

Spicy prawns and squid with string beans. Super rad.

Param Long Srong. Beef with spinach in peanut sauce. Jon loves this shit. You can also ask them to make it with chicken if you don't like the moo moos.

Any curry, any way, any time. They're all good. I'm partial to green curry, but anyway you like it, you can get it there.

Sweet sticky rice with mango and fried banana with ice cream. With the sticky rice, I usually have to distract Jon by yelling "Look -- boobs!" to manage to get a bite, and the fried bananas are warm and crispy and squishy and awesome. I hear you can get a bag of them for like, 12 cents in Thailand, which means my ass is in for some enlargement.

And last but not least, everything else on the whole menu because it's all good. Michael Bauer thinks the menu is too big for them to keep up the quality but it still tastes good to me so I'm gonna ignore that.

The staff is friendly, the service is quick (as is takeout) and it's a hop, skip and a jump away from some rockin' lower Haight bars if you want to lay down some foundation before a night of drinking.

I get my Thai on all over this city, but I'll find any excuse to hit up TP because, in my opinion, it's the best and freshest Thai cuisine in the city. We'll see how I feel after my trip but for now, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


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

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Legend in the Making (Myth -- San Francisco, CA)

No, I'm not dead, just busy. Sorry to disappoint.

"New York?" "No." "Boston?" "No." "Definitely NOT LA..." "Hell NO!" Thus went our recent opening conversation when we dined at Myth. The hip, but comfortable dining room reminded us of somewhere other than SF, but we couldn't place where. We ultimately agreed that it had a New York vibe, without the jagged New York edge. It's like a comfy NYC.

Myth is one of those places that we went to with an understanding that we might be disappointed, or at the very least underwhelmed. After all, the Chronicle review glowed so much that it was radioactive. That's a hard thing to live up to. Plus, there were a myriad of complaints about the hostess on citysearch. I went into it with hopes higher than a dirty hippie, though, because everyone knows that people only post shit on citysearch when they're pissed off. Plus, I had read that they give you the option of ordering half portions of things which is so freakin' genius that I almost peed my pants with excitement.

I don't know what those citysearch sluts are talking about because the hostess AND the general manager gave us a welcome so warm that I almost broke out into a rendition of "It's getting hot in here". That song sucks. But I digress. The point is that they rocked.

The seating is super cool because almost everyone gets to sit on a comfy banquette or in a sexy booth. There are a few traditional tables, but for the most part, it's just a bunch of seating that is fun and nice on your behind.

Our waiter, who was French, was funny, informed and he made us feel like we were his best friends in the whole world (BFF always! Luv ya!). When we found out that he was not only French, but Parisian, we knew the apocalypse was coming because no Parisian is that nice.

Onto Alex, the sommelier, who was equally amazing. This man was practically jumping up and down because he was so excited by his own wine list. There is nothing I love more than seeing someone thrilled by what they do and it makes me all hot and wet, too. So we followed his recommendations and were very happy for the entire night. My personal favorite was a German Reisling that I was not familiar with up until that point (despite my affinity for German Reislings in general). I'd go back to the restaurant just for some more of the wine. And to find out what it was since I didn't write it down. But I'd recognize it if I saw it. Pinky swear.

So after much debate, we asked our garcon -- oysters or snails? He said oysters so we rattled off our order and it went a little somethin' like this:

Oysters marinated in cilantro and lime with yuzu caviar. These were so fucking fantastic. The combination was perfect and I felt like the inside of my mouth had had a shower after we were through (without the bad soapy aftertaste). I think we might need two orders next time.

Then Jon had the sweetbreads salad. He said he usually has a dirty aftertaste when he eats sweetbreads, but that these were clean and satisfying. I had the tuna poke special with microgreens and ate it in about five seconds. And it was great. I love raw tuna, but it can be shitty. This was not shitty. And we got some fries, which were so good that it pretty much insured that I won't be putting on a bathing suit anytime soon.

Main courses. Jon had a half order of the gemelli with foie gras reduction and pomegranate seeds which he burst with his fork, thus guaranteeing that he would get them all over his new shirt. Despite this, he liked his pasta.

Now here comes the moment in the date when you realize s/he's perfect but a bad kisser. But don't worry, with a little work, it'll be all good. I had a half order of the mushroom crusted scallops, having read great things. I need some "Jaws" theme music in here because...they were presented perfectly, the potato puree and veggies that came with were perfect, they were prepared perfectly... BUT. BUT. BUT. Oh, Christ, everything else was so good that I can hardly say it, BUT....the scallops themselves were just plain crappy. They had that metallic taste that scallops of flagging quality get. No sweetness. And everything else about the dish (and the meal) was fantastic so this was a huge disappointment. So while the execution was perfect, it was a poor quality ingredient. Someone should bitchslap the purveyor that's selling them that shit. And of course, the rest of the experience was so magical that I didn't want to say anything. So I cried into my napkin and vowed to come back, but not order the scallops. Poor Jon took one for the team and ate most of my scallops, despite the fact that the metallic (what he sometimes calls gritty) taste bothers him like that gonorrhea you got from your no-good cheatin' baby daddy.

I dried my tears and we ordered some dessert -- a Meyer lemon Napoleon that was not overly sweet or cloying, but rather tangy and tasty (hooray!) and the phyllo was light and flaky. So glad about this since I'd read not so great things about the desserts. Fuck those bitches, I loved it!

So overall, I'd go back. And maybe I'd ask about the scallops and where they're getting them and how they're caught and try to figure out why they were the only shitty thing. Because otherwise, Myth is a rock star.


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

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Disneyland Kicked My Ass

Hey everyone...I've got some more posts coming. I hit Disneyland this past weekend and, well, the way I do Disneyland I come back feeling (and looking)like I've been on a bender. I promise to get some new posts up by the end of the week.


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