Closed Captioned For The Thinking Impaired

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Puerto Rican Primer for the San Francisco Comical, I mean, Chronicle: Arroz con Pollo y Gandules



Just read a column in the S.F. Chronicle that reaffirms my view of the new-wave liberalism sweeping the coasts of this nation.

Essentially what we have is a group of reactionary people (i.e. people who react before they think) who cloak themselves in the self-congratulatory rhetoric of politically correct jargon and think that by doing so it makes them de facto warm, sensitive, superior human beings.

The arbiters of truth & morality of all they survey. Nevermind the factual correctness or relevance of their statements; you can't let the facts get in the way of the afterglow of a little mental masturbation. It feels too good to stop!

A case in point is John Carroll's column today, April 19, 2007.

John is a man who prides himself (& makes a living) on his broad, unabashedly liberal, humorous point of view. He supports all the right (or I should say, left) issues, is anti-all things Bush, has a gay daughter, is a doting grandfather, cat-lover and all around good guy.

This gives him carte blanche in a city like San Francisco where your credibility rises as your tolerance for so-called "conservative" issues falls. You don't have to prove or qualify anything you say as long as you end every statement with a perceived anti-republican slur.

You are then brilliant, one of the fold; showing your solidarity and obvious intelligence by your mutual disgust & penchant for anti-g.o.p. slogans & bumber stickers (Republicans: The Other White Meat; ha, ha, ha hilarious). It's always so negative but oh so effective.

Take Carroll's column today.

He starts off by discussing the tragedy that occurred Monday at the Virginia Tech campus. He very properly, in my opinion, took the news media to task for exploiting a tragedy for their own mercenary ends. But instead of continuing his commentary on the very real & disturbing trend of news reporting based on a need to fill airtime & endorse ( & probably extort on a hot news day) their sponsors to support their ever growing bottom line, he digresses & starts a rant on the neo-cons of this country taking the opportunity afforded them by an immigrant mass murderer to promote their anti-immigration agenda. He then ends with what he considers an homage to immigrants in the USA & probably felt, he made an excellent contribution to the national dialogue on race relations.

In doing this, he also made the ridiculous gaffe of including a young Puerto Rican male among some of the immigrant victims of that tragedy.

Make no mistake, Juan Ramon Ortiz was from Puerto Rico & he, also, was tragically murdered on campus.

What he was not was an immigrant.
As a native born Puerto Rican, he is also an American citizen.

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States (just like Washington, D.C.) & has had this status for a century. This makes all Puerto Ricans citizens of this country as soon as they move to the U.S. mainland with the same rights and obligations of all good citizens.

They need not apply for citizenship for this status; it is afforded to them as soon as they step foot in the country. If they choose to remain in Puerto Rico their entire lives, however, there are some important distinctions such as the inability to vote in the national presidential election & relief from paying federal taxes.

Can you see what I mean? Here is John Carroll, humorist & S.F. columnist, acting as an expert on the immigration problem with 7 large paragraphs on the alarming anti-immigrant trend in a 10 paragraph column purportedly about news media abuses & exploitations of tragic stories; showing us his best super-sensitive, hyper-aware, friend of the downtrodden, I'm-such-a- nice-person nature.

Then Mr. Politically-Correct, Morally-Superior shows us he doesn't even know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. What's worse is that he & his ilk will say it doesn't matter, it's the context of the article that matters: those ignorant, xenophobic, bad guy neo-cons must be stopped (whose alleged views, by the way, were not mentioned in any of the myriad of news stories I was subjected to about the Virginia Tech massacre; everyone was more focused on the call to disarm gunowners & increase gun-control which I don't disagree with) .

Ten million Puerto Rican citizens don't matter???

because he's a liberal nice guy it's okay for him to be so ignorant & racist????

Details don't matter, they just get in the way of a good fabricated story!!!
He didn't mean any harm, he's not racist, he just got carried away with his rhetoric.

Isn't that what happened to Don Imus??? No, I forgot Don Imus leans slightly to the right when he walks his lines. So being a republican, Imus must be a racist, right? Right, says all the self righteous arbiters of truth & morality. What a double standard! What a joke!

