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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gastronomique 

Post is up at SFist. About Thai Chef, a little chain of Thai restaurant which has opened a new location in the Sunset a couple months ago. It is a block away from Marnee Thai, a place that I haven't visited yet so could not compare it to, even though it is the Thai reference in the neighborhood. I apologize for the thinly veiled cheap shot at Mrs. Brody. Not really. I'll keep rubbing it in, there is no good reason not to visit the Sunset.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

techy stuff. 

I read the Chron online quite a bit (I do purchase the paper for my commute most days), and some annoying pop under from tribal fusion started to appear. First, I was not able to pinpoint where they were coming from: I did not notice they were there until I close down firefox, and here it is, lurking underneath. There is a fix for it (cf comments here). Eventually, I identified a few sites, the Chron one of them. Come on, Chron guys: you know that everyone finds pop up annoying. And you guys are willingly taking a step back in the fight against them by using that tribal fusion shit. That is bad bad bad karma.

Mercredi, c'est ravioli. 

We are somewhat back in business. Meredith finds a new place to visit in North Beach, so it's yawn yawn yawn all the way.

First sentence: I make my living remembering meals. Ok, true enough, you are a food critic. Then, a few paragraph later: During the past couple of weeks, I was out of town and spending much more time in the dark, with my eyes glued to flickering lights projected on a screen, than anywhere else, including at table. How you make a living again?

She squeezes in another mention of the Poodle Dog. Luckily, she does not recycle yet another time the "poulet d'or" -> "poodle dog" phonetic shift, like she did the last two times.

Robert changes his mind when he spies that [rice and beans] are also available as sides. How dares she out an undercover operational! Robert won't be able to assess the proliferation of sides in restaurants anymore now that she's blown his cover!

At least, she goes to the Condor but does not ludicrously call it again the birthplace of topless dancing, as she did last time.

Last week: I did not miss much, it was a restaurant review. The most disingenuous comment was Carl manages to keep up with the local dining scene [...] His initial e-mail even says he's excited about the "peat-smoked" pork shank. Where he learned about that, I'm not sure. Yeah, she really does not know he read about it on Chowhound. What a piece of work...

On an unrelated note, the Palo Alto French Cine Club is showing "La vie est un long fleuve tranquille," a movie from which the line "lundi, c'est ravioli" became famous. I don't recall how I got to title this weekly post using it, but it stuck. The movie is tonight, 8pm, palo alto art center, on newell road.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fermé pendant les travaux. 

We are out of town for a week. No Meredith review this week, unfortunately.
I see that Seamus is out as well, so she is getting a free pass: go away and review Scoma or Alioto's or the Hard Rock cafe as much as you like.

Regular posting resumes on the 28th.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

two posts at SFist. 

That is my excuse for not posting here. One is the weekly gastronomique, in which I cover random things, but no restaurant review this time. After all, it is a food post, not a restaurant post. Other post is about the Italian Girl in Algiers, a fun fun fun opera which opened the SF Opera season.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mercredi, c'est ravioli. 

We were licking our chops as soon as we opened the Weekly this morning: a picture of Julius Castle. Julius Castle, the big mansion with a fake turret, which Zagat describes along the lines of: the views are wonderful so the food does not have to be and, the menu is pricey and in serious need of update. We were licking our chops, because 1,900 words of Meredith were looking at us, when the 19 of the Zagat opened and closed the Julius Castle case: go there if you are one of the suckers willing to pay for a view you can easily find for free.

Meredith's case is a bit different: she is not one of these suckers. After all, for her, Julius Castle is better than free, she is paid to go there. The sucker is the reader, who does not get a dining review, but a glossy look in Meredith's life.

She opens: There are so many ways to discover the city... Exploring a city through its restaurants... It all depends on the definition of "exploring," "discover" and "city." If Christopher Columbus had discovered America the way she discovers the city, we would all be packed like sardines in Cuba, with the greatest part of America left untouched.

Second paragraph: I love the extra sensation when you're watching a locally set movie and a frisson runs through the audience when it recognizes its own landmarks. We love the extra sensation when we're reading a food review, and a frisson runs through us when we recognize there is no restaurant called Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace nor waiter named Jar-Jar, but we were in the movie section.

Paragraph 3: [she] found two Fisherman's Wharf restaurants....and proposed [her friend to spend] an evening at one or even both. I rest my case, your honor.

Let me not rest it too much, actually. Just to say: if she'd rather go to Pier 39 with Clueless and Cluelesser from Omaha, rather than Bernal Height or the Sunset, that is not a snub, it is a middle finger.

