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How to eat like a Beat at lunch this Saturday?

Gary Soup Mar 26, 2007 09:58 PM

Saturday 3/31 will be the formal dedication of newly repaved and plaqued Jack Kerouac Alley (from Columbus to Grant Ave. next to City Lights Books). It'll most likely be a gathering of the Tribes, and I'm expecting that there will be something in the air that will sharpen the appetite.

So what's an old Beatnik to do for lunch? Certainly can't grab a 30 cent Poor Boy from the long gone Italian deli on Green Street to wash down with a poorboy of cheap Burgundy, nor got to a Monday night $1.00 spaghetti feed at the equally long gone Tower Cafe. Ditto the Basque Hotel for a splurge, or Universal Cafe or Sun Tai Sam Yuen for cheap Chinese. Not the Jackson Cafe for Chinese or a Western meal to rub shoulders (or knock elbows) with Lenny and Honey Bruce (they're long gone, too). U.S. Restaurant? Not the same. Little Joe's, Columbus Cafe, Mike's Pool Hall? Ancient History. Sam Wo? Nah, that's for 2:00 AM, and Edsel is with the angels. Plenty of good espresso (what's a latte?) but nary even a decent bagel, Co-existence or otherwise.

So, all you oldtimers (and that means you, Sharuf) give me some inspiration. Chew up a few peyote buttons and conjure up an inspiration for reliving a Beatnik lunch. I'll even lift my $1.00 price cap.

What would Jack do?

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  1. Lori SF RE: Gary Soup Mar 26, 2007 10:05 PM

    Such a great request i wish I had the perfect place.. maybe Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe for a espresso or sandwich, 15.99 priceless?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF
      Gary Soup RE: Lori SF Mar 26, 2007 10:09 PM

      Mario's was not really contemporary with the Beat Generation. I was thinking of Caffe Trieste, which was. Anybody remember what the Trieste had for food in those days?

      1. re: Gary Soup
        Lori SF RE: Gary Soup Mar 26, 2007 10:27 PM

        well thankfully I am just not old enough for this discussion, so I am excusing myself. LOL

    2. rworange RE: Gary Soup Mar 26, 2007 10:07 PM

      Curley's ... even though it wasn't open at the time. Of course you are stopping by Cafe Trieste, no?

      Wow, you met Lenny Bruce? My hero. I have all his albums ... I mean ALL including the stuff based on his life.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange
        Gary Soup RE: rworange Mar 26, 2007 10:14 PM

        He often ate at the Jackson Cafe. That was the site of the "You betta off!" story Herb Caen loved so much.

        You could also catch him at Clown Alley around 2:00 AM on Saturday night, which was frequented by a lot of entertainers with the munchies after closing time.

        1. re: Gary Soup
          rworange RE: Gary Soup Mar 26, 2007 10:25 PM

          Is Clown Alley closed or are they in the middle of revamping? I know someone frou-frou bought them but I don't remember if they were going to close down a while.

          1. re: rworange
            Gary Soup RE: rworange Mar 26, 2007 10:35 PM

            I haven't checked lately, but I assume they've finished because they were working on it several weeks (or even months) ago.

      2. Robert Lauriston RE: Gary Soup Mar 26, 2007 11:40 PM

        Green Valley and Capp's Corner are still halfway old-school North Beach.

        1. s
          Sharuf RE: Gary Soup Mar 27, 2007 01:52 AM

          Gary -- hi there fellow old-timer.

          I lived in North Beach & T-graph hill off and on from 1959 to 1964. Walked back and forth to work down Grant Avenue. Got some attention from the beatnik guys in the bars as I passed by.

          Don't know if these places still exist, but for a nostalgia lunch I'd go to that deli on Francisco that made those humongous sandwiches and then go to one of the two wine stores that sold cheap wine to the local folks to have with dinner and get a jug of dago red. Sit in the park with my feast and listen to the old guys rattling away in Italian to each other.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sharuf
            Gary Soup RE: Sharuf Mar 27, 2007 07:25 AM

            Yeah, Freddie's! Italian combo on a Dutch crunch, who'da thought of that? It's still there. It seems to fly under the Chowhound radar, but the Yelpsters are all over it, bless ther little bike messenger hearts. I'll have to start making excuses for being in grab-and-go mode around Stockton and Francisco, but Freddie's won't go under unless Kirkland bus yard, the Postal Facility on the old Venetian Bakery site and Francisco Middle School suddenly disappear.

            1. re: Gary Soup
              Lightsuprooms RE: Gary Soup Mar 27, 2007 08:01 AM

              Damn I miss dutch crunch rolls.. can't find them here in Louisville, KY

              1. re: Gary Soup
                rworange RE: Gary Soup Mar 27, 2007 10:35 AM

                Hey, hey, hey ... Freddies .... 2002 ... before Yelp was a gleam in anyone's eye

                And a recent rec amoung many on the board

            2. lkredhat RE: Gary Soup Mar 27, 2007 02:52 AM

              Jack would drink his dinner at Vesuvio's, then bum some money off a tourist at City Lights next door.

              Me, I'd do the same, but sneak in some takeout chow mein or a pork bow to tamp down the alcohol.

              1. lexdevil RE: Gary Soup Mar 27, 2007 11:15 AM

                If the old Beatnik was still in the area for dinner, he could go to Lupo's/Tomasso's and order a Butterini (sp?) cheese pizza, which hasn't been on the menu for decades, but is still served whenever my family goes there. I have a feeling it was a favorite in the old Jack Shelton restaurant newsletter.

                4 Replies
                1. re: lexdevil
                  Robert Lauriston RE: lexdevil Mar 27, 2007 11:26 AM

                  What's Butterini?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    lexdevil RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2007 11:36 AM

                    I've always assumed it was a variety of cheese, but never been able to find anything of use on the web. I've seen a menu listing Butterini as meats cured in oil, but no other mention. Perhaps the cheese is cured in oil? The pizza is a plain cheese pizza, and I have no idea if it differs from Tomasso's ordinary cheese pizza. I only know that my family has been ordering this at Lupo's/Tomasso's for over four decades.

                    1. re: lexdevil
                      Squeat Mungry RE: lexdevil Mar 27, 2007 05:07 PM

                      Just curious, could it be 'burratine'? I.e., small 'burrate'?

                      1. re: Squeat Mungry
                        lexdevil RE: Squeat Mungry Mar 27, 2007 05:52 PM

                        That's a very interesting theory. I think I need to go back and ask. Of course, no one has corrected us over the past few decades, but maybe they're just being kind (or laughing in the kitchen).

                2. epicurgirl RE: Gary Soup Mar 27, 2007 11:28 AM

                  Do yourself a favor...
                  Molinari Delicatessen
                  373 Columbus Ave- At Vallejo St
                  San Francisco, CA 94133

                  415 421-2337

                  1. Gary Soup RE: Gary Soup Apr 1, 2007 11:56 AM

                    Lawrence Ferlinghetti answered the last question in his dedication remarks, noting that JK could often be seen headed up the alley from Vesuvio's on the way to Sam Wo. Ferlinghetti also invoked Edsel Ford Fong's name not once, but twice.

                    I wasn't as drunk as Jack would have been, and in a mood to stick close by for the afternoon of music and dance, so I settled for a couple of "gai pies" from New Hollywood on Pacific. (They're my new best friend, generously sized, moist and slightly gizzardy and peppery.)

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