October 2017

Full Steam Ahead

How to pay for Trump’s tax cuts?  Easy.  A levy on all registered, card-carrying Democrats.


It’s been full steam ahead in the kitchen because there was so much pent up demand for my products that i looked up three weeks ago and saw that the cupboard was nearly bare.  Panic ensued, and i got to work.

Blackberry Vinegar (10-1)  A month ago i had set to steeping in the refrigerator the seeds and pulp from a batch of blackberry jelly.  Today i strained it through a cloth for this vinegar.

SCBB – Scaredy Cat Blackberry Jelly (10-1)  Picked up a flat of blackberries from Sra. Yerena yesterday at the Alemany Farmers’ Market and decided i was going to do something different, a hot pepper blackberry jelly.  So i chopped two of those blindingly hot Thai peppers into it as it cooked, fearful of getting it so hot nobody but the Hmong could eat it.  You can imagine my disappointment when i tasted the finished product and could just barely detect the peppers.  Hell, all they did was just brighten up the other flavors.  Well, see, i was too scared of those peppers to taste one since i bought ’em the week before, and now i don’t know whether a different variety was pawned off on me or whether this particular batch was a throwback.  Not that there’s a problem.  I’ll just use more of ’em.

Frozen Cranberry Beans (10-12, 19, 23) Cranberry beans are my favorite bean, and of course they’re at their best fresh.  They have a fairly long season during summer and fall, and the great blessing is that they are still available at the farmers’ markets well after the last of the stone fruit, so you have time to mess with them.  What you do is buy a bag and spread ’em out on your floor.  Then, the next day, after they’ve had time to relax and are easier to shell, you shell them, blanch them for a couple of minutes in boiling water, bag them, and throw ’em in the freezer, where they will wait for special occasions throughout the following winter and spring.  Taking the trouble to blanch them before freezing kills that enzymatic activity, making the taste virtually indistinguishable from fresh.

PTPJ – Yellow Peach and Thai Pepper Jam.  (10-14)  After the wimpiness of that blackberry jelly above, i went ahead and put in four Thai peppers this time, and then, very near the end of the cooking, i chopped two more in, so you can actually taste ’em this time.  I quite like this jam.

WNT – White Nectarine and Thai Pepper Jam (10-15) The folks at the Hooverville stand at the Alemany Farmers’ Market had nice-looking white nectarines.  The advantage in their being well up into the Sierra foothills is that they can tease out the season longer than the flatlanders.  I again threw in six Thai peppers, which is just about right.  Well, for me.

SAL – Strawberry Jam (10-15) Went ahead and left this one plain for the traditionalists.  I got the strawberries from Yerena.

RB – Raspberry Jelly (10-19)  Just a plain raspberry jelly from Yerena’s raspberries.  I shredded two Granny Goose apples down to the core and juiced three big limes into this one, and it set beautifully.

SBT – Strawberry and Thai Pepper Jam. (10-23).  I backed off to four of the Thai peppers in this jam, chopping two in at the beginning and two more near the end, which brought the capsaicin up to a gentle level.  It takes a beat or two to hit you and then, not hard.  I’m pleased with this one.

Pickled Habaneros. (10-25) Let’s be clear right up front.  I’m not going to even taste these. No no. They’re for friends who like the really hot stuff.  I kinda prettied them up by including in each jar a couple of carrot sticks, a Serrano chile, and a green onion stalk or two.  Not that those additions will impact the piquancy.

And yes, to see what i’ve been canning recently, you can always just go to the Production Report for the current year.

Meanwhile, in my spare time i’ve started taking photos of my new neighborhood.

Treat and Precita


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Location, Location, Location

Kevin Fisher-Paulson proposes that we start referring to residents of SF not as “San Franciscans” but rather “Friskies”.


I went on and on about dining last time but only mentioned the San Francisco Chronicle article in last Sunday’s “Food and Home” section about tasty meals for under $20 in our gentrifying city.

Now i’ve eaten in three of ’em on successive days although in no case did i eat the recommended dish.

At Goood Frickin’ Chicken, corner 29th and Mission, instead of the marinated and roasted chicken that made it famous i had the baba ganoush and the falafel, both of which i quite liked.  I should also mention that Sam, the Jordanian owner/chef is both helpful and nice.

At Pizzahacker, a half block south toward Virginia Street, instead of the Margherita, i had the Short Bridge: the superb thin crust that all the reviewers rave about topped with Fra’mani sopressata, house-made Italian sausage, mushrooms, bianco and Dinapoli tomato sauce, fresh house-stretched mozzarella, dried oregano, and Grana Padano.  Delicious food, delightful staff, and OMG, love that crust.

Then south on Mission to the point where Cortland hits, i found Cuisine of Nepal.  No, i didn’t have the recommended eggplant curry but instead ate the lamb curry.  Oh my goodness.  The taste is distinctly different from Indian curries, but i just loved it.

I’ll try the four remaining recommended restaurants soon, but for now i’ll go on about other reasons to love this neighborhood.

Library? The Mission branch is six blocks away at 24th and Bartlett.  I have to go eight blocks to the top of Cortland for the Bernal Heights branch, but it has particularly nice librarians.

UPS is only a quarter block west of Mission on 29th Street.

