Water, water everywhere and now you can drink it!

Torani Syrup

Because I’ve been on this chloramine in our water kick for sometime I’ve met lots of people who also don’t like the chloramine one of my friend sent me a link to a PDF that tells you how you can remove the chloramine from your water supply and it turns out to be an easy one. Here’s the link: Removing Chloramine

I’ll give you a brief synopsis in case you’re lazy. For drinking water slicing up a citric fruit such as lemon, lime or orange and dropping it into your water will neutralize the chloramine. I have an even better way and no, I’m not sponsored by this company, but I’d love to be. Drop one shot of Torani fruit syrup into a glass then add 16 oz or so of cold water. I prefer the pomegranate or blood orange, but experiment. Torani contains citric acid [which removes the chloramine] as well as natural flavorings and no high fructose corn syrup to get you fat. When you add club soda you get San Francisco’s famed Italian sodas like you can find in North Beach.

If you want to fix your bath water you just drop 1 gram [1000 mg] of vitamin C into the water it will also neutralize the chloramine. The PDF does mention that there are some shower head filters that contain Vitamin C and it has the links to them, but also mentions that the manufactures might be overstating how long before you need to change the cartridge.

Meet our new sponsor: Brain Toniq

Brain Toniq. Clear the head fog
Brain Toniq: The Smart Antidote to Head Fog

Sometimes, if you’re like me coffee get make you a little jittery. I just discovered this product and after reading all about it I was very impressed. I asked them if they would like to be a sponsor of my blog and they agreed.

Now let me tell you a little something about this product and why I think it’s so cool.

1. Organic Agave nectar
Carefully harvested from the same cactus that is used for tequila, organic agave is the Lexus of all natural syrups. The only sweetener ever given the “diabetic friendly” status, agave is also the most expensive—six times the cost of organic cane sugar—which is why no one normally uses it in their drinks. But as a slow-absorbing, mineral-rich complex carbohydrate, it doesn’t “spike and crash” like corn syrup, fructose, and cane sugar, and it certainly doesn’t have the mind-numbing chemical toxicity of sucralose, Aspartame, and other fake sugars found in so many misnamed “diet” drinks. For those who want to avoid putting junk into their brain and wide fluctuations in their blood sugar, nothing beats organic agave nectar.

2. Eleuthero Root extract
Also known as Siberian Ginseng, eleuthero (eleutherococcus senticosus)is a classic adaptogen (any plant that helps normalize body functions) that has been shown to help with adrenal fatigue and improve oxygenation to the brain, with reported enhancement to vision and hearing. Soviet cosmonauts and athletes have used it to boost stamina.

3. Rhodiola root powder
Used in traditional medicine for centuries, rhodiola rosea root is one of the best herbs for enhancing mitochondrial energy production. Studied extensively by Russian researchers, rhodiola has shown to improve the capacity to perform mentally demanding tasks under conditions of extreme stress and fatigue. It is recommended as an energy booster and treatment for depression, chronic fatigue, and anxiety.

4. Choline
Choline is an organic compound classified as an essential nutrient and usually grouped with the B Vitamin complex. Choline is considered one of the true ‘smart drugs’ or nootropics, because it is a chemical precursor needed to produce the main memory neurotransmitter of our brains, called acetylcholine (ace’•ah•ti•koleen). Memory, intelligence and mood are mediated by acetylcholine metabolism. The boost of choline and release of acetylcholine as a result of Brain Toniq’s Alpha-Glyceryl Phophoryl Choline can dramatically stimulate cognitive functioning, which includes memory, learning, concentration, and focus.

5. Wild-crafted Blue Green Algae extract
Harvested from a mountain lake in Oregon, this wild algae (aphanizomenon flos-aquae) is rich in a vast array of easily assimilated essential fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, protein, and phytonutrients. This single-cell plant is a powerful anti-depressant, as well as a cognition booster.

