EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Danger | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'danger'

San Francisco And The Hot Dog

Schwarz Sausage CompanyI 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.

Burying The Hatchet With The Bay Bridge

As I have written before I’ve always disliked the Bay Bridge mostly for the part about it being easy to get out of the city, but hard to get back in. I have had to wait close to an hour on some weekends because of the back ups. Well things have changed a bit now.

Now that I have Fastrak, it’s a little bit easier. I got a task from TaskRabbit that I thought was virtual, but turned out that I had to drive to Berkeley. Crap, I’ve got to drive the bridge. Well the task went quickly and my gracious task master gave me the added bonus of a tip of over five pounds of homemade chocolate, but that’s for another article.

So there I am during the week driving home at about 4 pm and I see the traffic starting to slow down a bit. OK, here it comes. Actually, wait, why’s everyone getting out of my lane? Apparently people who travel to the East Bay for some reason don’t believe in Fastrak. I was in an empty Fastrak lane and breezed through unhindered.

It was actually, well, kind of nice. It almost reminded me of my daily crossings of the Golden Gate Bridge, just a whole lot longer. I may actually have reasons to visit the East Bay every once in while. If you don’t have Fastrak I suggest you get it. It saves you time and money and you only have to put $25 on it to start. It work not having the hassle of the slow downs to pull out your cash.

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Lombard Street: Not the crookedest street…

Everyone thinks that Lombard Street is the crookedest street in the world. Well while it’s sort of become a landmark of San Francisco for being such, I hate to tell you, but that’s not really true.

I do have to say it’s prettiest crooked street since either the residents or the city of San Francisco work hard to keep it looking nice for all the tourists who come to photograph the street or are stupid enough to bother to drive down the street [which yes, I have to admit I’ve done it as well], but it’s really only the best known crookedest street in San Francisco. There’s actually one that’s even more crooked and if you’re in a station wagon or large SUV you won’t be able to make the turns.

This is the street between 23rd street and Vermont street out in the Potrero district. It’s longer with tighter turns and my record for getting down the street is 25 seconds. You’ll have a hard time finding pictures of it, but I was able to find one after some hard searching. It’s not as spectacular and pretty boring, but I took my in-laws down Lombard Street when they were here and then drove them all the way out to the Potrero to get their opinion. I believe I might have had to hose out the car afterwards because it was a scary drive for them. It’s a real rollercoaster of a drive especially if I’m behind the wheel.

There were a few residents outside that we could hear them yelling, “SLOW DOWN!” thinking I had never driven this street before, but I’ve done this many times and had this trip down. This is an old picture and the weeds have been replaced by trees or overgrown weeds and lots of barriers to keep you from driving off and falling onto the freeway which is now to the right in the picture.

This part of Vermont street is kind of the ugly sister of Lombard. It’s not pretty, it’s tough to deal with and if you don’t understand her she will mess you up bad…real bad. I’ve told friends about Vermont and they’ve gone to check it out and several of them have bent fenders to show for it.[mappress mapid=”30″]

My dream for Vermont Street is that one day I’ll be able to rent a little Mini Cooper and shoot down at around 40 mph and see if I can break my record. I don’t recommend this for the faint of heart, but it is definitely the thrill ride in San Francisco and best of all, it’s FREE! Now I might end up catching some flack from people in San Francisco that don’t like me sharing this hidden little secret or perhaps the residents that don’t want people trying to sail down there to beat my time, but too bad. It’s San Francisco and I want people to know about it. There are even locals that don’t know about it.