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Sometimes I just hate the bay area...RANT


You just have too much. It is annoying. You have good food. You have good agriculture. You have *local* agriculture. You even have my favorite assistant, who I grudgingly allowed to transfer up North.

I was annoyed with Oliveto. I was even more annoyed when Fra Mani. I was disgusted with Fatted Calf. I was incensed when I heard that yet another place was opening with handmade charcuterie. It is wrong.

My stupid city? Nothing.

I can barely find a decent source for meat, let alone meat *with style*

So I read online that Slow Food is having a tasting with SEVEN sources for local charcuterie. SEVEN. Do you hear that lame Angelenos? SEVEN.

And what does this event cost? $100 plane ticket, $200 hotel room, $14 for bart. And $12.50 to attend.


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  1. Only seven?

    Oh, and you forgot to blast Tadich Grill. (g, d, r)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Just had dinner at Tadich Grill last Sat: same crusty old waiters, same great atmosphere and the same old very sinful food: clam chowder, turbot stuffed with crab & Bay shrimp a la Newburg, creamed spinach, and Tadich rice custard pudding. Glad to know that some things in San Francisco never change.

    2. If it makes you feel any better, those events sound great but often aren't really. You're eating with toothpicks standing up, you never get enough food, you're hungry afterwards and your sense of taste and what to eat for a real meal is goofed up...and you never quite get the full dimension of the food, or remember what was good. It's just one big tease.

      Okay, SF does very well with the artisan slow food stuff...but LA does very well in areas that SF doesn't - Korean, Thai, the volume of Mexican...etc.

      BTW, my sister in LA (who might be reading this) likes a bread from Semifreddi. When I told her I can get it at Safeway she said, "What?!!!"

      Hey at least we're artisan jerks.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ML8000

        "LA does very well in areas that SF doesn't - Korean, Thai, the volume of Mexican...etc."

        Let's not forget kosher delis.

        But doesn't LA have "Lifestyle" Safeways, too?

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          "Lifestyle" Safeways??? Is that an upscale version of Safeway?

          1. re: ChowFun_derek

            That's their term for the newer ones that are made to look like Whole Foods, have a lot of artisanal stuff, hot food stations, etc. The one in Mission Bay is an example.

            1. re: Xiao Yang

              Thanks...I'll take a look at that one when I'm in the neighborhood.

              1. re: ChowFun_derek

                The one in Mission Bay isn't all that different than most Safeways, pretty cramped and has a nasty staff. It is my least favorite Safeway ... anywhere. If I see you at a chowdown remind me to tell you why I hate this Safeway since it was the way they treated a customer (not me) and doesn't belong on the board.

                The Marin Safeway is slightly more upscale but again, we are not talking anything trip-worthy or out of the usual.

                The most upscale of all the Safeway's I've tried in the Bay Area is ironically in Fremont on Warm Springs Road with wooden flooring in the organic section and a cheese counter with real wheels of cheese and other artisan cheese ... still ain't no Whole Foods.

              2. re: Xiao Yang

                I thought you guys were talking about Pavillions.

                Now I get it...yes, the new Safeways with accent/mood lighting, dark wood, etc. LA does have the new Safeways but Semifreddi only ships to the bay area.

                I have to say, getting good bread at a mainstream supermarket is very nice. Safeway carries 4 or 5 local bakeries. .

              3. re: ChowFun_derek

                More like an upPRICED version of already overpriced national supermarket chains.
                Safeway aims for the crowd with too much money to spend or no time to cook (bad planning?). Premium meat cuts are the rule; bone-in chicken, most chuck and pork shoulder cuts are special orders (maybe :-). No cheap house brand coffee while you shop - Starbucks only. Don't look for dried chickpeas (seriously). Premium prices charged for Safeway brand 'artisanal' bread and regular produce. Minor win was the addition of a decent selection of organic produce.

                Most SoCal Vons have been 'upgraded' to this standard. Unfortunately we don't get the great SFBA breads.

              4. re: Xiao Yang

                Nor Cal has Safeway, So Cal has Vons and the more Upscale Pavillions. Nor cal has Luckys, So Cal has Albertsons. Nor Cal has Food Maxx, Socal Has Food 4 Less.....

                1. re: Skunk2Racer

                  Nor Cal has Cala Foods, So Cal has Ralphs....sorry, couldn't resist

                  1. re: shellshock24

                    Hey Thanks! i can't remember everything...LOL

            2. Like eating what's in season, I firmly believe in eating to the city's strengths.

              My charcutrie consumption has plummeted since leaving the bay area and I was very upset about missing out on Oliveto's Truffle Dinner last year and I'm already upset about not being able to make it to Whole Hog this year. Hopefully, this is only a one year thing.

              LA's got great asian and sushi though and I had to fly down to LA to get my sushi fix.

              Gotta love Southwest and Priceline.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Porthos

                Porthos, don't disdain missing Oliveto's Truffle Dinner. The truffles are/were horrible this year so you didn't miss much. Consider yourself lucky you didn't spend the money.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Hee hee. My husband and I always fly up for Whole Hog. It makes a great Valentines Day dinner.

                  Yeah, the sushi and korean and chinese are wonderful. But a lot of other things annoy me and that slow food event got on my last nerve yesterday. Also, bread. Good bread in SF is cheap. Decent bread in LA is much more expensive.

                2. no rant from me. i don't miss manhattan when i'm in san francisco and i don't miss san francisco when i'm in los angeles. all three have a unique "flavor." it wouldn't be much fun if everything was available in one location.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: steve h.

                    Great way of putting it. You're absolutely right.

                  2. I've been living in Bay Area for 17 years. I think 80%+ of the restaurants and markets cannot meet my needs. when compare to most Asia countries, look at Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China....etc. Their restaurants and food markets quantity and quality are much higher and better than here.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: capriana94555

                      I think your comparison is a bit meaningless, since Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China have just slightly larger markets of Japanese and Chinese people to serve.

                      If the Bay Area Chinese population were to multiply by 2,500 (which would make it equal China's) I imagine a few restaurants and markets would emerge which would meet with your approval.

                      1. re: Xiao Yang

                        Since capriana didn't specify Asian markets, she's even more offbase. The quality and selection in any region is going to vary depending on what you're shopping for. If you're shopping for mostly Asian ingredients, then obviously markets in Asia are going to be better. But if you're shopping for, let's say, corn tortillas and other basics of Mexican cuisine, then I'm sure you're going to find markets in Asia completely inadequate. In other words, while the average market in the Bay Area may be inferior to the average market in Japan in some areas, it will be superior in others.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Exactly! I doubt that any of the markets in East Asia would meet my need for fresh charcuterie, basque cheese, tomatillos, and artisan bread.

                          1. re: Morton the Mousse

                            You think the food in China is good? On average? Aaaargh.....

                    2. I think we should consider ourselves lucky that California has two world class cities within a reasonable(?) driving distance; hence, we should take full advantage of what each has to offer.