Archive for February, 2008

Sister Christian, I Wish Your Time Had Come

Every single thing Christian on Project Runway does bugs me and it’s like episode after episode, the bugginess of it all gets more exponential. Last night’s Oscar Wilde meets Gordon Gartrelle (…Denise Huxtable, anyone?) look was the end of it for me.

musketeer

SPOILER ALERT:

After winning last night’s challenge, when he walked into the little waiting room and did a “Giiiiirl, I’m fierce!” hand flap/slap/snap I wanted to take a hot hair straightener to his baby soft 22-year-old face. Tssssss!

He wants to be the next big thing but the problem is that something is ever-so-slightly off. He doesn’t have the likeability that Jay McCarroll or Fat Chris have and, try as he might, the soundbites he comes up with are just not quotable (for all the bile I spewed about Santino, in the end he gave us “What happened to Andre?” and redeemed himself completely). I’m not running off to be like “Bwaaahahah, a drag queen named Ferosh!” because…meh, even I could come up with Ferosh.

So yeah, as much as I understand the judges criticism of everyone’s work last night (loved Chris’ dress, wanted it to win, but we all know it’s too similar to the one a few weeks ago), I don’t get the look Christian came up with and I get even less how the judges could find it wearable. Sorry but the one time I wore a ruffly white shirt out in public, people made Seinfeld references all night. It’s a look that has been ruined, sorry to say. The only way his look would be cohesive is if there were two more like-minded Musketeers who also happened to have gotten mugged.

I obviously can’t call this show very well because back on episide one I really liked Simone …I have no knack for predicting, what can I say. One thing I do know for sure though is that Christian will never stop bothering me.

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I Left My Fart, Part II

In case you missed it, Part I of Eating Our Way Through The City That Brought Us Steve Perry involved farmers markets, the Patriots losing to the Giants while I gorged on brie, and a fake plaster head in a bed. Part II will hopefully be just as exciting.

Monday:
I had the idea to go to Berkeley. We got up and grabbed the train and off we went with the sole intention of going to the Cheeseboard Collective, a cheese counter-slash-pizza shop recommended to me by former SF resident and my Brooklyn food guru, Tracy. By the time we got there it was about 12 or 1pm, and as Cheeseboard-Trekking Companion will tell you, I am the type to wake up and eat breakfast immediately, that’s just how I operate. He is the type to savor one cup of coffee till 4pm when he realizes he hasn’t eaten yet, but not me. So for me not to eat until 1pm (which was 4pm EST if you look at it that way, which we did because we never adjusted to the time change) was madness. You know what else is madness? The Cheeseboard being closed on Mondays.

So we found a small brew pub, got burgers and cheesesteaks and that was that. Since my main purpose of going to Berkeley was to get food, we decided to go back to the city and chill out until our dinner reservation (At 6:30pm! The witching hour! If you are 80!) at The Slanted Door, a Vietnamese-California fusiony place also located the The Ferry Terminal building. Are you sensing a theme? I couldn’t get enough of that place. Also, when we arrived at the Ferry Building, news crews abounded and there was a private event in one of the entrances. We were like ok, who is a BIG DEAL in San Francisco that could warrant this? Robin Williams? We look up and see “HILLARY 08” posters everywhere and realize Bill Clinton is like 50 feet from us but he was doing some pre-Super Tuesday campaigning for the Missus. Not to let that overshadow our BIG MEAL…I had made a reservation at The Slanted Door because a) I had just read about the chef a few weeks ago and b) Chowhounders are so hilarious about it that I really had to try it. The people who comment on Chowhound are sometimes spot-on and sometimes ridiculous, and I choose to seek out the ridiculous ones and defy them by actually enjoying my food. Most comments about the SD are like “Food has really gone downhill” or “is NOT authentic Vietnamese food” and my favorite was someone who wrote “Vietnamese food is traditionally peasant food. How can you charge this much and call it Vietnamese?” How about just telling me how it tastes? That’s all I care about, not if the food is faux (pho?!) Vietnamese. We tried it and short version: it was amazing. Jeff got some crazy tuna sushi thing (obviously I am well-versed in my sushi knowledge..he got tuna, it was raw but came with stuff on it), I got Imperial Rolls that were peanutty spring rolls, and we split Claypot Chicken with Caramel, and Shaking Beef which was rare filet mignon cubes with vegetables. Holy crap. (i know this is not a food blog, obviously, but all the food we ate on the trip was so good that it is all worth mentioning and discussing, don’t worry, I will discuss my new favorite show Jon & Kate Plus 8 soon. Thanks, Reece. Thanks a lot.) We got desserts too, but by this point I went Violet Beauregard and was too fat to actually see what they were and had to be rolled out. I did snap this blurry shot of my Handsome Dining Companion who just bought a coat at Nordstrom from Gary, the chatty suit salesman who in the course of 5 minutes gave us a brief history of the San Francisco fire, directions to Golden Gate Park and told us what kind of wood the men’s department’s displays were made of.

