Monthly Archives: August 2007

Range’s Redemption

My first visit to Range was back—when was it, a year ago?—when San Francisco’s inaugural Michelin Stars were finally dolled out. In fact, we dined there on the very same day that Range earned its star. And I remember thinking, “Really? This place earned a star over all the other mid-level restaurants in this city?” To sum it up, I was unimpressed. But you know me, bitch, bitch, bitch.

Last week, however, I had a meal that changed my mind.

I started with the Heirloom Tomatoes with Sheep’s Milk Ricotta and Basil Oil, which when you think of it, is kind of like cheating. I mean, the Heirlooms in California are INSANE right now, and if you can’t make them taste good, you shouldn’t be in the business. Range did a bang-up job with the dish, either way—just the right amount of oil to satisfy without overwhelming the tomatoes.

Then we had the Goat Cheese and Sorrel Stuffed Pasta with Lime Butter and Chives. Lime butter, who knew? Such a subtle citrus to cut the richness of the goat cheese. It tasted like sunshine.

My entrée was a Barley and Pecan Stuffed Pequillo Pepper with Portobello Mushrooms, Fromage Blanc and Green Tomato Sauce. That freakin’ lime butter was a hard act to follow, and I’m sad to say the stuffed pepper didn’t quite rock my world in the same way. But (and this is a huge, junk in the truck, badonkadonk BUT) I was thrilled to see a non-risotto vegetarian entrée on the menu. I’ll take a not-quite-as-stellar stuffed pepper over another freakin’ plate of risotto any day.

All in all, a fantastic meal, served up in a quintessentially San Francisco neighborhood atmosphere. I love how casual Range is. You get the star without the stuffiness, I guess. Nice.

Okay, now I really am leaving for Europe. Catch you in a few weeks.

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Filed under Mid-range Meals, Reviews

Eating My Way Through Europe

It’s been months in the planning, but the day is almost here. Next Wednesday, I finally leave for vacation. London, Rome and Barcelona. Best of all, we’re flying Virgin Upper Class. (Thank you ridiculously well-hidden special fare sale!) I hear you get to choose when—and what—you eat. And I hear they always have a vegetarian option.

Add in the on-board massages, flat beds, bed-time jammies, and a walk up bar, and I doubt I’ll ever want to get off the plane. Mamma likes her luxury.

I’ll try to squeeze in another review before I go, but I’m not making any promises. So just in case, I’ll bid you adieu now. See you again mid-September, with lots of stories to tell.

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A Note From the Road

Greetings from hot, muggy Minneapolis. It’s my third time traveling here for business in the past year, and every trip has involved extreme weather. Baking heat, freezing cold, or “life threatening” thunderstorms, like they had last night. Fun!

Anyhoo, if business sends you to Minneapolis—and someone else is picking up the bill—stay at the Graves 601. Their restaurant, Cosmos, isn’t half bad. And best of all, it’s vegetarian friendly. Yep, that’s right. A veg friendly restaurant, here in the hot-dish heartland. Last night I had a Celery Root Tart with Fresh Corn. Not fabulous, but not horrid, and  at least it wasn’t risotto.  I almost jumped for joy. This morning I had an Egg White Omelet with Grilled Shitakes for breakfast. No need to ask them to leave off the meat, because it didn’t even come with any. Sweet! They even offer grilled tofu as a side for your American Breakfast.

Ah, the simple pleasures of being considered. Thanks, Graves 601. I heart you.

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Filed under Major Coin

Drunken Vegetarianism

Allow me to clear up a common misconception. Vegetarians are not necessarily wholesome by definition. Sure, we enjoy the healthy side benefits of a meat-free lifestyle, but we go out, get shit-faced, and get a hankerin’ for fried food just like everyone else.

Which is why I’m so in love with Truck. Stuck on the corner of Nowhere and Filthy in the Mission (that particularly lonely stretch of Folsom, just past the FoodsCo), Truck is a welcome oasis. Smallish, gayish, cheapish and friendly as all get out. And then there’s the Fried Tofu.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out and about, staring longingly at the deep fried chicken fingers of my drinking pals. Not that I want the chicken—I just want the fried. Truck understands that feeling, and serves up a deep fried platter of veggies and tofu, with your choice of dipping sauce. (My choice happened to be the curried ketchup. Yum.) The batter is surprisingly well-seasoned, and not at all greasy. And the tofu slabs sit snuggled in a basket with fried broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and mushrooms. It’s the perfect reason for another round of Citron and Tonics.

Now I’d like to pretend that my evening ended there. But long story short, and a few bars later, I was hungry again. Thankfully, Crepes A-Go-Go is an equidistant stumble between the Eagle and my house. It’s located next to Butter, in a cart on 11th between Harrison and Folsom. As far as I’ve noticed, it’s only open late at night, serving up easy-eatin’ hand food to the rowdy crowds. I’ve enjoyed the sweet life-giving nectar of a Nutella Crepe there at 2:00 a.m., and this weekend, I tried the Mushroom, Spinach and Cheese. To be honest, I can’t tell you whether or not it’s actually any good: I’ve never been there sober. (Sweet Baby Jesus, this post makes me sound like I should change my last name to Lohan.) But I can tell you this—when it’s time to head home, and you’ve got your munch on, Crepes A-Go-Go doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of choices for veggies and meat lovers alike.

So let’s raise a toast to the beautiful abandon of drunken eating,  when the rules fly out the window, and pure satisfaction is the only goal. Cheers.

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Filed under Cocktails First, On the Cheap, Reviews