John Carroll & his readers would have been better served if he had stuck to the subject he is more qualified to pontificate on (he being a person in the news business subject to its vicissitudes): the disturbing trend of the news media to exploit and aggrandize these tragedies, ad nauseum. Saturating the airwaves & printing presses with their "up to the second" "24 hour a day" unconscionable excesses in the name of news coverage. Creating stories where none existed.

He missed a prime opportunity to shed light on a trend that grows increasingly hysterical & ever more powerful and in the process, marring the credibility &, ultimately, the viability of the third estate.

After all, if all the news networks are going to degrade into nothing more than a series of rants & raves, why would people continue to tune in when they can get even more colorful, unedited varieties of information from bloggers & YouTube without the stupid ads or commercial interruptions?

Well for the uninformed like John Carroll who think Puerto Rico is some alien nation, I submit this tasty & simple dish from Borinquen, La Isla del Incanto: Arroz con Pollo y Gandules aka Rice with Chicken & Peas to expand their horizons. This dish is for you, Juan.

Note:
Traditionally, pigeon peas (gandules) & sweet (not spicy) scotch bonnet peppers are used in the dish; however, they are not always readily available especially here in San Francisco where seemingly every other latino country's staples are available except amazingly those from the only U.S. latino nation, the land of my grandmother: Puerto Rico. No wonder Johnny boy had no clue! Do I sound bitter?

Arroz con Pollo y Gandules


Ingredients

For the chicken:
2 cloves of garlic
2 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
2-1/2 lbs. of chicken pieces (with skin & bone for additional moisture & flavor)

For the rice:
1 ounce pancetta or salt pork, cut into small dice
2 ounces prosciutto or other lean cured ham, cut into small dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded & finely chopped
3 sweet (not spicy) chili peppers or one red pepper, seeded & finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded & chopped
half a handful of cilantro leaves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 spanish olives, stuffed with pimientos, cut in half
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 cup of tomato puree or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of achiote (annato) oil or 2 tablespoons canola oil mixed with 1 teaspoon of paprika
3 cups of long grain rice
3-1/2 cups of water or low-sodium chicken stock, heated & reserved
1 can of gandules ( pigeon peas), drained or 1 cup of frozen green peas, thawed
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained for garnish

Directions:

For the chicken:
Place first 7 ingredients in a mortar or food processor & mix into a paste. Cut chicken into equal sized pieces & rub all over with the garlic paste (known as adobo) marinating the chicken in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

In a dutch oven or large braising pan heated over med-high heat, add olive oil & rapidly brown the pork fat & ham. Reduce heat to medium, add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, searing all sides of the chicken.

Reduce heat to low, & add the onion, green pepper, sweet or red pepper, tomato & cilantro (known collectively as the sofrito). Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to medium, then add the salt, olives, capers, tomato sauce, achiote or paprika oil and rice. Mix well & cook for two or three minutes, stirring rice mixture occasionally.

Add the reserved heated water or stock to the mixture, mixing well then cook uncovered over medium heat until liquid evaporates and rice is dry.

When rice is dry, turn it over once from top to bottom using a fork.

Lower heat to lowest setting, cover rice with tightly fitting lid or use aluminum foil to create a seal & cook for 20 minutes, turn rice over again with a fork & cook for an additional 20 minutes. (40 minutes in total)

Add peas, folding them into the rice carefully with a fork, and cook for 15 minutes. Then remove pot from heat, allowing rice to stand with lid firmly in place for 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat large platter or plates for 1 minute in microwave or 5 minutes in oven. Serve rice on warm platter and garnish with roasted red peppers & sprigs of cilantro. A simple little salad of sliced avocado, tomato, cooked green beans & lettuce with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil & fresh lemon juice makes a nice accompaniment to the dish. Serves 6-8 hungry people. Buen Provecho!


Monday, April 16, 2007

A Taste of Hawaii: Ahi Pizza

Well, the sun is out, the husband is back and all is right with the world. The weather gods may be wreaking havoc with the rest of the country ( 8" of rainfall in NYC, state of emergency in NJ, gale- force winds up & down the eastern seaboard, tornadoes in the mid-west) but they seem to be feeling benevolently toward the old city by the bay; at least for the moment. Yes, while other cities are battling the elements on this April morning, San Francisco is sitting pretty: blue skies, warm air & low humidity.

