Diane Sussman

FEAST: 5 tapioca delights

The little pearls get their due in classic and contemporary SF dishes

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diane@sfbg.com

When it comes to tapioca pudding, levels of neurosis tend to equal levels of nostalgia, with the haters depicting the starchy little pearls as "gummy, scary fish eyes" and the aficionados invoking Mom patiently stirring vanilla extract into the sweet milky mixture over a prairie Wedgewood.Read more »

FEAST: 5 gourmet gross-outs

"Say what?" menu items that are weird in a good way 

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diane@sfbg.com

From the design world to the fashion world, there are things that go and things that don't go (yes, you — guy in the striped shirt and madras Bermuda shorts ensemble; and you too, street scrounger hauling off that hideous oversized floral-pattern couch). But the truth is, these principles remain fixed only until some genius comes along and voila! isn't everyone on the runway looking sharp in stripes and madras? And doesn't that flower-power couch look great with that Marimekko wallpaper?Read more »

FEAST: 6 hot C-cups

Hot action! A mug of these hot chocolates will set you down the right sleigh path

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A funny thing happened on the way to adulthood: hot chocolate became interesting. Remembered by most Americans as the insipid, lukewarm, desiccated powder-based drink of ice rinks (often dispensed from a machine that simultaneously squirts water and dark matter into your cup), 21st century big-kid hot chocolate has heat, depth, spice, richness, variety. It is, in short, both hot and chocolate. And let's not forget innovations in topping technology. Read more »

FEAST: 5 far-out sammies

Find the creme of the crusts at these neighborhood delis

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We SFers have such an abundance of cafés and restaurants to choose from that it's easy to get panicky — Where am I? I haven't seen a restaurant in feet! I'm hungry! What will I eeeaat? — when we stray a few blocks outside a foodie greenbelt. At times like these, don't close your eyes, click your ruby slippers together, and repeat, "There's no place like the Valencia corridor ... " Because if you do, you'll miss some of the best unsung and out-of-the-way sandwich places the city has to offer. Read more »

FEAST: 5 sardinerias

The salty swimmers finally get their due in SF's eateries

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When it comes to sardines, you have to think outside the earthquake shelter. On the flavor-o-meter, the tinned food of last resort (served on tarps with Saltines and stale water) bears no resemblance to its wild, fresh self. Even a humble sardine doesn't deserve to be jammed in like a sardine, oil slicked, and left to age in the farthest reaches of the cupboard.Read more »