Mayor Ed Lee got his way with the niners. He has nailed down the Bay Area for Superbowl L [that's 50 for those of you who don't speak Roman or 2016 if you don't keep up with the Superbowl]. The only problem is that the 49ers won’t be playing the game in San Francisco. Not entirely a bad thing when you think about it.
The 49ers are moving to Santa Clara which means that the police department there will be inundated with overtime, double shifts and trashed vehicles, both public and private whether the 49ers win or lose. After they recover from their hangovers they’ll get a chance to spend all their hard earned money by taking a drive up to San Francisco. While we’ll need more cops on duty it won’t be as many as Santa Clara will need and it won’t be much more than what you see for your regular Bay To Breakers race.
In my opinion this is a good thing. The people visiting the Bay Area won’t have the energy after a drive up here to trash the place because they’ll have used up all that energy down south. Think of all the speeding tickets we’ll be able to issue them all on their drive up here.Think of the parking tickets to feed the cities coffers from the fans forgetting to put a few dollars in the meters. Think of all the seafood and sourdough bread they’ll be eating when they come here. Think of all the other things we’ll all be standing by to help take their money from them.
This could really help San Francisco after the America’s Cup which looks like it will cost the city a mint in the end. We’ll all get to make more money during the day and retire home at night to the quietness of our San Francisco homes a little bit better off for a week or so. It may not be the best time to go sightseeing, but if you live here you can do that anytime.
While I’m sure that there will be lots of people saying how it won’t be the same with the 49ers not playing in San Francisco, I’m sure in the end it will be a little bit similar to those people who used to say that the waterfront won’t look the same without the Embarcadero Freeway. They were right, it looks better. Think of the 49ers moving to Santa Clara as we’re just sending them to grandma’s house to play for the little while. While they’re gone we get to relax and clean up what they’ve done here. Mayor Ed, I think I owe you a beer.
It has finally happened. At 2am Monday morning the doors of the Tosca Cafe closed and the ownership under Jeanette Etheredge came to an end. It is scheduled to re-open with new owners and the only thing that will change we’ve been told is that it will now serve food.
Jeanette Etheredge will always be welcome said new owners April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, but there is something to be considered. The new owners are from New York and if there’s one thing San Franciscans like to thumb their nose at more than Angelenos it’s New Yorkers. We don’t like the pompousness of the food they present. We aren’t going to pay $200 for a skewer of lamb that was made while the chef was standing on his or her head while singing Verde. Food is not about what goes on in the back room, it’s about taste and the look. We don’t need gold leaf on our hamburgers if we can’t taste it. We love good food and we’re practical about it.
So we have a couple of New Yorkers who sound like that understand this and don’t want to change a San Francisco institution. Good for them. They better keep to it. Minor updates aren’t a bad thing and I honestly believe if they clean the nicotine stains off the walls that would be an improvement even if they added a bit of character, but I fully expect when I go in there to see the bartenders wearing the old school lab coat style jackets and ties. I fully expect the Irish Coffees and Cappucinos to remain unchanged and when they add food they better take into consideration of the last paragraph.
Hipsters and others moving into San Francisco are killing off the history of this city that attracted people to it over the years. This is a bad thing because they’re actually destroying what brought them here in the first place. Tosca is a hold over from a long time ago and its class doesn’t really attract the hip crowd. It attracts a more grittier type of people with a few lines on their face and some history behind them, not the nouveau types who have come here to make a few bucks and leave.
On closing night you could see why Tosca was so popular with some of the more colorful people of San Francisco. Francis Ford Coppola, Will Durst and Carol Doda were some of the names of celebrities who were there. They may not all be A list, but they’re all well known enough that they’re appearance made a statement.
I don’t remember when it was that I had my first bacon cheeseburger, but I remember biting into it and having the mixture of beef, cheese and smoked pork forming a mosh pit of happiness on my tongue. There was no turning back. Whenever wife and I go to a restaurant that serves burgers I always look for the bacon cheeseburger first.
