Food & Drink

Identity politics

Just Won Ton
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Where were we?

Oh yeah, I was a menace to society — unintentionally, to my credit — and lots of innocent people were going to die or go blind on account of my lack of window-opening prowess. Or did I dream this? It sounds like a dream. Except I couldn't have dreamed it because everyone's shirts stayed on and there weren't any Day-Glo chickens running around or big yellow onions with legs.

I'm so confused. Sometimes I have to go read last week's column just to find out where I'm at in the world. Read more »

The Boulevardiers

Eureka Restaurant
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paulr@sfbg.com

There are certain doors one steps through only every quarter-century or so, and for me one such door is located in the heart of the heart of the Castro, at 4063 18th St. I've been up and down that hyperkinetic block many times across the intervening years, but the last time I actually set foot in the door, it belonged to a restaurant called the Neon Chicken, which served some of the better food in the Castro. Read more »

Viva Falletti!

Not too big, not too small -- and just right
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>paulr@sfbg.com

The age of the independent grocer might be deep in its twilight season, but that doesn't mean a fresh gleam or two can't occasionally appear in the gathering Wal-Mart-Target-chain darkness. One such gleam is Falletti Foods, resurrected in a handsome new complex next to the DMV just east of Golden Gate Park's Panhandle. Falletti had operated for years in the old Petrini's space at Masonic and Fulton. But that building was demolished in 1999 to make way for housing. Well, I thought at the time, so much for Falletti, RIP. Read more »

The art of the cart

Regalito Rosticeria
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paulr@sfbg.com

The romance of street-cart food might not be high romance, but it is romance and does cast its spell, particularly in big, rich cities — like ours — with elaborate infrastructures of fancy restaurants and a concomitant epidemic of some as-yet unnamed cultural autoimmune disorder that attaches inordinate worth to the prosaic.
Street-cart chic reflects, I would say, a recognition among the high rollers that immaculate table linens and Limoges china aren't all there is to the gastronomic life, that occasionally a little mayonnaise running down the sleeve is in order, though mayb Read more »

Breakthroughs

The Ramp
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS My new favorite superheroes are my old pal Mod the Pod and her social-working podner, the Kat Attack. Together they comb the streets and psyches of the Bay Area, looking for people to help, and in many cases that turns out to be me!
If I had a nickel for every time one or the other or both of them together have untied me from figurative railroad tracks or snatched me up in midair as I was falling into snaky pits or the abyss or ... well, in this case, I was bummed about having been Just-Friended, yet again, the night before. Read more »

The kitchen sink

Pho Little Saigon 3
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com
CHEAP EATS There's this thing in sports and therefore maybe life where you're supposed to "act like you've been there before." But how are you supposed to act like you've been there before if you've never been there? What if every single thing is news to you?
You strike out the big hitter, score a touchdown. Or let's say you're not into sports, so you, I don't know, close the deal, or achieve the ... thing. What do people do in life? Or what do you do if you're me and the whole world is suddenly one big end zone? Read more »

One word: plastics

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paulr@sfbg.com
These days it is hard to be sure if the American way is war or plastic. Probably both, and since plastic is a petroleum product, and petroleum is a perennial occasion for war, we are probably not talking about a meaningful difference. Kevin Phillips describes the United States as the petroleum hegemon in his recent book American Theocracy (Viking, 2006), and the proof that he's right is all around us. To the extent that we make anything at all anymore, we make it out of plastic: dashboards, lawn furniture, coffee mugs, picnic knives, even clothes. Read more »

East meets West Hollywood

Roy's Restaurant
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paulr@sfbg.com
As you step into Roy's Restaurant, you will notice the names of many cities stenciled in gold on the glass door — places where other Roy's Restaurants can be found. You might feel as if you are sidling into one of the branches of a Parisian house of couture or the district office of some international brokerage firm. My eyes darted briefly to the end of the two-columned list, half expecting to see the reassuring words "FDIC insured." I didn't see them. Read more »

Guardian Guide: Comfort food and joy

Warm and hearty fare to keep you cozy through the season
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>www.tablehopper.com

Wintertime has descended, which means it's high time for wonderfully unhealthy, heavy eating (a food coma is as close to hibernation as you can get). The chilly nights practically demand that you keep yourself in extra cuddly form, but at least you can hide your pale, flabby body under coats and sweaters. Read more »

Starch Control

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paulr@sfbg.com
While we wait to be instructed on the lessons of Iraq by James A. Baker III — the Bush family consigliere assigned the Mosaic task of leading us forth from the Mesopotamian desert — let us consider the lessons of the Thanksgiving meal just past.
The bane of all holiday cooking is starch, and the Thanksgiving meal is the apotheosis of holiday cooking. Therefore: Thanksgiving = starch. You have your mashed potatoes, your bread stuffing, your bread, your pie crusts. Read more »