She goes to Julius Castle, coming to her sense midly: Fisherman's Wharf is not known as an outpost of la gourmandise. Except gourmandise means the like of sweets and candy, and she really meant gastronomie.

She goes on telling us a family story about Kinsey (surprisingly enough, the actual sex-survey guy, not the Liam Neeson movie) and her dad. Her dad had lunch with Kinsey. He declined moving to Kinsey's institute in Bloomington, Indiana, a bad career move, as it would have taken Meredith out of the Bay Area as a child, a Back To The Future scenario we dreamily lament.

Oh, that cute story with Kinsey: it is unrelated to Julius Castle. It happened in some other restaurant, Meredith admits later. Since that restaurant shut down, she would have been unable to share the story with her fans readers, so she just made up the new location.

It's 651 words in the review, and she arrives at the restaurant.

Rich endeared himself to me by choosing the starter that I was looking at myself, the ... lobster tail. She means: I was going to poke his eyes with my fork for ordering my, my, my lobster. Mine. Until I realized I could [order] the seared foie gras.

It also pleased me that he didn't seem to be intimidated by price. What nerves of steel! This quote should read as: "Who the fuck cares, we're not paying for it!"

As a member in poor standing of the Writer's Guild of America: which means, she is NOT a member of the WGA, but a member in good standing in the Poor Writer's Guild.

I had no idea that Full House was set in San Francisco until I read San Francisco Noir I had no idea that Full House was a film noir. I missed the dark undertones, when Jessie changes the baby's diapers in the kitchen sink. This should read as: "I had no idea what Full House is or was, what do you expect, I was born in the 1951. But I hear every exterior shot is a Victorian house."

Alice B. Toklas said, "I like a view, but I like to sit with my back to it." Alice B. Toklas said the darnedest things. Charles De Gaulle once said: "I like two sugar cubes in my coffee, no cream."

[And that was my] experience [at JC], and one I would recommend to the curious, more for the view than for the food. If by curious one means, as we mentioned in introduction, sucker with $350 to blow for dinner. I would recommend the same view with a picknick basket at Coit Tower, partly for economics reasons, but mostly because I care about my food.

Now, it should have been the end, but as we recall, that guy who could look at an expensive price tag with steely resolve, he had ordered her lobster and only left Meredith crumbs. So she returns with Daddy and has a lobster and crab salad duo. Why did the editor let her go to an expensive tourist trap, twice? She made up a phony excuse of a new menu and a new chef which of course did not happen. Ain't nothing gonna get in the way of this girl and her lobster.

She concludes with: Snookered again. Yes, we feel that way.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Nestor Makhno has moved to Paris. 

Wired reports on one of these groups in France which exist solely for the purpose of being reported about in the US. This time, it is about "les Dégonflés," a group of people who deflate tires of SUV, in the VIth arrondissment in Paris.

They let the air out of the tires of 6 trucks, and it made it into Wired. Talk about getting the bang for your PR buck.

Sales of SUV in Europe are increasing, from 3.2% to 6.5%last year. Compare with more than 40% for light trucks in the US in 2005. Sales of SUV in France? The article does not say. There are reason to believe it has increased less there than in Europe: the market is dominated by French manufacturers, which do not offer SUVs, yet. The gas is more expensive in France than in neighboring countries, due to higher taxes. It is impossible to park a SUV in most cities (but that is true of most of Europe, with maybe the exception of cities rebuilt after WWII). And it is not a reason not to get a SUV, but it mitigates the impact: average yearly mileage in France is much lower than in the US by almost a factor 2.

Rather than a protest of SUVs and an environmental struggle, it is a class issue. The group targets the cars of the rich: Nestor Makhno's Mission Yuppie Eradication project has indeed moved to Paris.

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Mixed signals. 

Poetry on a Bernal store door (click on picture to enlarge):

Please use other door.
We are the same store.
This is all one store.
There are not two stores here.
This is not a closed store.
We are open.

Open. O-P-E-N.
What part of OPEN you don't understand,
O or PEN?
US OPEN, just like Agassi.
Sky: UP; light: ON; door: OPEN.
Where did you get the impression we were closed
anyway?




Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gastronomique 

Post up at SFist.

Oh, and I cannot resist highlighting Winky's comment again, who quoted Meredith yesterday:

The chain-mail-draped building reminded both of us ex-Angelenos of the Parker Center, L.A.'s downtown jail,

added two pictures:


And asked: See the similarity?

We do see that the Parker center is not Welton Becket's best work, just like the De Young is not Herzog & De Meuron's best.

Here are our favorite for each, the iconic spider at LAX, and the Prada building in Tokyo:

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mercredi, c'est ravioli. 