Bacon has become a meme unto itself now. I’ve seen shirts that say, who doesn’t like bacon? Hell, my daughter’s pediatrician when told that bacon was the only meat my daughter would eat said well, who doesn’t like bacon? OK, I know if you’re a Kosher Jew or observant Muslim bacon is on the no go list, but I have to admit that even most of my vegetarian and vegan friends are looking for a bacon substitute and if they can’t find it they sneak some bacon in while hiding in a dark room late at night to preserve their veggie cred.
Then there’s Bacon Bacon. My first encounter with them was at the SF Weekly Web Awards where I was nominated for Best Political Blog in San Francisco [thank you very much for giving that to an aggregator site that doesn't write any of their own material] and I had to dip my tongue into the deep end and try the chocolate dipped bacon. I had heard lots about this combo, but never found a place that was selling it until now. One bite had me. Why aren’t more people doing this? Now I wanted to try the bacon doughnuts I had heard about, but while Bacon Bacon is a bit edgy, they don’t offer them. Still that was enough for that night because I was broke and didn’t have any more money to spend so I went inside and drank lots of free beer.
I’ve frequented the truck in several of it’s locations, but I haven’t had a chance to get by the Cafe version. I’ve been close several times, but I’ve just never made it or the timing wasn’t right and then I find out that the storefront might be closed. [cue dramatic dum, dum DUMMMMM music]. Apparently Bacon Bacon had a neighbor that didn’t like the smell of bacon all the time. I don’t know why, I’m sure it would have been better than some of the other smells that fill your nostrils in that area. Why I’m sure the smell was probably even increasing property values because, who doesn’t like bacon? Well apparently this neighbor didn’t and that was causing a problem with Bacon Bacon doing business.
They had to renew some of their permits back in 2011 because there were changes to the regulations. When this happens they allow the public to bring any concerns before the Planning Commission. This was a sticking point because why bother installing an air filtration system for around $35,000 if they would get closed down anyway?
Well the good news came on Friday in that the neighbor is willing to work with Bacon Bacon and will withdraw the complaint if Bacon Bacon installs the filtration system. Now I still have a chance to make it by their Cafe, daughter firmly in hand who I’m sure will be yelling Bacon! Bacon! the second we get inside. While they don’t go insane with their bacon ideas, they push the edge just enough with their bacon jam [available on any sandwich], bacon mayo and of course their chocolate dipped bacon and their bacon caramel corn.
Then of course I woke up this morning after writing this article early Friday to read the following on SF Gate:
“[The neighbor] had a change of heart yesterday and said they want to run more tests,” says Angelus [owner of Bacon Bacon], who must now close for three months, until the July hearing where they can procure their proper permits. He says four employees will likely lose their jobs, unless they want to hang around for the approval, which he hopes will happen.
“I feel really comfortable that it will get approved,” he says. “We have tons of neighborhood support.”
So it looks like their doors will be closed for three months so that they can get the changes made. At least they have a truck once again after it caught fire and had to be replaced, but I’m still waiting for the cafe to come back so I can happily bring my daughter to worship at the temple of porcine smokiness.
Sometimes you get your heartstrings pulled in not a good way. Last Friday my daughter’s class attended the Special Olympics at Kezar Stadium. As I’m sure most of you are aware, my daughter is autistic. While we were waiting for her turn to perform we were all sitting and waiting with the kids just getting more and more excited having to sit still and not getting to run around like kids want to do. Sitting next to me was a girl who is all over the news right now — Mikaela Renee Lynch.
She attends my daughter’s school and is autistic like my daughter. She always has an aid with her because she can’t function on her own and like many autistic children and will take the first chance she gets to run off and explore. Mikaela, like my daughter is a curious little girl. She doesn’t run off like most kids, she runs off because she might see something she wants to take a closer look at. Parents of autistic kids know this and understand that you have to keep an eye on your children at all times and even turning your head for a second means you can lose them momentarily.