It's as though we are being kissed by the gentle breezes of those magnificent islands in the South Pacific that we, in the USA, lucked into... you guessed it---Hawaii.

There are few places in the world like it.

The spirit of Aloha permeates everything & everyone in it. You can just feel the tension drain out of your body as soon as your foot hits the tarmac & that first waft of warm fragrant air greets you.

Hawaii seems to be suspended in some time/space warp: you co-exist with the rest of the known universe but nothing in it can affect you. Senate hearings, stock plunges, e-coli scares.

None of it matters.
Not here. It is heaven. Everything is beautiful, everyone is happy.

A favorite expression among the locals, the rare time you may experience a mes-en-temps, is "It's all good!" Always said not as a rebuke but just as a gentle reminder of your good fortune to be experiencing such an earthly paradise... and how right they are!!!!

How I wish I was on the Big Island today!!!

But hey, Hawaii is not just a pretty place on the map; it's also a state of mind. So--- because it is such a remarkably beautiful Hawaii-like day in S.F. and because my brilliant & inspired husband requested it when I called him this morning to see if he had a hankering for anything special for dinner.... I offer you my adaptation of a wonderful appetizer served at the world's best bar, the Lava Lounge located in the beautiful Four Seasons Hualalai Resort on the Kona Coast of the Big Island. So that you, too, could share a taste of paradise. Just close your eyes...can you hear the ocean?

Note:
This recipe is a lot more laborious to read ( and write) than it is to make. It's really just an asian-influenced ahi tostada.
Don't be intimidated by the number & variety of ingredients. Most can be found in any large supermarket chain who do a great job of stocking asian pantry items these days. I like to cook foods with asian accents so I always have them on hand. The assembly of the dish is really quick and easy, once you have everything in front of you, pre-measured, chopped & ready to go. It takes about 30 minutes, start to finish.
This dish can easily serve two people as a very satisfying light meal or six people as part of a pupus or tapas platter. A light steely chardonnay or sauvignon blanc would complement the sweet, salty richness of the dish without hurting the wine.. A lighter style beer like Asahi Super Dry or Corona wouldn't be a bad choice, either. Of course, you could go all the way & have a Mai Tai while playing some soothing steel guitar music in the background. It's all good!

AHI "PIZZA" w/ ASIAN SLAW & POI VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients:

For the Pizza:
6 tomato- flavored flour tortillas
( I recommend "La Tortilla Factory" brand ) or 3 large sized lavash, the baked flat breads of the Middle East (every grocery store carries some version of it), cut into 18 small rounds with a 3-1/2" cookie cutter or empty tuna can
1/3 cup olive oil, regular or light not extra virgin.
1 tablespoon canola oil
16 ounces of sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna (ahi), at least 1" thick fillets
cajun or other cayenne pepper-based seasoning, to taste
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 large or 2 small Haas avocados, thinly sliced just before assembly of pizza
3-4 ounces good quality feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons of Chinese plum sauce
chili aioli, recipe below

For the slaw:
2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely sliced into thin julienned strips
1 carrot, finely grated
1/2 large maui or sweet onion, finely sliced
1/3 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped
1/4 cup green onions, white & light green portions only, minced
1/2 cup, or so, poi vinaigrette, recipe follows

For the poi vinaigrette:
2 ounces poi*
(white or red miso paste can be substituted)
1/4 cup passionfruit juice (guava or mango juice mixed with equal parts fresh orange juice can be substituted)
1 lime, juice & zest
1 ounce rice vinegar
(a mild-flavored white vinegar )
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon shallot, finely minced
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon of mirin
(sweet japanese rice wine; you could substitute sherry or just honey)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup high quality, fruity extra virgin olive oil

For the Chili Aioli:
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce or to taste
( I recommend Huy Fong Foods brand, buy it at Safeway or www.huyfong.com)
1 small clove garlic, smashed & finely minced
1/3 cup mayonnaise

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven & heat blind for 15 minutes. If you don't have one, then line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil & place that in the oven.

