Month: March, 2009

a perfect mission saturday afternoon in san francisco

i spent my last weekend  in san francisco enjoying the first sunny weekend of the year.  over the last few years of living in the mission, some of my best times have been spent picnicking with friends while people-watching and day-drinking the hours away at dolores park. there’s always ample sources of entertainment there including, but certainly not limited to, chocolate marijuana truffles, glue and lentil wrestling in kiddie pools, naked slip’n’slides, sf cop run-ins, a hunky jesus contest, and so much more.  a view of the packed saturday park hustle and bustle:


there is an insane amount of delicious food available within a one-block radius of the park. i stopped at bi-rite on the way over and got neon green and fruity so-hot-right-now casteveltrano olives and some nutty ewetopia cheese. julie and nadja, champion day drinkers, handled the peach mango mimosas:


mimosa in hand, i also caught up with allan from mission mission and met a powerhouse crew of local eaters including john from burrito justice and ashley from mission pie.  we all happened to catch the future hula-hooping world champion demolish her struggling male companion in a mano-a-mano battle.  it was a hilarious scene and the surrounding crowd gave her a few rounds of applause in acknowledgement of her talents.  i always love those great instances where a whole bunch of strangers join in on appreciating a singularly unexpected public moment, something we try to achieve as much as possible with the go game.


thanks to john from burrito justice for the cool moving photo action and some good conversation. i may be in touch about airmailing a cancun burrito over to the UK soon…

the porky pork porkorama at mission street food

i hit up mission street food again on thursday with my girl julie. julie is one of my favorite people in the world despite her being a vegetarian and ‘forcing’ me to eat all the delicious meat dishes by myself.

the guest chef on thursday was mari takahashi of sozai restaurant and sake lounge in the inner sunset. i would like to adopt mari and install her in my kitchen as the benevolent goddess of porky love. her MSF menu included THREE kinds of pork product which i had to eat ALL BY MYSELF. poor me. i actually went through the charade of questioning whether i could actually eat it all and reminding myself out loud that i could always take home any leftovers. then i totally destroyed all three dishes on the solo tip because i am into over-the-top gluttony like that.

i started with the bacon xiao long bao, which are shanghai soup dumplings that i got obsessed with when living in nyc chinatown after graduating college. it’s a steamed dumpling typically filled with a super intensely porky broth that is best eaten by putting it in a soup spoon and poking with a chopstick so some of the juice leaks out and cools off and you don’t get a first mouthful of boiling hot magma-style  liquid. these soup dumplings were made with bacon (i am seriously on bacon overload) and were served in adorably multicolored silicone cupcake liners:


these soup dumplings weren’t the best i’ve ever had (my faves are from nice green bo, formerly new green bo, downstairs from my old apartment in chinatown), with a slightly drier wrapper and less tasty broth inside, but they added an exciting element with the salty smokiness of the bacon. definitely worth a try.

we also started with olives, the smaller darker lucque and my favorite bright green castelvetrano, and a bottle of wine from julie. oh herro.


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writing home from last week's san francisco bacon camp!

dear mommy and daddy,

i am having so much fun at bacon camp! the people here are very nice and there are lots of fun activities. there is no canoeing or archery or s’more making, but instead everyone has made yummy dishes out of bacon to share with each other.  i took some pictures so you could see all the cool things people are doing at camp.

this is a smoked pea soup with bacon bits and truffle oil in a bacon bowl made by steve.


i think i heard one of the judges say that it looks like baby vomit, but apparently it was pretty delicious.  even though i am only nine years old i already know that truffle oil = automatic tasty.

some people made very pretty and very complicated things, like this deconstructed BLT by simon with bacon foam and tomato chutney.  he also made a bacon old fashioned with bacon infused bourbon.


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happiest breakfast ever

the best way to get out of bed in the morning?


backyard fresh slow scrambled eggs, niman ranch applewood smoked bacon from bi-rite, walnut bread from oakland-based firebrand sourdough bakery, and espresso with locally-roasted-right-here-in-the-Mission coffee beans.


bacon camp recipes, round two: panko encrustifried avocado and bacon sushi with wasabi bacon mayonnaise

three of the most i-could-eat-you-any-time-in-any-form-and-am-totally-head-over-heels-obsessed-with-you foods in my world of edibility: 1. bacon. 2. avocado. 3. sushi.

add them all together. toss in some deep frying action. squiggle on some bacon mayonnaise. OH HOLY CRAP!!!!!


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i'm in a snuggie, on a boat, and i just f*cked a mermaid.

you may or not be aware of the fact that i am obsessed with snuggies. you also may or not be aware of the fact that i love boats and…t-pain. my worlds have just collided in an epic cosmic explosion.

thank you tall skinny white dude and i-feel-awkward-about-seeing-you-in-your-tighty-whities-big dude.  you’ve just made my morning.

that’s all.

i am a fort made out of butter!!!!


i am a towering structure made from a pound of butter! i am a kitchen landscape-dominating stronghold of solid butterfat and milk protein! i am mei’s surpressed gag reflex!

soon i will be a delicious maple oatmeal scone from the barefoot contessa cookbook. here’s how to transform me from a four-story dairy monstrosity into a moist and crumbly dollop of maple deliciousness.

somewhere along the way, you will need to hire a construction crew to wrecking ball that butter into your mixer:


there are actually about five other ingredients suffocating at the bottom of the mixer bowl, but they are barely visible underneath that pound of butter. in other news, ina garten is trying to kill me and make me fat. i still love her though.

