Yes! And it’s on Amazon…

Do you remember your favorite book from childhood?

Airplanes, trucks and trains, fire engines, boats and ships and building and wrecking machines. This run on sentence is the title.

Time stands still at Beverly and Rampart

I was down in LA for a conference this weekend. First time I’ve been back since the plandemic. I haven’t had a Tommy’s Double Chili Cheese since 2018 so off I went on my way back to LAX.

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Double Chili Cheese, extra onions and with mayo

It tastes the same, it makes the same mess and your fingers still smell like chili afterwards. Yum.

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Always open. They take credit cards now!

This is a real bubble in the time space continuum. For real. Here, time has ceased its inevitable march toward the future and things are as they were three decades prior. How did we eat two of these at a time back then? Especially after midnight??

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The original shack at Beverly and Rampart. There is no other.

Original Tommy’s
2575 Beverly Blvd (@ Rampart)
Los Angeles

Why natives are reluctant to leave San Francisco

There are a few times of the year when San Francisco is nice and quality of life is almost tolerable. One is the beginning of Indian Summer, when the kids are back to school, the hipsters are at Burning Man and it’s Labor Day. These three things converge and suddenly, traffic isn’t as bad, hunting for a parking space takes several minutes instead of half an hour and most importantly, the sun finally comes out and it’s gorgeous outside.

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San Francisco summer is underneath that fogbank from May to August.

The second is Christmas Day, when all the carpetbaggers go back to where they came from and The City feels almost at peace. Of course, we will be chatting about the former since it’s September now.

I met some friends for Sunday Brunch at Original Joe’s in North Beach after the first GOP debate.

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This is the sign from their original location on Taylor and Golden Gate, deep in the ‘Loin

It was a pleasant meal, with selections off their brunch menu and a split decision on who “won” the first debate. That’s the point of having a primary election, isn’t it?

In an old school San Francisco place, every meal begins with fresh baked sourdough and butter. As it should be.

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Fresh sourdough demands butter. Not olive oil. BUTTER.

Two of us had crab and two of us had salad. I will admit, one of the salads looked damn good.

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Maybe they should call this Crab with a side of greens.

The other salad was a Cobb and it looked good too. Just not DAMN good.

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It’s pretty. Pretty good!

I went for the Crab Benedict. It was good, nice and crabby and the hollandaise was excellent. The potatoes were also excellent and fresh fried. Hot inside and seasoned perfectly.

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A well balanced meal. With crab. Next time, I’m getting the Crab “Salad”. More crab.

So about that debate. One liked Ramaswarmy with his energy, his outsider status and his addressing issues that most Americans care about. He showed he could roll with the punches and punch back. Another liked Haley with her expertise in foreign policy. I disagreed with her analysis on why America should continue drowning Zelensky with taxpayer dollars. The third liked Burgum because he was middle of the road. Meh. Then we finished eating and headed out, still friends. This is the way.

It’s this sort of Sunday afternoon with good food and good friends in North Beach that diaspora from San Francisco pine for.

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Washington Square on a pleasant Sunday afternoon with St. Peter & Paul’s towering above.

Original Joe’s
601 Union Street (@ Stockton)
San Francisco

Return to Singapore (after 4 long years)

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Kaya Toast set and genuinely good Hainan Chicken Rice. The last time I did was back in 2019 which was my last visit before the Plandemic.

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Some things don’t change like a Singapore River cruise.

We decided to do something I’ve not done before in Singapore. B suggested something that involved the outdoors and marching, erm, “hiking”. In 90 degree heat with humidity. We visited Pulau Ubin which is a National Park and an island that requires a bumboat to get to from Changi Village.

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The view from the top of a mountain. I’m pretty sure that’s Malaysia out there.
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Land Rover Defender, complete with snorkel for fording water.
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We had fun with the girls who took our photo.

It’s a big park with the old kampung lifestyle, trails and campgrounds. Also meh cell coverage and nowhere worthy to eat. We went there early in the AM and returned to Changi Village for hawker stall lunch.

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Boneless Hainan Chicken Rice, the main course.
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with the supporting cast…

More food forthwith!

What to watch out for at Ben’s Chili Bowl

I was in DC for a few days last month, playing tourist and freezing my butt off (it was REALLY cold). The last time I was in DC was in January 2001 and some things have changed. The area around Ben’s back then was a bit rough. Not anymore. It’s been gentrified along with much of DC. Thankfully, Ben’s hasn’t changed.

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Same as it ever was.

As befitting a place with the words “chili bowl” in the name, Ben’s makes pretty much everything with chili on it. Chili burgers, chili fries, chili hot dogs/half smokes. If they ever made a salad, I’d expect it with chili on top as a dressing. I wouldn’t eat it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a Ben’s salad did have chili.

I took a friend there for her first visit and we ordered a lot “to share”.

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Chili fries to share
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Chili Con Carne to share
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A Chili Half Smoke (one for each of us)
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The griddle at the front where all that half smoke and porky goodness comes from

What you need to watch out for is everything with chili (for sharing) disappearing when you walk over to get beverages and your companion is sitting there with a sheepish look on her face. Your chili is NOT safe!! Lesson learned: eat chili first, worry about beverages later.

Ben’s Chili Bowl
1213 U Street NW
Washington DC 20009

Momosan Santana Row: I queued, I ate, I paid

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This mural takes up the back wall

I will admit, I am not a trendy person. I don’t usually go out to do the latest trendy thing. It takes a lot of effort on my part and requires queuing, which I suck at. If anything, I wind up being ahead of the trend (such as blogging about ramen back in 2002, flashpacking before the term was invented, etc) or trying to desperately ignore it. Pumpkin spice anyone? IGNORE

So Chef Morimoto (of Iron Chef fame) opened up a branch of his ramen/casual dining restaurant Momosan in San Jose a couple of weeks back. Momosan also has locations in NYC and Waikiki. The other night, I decided to drive down to try the place out with a friend who lives down there.