While oven is heating, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking each item in a bowl one at a time, starting with the poi (or miso) then adding mirin ,shallots, mustard, vinegar, black pepper, soy sauce, mayonnaise, lime juice, passionfruit juice, & plum sauce until well combined. When mixture appears smooth & uniform, slowly begin whisking in olive oil & finally sesame oil until the emulsion reaches a consistency you like. The vinaigrette should be very light & fresh tasting. Taste & adjust seasonings. Is it too sweet, add more acid. Is it too acidic, add more oil. When you're done, set it aside.

Next is the seasoning for the ahi: using a mortar & pestle (or a small sturdy mixing bowl) grind the sesame seeds & the cajun seasoning together adding the tablespoon of canola oil & teaspoon of soy sauce & combine well. Rub mixture on all sides of the ahi & set aside to marinate for 5 minutes. While the ahi marinates, heat a grill or heavy-duty saute pan until very hot. When ready, place ahi on cooking surface, searing for 2 minutes on one side without moving the fish. Then turn ahi over & sear for 1 minute more. Remove from grill & let rest on cutting board.
Note:
Do not overcook the ahi. It should be blackened on the outside but still rare in the center. The best way to tell is by looking at the side of the filet while you cook it. The middle of the fish should still appear red & translucent from the side while the top & bottom 1/8" may appear opaque or brown.

Now, prepare the chili aioli: Using the flat side of a chef's knife (or a mortar & pestle) make a paste out of the garlic by adding a pinch of salt to it while alternately smashing the garlic with the blade & chopping it, working the salt into a garlic paste. Then place the garlic paste into small bowl adding pepper, sriracha sauce, & mayonnaise whisking with a fork until well combined. Add lime juice until aioli has the consistency of a thick salad dressing. Taste for seasoning. Then set aside. (Could be made 1 day in advance).

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Brush tortillas with regular olive oil, coating very well on both sides then place on hot pizza stone or hot baking sheet for 5-7 minutes until crisp & toasty. (You could deep-fry them instead but I find it too dangerous & messy to do at home). When crisp, turn off oven & keep tortillas warm.

While tortillas are toasting, toss all of the slaw ingredients together, giving the vinaigrette a quick whisk to re-emulsify it before adding to the vegetables. Toss well.
Next slice the ahi against the grain & on the bias into very thin slices using a well-sharpened knife. If your ahi has strong tendonous intersections, don't fight it, cut along those lines. Then thinly slice your avocados. Try to keep the size of both the ahi & the avocado about 2-1/2" in length or no longer than the diameter of your "pizza" rounds.

Now assemble pizzas:
On heated plates or platters, plate your tortillas, brush lightly with plum sauce, add asian slaw to cover entire surface, place a single layer of the avocado slices (about 2 pcs.) on top fanning them over the slaw, now place a single layer of the ahi (about 2 pcs.) in similar fashion, drizzle the chili aioli over the ahi, sprinkle small amount of feta over center of "pizza"
add another drizzle of aioli , if desired, then top with a sprig of cilantro.

* Poi is just a tuberous vegetable indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. It has no discernible flavor to the untutored palate but it has a very distinct texture which adds viscosity
and a certain Hawaiian panache to the vinaigrette. While most islanders would disagree with me, you'll never miss it, if you can't find it, especially in this dish where it is a really minor element in a small part of the dish. However, you can order on it line if you really want to try it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Rainy Saturday Lunch for One

Ahh, April in San Francisco: sounds so lovely... camellias in full bloom, the fragrance of jasmine everywhere, hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower, making the occasional guest appearance at the windows that face the garden, delighting us with their fleeting but welcome presence; all so perfect if only it would STOP RAINING!!!!!

Just like that great blues artist, John Lee Hooker, I'm moaning "Rainy days, rainy days, I think it's raining all the time.." because it is raining all the time!! John should know. He lived in San Francisco, too. No wonder he sang the blues.

So what is a woman who is single for the weekend while her husband is on a three day alcohol-fueled, gas-guzzling orgy to do on such a miserable day? ( did I mention, he went to an NHRA event in Vegas with his "work associates" rubbing elbows with the most illustrious members of the beer belly & tube-top crowd )

Watch depressing films & eat, of course!

