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Monday, July 27, 2015

Can't Believe I've Never Been: El Gran Taco Loco

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Chilaquiles - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Chilaquiles
Welcome to Can’t Believe I’ve Never Been, a recurring feature where food writers who very sincerely intend on going to the Restaurant at Meadowood someday recount their lapses in under-the-radar eating adventures.

Although Divisadero is hogging the limelight these days, and Valencia’s slightly dimmed halo is still most luminescent, the two restaurant-heavy commercial strips I love the most are 24th Street between Valencia and Potrero and Mission Street from Cesar Chavez to 30th streets. The latter constitutes the most diverse strip I know of in San Francisco, ranging from Nicaraguan food to Indian pizza to high-end sushi to Good Frikin Chicken.

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Eat This: Miso and Cream Cheese Salad at FuseBOX

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 3:15 PM

Red miso, cream cheese and other delights adorn a salad at West Oakland's FuseBOX. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • Red miso, cream cheese and other delights adorn a salad at West Oakland's FuseBOX.

It’s a funny thing to go to a place that consistently gets such high praise as West Oakland’s FuseBOX — cue The Who, because sorry, the name always makes me think of Squeezebox — and come out raving about a salad.

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Scientists Discover a Sixth Taste

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 1:45 PM

TINA LARSSON/SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Tina Larsson/Shutterstock

Scientific discoveries tend to go in one of three directions as they penetrate the public consciousness: fascinating the hell out of people (pictures of Pluto), eliciting a big “duh” because the research merely confirmed what anyone with common sense already knew (people buy more fresh produce when it’s cheaper), or generating a fair amount of skepticism (vaccines are essential public health tools).

The discovery that there may be a sixth taste seems like it could fall into that last category. In a study marvelously titled “Oleogustus: The Unique Taste of Fat,” researchers from Purdue University claim that the human tongue can differentiate sweet, salty, sour, bitter, savory — and also fat. And just when you were done convincing your mom that there was such a thing as umami, too.

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Bernal Heights Gets a Party Bus

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 1:10 PM

Rye Way or the Highway - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Rye Way or the Highway

Bringing the no-tipping trend out of the restaurant universe and into a brewpub, Old Bus Tavern has opened to some fanfare on Mission Street in Bernal Heights, as the principals are homebrew aficionados.

Unrelated to the Bus Stop Bar on Union and Laguna, it’s notable for the tapestries on the wall, the fermentation tanks sitting in the back, and for a chalkboard image of a microbus driving down Bernal Hill as a prop plane overhead trails a banner that reads “Drink Up!” The taps are a good cross-section of what’s doing in Bay Area microbreweries, from Fieldwork’s Tundra Triple IPA to Almanac’s Meyer Lemon Gose to Fort Point’s Westfalia Vienna Lager.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Strand Theater Has a Shockingly Affordable Lunch

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 5:45 PM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

After several months of marble staircase demolitions, vintage neon sign restorations, and fireproofing exposed I-beams and then getting stagehands to paint a veneer over them so that they look raw, A.C.T.’s Strand Theater is open for business. While the award-winning theater company put some serious elbow grease into restoring the derelict theater as a 283-seat performance venue, the idea was to keep it open to the public during the day as a key element of Mid-Market’s transformation.

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Tastelessness, Napkin-lessness, and Other Perils of Eating Barbecue at Starbucks

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 3:21 PM

The BBQ Beef Brisket on Sourdough, as advertised. - PHOTO VIA HUFFINGTON POST
  • Photo via Huffington Post
  • The BBQ Beef Brisket on Sourdough, as advertised.
 
A woman in a green apron called out my name over the chatter of the people and the speakers' corporate reggae.

“Mike? Mike?”

Squeezing my way through the crowd to where she'd stood, I found a white paper bag waiting for me, with “Mike” and “BBQ” scrawled across it in black marker. I snatched it off the counter. It was warm and moist in my hand, and I took it back to my table, feeling deeply ashamed.

Having grown up in one of the country's best spots for barbecue, it was with great reluctance that I went to my nearest Starbucks on a recent afternoon to have a barbecue sandwich for lunch. You read that correctly: barbecue, at Starbucks.

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Between Two Slices: Roli Roti's Porchetta

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Half of a porchetta roast prepares to get sliced! - ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli
  • Half of a porchetta roast prepares to get sliced!

Roli Roti isn't as much a food truck as it is a rolling rotisserie (hence the name). They hit different farmers markets multiple times a day, throughout the week, in a truck that has a dozen rotisserie spits built into the sides. It's open to the air, exposing Roli Roti's signature whole chickens and their big winner: the porchetta. 

If you're unfamiliar, porchetta is a whole pork side, belly and loin together. It's de-boned and rolled-out to expose the inside, which is then rubbed with an italian herb blend (generally fennel, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper) and then rolled around itself, tied down, and cooked. The outside layer of skin becomes perfectly greasy and crispy cracklins, which provide a textural contrast to the fatty and tender inside. Okay, do I have your attention now? 

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ban Ki-Moonlight: The Friday Night Market Returns to UN Plaza

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 5:15 PM

FACEBOOK/UN PLAZA
  • Facebook/UN Plaza

UN Plaza is many things. It’s a great place to buy eggs and pluots on Sundays and Wednesdays, it’s the site of the Faerie Village that keeps people sane during and after Pride, it’s the only place in San Francisco where the word “Djibouti” is carved into stone, and it also functions as an occasional urinal. And tomorrow night, it will be a bizarre bazaar as Friday Night Market returns.

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The Golden Gate Bridge Round House Serves Food Now

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 4:37 PM

FLICKR.COM
  • flickr.com

The Golden Gate Bridge’s Round House has been the focal point for the icon’s southern edge. Long a gathering place for miserable out-of-towners in shorts pointing helplessly at impenetrable fog and the spot where Lycra-clad, Sausalito-bound cyclists dodge the 29-Sunset buses, it’s now serving food.

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Sweet Bread Tacos and Mezcal Gin at Calavera

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 11:30 AM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

2015 is pretty much going down as the Year of the Maguey Plant. The various liquors distilled from agave (tequila, mezcal, raicilla) are showing up everywhere and putting further dents in any lingering misconception that Mexican cuisine is in any way uniform. In that vein, we could not be more excited for Calavera, a forthcoming Mexican restaurant and agave bar in Oakland that’s been hosting little teasers.

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Slideshows

  • Third Eye Blind @ The Masonic
    Third Eye Blind performed on Sunday, July 26 at The Masonic to a sold out show with the support of Dashboard Confessional & Ex-Cops. Photographs by Christopher Victorio.
  • Morrissey @ San Jose Events Center
    The last stop for Morrissey serenaded the sold out crowd during his only Northern California date on Saturday, July 25 at the San Jose Events Center. Photographs by Christopher Victorio.