GQ

Tuesday:
Severe digestive distress. But like Starship…Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us Now!

Tuesday was the day to tie up loose ends and do everything we hadn’t done. We had bought some pastries in Berkeley and ate those for breakfast, then went for a walk thru Chinatown, then up through North Beach where we stopped at the City Lights Bookstore. When I came to SF with my parents in high school, the City Lights was the only place I wanted to go and there’s a picture of me in my best overall shorts and tattered cardigan standing in front of it. This time, we meandered through and, whether or not it was genuinely old, I found a sign stuck next to a shelf that I like to think some crazy Beat poet painted while trying to take down the Man…man.

CityLights

We walked down to the Cartoon Art Museum and took in their exhibits (remember how we went to Berkeley on Monday and the cheese place was closed? Well, we went to the Cartoon Museum on Tuesday, one day after their Edward Gorey exhibit closed. Slightly better planning may have led to two slightly more eventful days). After the museum we grabbed a train over to the Mission to complete my main mission, eating a San Francisco style burrito…this is where I coined the potentially racist phrase “The Gringo Swindle” because despite the big board saying that burritos were $7, somehow, 2 burritos and 2 drinks cost me $32. I was concerned that I was being had, but then I just thought to myself, there’s enough food here to feed about 6 people so I won’t stress. We then walked for about 6 miles throught the Mission and the Castro, up and down Haight, through Pacific Heights, down Union Street and down the Fillmore Steps, and we were so very tired.

It’s a good thing this is not a food blog because if it was, I would not be telling you that the final meal we had on our trip was at the Cheesecake Factory. And yes, it was my idea and it was initially opposed by Dining Companion, but honestly I was tired of walking so much. Dining Companion objected strongly, never having been to a Cheesecake Factory and likening it to a Spaghetti Warehouse – the industrial-style name didn’t sit well, nor did the 3 page list of “Our Specialties”. “If your whole menu is specialties then nothing can be THAT special!” He has a point but friends…he enjoyed his assembly line chicken and dumplings! Also, our waiter had Zac Efron hair and talked like Spicoli.

Wednesday we flew home but not before buying a loaf of sourdough and eating it on the plane! Yay!

In short, No Cal was not Lo Cal, we are very probably diabetic and on our way to obesity but it was worth it.

I Left My Fart In San Francisco

Not my best work in the title department but kind of accurate nonetheless.

Travel Companion and I went to San Francisco last week for pleasure. I don’t know, everyone we talked to after we got back was like, “Why did you go to San Francisco?” (I can only assume they meant “Why did you choose to go somewhere that is only barely more temperate and interesting than New York City during the first week of February?”) and because I assumed they meant “Did you go for business or pleasure?” my stock response, was “We went for pleasure.” Which definitely sounds creepy when you are not in fact asked the actual business/pleasure question.

So we ate our way through the city and every night we would go back to our hotel and rest and digest the days events. Literally. Here for you now, is our diner’s journal.

Friday night:
Virgin America flight 230 to SFO. Virgin America is a no-cash airline, all food must be ordered and paid for via the touch sensitive TV screen in your seat with a credit card. This is the same TV screen where you can watch 30 Rock on demand, or an assortment of movies, or an even weirder assortment of music videos, plus you can play video games from the pull-out handset/remote control. We ordered buffalo wing flavored potato chips and assorted fruit leather because they were cheap. Not because they would taste good together, clearly. [Ed. Note: If I owned a clothing store in Chelsea it would be called Fruit Leather.] Also, if you want to feel like you are hanging out with Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, Virgin America is the airline of choice for genie-bottle fetishists. A look at the interior (it gets more purple as the night progresses)…

virgin

When we actually landed, we checked into Hotel Diva (lovely hotel, but when a homeless person asks you where you’re staying because you look lost and in need of directions, it’s best to just say “The Hyatt” and not embarrass yourself by telling him the truth. He will look at you with pity.) So, in need of real food, our concierge suggested a really hip bar where “They should still be serving food” (it was 9:30pm, shouldn’t, I dunno, everywhere still be serving food?) in Union Square that he knew we would enjoy because it featured “TVs for the gentleman and music for the lady.” Because just in case you were wondering, when it comes to breaking down entertainment by gender, the gents get Oprah. Go figure. Despite the terrible atmosphere (so much TV! So much music! Also, so many drunk 30-somethings! It would be like if all your besties went to hang out at a Times Square sports bar) the food was pretty great, I got a salad with blue cheese, pears and candied walnuts, Jet-Lagged Dining Companion got wings, and we shared some out-of-this-world spicy fries (that were like fries with chili sauce on them, but like, wing flavored and super spicy with real ground up peppers in there, trust me, almost worth the terrifying atmosphere inside.)