My day started with Haagen-Daz's latest marketing gimmick "Extra Rich Light Ice Cream" (are they brilliant or what?) which was so rich yet so light that I proceeded to eat the entire pint while watching the darkly comic & extremely depressing (hence the need for mood-elevating enhancer in Caramel Cone flavor) biography of Peter Sellers, very aptly portrayed by Geoffrey Rush.

It's called "The Life & Death of Peter Sellers". See it if you're a true movie buff & Peter Sellers fan like I am. Otherwise, don't bother.
As for the ice cream, buy Breyers or Dreyers on the west coast because that is what it tasted like. The "Extra Rich Light" Haagen-Daz is nothing more than plain old supermarket variety ice cream that they have managed to sell at a premium ice cream price because of the brand label.

If you're going to pay for premium ice cream then get the regular Haagen-Daz not the "light" version. The regular one has much better texture & flavor for the same price (yes, I tried both in the same flavor, dutiful consumer advocate that I am).

If you want to cut calories & pennies, buy the supermarket brand or better yet eat a peach.

Two hours & 1000 calories later, I was in a position to re-evaluate my nutritional needs for the day; none of which had been met except for my total fat & saturated fat requirements which had far exceeded the RDA's daily recommendations ( thank you, Haagen-Daz!!)

Some nutritional experts claim that people who eat unhealthily continually overeat because their bodies are clamoring for missing nutrients; so the poor fat slob's brain keeps impelling him or her to eat until these nutritional wants are met.

Once they are met, the hunger is sated and the food impulse ends. Often they are not met and so the endless cycle of junkfood eating continues, making us fatter but nutritionally starved.

Sounds logical, no?

I have one thing to say to that: NONSENSE!!!

One hour after my depression-induced calorie fest, I decided to test this theory of compulsive eating by drinking two glasses of water & taking one very potent multi-vitamin designed especially for women, jam-packed with the latest in essential everything meeting the nutritional requirements of ten bionic athletes.

The result.....HUNGER.

Still hungry even after a mammoth dose of anti-oxidants mated with all those nasty, fully-loaded, energy-zapping, atom-killing , wrinkle-inducing, predatory, & uncoupled things known as free radicals that all the diet gurus & dermatologists keep preaching about to us .

So...maybe I still need to reach my requirements for dietary fiber.

With this in mind, here's a healthy & tasty lunch entree that is easy to make and would even win the approval of the good doctors: Perricone, Sears & Agatson (avatars of, respectively, the Perricone Prescription, the Zone Diet & the South Beach Diet). Being alone on a rainy Saturday afternoon with a Woody Allen movie blaring in the background (Annie Hall is my first choice) is not an absolute prerequisite for preparing or enjoying this meal but let's face it: if you were with your significant other on a beautiful sunny day would you really spend it inside your kitchen cooking a healthy pasta dish? Right, I didn't think so.

Note:
Use farro pasta, an ancient whole grain that is low on the glycemic index (Rustichella d'abruzzo, a luxe supermarket brand now makes it) to make the dish extra healthful and flavorful and add a little extra left coast appeal. Heirloom cherry tomatoes also add a nice touch.

Of course, you can substitute your favorite vegetable for the broccoli rabe: asparagus, spinach, peas, arugula or mushrooms all would work equally well. I just happen to like the bite & heft of broccoli rabe. Get a whole rotisserie chicken cooked from your favorite grocer or meat purveyor (Bryan's is the best in S.F.) unless, of course, you have a rotisserie oven at home, then go for it!!! You can get a roasted chicken but rotisserie chicken is beautifully moist, evenly cooked & much less fatty. You can also substitute grilled Italian sausage or poached salmon for the chicken or skip the meat altogether & add feta to the dish for a vegetarian twist. Isn't cooking wonderful?? You are in total control! This recipe will serve one very bored, ravenously hungry person with enough leftover for another rainy afternoon or 4 moderately hungry people in any kind of weather.