Meredith, always a step late, discovers the chowhound guide we reviewed way back when (ie. last May; and we got our publicity copy somewhat later than more established outlets). But being late to speak does not mean she has anything interesting to say: the intro about the guide repeats only the point pretty much everyone made: disorganized, frustrating and confusing, but with some gems if you dig hard enough.

Nevertheless, her intro is related to food in San Francisco, by way of the guide. It is, I believe, the third week in a row that she does not segue into irrelevant details about her excellent adventures.

She hooks up with Jane, which we last saw beheaded in front of Cafe Gratitude (she was thanking the deity who had mystically placed Jane's bright head on my path). If we recall, that is the episode of the phony battery incident, when her car battery died because Meredith rolled down the window to say hi to Jane, or something like that.

In the phony battery review, there was a high-school-ish description of the bay in Brisbane (the water glittered blue and silver and green). Today brings more kindling to the phony theory fire: if the story is phony, where did she pick up these nice details. Answer today: she drives with Jane to the airport, passing the little blue and silver and green and gold and black and emerald lagoon.

Why does she drive to the airport? To avoid the Sunset of course! She is following the guide to houndish places. The guide, by the way, does mention places in the Sunset, quite a few. But Meredith being Meredith, she starts in the heart of the Marina. Chestnut and Scott. Fresh crab meat piled high in front of her. Par for the course.

Then our heart beats faster as she circles the city counter-clock wise. To the Presidio. To the Richmond (to a Russian bakery). Then we started to get really really really excited: I'd intended to try a banh mi sandwich next, as well as an Asian crepe, also both on Clement, but the clock was ticking The clock was ticking! She had to go on, and her momentum, from the marina to the presidio to the richmond, could only carry her to the Sunset. Clock was going to hit midnight, the bell would ring, Big Ben style, ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong, fireworks would shoot up. Hourray, hourray!

...and we decided to jump on the freeway and head for a highly touted sandwich shop near the airport.

Snubbed, once again. Worst, after eating some imitation crab meat, with no dent in her enthusiasm, after strolling through South San Francisco, they go back to Golden Gate park and the De Young Museum! Yep, a sandwich whose meat, she admits, is not of the best quality is worth of 45mn drive, rather than hopping to the best pho, and some of the best dim sum in the city in the Sunset. We joked about the Sunset Snub and the Marina Mania. This week, she takes it to a whole new level.

After the de Young, it's back to her favorite steakhouse, in North Beach, Alfred's, which she reviewed 2 months ago and re-wrote lengthyly about a month ago.

Hell is paved with good intentions, the French saying goes. But to hear her, places in the Richmond are incredibly hard to get to; Asian places are hard to get to. It's hard work, as George would say. They keep shutting down, or clocks keep ticking. Actually, impossible to get into: she mentions some, but does not get into any. Russian places or Darby Dan's, she succeeds all right.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

lobster millions. 

So much for vacationing. The Guardian reports, in an article detailing a potential merger of the New Times, the SF Weekly parent company with Village Voice, that: "In the 2004 Calendar year, SF Weekly, East Bay Express, and the Cleveland Scene racked up losses of $4 million," the memo states.
We knew that Meredith Brody spends tons of money on lobster and foie gras in the wealthy side of town. But millions? We had no idea.

The article mentions that the investors behind the merger would consider shutting down the Weekly if they can't restore profitability. That would be a darn shame. How would this blog survive without a dead horse to beat?

Talking about which, Winky reviewed the review, since I did not do it:
  • yes, her review wasn't really all that bad for meredith, but still and all, i will object to these trifles: "... was like an elegant plate of baby food" OMG, that made me gag! the consistency of baby food is truly disgusting. [and definitely does not apply to spaghetti!]
  • "I've been yearning for a terrific cheeseburger," [she] said, "and this is it." NO ONE uses the word "yearning" in casual conversation. i will bet anyone $100 that she did NOT say this.
  • "Candide-like happiness" no, that would be Pangloss, not Candide. what the f*ck does Candide have to be happy about? has she ever even read Candide? WTF?? [Winky's excerpt does not make justice to his point. He is 100% correct of course, as she keeps going with a Panglossian "Everything was for the best in this best of all possible worlds."]
  • "The boys were fatigued from the relentless August fog." why? who gets FATIGUED from FOG? it's cold and wet. how can it fatigue you, fer crying out loud? [especially since COCO500 is in SOMA, aka. the side of SF that never gets foggy...]
    well, those are my contributions. if you don't like them, sue me


    Oh no, I like them alright, I made a post of it.

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