Well, this is a worst case scenario in that Mikaela wasn’t lost momentarily, they’re still looking for her. The information coming in while up to the minute hasn’t had enough time to be processed yet so no one really knows what is happening. What I do know is this, Special Ed teachers and aids from her school have gone up to help find her because they know her and she knows them which might help. While Mikaela likes water, it looks like there is now video footage of her away from the creek which is good. Most kids don’t learn how to swim early enough in my book, and autistic kids have a harder time understanding the concept of swimming. Add to this that we’re talking about a creek with running water that can be up to 11 feet deep and not a bathtub in a secure location makes it even scarier. So I’m glad that they don’t think she went into the creek.
The down side to this is that it is now Wednesday and she went missing on Sunday. Even for a non-autistic child that’s a long time. Where is she is what we all want to know. Reports have said that Mikaela has the mental state of a one year old. While that’s a convenient starting point there’s more to her than that. She’s ridden horses. She knows she loves peanut butter and crackers. She can walk and run. She can run very fast too. While I’m no expert I have noticed that autistic children tend to be rather strong and seeing as Mikaela is built like my daughter only older and bigger she’s a lot of work to keep from running if she doesn’t want to go along with it. Aids have switched off watching her because she can tire a person out quickly. This isn’t a bad side so much as it is just the way some autistic children are wired. When you hear the word autistic, don’t think retarded. While there is some developmental delay in some autistic children it’s not the same thing as metal retardation. Speech is frequently a problem with autistic children and when they do start to speak they tend to have problems enunciating words so as a parent or someone who works with autistic children have to learn a new language to communicate with them. My daughter is six and doesn’t know how to swear, but she needed something to say when she was upset and so she mutters, bugga-digga. That’s her swear word she invented to express herself. We don’t really know what that means to her, but we understand the context.
Unfortunately context is something that is being left out in many of the reports. If you’ve never been around an autistic child you aren’t able to see these things. While Mikaela is non-verbal there are little ways she uses to express herself. She flaps her arms wildly when she’s excited like many autistic kids. She falls to the ground when she’s tired of being held to get away, not because she can’t stand. There are lots of people out there trying to find Mikaela and I hope that they find her soon. She’s a sweet little girl that needs help and I hope for the best for all of those who are out looking for her.
UPDATE: It is with a heavy heart that I have to report the following information received from the Clearlake Police Department:
Clearlake Police Chief Craig Clausen has confirmed that the body of nine year old Mikaela Lynch has been found in Cache Creek about forty five minutes ago.
The family did not offer a statement and has asked that everyone respect their privacy at this time.
If you’re anything like me and have been living in the same place for awhile you’ve probably collected lots of junk. Wife and I have had our house to ourselves for four years now since my Mother died and we’re still finding things that we have no use for. Well, even after we hired a dumpster to get rid of most of it and had a few garage sales we now have another chance coming up this weekend on May 18th — The Giant Sweep.
While the Giant Sweep affects District 4 on May 18th you’ll probably be receiving in the mail if you haven’t already a postcard telling you when your drop off day is and where. Ours is at Sunset Elementary School and I’ve done this once or twice before and I have to say that it is a pretty well organized event. You drive into the parking lot and if you’ve done things right you only need to pop your trunk and the guys there will pull everything out and sort it. It takes about a minute once it’s your turn and is something that’s really worth while if you’ve got lots of junk to get rid of . We happened to find a couple of wheeled boards that it took me awhile to figure out what they were, but they were carts for holding the old metal garbage cans we used to have about 40 years ago that we have no need for any longer.
The Giant Sweep will accept large, bulky items, materials that can be composted, non-recyclable/non-compostable waste and household hazardous waste. All you have to do is pack up your car and drive it out there between 8am and noon. If you’ve got stuff that you don’t need and don’t want to use one of your free Recology pick ups to have it taken away this is the day to do it. You can also pick up 5-10 gallons of free compost for your yard so you can have something to help your garden grow.
