Nocturnal battle

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Galloping Gourmet

It was the best of shows, it was the worst of shows. In the immortal words of Robert Sommers, survival is the new victory and I did a little better than survive during last week's campaign in San Francisco. However on the food and friend front, I definitely killed.

I stayed with Vlad in Monterey on the way up, listened to Radio Classics on the way up through the Lost Hills Highway, the same road James Dean once met his ignoble fate.

Vlad had a large flock of wild turkeys running through his back yard. Vlad also has over 30 terrabytes of archived music and video, soup to nuts. It is a major treat to view and listen to his collection.

After he made Natasha and I an excellent supper we listened to a rare Bob Dylan video from Liverpool, 2001 vintage, superb, and also saw some early Kinks footage.

In the morning we caught an old episode of Combat with Noah Beery and Dennis Hopper and a few minutes of Diver Dan. I took my leave of my old pals and after an interminable traffic jam in Santa Cruz drove up Highway 1, past artichoke fields to Pigeons Point and out to one of my favorite stops, Bean Hollow.

Very lovely stretch of California coastline. I hardly took any pics all weekend, wasn't in the cards, wasn't feeling it.

A zillion kids emptied out of school buses and I quickly made my leave north. Like I said, the show was so-so for me but promising. New dealers, new promoter, it needed to change or die. I am down with it and actually quite optimistic. Even had some interested young people in the booth. A little new vision works wonders some times.

I was rooming with Steve. We had a room in sort of a funky area of Burlingame. Took a walk in the morning through a neighborhood to a power plant. Guard ran over to stop us, we made his day. Identified perps about to broach perimeter. Something for the log book. Lots of trash on the roadside and in the vacant space. California is maybe the worst state in the union for litter.

Great week for eats.

Steve and I are totally simpatico when we travel, a great, friend, roommate and table companion. First night we went to Xiao Long Bao Kitchen on Grand in South San Francisco, one of my old standbys.

XLB is not fancy but shanghai style food is my passion at the moment and they do a good job over there hitting all my spots.

We had steamed dumplings, salt and pepper shrimp, onion pancakes and spareribs. Excellent.

You could eat up and down Grand for a month and hardly repeat yourself with cheap and wonderful ethnic cuisine. And so we will.

The next night we went to Ben Tre, a vietnamese place with a great Yelp rating.

Ben Tre was packed and we had a bit of a wait. I have never been to a Vietnamese restaurant this packed. This is a new location, only open six weeks. Really good. They are known for their garlic noodles.

We ordered quail with salt and lemon, spring rolls with meatball, Bon Bo Hue, my favorite vietnamese meal and a fish dish with said noodles. All very good but the BBHue was disappointing. Very nice and animated server.

Sauntered over to my breakfast hang Christie's in Burlingame with BigDave one morning. Been my breakfast spot for years, nothing fancy but great people and good fare. Neighborhood joint and after all this time Cam and I are family. BigD is now on the bus too.

We went to the Iron Gate in Belmont on Friday for my birthday. Eight of us. The Iron Gate is called dated, antiquated, your parents's restaurant, an old warhorse, and yes it is all those things. But it delivers and I love it. Took my pop there. It is your parents' favorite restaurant.

I started off with lightly breaded abalone in lemon and butter which was delicious and which I ever so magnanimously shared with my fellow diners. Then a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing prepared table side, veal chop with capers and green peppercorns, lovely sauce, sorbet palette cleanser and then a chocolate souffle cooked to order. We washed it all down with a couple bottles of Coppola cabernet.

Our favorite waiter from Bella Vista, Walter, mysteriously appeared, now working at the gate Friday and Saturday. Had a great if somewhat emotional night with my peeps.

Last night Steve and I went to Creola. Edwin has redone the place, opened up the kitchen. Started with crab hush puppies on a remarkable remoulade sauce. Steve had the marvelous filet. I stuck with red beans, rice and andouille. Excellent.

Not a lot more to report. A gorgeous sunrise over the Bay Bridge heading out of town. A pit stop in Bakersfield for pottery repair. More miles on the van and the tired old body.

Want to thank all of my friends, customers and dinner companions. Thanks for the hat, Cam. Thanks for the champagne and the buy, Loughlin. Thanks to Leslie, Kerry, Barb, Ron, Steve, Bill, Cam, Rick, BigD, Gary, everybody who has helped me out. Doug and Retha, Dixon and Connie, Renee, Andrew.

 Another show next week. 


Anonymous said...

I always like your stories about traveling to an art show and the food etc.

What about the art show?

critic in cave creek

Blue Heron said...

Dear critic,

The blast management reserves the right to write about whatever they wish to right about. Send proof of purchase and we will gladly send you a refund.


Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Robert!

Anonymous said...

The B&N photos are very nice. Glad your epicurean expectation were rewarded.