Pasta with Rotisserie Roasted Chicken Breast, Broccoli Rabe & Cherry Tomatoes



Ingredients:
1 lb. pasta
(farfalle, penne rigate or fettuccine work well)
1 bunch of broccoli rabe (washed, dried & roughly chopped into bite-size pieces)
1 rotisserie chicken breast (skin & bone removed, cut into 1" bite-size chunks)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes ( cut the larger ones in half)
2 medium-sized garlic cloves (finely diced)
1/2 cup dry white wine (something decent & potable, taste it, if you can't drink it don't cook with it!)
1/2 cup good quality, low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you must)
1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 whole lemon preferably Meyer's, juice & finely grated peel only
(no white pith, too bitter)
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated by hand (plus more to taste for garnish)
1/2 bunch parsley (leaves & soft stems only, finely chopped)
1/8 tsp of salt & pepper, to taste
small handful of basil, leaves only, chiffonnaded
1 large pot for pasta
1 large saute pan with lid

Start a large (at least 6 quart) pot of lightly salted water to boil for the pasta. When the pot reaches the boiling point, add pasta, stirring briskly to prevent it from sticking. When water returns to the boil, lower heat slightly and cook according to the package directions, or until al dente. Drain pasta in colander. Keep pasta in colander, place colander back in pot & cover loosely with towel or foil to keep warm.
While pasta is cooking, place a large saute pan or wok (12" or 14" in diameter) on med-high heat. Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pan, wait a few seconds, add 1/8 tsp salt and red pepper flakes, then give pan a quick stir to evenly distribute seasoning. Add all of the broccoli rabe, allowing it to sit in pan without stirring for 45 seconds to a minute.
Give the broccoli a quick stir, exposing uncooked areas to the bottom of the pan. then add garlic & saute mixture for another minute or two until all of the mixture appears to have absorbed the oil evenly then add the stock, cover the pan & steam broccoli for 2 minutes until slighly wilted.
Remove lid from pan, add the cherry tomatoes and the wine then turn up the heat until most of the wine evaporates. Turn off heat, add chicken, pepper, parsley, lemon juice & peel; stirring to incorporate everything. Add pasta, cheese & additional olive oil. Toss well. Taste. Adjust seasoning, adding additional oil or stock if pasta appears to dry. Serve in warm bowls using the microwave to warm them. Garnish with basil and more cheese, if desired.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Inaugural Posting

Well, here it is....my first ever posting (although, I doubt whether anyone will read it save my sweetly supportive husband who is currently swimming in the swanky sewer we now call Las Vegas; okay, he's actually staying at the Bellagio Hotel not exactly a dirty hole in the ground by any standards, especially Vegas ones).

What prompted me to do such a rash thing? I mean everyone & their grandmother has taken to navigating this worldwide wave of laundry airing; posting their personal nonsenses & channeling their inner Oprahs. Why should I join the fray & thus further pollute the airwaves (or whatever medium these words are riding)? Well...why not? It can't hurt anyone & it may help some, particularly the disenfranchised & underrepresented like me: a moderately conservative female Newyorican (puertorican-new yorker for the less politically-savvy) mansion-dweller in the heart of republican-hating San Francisco, the beautiful city by the bay, world-renown for it's magnificent vistas, delectable food , and tolerance of everything and everyone unless they vote for the Grand Old Party. If you do, you better watch out... the ground trembling beneath you & the bricks falling on your head are not caused by an earth tremor, no senor, it is the wrath of the righteous (or should I say, the lefteous) falling upon you. These people are so g.o.p. averse they won't even walk on the right side of the road; so strongly do they need to be on the left side of all things. No wonder there are so many traffic & pedestrian related deaths in San Francisco: they refuse to take the right side of anything including the street!!!
But, don't get me wrong. I'm really apolitical. I just always feel a need for balance. When something seems reactionary, I just feel a need to respond thoughtfully against it.  Guess it's the contrarain in me. I love this city & every lefty-leaning thing in it!!! It offers me great levity with its out-of-this-world viewpoints. It also gives me the most spectacular views with the most secluded & serene hiking trails right in the city. What other chunk of urbanity can boast that? There are absolutely idyllic spots for picnics, yoga or other more intimate ventures. Ahhh & I haven't even touched on the markets, cafes & restaurants of all kinds at all price points; The great old movie theatres that have managed to survive the mega-plex crush; The sweet places to shop for anything & everything in town. Then there are the getaways, all so close to the city.... These & a myriad of other things are what I hope to touch on in the coming weeks & months ... so stay tuned & learn to enjoy the simple pleasures with a dose of the gourmet chronicles...it's just what the doctor ordered.