For the USPS, keep going another quarter block west on 29th and turn right on Tiffany Ave, a dinky little street three half blocks long closed to vehicular traffic at the other end that has got some gall calling itself an avenue.  The post office, the great joy of which being that i have yet to encounter much of a line at the counter, is two doors down on the right.

Safeway is a block away from me on Mission at the foot of Virginia.  I buy my produce, bread, and some of my cheese at farmers’ markets.  The rest of my dairy foods and canned goods i get at Rainbow.  But Safeway is there for a handful of critical items:  Bottles of Starbucks Frapucino, a beverage i quite enjoy that comes in a bottle just perfect for reuse for my chocolate sauce, of which i make quite a lot, it being so popular.  Bottles of diet Dr Pepper, my modest vice.  Eureka Organics Grainiac Bread, which makes the best toast on the planet.   Safeway carries Clover dairy products, and if i’m out of milk and need nothing else at Rainbow, i’ll buy Clover milk here.  And occasionally something else that catches my eye.

Walgreens is just beyond the south edge of the Safeway parking lot.

What’s not close is the blood draw place, the closest being my old one on Noe Street, but that’s ok because it has a gifted phlebotomist i call Alejandra the Great even though she stops at Alejandra.

Meanwhile, here’s a shot of my new home.

Coleridge Park Homes



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Wisdom from our leaders:  Immediately after another massacre is too soon to call for gun controls.


I’ve been just breathless with activities since my move back to SF, and many of those activities have involved food.

Several dinners at Hoffman’s Grill, 22nd Street at Guerrero, still very tasty food in a relaxed and cordial atmosphere.

Lunch with Richard at Just For You, on 22nd Street at 3rd Street, where i had the best Ruben i can remember.  Regarding “22nd Street at 3rd Street”, 3rd Street bends.

Lunch with Andrew and Dick at Wasabi Bistro on Castro near 18th.  Andrew and i go back for decades, and he’s a dear friend.  He’s also a picky eater, and i congratulate Dick on finding a place where all three of us can eat happily while Andrew looks with wide-eyed horror at my consuming raw fish.

A superb Lunch with Mark at Basil Canteen on Folsom at 11th.  IMHO, this is the best Thai food in the city.

Dinner at a truly dreadful Thai restaurant called Pad Thai on the east side of Mission between 29th and Virginia.

Four dinners at Sweet Basil on the east side of Mission between 29th and Fair.  I ate here four times because the food is good enough that i kept thinking i’d find a great dish.  Didn’t. Gave up.

Many dinners at Sushi Zone, which i didn’t discover until 2014 and is my favorite sushi place.  I expect to be eating here every week for the rest of my life.  Here’s my extended discussion of it.

After i’d been here a week or so i started jonesing for a gyros (or shawarma) and first tried the one at Good Frickin’ Chicken on Mission @ 29th, where i’d recently had good baba ganoush and falafel.  It was a disappointment, so i went over to Old Jerusalem on Mission near 26th, where i’d eaten with pleasure in years past, and found theirs also inadequate.  I’d read good things years ago about Zaytoon at 1136 Valencia, but no, i was still not satisfied.  Finally, i went to Lazeez on 24th near Sanchez and had a gyros that was good enough that i’ll go back.  But still, anybody who knows of a really good gyros in San Francisco should please contact me.

Lunch with Stephen at Basil, the original location between 8th and 7th, which has a much larger menu than the one at 11th St.  Magnificent.  As an appetizer, Stephen wanted the fish cakes, which i’d never eaten but just loved and will order myself sometime.  He also shamed me into ordering brown rice, and i discovered that while my back was turned i’d developed a taste for it, which my doctor will applaud.

Dinner at The Front Porch, 65a 29th Street.  I’d eaten at this place a few times many years ago and remembered it as rather good food although a bit pricey for what it was.  Well, it’s still pricey, but nothing on my plate this time soared to higher than acceptable and the collards were just plain tough.  Sad, but unless you really need Louisiana cuisine, there are plenty of places within easy range that serve better food for less.

The jewel in the crown was Jean and Jay inviting me to dinner at Jean’s place.  I’d not met Jean yet, but she turned out to be so delightful that afterwards i realized i’d pretty much ignored my old friend Jay while i focused on her.  This was doubly shameful because Jay, who’s an executive chef, cooked a superb dinner.   Provençal spinach & clam gratin on which i could have happily eaten myself to death.  Red snapper grilled with fines herbs and flambeed with Pernod.  Oh my.  And a dessert of figs he’d poached in spiced white wine and honey and nested in skyr.  Hadn’t known i liked figs.

The rest of the food story, though, is for the future because in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle there was an article about the best SF restaurants with tasty meals under $20, and it included seven! between 3299 (a half block north of Virginia Street, which i take to get down to Mission from my apartment) and 3801 Mission Street, five blocks to the south.  In my two months here, i’ve eaten at only one of ’em, Good Frickin’ Chicken, but all the others are in my immediate future.

It’s not just food, though.  My Epiphyllum anguliger clearly likes its new life in the city because it put out a couple of buds for me in September, and one of them matured.  When i saw that it was about to bloom, i took it downstairs and left it in the courtyard overnight so other residents could see one of these exotic plants open in darkness for the moths to pollinate.  This went off so well that a resident posted on the bulletin board a very kind thank-you note about its perfuming the garden.

Epiphyllum anguliger


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