Saturday:
We slept off the memories of the be-tank-topped drunk ladies and decided to go to the Ferry Terminal Market which puts any farmers market anywhere else to shame. It was maybe 10 times the size of Union Square’s market, plus it is winter and you could buy organic kiwis, hello! plus pastries and lavender flavored salt there. So…yeah. My heaven involves all of the above. We got some kind of organic sustainable raspberry-filled doughnuts or some such nonsense, then a croissant, and then a free-range, organic bacon and egg sandwich. We went splitsies on all of it so as not to appear like total fatties. We will soon appear like total fatties, not to worry. After breakfast (which was eaten by the fog of the Bay Bridge near a street musician – ok wait, the street musician thing is too good to gloss over, we’re eating and this guy is strumming away, and the grass-fed, organic sausage sandwich makers yell out to him “Hey man! [Ed. Note: all use of the word “man” is added by me for effect] Anytime you wanna eat, there’s a sandwich with your name on it!” so we’re like aww, sweet hippies. So later it started to rain and the guitar guy started to pack it in and someone running the farmers market comes over and is like “Hey man [Ed. Note: Again…]…don’t go, here, let me unfurl this giant patio umbrella I had waiting for just such an occasion to shield you from the elements!” We could not get over that. Niceness! What? In New York, you do a little rain dance just to try and defeat the street musicians so they will go inside. Not so in San Francisco. It was raining more and more so we took a streetcar to Fisherman’s Wharf and were like, hey, we just ate 3 hours ago, but look! There’s one of those places where you can get chowder served INSIDE a bread bowl! You EAT the CONTAINER! So of course we did that. Then we went on a tour of a ship because at this point it was pouring pretty steadily (San Francisco! February! For Pleasure!), so we are swabbing decks and batting down the hatches or something, and it was really cool, it was the U.S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien, a ship which stormed the beaches at Normandy but all I kept thinking was “Don’t quit your J.O.B.!” ‘Cause of, you know, Jeremiah O’Brien. Also, ’cause I’m mature. Then we bought some temporary tattoos that had the ship’s logo on them from a 95-year old man with real tattoos all over his face. Then, in an effort to get warm, we ate ice cream in Ghirardelli Square. There’s not much story to tell there, except that Jeff fed the last of his wafer cone to a pigeon with no right foot.

So then we go to ALCATRAZ! We bought tickets because we heard that the Traz sells out in advance and it did! On a monsooning Saturday IN FEBRUARY, the night time tour was sold out. It was creepy and we learned about all the attempts people made to try and bust out. Clink Lovin’ Companion took this creepy shot of the fake head that one of the actual Escape from Alcatraz guys made to trick the guards. Crazy!

alcatraz

For dinner we ate fish tacos and flautas at Pancho Villa back by the Ferry Terminal. Friends, when I say fish tacos, I don’t mean “Oooh, we had tacos and there was some flakes of fish and it was a light and healthy meal!” I mean “I ordered two fish tacos and I should have ordered one because there was literally an entire fish fillet splayed on top of the tortilla covering it entirely. And the spicy salsa was 90% jalapeno, 10% tomato. Counting the ice cream, we ate, what about 4.5 meals that day? Yeah. Fatties.

Sunday:
I read that Dottie’s True Blue something-something was the best brunch place within yards of our hotel, so we decided to head on over…until we saw a huge line spiraling out of control at Dottie’s door. So instead we went to another diner that claimed to have the best breakfast in San Francisco, and while my ginormous breakfast burrito was great, I will only go so far as to say that it wasn’t the best breakfast, only the one that caused the most remorse.

We spent Superbowl Sunday with family friend Mark and his man Ryan. Mark gave us a driving tour of the city, including Twin Peaks (no Sherilyn Fenn or dreams spoken in reverse here, just lovely views of the city). As I mentioned, it poured on Saturday, so the ground was a bit muddy and mercy mercy me, the ecology was just a mess. Scenic Vista Companion was about to point out a giant tree that had been uprooted in the storm when the mud got the better of him and splat he went. Oh, how Mark and I lauuuughed at those muddy knees that went boom. We went to Mark’s house shortly after and I proceeded to eat a brick of cheese while watching the Pats lose.

mud

In the best interests of everyone involved, Part II of the trip will be up tomorrow, I worry that there’s only so much you people can deal with from me in one day….Until then…