Every day is Mother’s Day. That’s what my Mom probably should have said. From the time I was born, looking back on all the pictures she was always there for me. When I was sick, when I was sad, when I was happy. She was always there.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and I lost her four years ago. I honestly think that she reached a point where she realized that I could make it on my own. She taught be to look out for myself, pay the bills get things done that needed to be done. She taught me to cook so that I’d never go hungry. She fought for me so that I would get good teachers and schooling.
I probably could have done more. I think the last thing I did for her was make her a grandma. Granted, I had help in that aspect. I had a lot of help and it wouldn’t have happened without Wife. I’d include a picture of her, but she doesn’t like to be in the limelight. She has that same aspect as my Mom. She never wanted to or tried to replace her and that’s a good thing. Wife is a smart cookie like my Mom and I think I did a good job in conning her into spending the rest of her life with me.
So today if you have a Mom that isn’t with you anymore I want you to think about her and what she gave up to make you who you were today. If you have a Mom that is still with you or you’re married to just take the time to remember that they’re doing an awful lot to keep you and your family on the right track.
I felt that I couldn’t talk about a burger joint yesterday without giving some time to that venerable processed tubular meat product known as the Hot Dog. I wrote an article some time ago about Treasure Island Hot Dogs that I couldn’t find very much info on, but Uncle Frank from the Hot Dog Hall of Fame [yes there is one] who mentioned Schwarz Sausage Company of San Francisco so I did a little more digging.
While the Hamburger originated in Hamburg, Germany by Russian traders who brought their habit of eating raw minced meat [ala steak tartare] the Hot Dog started it’s life in Frankfurt, Germany as well as Vienna, Austria [where the name weiner comes from]. It wasn’t until Germans brought them to America that some schmuck here got the idea of wrapping them in bread so you didn’t burn your hands while walking around eating them.
The Hot Dog predates the origin of the Hamburger in the U.S. by a number of years and it has spread all over the U.S. in various forms creating localized renditions through out the country. It was here that I had to start my search. If they are everywhere what would make them so special to San Francisco? We have dungeoness crab that while you can find it all up and down the coast, it tastes different here. Then of course there’s sourdough bread that only can exist here because of our local bacteria that even if you got some starter and were using it in another part of the country it would last you a couple of weeks and then it would be gone.
So what is so San Francisco about the Hot Dog? Well as it turns out if you’ve ever gone to a local sporting event and purchased a hot dog [not sushi and chardonnay] you probably had a Schwarz Sausage Company hot dog. They began life in a part of the Mission District sometime around 1911 in a part that was known as Germantown. That was the first I had heard of a Germantown being in San Francisco, but we are a city of change after all. There was also Casper’s Hot Dogs, but they actually started in San Leandro in 1934 so their close, but no
hot dog, er, cigar.
Schwarz also was a big supplier of the public schools so those hot dogs you ate growing up here were probably from Schwarz. They make several types and not just the all beef type, but they also have some with pork and veal inside and while I tend to gloss over the hot dog at times as being more about what you put on it than in it, you can taste a difference between them. While Schwarz has been bought by Engelhart Gourmet Foods and moved to Fairfield, CA they still have a consumer outlet in the part of Mission that’s referred to now as La Lengua.
Say, did I just say sometime in Spanish? Well the San Francisco experience for hot dogs is usually found by street vendors in the Mission who sell grilled hot dogs wrapped in bacon. Apparently the Mexican immigrants brought that from Mexico and it has caught on here at least in the Mission. We don’t have too many hot dog joints and when you do find them they’re more fast food than localized. The best place [in my opinion] to get a hot dog is from a hot dog stand. While I have grown over the years learning to put different things on a hot dog [note I used to put only mayo on a hot dog that would creep out anyone who watched me do it and eat it] I’ve found that grilled hot dogs never did it for me. Now if you wrap it in bacon that changes things because the bacon fat would keep the hot dog from blistering and well, as we all know, everything is better with bacon.
Note that if the danger dogs from a Mission Street cart scare you there’s always the palace of tubular meat products, the Rosamunde Sausage Grill that makes it smothered in onions called the Mission Street that I notice is available at every location except the Haight Street location. Well, at least they have it at their Mission Street location.
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