My Urban Garden, week 2

 

Week 2
Week 2

So I’ve decided to keep the urban garden an ongoing thing. Here’s todays shot and you can see how the peas and lettuce have really grown in the last week.

The green onions have finally taken hold and we have new sprouts of mesclun lettuce coming up on the far right. We also have blooms starting on the peas and tomato so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

Currently SF is having some warm weather and our backyard is up to 85°. This is mostly because of the fact that the backs of the houses in the Sunset have shingled concrete that absorbs the heat and radiates it back so it’s getting warm out there. 

Not sure yet, but we’re thinking of harvesting some of the lettuce to go with my SF gourmet hamburgers I’m making tonight. Stay tuned for details.

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Harry O Menswear

 

Harry O Menswear
Harry O Menswear

When you need clothes and I’m talking clothes that give you THAT look you need to make a trip to Harry O Menswear at 124 Second Street in San Francisco.

I got my first suit from him 15 years ago and it still fits and looks brand new to this day. Harry O is the greatest guy I’ve ever met and has some of the finest Italian clothes available. Everything from classics to modern. Harry is the Godfather of fashion for men in SF.

Now here’s a little tip for you. When you go to his store tell him that Eric from baghdadbythebaysf.com sent you and he’ll give you a good discount on anything you purchase. I’ll guarantee you’ll be going back to see him again.

If you could, please click on my sponsors ad below. You don’t necessarily have to purchase anything unless you want to, but at least the click will add money to my daughter’s schooling fund, or if you like you can click on our donation link and donate even a dollar.

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My Urban Garden

My Urban Garden
My Urban Garden

Well we all know the economy sucks at the moment so my wife and I decided to take on a new thing to help us out. We’ve become urban gardeners.

Living in the Sunset district poses an interesting problem. We’re supposed be living in fog all the time. Well thanks to Al Gore and global warming we aren’t so foggy anymore so we started a little test.

The pot on the far left was originally planted with Parsely and was sitting on our deck, but for some reason, probably the wind it was attacked with weeds. Now we’ve moved all the planting trays off the deck and tried again. The far left was cleaned out and planted with heirloom peas. As you can see they’re doing good, but the tray was too small so we went to home depot and  purchased the longest trays they had and next to the far left are more of the same peas. Apparently peas grow well here. Next to that we planted some mesclun lettuce because we go through a lot of that when we make my famous San Francisco style burgers™.

Next to that are some green onions that had a bit of a rough start, but are starting to set in. The two blank trays have more mesclun planted since we’ll be using that a lot. I just planted them today so it’ll be about a week before we see something pop up. Oh and the second set of peas and mesclun have been growing for only about 3 weeks and are doing great.

The big pot over in the back has an early girl™ tomato planted in it. They’re supposed to do well out here which is surprising so we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you all updated on how it goes. We’re planning on also adding more parsely and garlic next so we’ll see what happens. The nice part about all of this is that peas actually enrich the soil they grow in so when we rotate the crops we’ll start planting peas in the other trays  and moving things around. 

The upside of this is our little girl is now trying to help out, just like I did when my dad used to grow swiss chard, rhubarb and lettuce in the back yard. Only this time we’re growing vegetables we like. It used to be that all of our neighbors grew fruits and vegetables in their backyards. I guess it was just a working class thing for the Sunset, and since I’ve  been born and raised here I’m proud to be a Sunset redneck. 🙂

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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. 🙂

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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.

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Welcome our new sponsor!

I was contacted by hostrail who is sponsoring my website now. Thank you very much! Dylan who is the big guy there has been great with customer support and has an offer for all of who need some webhosting 30% off if you use the coupon code lgn09

Their pricing is outrageously low and their customer support is great. Check them out now!

hosting

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Goodbye Herb. :(

Herb Hamrol
Herb Hamrol

I just discovered that Herb Hamrol died. He was 106. That’s right 106! He’s one of the last known survivors of the 1906 earthquake. I remember him mostly from seeing him at Andronico’s supermarket were he still worked but only two days a week. I remember him telling me once not to drink or smoke or do drugs and then he admitted to quitting smoking at 80. 

Herb liked to talk to the customers and he was one sharp guy for 106. When I first heard him tell someone he was 103 I couldn’t believe I figured he might be in his early 70’s and I’m pretty good with figuring out people’s ages.

I’ll miss Herb. He was a fun guy and one of the reasons I liked going to Andronico’s. To see a guy who was able to keep going and stay sharp for so long and he even remembered back to the 1906 earthquake and used to tell people the story of his mother grabbing him and running down the stairs with him during the quake. Herb was one of those guys that just made San Francisco an interesting place to be. Goodbye Herb.

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Photo of the day: 20090120

©2009 Eric Kauschen
©2009 Eric Kauschen

A Wolf Eel at the California Academy of Sciences. This one will take your arm off if you make him angry.

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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!

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Now THAT is one angry neighbor!

Don't mess with this guy!
Don't mess with this guy!

I was driving around today and happened to notice a sign on the side of someone’s house a couple of blocks from me. Now these people leave their garbage cans outside their house all the time. Technically in San Francisco you can get a ticket for that now because a lot of people were doing that and with your black can for garbage, your blue for recycling and your green for compost it can get to be a bit of an eye sore.

I guess the way these people get around this is by building a cute little nook to sort of hide them in. Let’s get real though, it’s not hiding them just putting them behind some ugly lattice work.

If you leave your garbage cans out even though they’re behind some lattice work cage people who have something to throw out are going to drop them in your can. If the homeowners don’t like that then they should do what is right and keep the cans in their house like their supposed to do. While I’m a pretty liberal kind of guy I’m not sure I’m going to like my young daughter seeing shit in big bold letters as she walks by the house because I know she’ll start saying “Shit! shit! shit!” instead of something like “Stop! stop! stop!” I think I might have to mention this to our local law enforcement people, but that might be considered a mean spirited of me.

I on the other hand wouldn’t mind people dropping off fish tanks in front of my house as I’d find a use for them. 🙂

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