DMAE is a natural-occurring substance produced by the human brain through two cholesterol enzymes, and works primarily by speeding the production of acetylcholine, that crucial neurotransmitter responsible for carrying messages between brain cells. In the past few years DMAE increasingly has been favored by medical scientists for its role in boosting short-term as well as long-term memory, concentration, and reduction of anxiety. Dr. Perricone, author of many books on brain health and the diet/disease connection, shows that DMAE has significant impact on both the brain and the skin. It has also shown positive results in a variety of cognitive disorders, including improved memory, the ability to think clearer, greater problem solving ability, and issues with attention deficit (ADD and ADHD). As with all ingredients in Brain Toniq, our DMAE is from plant sources, making Brain Toniq a vegan-safe drink.

Now if you want to get some click on the picture or the link on the side and that will take you to their site and tell them that I sent you there. You can purchase it by the half case [12 cans] or larger. If you own a store and would like to sell this product you can contact me at eric@baghdadbythebaysf.com and I can sell to you directly [of course the more you buy, the less you’ll pay].

Beef Jerky: Food of the Gods.

Food of the Gods
Food of the Gods

Vegan’s beware, you probably won’t be interested in this post. I have had a love for beef jerky since I was a kid. I remember going to the local liquor stores and they had that big old jar of it right up at the counter. It was all pretty much the same back then and I never really thought about why there was ever a need for beef jerky, I just loved it.

It turns out that back in the old days (and I mean pretty old days). People didn’t have refrigerators so after they killed a beast that they could eat for a week or so they’d cut their meat and hang it up and smoke it after usually soaking it in some kind of marinade to soften up the tougher bits and add a bit of flavor. Then when the time came to use it they’d cut off a hunk or two and throw it in the stew pot.

Ok, enough of the history lesson, though I think I will try that some day. Nowadays you can find all kinds of beef jerky out there. Hell there’s a lot that isn’t even made with beef. There’s turkey, venison, ostrich, pork, kangaroo, even alligator jerky. My obsession led me one day to discover that my mother had purchased a food dehydrator from a friend for $10. I started googling “Beef Jerky Recipe” and found a few I liked and gave it a shot.

First time was pretty good, but a little too hot for most people so I started playing around and modifying the recipe. Well it turns out I think I hit the nail on the head this time. Out of a little over 3lbs of london broil I ended up with a pound and a half of beef jerky that everyone keeps telling me I should be selling. Now normally I like to share my recipes, but I’m thinking that this time I shouldn’t because it might be like the Colonel telling everyone how to make his chicken.

The best part about my jerky is that it is very low in saturated fat, low in sodium, high in potassium and believe it or not, I’ve found a way to make the beef have a bit of a smokey bacon aftertaste without the use of bacon or other pork products. There’s also no preservatives to it which is probably why everyone likes it so much. People rarely get to eat fresh jerky. As a matter of fact my first mistake was bringing the bag into work as after trying it they’ve all devoured it and now I have to go make more.

Now I just have read up on food marketing so I don’t have the health department knocking at my door. 🙂

Rick’s Restaurant has closed.

Rick's Restaurant
Rick's Restaurant

Rick’s was a Sunset District landmark for years even though it went through a lot of changes. When I was young it was called the “Lost Weekend”. Basically just a bar with an organ that apparently Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan used to drop in on weekends and play at. But Rick’s was the best. They had cheap early bird specials, a once a month luau night and some of the best food you could find.

Add to that the talent’s of “Maui Mike” the bartender who’s famous version of Trader Sam’s Mai Tai would knock you for a loop. They tasted so good you’d have to have another and that’s where the trouble started. My wife and I would order Rick’s pot roast and it would feed both of us. Usually we’d call in an order and go pick it up. When we ate in though she’d get the pot roast and I’d either get the NY Strip or kalua pork.  We’d both have lunch on the leftovers the next day. This used to be the big meeting place I’d take my out of town friends to who were always blown away by the food. 

Closing Notice
Closing notice

From a sign we saw on the door it said that it will be returning as the Parkside Tavern also serving food. I hope it’s at least as good as Rick’s or else I will really be bummed. Oh and don’t ask me who the woman is out in front. I got the picture off of Yelp.

