Culinary Experiences

Americans can understand right wing European opposition to immigration of Muslims since we can see for ourselves what happened when we let all those Irish and Italian Catholics into this country. First thing they did in areas where they became numerous enough was pass laws banning the sale of contraceptives. The Muslims will do the same sort of thing since, like all religious believers, they think their religious laws apply to everyone.

Some recent culinary experiences.

Last week i drove over to Paradiso in San Leandro, where Jeff treated me to dinner.   Superb roasted mussels although the broth was not as good as Karen’s at Hoffman’s Grill.  For my main course i had a mixed seafood pasta with a cream sauce that i’d have enjoyed more if i hadn’t remembered the much better version at Scoma’s in January.  No complaints, though, about the crème brûlée, as the custard was excellent and it was done in a large, shallow bowl so as to maximize the perfectly burned crust.

Finally, after forty years in the city, i got to Schroeder’s.  Talk about an icon, it’s been around since 1893 but was recently remodeled.  Andrew took me there for lunch, and when i stepped inside, it was all i could do not to burst into “Oh, du Lieber Augustin” since the place now makes you think you’re at the Oktoberfest.

I started with the high point of the meal, an absolutely delicious cream of celeriac soup.  Breathtaking.  The Wienerschnitzel and potato salad were merely good, but i’ll go back for dinner to try other offerings, most especially the Schweinshaxe… and maybe they’ll have that soup again.

Oh, and speaking of the Oktoberfest, after the Laurie Anderson concert Mark treated me to beer and bratwurst at the Biergarten on Octavia.  What an enjoyable place that is on a sunny afternoon.

Finally, i read the Chronicle’s recent entertaining review of Rusty’s Southern and was so captivated by it that i raced down there two days later slavering for good barbecue.

Turns out the only barbecue on the lunch menu is a sandwich, so i got it and found it good enough to devour every scrap.  That’s the good news.  Actually the sandwich was not terribly exciting, but the accompanying potato salad was so utterly tasteless that i ate only one bite.  Look, i no longer eat carbohydrates unless they’re delicious, and that salad was nowhere close.

Indeed, the best thing on the menu was the mustard-based barbecue sauce, which unfortunately i tried only after i’d already eaten all of the sandwich except the top bun.  Put a few drops of the sauce on my plate and blotted it with the bun to taste.  Found it so delicious that i kept sprinkling and blotting until i’d eaten the entire carbohydrate-bomb bun.

The other sides may be better, but whatever you do, don’t order that potato salad.

Meanwhile, do i love our little alleys or what?  This one’s named Caledonia Street.

Caledonia Street at Sparrow


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