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The decor inside is modern, minimalist and woody. Kinda trendy and a full house

The rule about new trendy spots that open is to try the place on a weeknight. Actually, the rule is to go to any place that’s popular on a weeknight. The queues shouldn’t be as bad as the weekends. This is true according to the manager there. He also told me that the queue for the night I was there began at 16:00, an hour before they opened and was 40+ by opening time.

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This was about 30 minutes. Note: Line died down around 19:30 on Thursday night.

When you enter, the staff greets you with a hearty ”irasshaimase!!” as you’re seated. Even though the servers are new at the ramen game, service was friendly, fun and prompt.

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Next: Food!!

Look at the menu here. The going price of a bowl was US$19.00, a little higher than the norm over here of US$14-15 for a bowl. The jaw dropping bowls were US$29.00, one called the All-Star which was basically meat with some noodles and broth tossed in and the other one, the Gyukotsu which reads like short rib ramen. The latter is limited to 30 bowls a night and the manager told me that it sells out within the first hour. My friend got the All-Star and I got the traditional Tonkotsu.

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Popcorn Shrimp. Not like the typical with the fried batter

But first, appetizers! Two easy ones, the duck fat fries with truffle ketchup and the popcorn shrimp (tempura battered with kojuchang aioli). Both hot and fresh and delish!

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Fries came out hot hot and the ketchup was great

Now the main course. Right off the bat, I love the presentation. And you’ll notice the bowls here fall under the ”least amount of toppings” category so there’s something really good here.

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Tonkotsu Ramen with that ajitama tamago

The noodles were thicker than my preferred Hakata style but not as thick as Hokkaido ramen noodles. A nice middle of the road Tokyo noodle I’d call it. The noodles were fine. The broth had the tonkotsu umami and savoryness but not as heavy or as fatty as traditional tonkotsu. That means that you can indulge and you don’t feel like you have to be rolled out of the restaurant. I liked the broth a lot. I finished it.

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There’s some chasiu for you

The chasiu was different. Instead of the typical slices of chasiu, this looks like they put it in a slicer. They were thin cuts of chasiu, rolled up. When you picked it up with hashi, it looked like slices of bacon. It was good! And also wasn’t too heavy. Was this a diet bowl of ramen I had? Perhaps.

My friend devoured the All-Star before I could get better pix of that. He did let me steal a piece of the pork belly that came with his bowl. The fat was melt in your mouth delish and the meat was almost melt in your mouth too. Yum. Next visit may try that if the gyukotsu is sold out again.

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The All-Star, with pork belly, chasiu and chicken

Momosan Santana Row
378 Santana Row, Suite 1130
San Jose, CA 95128

Proposition Chicken; I Vote YES!!

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Now this is a Proposition I can totally get behind. My name is Rodney and I approved this message…

I’ve passed Proposition Chicken many times going to and from Downtown. I never thought much about the place, thinking it was just another overpriced meh place in Laurel Village.

Then two things happened:

1: They opened a location in SFO, at the Terminal 3 Food Court
(across from the big United Club)
2: I happened to be in Laurel Village for an appointment.

So off I went for lunch.

I’m glad I went. The food was damn good. Now as the name of the resturant implies, they serve chicken. Well almost. They serve three kinds of chicken, Fried (the BEST), Flipped (rotisserie) and Fake (tofu).

Regarding that last choice, this IS San Francisco and they have to cater to those types here.

Your chicken (or soy product) can be had three ways, as a sando, a salad or an entree. The real chicken entrees deserves special mention in that it’s HALF a chicken with biscuit and salad. Too big for lunch today. They also have varied chicken wings and a lot of sides.

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The menu is on the wall as you walk in. This reminder is on the way to the bathroom

I ordered the Fried Chicken Sando with a side of the Garlic Thyme Potato Wedges. The sando was excellent. It has the right amount of dressing, the chicken was moist and crispy and the roll was almost Dutch Crunchy.

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The fried chicken sando is a good size for sharing or eating it all yourself

I will save my swoon for the Wedges. Crispy crust on the outside and when you bite into it, hot and almost creamy potato in the middle. I ate at the restaurant so my food came directly from the kitchen (I was sitting next to it). Because of that, fries demanded a fork and three bites to finish, lest I burn my tongue.

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Look at that crust!
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Plating is important.

Another thing I learned about this place is that they are open to 21:00. Places that are open past 20:00 are becoming a rarity in San Francisco so this is a find!

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Neon Chickens

Nice to find a chicken place nearby that doesn’t start with a K (FC) or that I don’t have to take a road trip for (CFA). I’ll update when I have the half a chicken and Matzo Ball soup.

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I forgot to mention that all of their sauces and dressings are made in house

Proposition Chicken
3465 California Street, Laurel Village
San Francisco, CA 94118

It’s Labor Day today

Summertime is bookended by Memorial Day and Labor Day. Everyone tries to go on vacation, airfares and hotels have ridiculous prices and gas prices traditionally spike. This year, even worse. But it’s nice on Labor Day because all the idiots leave The City for Burning Man. Lots of Labor Day parties, despite inflation. And opportunities for rooftop views of a peaceful and empty Civic Center.

Empty City Hall and Civic Center from the roof of 150 Van Ness. Taken with a GR Digital