After a nearly six year hiatus coming back to San Francisco is a bit like remembering how much I loved to play baseball; its a surprise and obvious all at the same time.
When I was a child one of my favorite pastimes, besides setting up bar for some of the oh so fabulous 1960’s cocktail parties with lots of Creme de Menthe and people gathered around the upright piano singing from the Lerner and Lowe songbook was watching the NY Mets play on television but turning down the sound and doing the play by play announcing myself. So my recent joy in to helping coach a Little League team shouldn’t have surprised me but it was almost as unexpected as looking at a copy of O Magazine and not seeing you know who on the cover.
San Francisco is another kind of elixir. Geographically striking, charming like Rhett Butler, authentic like an old diner waitress and a place where someone like me, who loves to eat food, and loves to cook food, and loves to buy food is about as happy as the proverbial pig in you know what. After my obligations back east were over I wondered where to live. How could I have considered anywhere but here?
Its even more remarkable than I remembered. The hills, the houses, the fog and the food. Oh the food. Man oh man the food has gotten more extraordinary by any measure. Whether its the variety of greens at the farmer’s market or the variety of flowering greens (mustard, pea, wild radish and more) to the creativity of the restaurants, food trucks and food carts and to the humble taquerias, Indian, Columbian, and Vietnamese joints and of course the blessed presence of the beatific tamale lady, a woman that has been pulling her heated cart through the bars of the Mission, selling home made tamales to happy drunkards and stoners giving them more stamina to have another round or just get to the car.
Yet sometimes I seems that something has gotten a bit out of hand. The fact that your caramel corn has slight blush from pink Himalayan sea salt, or that your goats are happy goats or that you only eat food that is picked only on nights when there is a gibbous moons is certainly a-ok, dandy as candy with me but for when that delightfully salted just right caramel corn is more the price of a burrito for a small bag that NBN could eat in the blink of an eye (imprecise measurement for a blink of an eye is or a mere two handfuls) are things become a bit more like Prada and a bit less like Prana.
Don’t get NBN wrong. We love the fact that people are passionate enough to make this stuff. Bring back some value And folks if you think its just Whole Foods take a look around you and open your eyes. We mean you Trader Joe’s. More on this another time, including price comparisions that won’t vindicate Whole Foods from its oft-cited acronym but will certainly dull the luster on your shine for Trader Joe’s.
Then again, maybe good old, grandson of a union organizer, handing money to the homeless guy NBN is just feeling a bit out of sorts, suffering from a bout of the its so great but I can’t afford it blues.
Throughout history great food has always been food for the rich. And while both myself and whole animal cooking enthusiasts might agree that old school can be great, the fact is that for now most of the old school, is really old school like Marie Antionette, old school.
“Let them eat organically grown, non-GMO, hertiage kernal caramel corn, sprinkled with just a blush of Himalayan sea salt, agave sweetener and love.” All for just $5.99.