Joe’s of Westlake

Westlake Joe's
Westlake Joe's

Yesterday was me and my wife’s 12 year anniversary and my Mom gave us money to go out to lunch at Joe’s of Westlake. Now for those of you who don’t know about Joe’s there used to be several of them in the city but they’ve all gone except for the Joe’s at Westlake. This is an old school Italian restaurant. Think “The Soprano’s” who you go there. Last time I went there was probably 20 year’s ago and our waiter was a guy with grey hair who came up to us in his little waiter jacket and bowtie and I noticed his name was “Vinny”. That is how old school Italian this restaurant is.

I’m not sure who Joe was since as the photo reads, “Bruno Scatena’s Joe’s of Westlake.” Bruno, that name just adds to it. The restaurant is priced about on average with others of this caliber, maybe a little higher. Our meal came to about $57 with the tip for lunch.

So here’s what we had. Karen and I both ordered a Caesar salad to start and I had the Veal Parmigiana and she had the Roast Beef. The service was quick, but unfortunately, “Vinny” no longer works there and we got a very nice young girl who was quick to serve us. The salad came and was a bit overdressed and a little heavy on the anchovies, but if you’re going to a restaurant for the vegetables go to Green’s at Fort Mason. I thought it was pretty good and the croutons weren’t soggy which is always a plus. The main dishes came about 5 minutes after we finished the salads. I have to say I wasn’t expecting the veal portion to be so huge, but it was clearly 16oz of veal. I joked to Karen that maybe this was beef parmigiana instead of veal parmigiana. It had a huge slathering of bolognese sauce and and nice large chunk of parmesan cheese on top that was just starting to burn on the edges. It was moist and delicious, not tough like some veal gets from excess pounding. You get a choice of sides with your meal: spaghetti, rigatoni or ravioli. Again, more old school. I chose the ravioli and Karen chose the rigatoni. Karen’s roast beef was cut from a cross rib roast which I don’t usually like, but they managed to cook it like it was prime rib. The slab of meat was floating on a jus sauce that just helped everything along.

We didn’t try too hard to finish it all as we knew it was too much food and they packed it up for us to bring home and the leftovers fed three of us for dinner. While I wouldn’t give them a 10 overall, it was one of those San Francisco experiences you have to have at least once. The funniest part about Joe’s is their Joe’s Special. It is essentially ground beef, spinach, onions and mushrooms all cooked and mixed together and served on a big plate with absolutely nothing else. You of course get bread with your meal and that’s good for sopping up the stray juices from Joe’s Special, but still that mixture doesn’t sound as Italian as you’d think an Italian restaurant would have as it’s special. My Mom also raves about their big fat hamburgers. I’ll have to try one of those when I go back because they’re served on Italian sourdough bread not a bun. The couple next to us had the Joe’s Special and one of their burgers and I have to admit they both looked good even if the Joe’s Special looked kind of like something like you might be served in a Russian prison, but hey it’s a San Francisco tradition.

Oh, and lastly if you go ask for a table in the Cascade Room. The main room is a bit like Denny’s, but the Cascade Room has the white table clothes and nice booths and is generally more quiet. As you walk inside you might want to take a look at the bar. It’s got it’s own separate room where if you don’t want to be seen it’ll be easy as it’s very dark and the bartender is standing there whistling while he’s wiping down the glasses.

Check it out!

Best Dim Sum in the Avenues!

An old acquaintance from high school (Hi Steve!) posted a comment here asking where the best dim sum was in the Sunset district. That’s something I haven’t really found yet other than a place at 33rd and Noriega that has dim sum to go and I can’t remember their name, but from talking to my friends they brought up a very nice place I had forgotten about that I visited a while ago on Geary street called Ton Kiang.

It’s a nice sit down dim sum house that offers a wide variety of asian delights at a price much cheaper than the upper crusty Yank Sing. There’s usually a line out the door on weekends for people who come for a lunch of dim sum so keep that in mind. Another nice thing about Ton Kiang is that if you’re not too familiar with dim sum or you’re a white guy like me who doesn’t know more than 3 words of Cantonese [and those words you wouldn’t want to say in polite company, of course] the wait staff is happy to help you out by explaining what they’ve brought out. You can either order off the menu or just take what they bring by, but if you’re looking for good dim sum Ton Kiang is the place to go!