beside butter forts, you may be tempted to make maple syrup buttermilk art. don’t worry, this impulse is completely normal (is it?)


at some point, if you ever finish playing with your food, you will have a number of beautifully browned and subtly sweet scone mountains.


screw hiking or rock climbing or conquering everest, i will ascend this mound of scone to a pinnacle of breakfast bread nirvana. just wait till i get some icing on you…

smitty's bbq is literally on fire: 'honey, they don't do forks here'

barbecue is a pretty serious topic of debate in a food city like austin. salt lick or snow’s or smitty’s or kreuz or a bajillion other places? sauce or no sauce? white bread or saltines?  chris, my business/barbecue/banh mi partner-in-crime, and logan of boots in the oven went on a barbecue pilgrimage on our last day in austin. destination: smitty’s bbq in lockhart, texas, supposedly one of the best barbecue spots in texas.  and texans are SERIOUS about ‘cue, which basically means that smitty’s is arguably one of the best barbecue spots in the world.

i’ll be the first to admit that i don’t really know shit about barbecue other than what tastes awesome. luckily, i was in great hands with logan, who detailed the long and complicated history of smitty’s and how it matters that they actually do their smoking in the big pits right where you order and compared it to all the other top places and did all the ordering for us. we were a little late thanks to a banh-mi truck stop and the epic fail of my cell phone, and by the time we arrived around noonish the line was already out the door and down the ramp to the parking lot.  once you step inside the building, you can see the blackened soot-lined walls and feel the intense heat from the firepit right at your feet.  one misstep and you could be LITERALLY ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!


sorry, inside joke. anyway, pablo, the moustachioed dude at the butcher block who looks like a stabhappy serial killer, is the guy who cuts up your meat. you order at the counter in front of him and they give you a pile of meat wrapped up in a few pieces of paper along with either crackers or puffy white bread, and a couple of plastic knives. as i overheard a woman later in the dining room say, ‘honey, they don’t do forks here.’ nope. it’s a strictly neanderthal rip-apart-the-meat-with-your-bare-hands-till-they’re-shining-with-grease-and-stuff-in-your-face kind of place.  logan took it upon himself to order two hot rings, three pork ribs, a pound of moist brisket, and a pork chop for the three of us. truly a man after my own heart. he tried to order the prime rib too, only to see the LAST PIECE go to the man who ordered just in front of us. the look on logan’s face was so devastated, i thought the poor man might burst into tears.  here’s what we ended up with on our ‘plates’:


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bacon camp recipes, round one: bacon caliente pockets and extreme sausage action

most likely you have not experienced this yourself, but people give funny reactions when you tell them you are going to bacon camp. they  fall pretty universally along the lines of whether said person happens to be one of the 99.9% who also absolutely adore bacon and want to rub it on their faces (holy shit! i love bacon! i wanna go!) and the .01% of crazies who find bacon revolting and yes those people do exist (bacon camp? ew. i don’t even want to know what that is).

debate raged endlessly within my mind when deciding what to make for bacon camp. the so-high-tech-it’s-scary organizers of the camp  made a wiki where you could write what you were planning to bring and see what other dishes were in the works. noting that a lot of the dishes already online were ones i’ve made before (maple bacon cookies and bacon-infused bourbon), i wanted to make something that would be new and different for me and something that wouldn’t already be there in 14 different variations.

thus spawned the bacon hot pocket. you already know i have a thing for hot pockets. however, i’d like to take the opportunity to publicly state for the record, for those of you noting the hypocrisy between my professed love for hot pockets and my attempted avoidance of all things processed and chemically, that i do not in fact eat hot pockets (anymore). i just revere them as a concept and a pop culture phenomenon and an edible item encased in dough. aside: i once threw a party with the food theme ‘wrapped in dough’. so many different cultures produce a delicious food item wrapped in dough. empanadas! jiao zi! pierogies! pupusas! jamaican beef patties! i’m getting off topic! so anyways, i started testing a bacon hot pocket recipe for a dinner party the night before bacon camp. here’s a money shot of the finished result, mid-bite:


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the truth about uk-us food relations: baked beans and hot pockets are well bum.

besides all the drunken revelry and go game shenanigans at sxsw, the best thing about the week has been all the smart and fascinating people i’ve met from all around the world. chris and i have been hitting up all the uk events to network and make connections to prepare for our london office opening mid-april and we were lucky enough to meet an incredible array of welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful people. we set up meetings and exchanged information with people from the british government, matched wits with some game designers and other creative peeps, and did some work and some rickrolling with some brilliant folks from the bbc.

after several days of improving international relations and solving world peace, i have taken away two important factoids regarding food and drink consumption in the uk.

  1. flat out, these brits can drink me under the freaking table. after countless bottles of beer and endles shots of sambuca, jager, and tequila, i was a blathering mess of incomprehensibility and the brits could probably have made a rather convincing and well-crafted speech at parliament. i am a bit frightened for my liver when i touch down on british soil.
  1. i have discovered the ultimate dividing line, the unbreachable gulf of understanding between british and american culture, and no, it has nothing to do with football vs. soccer or whose pop stars can more spectacularly combust in embarrassing public breakdowns. no, my friends, the answer is in fact, wtf is up with the baked beans!?

regard, if you will, the flyer for the great british breakfast I went to at the end of sxsw:


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