dayhawks

There’s a sunny little place in my neighborhood that makes lone dudes feel welcome. Gentle waitresses touch your shoulder and give unconditional support. “You want hot sauce, you get hot sauce!”

There are typically 3 to 5 guys at the counter. We read books and newspapers. We don’t interact.

I don’t like Plow’s food that much (even the storied potatoes). But I feel safe there.

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I’m not necessarily a hero

Driving to yoga this evening, I stopped at a crosswalk.

When a loud girl asked if I was a Giants fan, I anticipated some bullshit. Me: shrug, noncommittal snort. Her: “You can have my tickets for tonight’s game, club level!” She dropped two tickets through the open car window and sauntered away. Each one had a face value of $55.

I don’t much care about baseball. Loud, colorful, free things are OK though. And beer in big cups. I plotted out my evening.

  • 6-7: Yoga class.
  • 7-7:30: Drive home.
  • 7:30-8: Bike to AT&T Stadium.
  • 8-?: Brewskies.
  • All that intensive planning, and wouldn’t you know it? Yoga sapped my (admittedly lukewarm) enthusiasm for the game. I just wanted a quiet dinner with the girlfriend.

    I tried giving my tickets to yoga’s dudeliest student, a thinly bearded Indian guy with a medallion on a chain. The dude said he didn’t like baseball. Then he followed me down five (!) flights of stairs, explaining he had a report to finish but “otherwise would love to go.”

    Sure you would, pal.

    I went inside Pancho Villa, where I spied a smooth-faced guy and gal in Giants gear. They were mid-burrito.

    “Are you Giants fans?” (I asked stupidly.)
    “Um, yeah?”
    “Want two club tickets for tonight’s game?
    “Okay!”
    “Promise me you will not waste them?”
    “Yeah!”

    They seemed really sweet, and young. “Catch a fly ball for old man Hirsch, wouldja?”

    where you find me now

    Hi Hi, so I will be writing at least 5 or 6 posts per week at the new gig. This will leave me less time to blog here, though I have every intention of posting from time to time.

    If you have any interest reading my wee items about the Bay Area food scene, check my author page here.

    Otherwise, I’ll be back atcha soon!

    first blush

    My first SF Weekly story is out, on the morning after our first night in the new apartment. Everything all at once!

    Here t’is. Please note: confiture was not my word choice.

    HIRED!

    Amidst the chaos of a death and a wedding in one weekend, I got a phone call while stuck in gridlock traffic. It was an editor from SF Weekly, the San Francisco equivalent of the Village Voice or the Boston Phoenix. Before the conversation was over, I had a new job as a part-time writer for SF Foodie, the most-read food blog in the Bay Area!

    I applied for this position a week earlier but after the 7×7 letdown, my expectations were low. Especially because the job opening had been advertised on SF Foodie itself, guaranteeing a trillion applications from every starry-eyed blogger from Cancun to Calgary.

    I did use all my resources to get the inside track. I e-mailed an influential food writer, a friend-of-a-friend, and asked if she could put in a good word for me. I also sent the editor an e-mail and offered to do a “test” blog post. (It’s funny how aimless I used to be; sometimes I’m confused by this new-found tenacity.)

    Anyway, I got the job. It doesn’t pay great but 100,000 (!) people read this blog each week, and it’s a great entryway into the SF food scene. My “beat” will be food-related events, ranging from coffee tastings to cheesemaking workshops. I’ll write short previews of upcoming events, as well as attend some of them and report back.

    HOWEVER, this is a loose beat. The editor made it clear that he is open to anything food-related I would like to write about: “Just send me a pitch.”

    2011 has some good things in store…

    span

    my traveling shoes

    This week is my nine-day New York sojourn. The goal is to cram in the fullest range of human emotion and activity.

     

    • I had one of the best dinners of my life at this schmancy place last night, balanced out by a $5 breakfast of eggs, sausage, toast, potatoes and OJ today at this dive (we saw no brown critters).
    • I got stood up by Aasif Mandvi for an interview, which made me quite glum. Then he showed up two hours late, with a sad story about burst pipes. We bro’ed out.
    • I spent the snowstorm in a Turkish baked potato restaurant, interviewing the manager about his weirdo toppings (hot dog chunks, green olives, marshmallows).
    • I walked two miles down Northern Boulevard in Queens to interview a Spanish chorizo maker. (Isn’t there a saying about not wanting to see sausage-making up close?)
    • I went from a raging drunk at the beginning of the week to a complete teetotaler now. My serious head cold is a factor.
    • Tomorrow I will go home to Massachusetts for one night, because my aunt passed away. Then I will hustle back to Brooklyn for a wedding.

    And throughout all this frenetic activity, there’s one big thing missing- SK.

    submission

    Here’s the sample review I submitted for that food writer job. Might as well put it on the Internet!

    What’s in a Name?

    Naming your restaurant Locavore seems cynical and calculated, an obvious ploy to lure in the farm-to-table masses. Similar to Manhattan’s new bistro Foodie, you can almost hear the groan of sophisticated diners everywhere, another sign our food-obsessed culture has jumped the shark.

    Yet there is an earnestness to chef/owner Jason Moniz’s new Bernal Heights venture (100% local meat and produce, no exceptions) that makes it easy to forgive the name. Not to mention, he cooks a damn fine meal.

    On a recent Wednesday night, Locavore was filled to the brim. The menu rotates daily, and the kitchen had just run out of one of Moniz’s “signature dishes” (if a six-week-old restaurant can really boast such a thing), the pork chop au jus.

    No matter, as the remaining options more than made up for the pork that got away. An inventive salad of char-grilled cabbage, apple, turnip and lardon only suffered from a lack of warmth on this chilly San Francisco night. Fresh fettuccine with clams and ever-so-in-season crab, with a kiss of garlic, white wine and olive oil, brooked no complaints. Locavore’s burger only lost points for overpowering its mild, house-smoked bacon topper with a heady mix of chuck, brisket and short rib. Even a simple side of collard greens, cooked with only salt and butter, had enough flavor to hold their own. All told, an excellent showcase of local ingredients, well-prepared.

    Not everything was pitch-perfect, certainly. Tables were crammed elbow-to-elbow along the walls, exposing a large open area in the restaurant’s center, a layout that lacked both intimacy and personal space. The décor — black and white photos of barnyard animals and produce — again ran the risk of over-selling Moniz’s point. But with ingredients this good, and chef skills to match, you could maybe even get away with calling your restaurant Foodie.

    But probably not.