The Quest for Mex

Beach Burrito
El Beach Burrito, 3914 Judah St, SF, CA 94122

I have a love of Mexican food. I eat it at least a couple of times a week and I’m lucky enough to have the two best taquerias in San Francisco and they’re both in the Sunset District.


For Mexican food you have to go to the Mission District right? Wrong. The food out there isn’t up to par with two places in the Sunset District. I used to think you would go to Mission for Mexican, but after I got a burrito with peas and carrots in it or a quesadilla that was so greasy on the inside AND outside I have to give props to El Burrito Express and Beach Burrito. Now for burritos you definitely go to El Burrito Express. They are hands down the best. For tacos and tostadas and all the other stuff, head over to Beach Burrito. We just came back from there and we each got a chili verde chicken super taco. For those of you unfamiliar with it, chili verde is “green chicken” that means it’s been marinated in a green tomatillo salsa. We each got one with chips and a coke and my wife and I got lunch for under $9. The best part is that these are like the “street tacos” you would get in Mexico [and yes I’ve been there and had them]. You get the standard meat and cheese plus salsa, beans [black is my choice] lettuce, guacamole & sour cream. One is enough for me, but my appetite is starting to grow a bit so I might have to start getting two.

Those chilis look like they have weiners.

It’s ironic that the best Mexican food is found in a place with very few hispanics living, but it wasn’t me that gave them the title it was the SF Weekly and Bay Guardian. Two of our local papers that are the alternative publications for the City.

Now I do have to add that Beach Burrito, while it’s good could be better, but it does have something else going for it. The atmosphere of the neighborhood. Beach Burrito is located in SF’s outside lands meaning it’s close to the beach. There’s a little strip on Judah Street just as you pass Sunset Boulevard that you have these little dots of commercial property. When you get down to 44th avenue that’s where the fun starts. This whole strip down to the beach is a great place to be. I used to live just a couple of blocks from here and on the weekends when it’s sunny [and yes, the Sunset does get sun now] it’s a great place to spend a lazy afternoon. Just next door is the Javaholics coffee, smoothie & ice cream shop and on the other side is the Other Avenues health food store then you’ve got the Sea Breeze Cafe [that’s for another post]. These places are all run by locals and it’s fun to walk the streets. Down at the end of Judah is Java Beach. It started as a small coffee shop that’s upgraded to adding a beer & wine bar as well as serving food. This place is packed frequently and the Sunset locals like to come by have a coffee or beer and shoot the shit. They done such a good job that they just opened up another Java Beach out near the zoo. 

So in all I’ve had a good day so far. I got me my Mexican food and it was good.

Chimichurri: The Pesto of Argentina


Living in San Francisco you encounter a large hispanic population and I have many friends who are hispanic. When I was a kid everyone used to call them “Mexican” because I guess we didn’t know or care about countries below Mexico. I recently discovered a sauce that while originating in Argentina is apparently known all the way up to Mexico and it’s called chimichurri. It’s very similar to the Italian pesto sauce only instead of basil it uses flat leafed Italian parsley. While I can’t say for sure, there are a lot of Italians who immigrated to Argentina so maybe that’s why it was created there, but you’d think they could grow some basil there wouldn’t you? It’s used as an accompaniment to meats of all types from beef to chicken to pork to fish. It’s heavy on the garlic and just gives the meat and intensely earthy feel without the dirt [and why is it people eat expensive truffles when dirt is so much cheaper?]. Here’s my recipe and I hope you try it because you’ll be surprised at how good it is. Now I have to compare it to one of the local churassco houses in SF that’s opened up since Argentinians started to lay claim to SF. I tend to like mine on the well blended side so it doesn’t look too much like oil and weeds, but grind it as much as you like.


1 bunch parsley
8 garlic cloves
9oz olive oil
2oz white wine vinegar
2oz water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add everything except the oil to a food processor or blender. Start it up and slowly add the olive oil. It might be 9oz more or less, but you’ll know when it’s ready when it’s thick and creamy. It doesn’t exactly separate, but after a day or two you do get a bit more oil on top. I have a set of handy squeeze bottle on hand to fill it up with the sauce and then I’ll squirt it on one of my famous burgers [that’s another story] or heavily douse a nice beef tenderloin or london broil with it.