{ metropolis devoured }
a tribute to my san francisco

3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz local politics
1/4 oz public policy
1/4 oz disaster preparedness
1/2 oz alamo square

Shake over neighborhood dives & venues, strain into a chilled cocktail dress, garnish with a sprig of gov 2.0, and serve.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Traditions and transitions

I have never celebrated family-style Thanksgiving. Not officially. Except for birthdays, Rosh HaShana, and a big New Year's dinner to start the year off nice and fattened up, my family finds as few reasons as possible to get together because no one really needs an additional ulcer in their life. My mother, ever the hard-working woman, always gets a manicure and catches up on her sitting around and doing nothing on the Thursday off; I usually invite myself along with whoever I am seeing at the time and invade their family time. This year I have been a very hard-working woman. This year I am catching up on my sitting around and doing nothing, but I am not patient enough for a manicure.

Even so, this is the first year I am actually going to see my parental figure on this supposedly family-oriented holiday. She is my rock and my greatest inspiration, and for that I'm thankful for every day, not just once a year.

In terms of traditions, I think my generation, whatever it's called and whoever it consists of, likes to develop its own. Six (seven? eight?) years ago, my core group of friends from high school started doing day-before-Thanksgiving dinners, which have grown from simple pot luck's in someone's parents' dining room to elaborate menus in our down dining rooms to even more elaborate fine dining menus. People have come and gone, but yesterday we clinked glasses of red wine, cucumber martinis and passionfruit somethings, passed the entres clockwise, and laughed until every speck of dessert was gone from the generous plates provided by Anzu in the Nikko Hotel. That's my family. That's my tradition.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Cheesy Italian Waiter

This weekend my high school pal and longtime grrrlfriend Mindy celebrated her 23rd birthday (she is our youngest) at the uber-Italian-vibe North Beach staple Panta Rei, complete with cheesy Italian waiters and Italian pop videos on a big screen above the bar. In three words, a total tourist attraction. Welcome to little Italy, SF.

This is really all about The Cheesy Italian Waiter. He works at Panta Rei, Steps of Rome, or any of many cafes sprinkled generously throughout the North Beach. He can not help but shout "Bella!" at every person who passes for a female, and asks your boyfriend why he's being stingy and won't take you inside for dinner. Sometimes he forgets to put on his accent, so the next time he lays it on extra thick. And sometimes he will dump cake on the birthday girl's arm and lick it off, despite her loud and firm objection to this.

It will look like this (this is based on an actual photo, but who doesn't love an MS Paint reanactment??):


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Georgia rain; More oil around the world

Georgia prays for rain; skies immediately shed any deceptive signs of cloud formations and the sun shines. Hasn't cloud seeding been effectively practiced in the US since the 1950's? Or is this one of those Southern don't-mess-with-God's-plan sort of things that prevent the use of sciences when it's 2007 and no one in this country should live with the threat of starvation? Besides - and this may be a tad sacrilegious - wouldn't you think God would like a little more effort put into this alleged prayer than the Governor and his wife taking a power-nap in public?

Now this is the kind of rain prayer that would get my attention if I was God! These Georgians, they could learn a thing or two. Or cloud seed. Their business.

The Bay Area and its northern coastal neighbors continue to work to clean up the residuals of the 58,000 gallons of shipping fuel spilled from the Bay Bridge area; meanwhile 650,000 gallons of probably worse shipping fuel are spilled in the Black Sea thanks to Russia's complete disregard for environmental standards and a severe overestimation of their oil transport equipment. MSNBC has a great slide-show of this event, but unfortunately it's not blog-friendly.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Cosco-Busan flavors our waters:
oil spills, Coast Guard really misses the boat on this one.

This week has full of strange and unwelcome occurrences in the beautiful and temperamental city. It's also been an entire year since the inception of my "grown up" blog, which I conceived during the election week of 2006 while working for the infamous Chris Daly (congratulations on the brand new baby, dude! She's just a little kitten.) For what it's worth, congratulations to me, too, as I've never been able to stick with a writing project before.

The election itself was uneventful, which more than balanced the chaos that ensued the following morning, when a cargo container ship leased by South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Company plowed into a support tower of the Bay Bridge. The bridge sustained no remarkable damage, so for the most part traffic was not affected. The incident would have been a minor scuffle had the collision not ripped the hull, allowing nearly 60,000 gallons of toxic shipping fuel to leak out into the bay, causing an environmental and economic state of emergency.

So far the stories coming out of this incident carry a couple of conflicting messages. A Thusday, Nov 8 press release from the US Coast Guard indicates that the operator of the boat and the crew were tested for drugs and alcohol within the necessary two hour time limit of the incident. Note, this statement was released to the public 32 hours after the incident occurred, not immediately after the crew had been tested (if they were actually tested when the USCG says they were). The same day, the Coast Guard notified NBC-11 that they were unable to locate and test the pilot of the boat when they boarded it, so his alcohol and drug test was not performed until 26 hours later. Eleven hours later, the Coast Guard retracted their statement regarding the unavailable pilot. Anyone else think that a) the pilot of the ship, as its main operator, would have been a difficult target to miss, and one would think he'd be the first person aboard the USCG would question and test; and b) the USCG is not without a public relations person, so they would not arbitrarily send out a press statement with such egregious misinformation.

Five days after the incident, the consequences of the oil spill are dangerously visible: local beaches are closed off with HazMat signs, dozens of sea birds have been found dead due to exposure to oil and hundres more are being cleaned and moved to rehabilitation facilities, a coalition of professional cabbers have voluntarily called off the crabbing season due to contamination, and local environmental group Baykeeper says that volunteers will be needed for cleanup efforts for the next few weeks.

EDIT 11/15: Coast Guard Captain responsible for the inadequate response to the oil spill, providing misinformation to the public, and mishandling the alcohol/drug test situation is dismissed. Do you remember that show? I guess in modern terms, he's Nexted. Next!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Divisadero is the new black.

Last night the Progressives joined mayoral candidate Quintin for a some inspirational speeches and a night cap at the very divey Peacock lounge during his victory party. That's right, victory. Over something. I'm, uh, not telling what.
Along with the weakest scotch and soda ever to be made by someone who is not 14, I had a chat with our deep-voiced Supervisor, Ross Mirkadreamy, who told me that a) my street will be repaved soon, so I won't need to be buy that new alarm clock... thanks to 6am construction right outside my windows! and b) that the Divis is the new Mission. I'm also pretty sure he said that the Divis is the cat's pyjamas, but it may have been just what I wanted to hear. Well, anyway, aren't I glad I didn't move to the Mission now? Score 1 for the yuppies, we are ahead of the game. Badass!

photo credit shoutmag @ flickr


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gluttony: the Incanto experience.

Tonight I'm having a much-anticipated dinner at Incanto with my roommate. We ran into an old co-worker of hers from another restaurant this past weekend, and he said he jumped ship to this very interesting spot. Incanto's Yelp reviews are all of the map... from amazing, positive, brilliant, fun; to completely disgusting. I feel like the negativity comes from misunderstanding: both tourists and old-fashioned natives want another traditional Italian restaurant, and traditional this place ain't. Which is precisely why I can't wait for our 9pm reservation.

Edit: My only regret is that I didn't save room for dessert. Skate has been consumed and subsequentally loved. Real big chunks of butternut squash in a butternut squash risotto make it that much more mouth-watering. Read my full review of Incanto on Yelp.