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

Posts Tagged 'surfing'

Ocean Beach BBQ

Ocean Beach BBQRarely something crosses my path that makes me raise an eyebrow and take notice. I happened to see something come across my twitter feed the other day about a guy running Ocean Beach BBQ that I had to look into a little farther and I have to say that I wasn’t sorry that I did.

Ocean Beach BBQ is a rogue food vendor. Not like some of the non-permit street food sales that you might find in the mission, but he is essentially a food truck without the truck, fully licensed by the city of San Francisco to sell food that he cooks. I have to say I was impressed when I met him. The pit master who runs Ocean Beach BBQ is an enigma clouded in smoke. A man of mystery who’s barbecue is located somewhere on the dunes of Ocean Beach wrapped in the fog. The pit master travels along 46th Avenue selling his food to people along the way to people who’ve reserved a plate based on the day’s menu via Twitter. He usually ends his daily, seven day a week trips at the Riptide bar which deserves it’s own article that will be coming soon.

I found him Friday night sitting right inside the front door and our conversation was interrupted frequently by people coming by to purchase more food. I do have to say that after talking about to him about his philosophy behind the Q for 15 minutes that I was offered to taste test some of the food. How could I say no? Friday night he brought with him chicken and goat [yes, I said goat]. I got to sample his chicken since knowing that chicken while being something every one can cook, not everyone can cook it right. He got it right. The meat was tender and juicy with a chewy outer char that wasn’t black and uninviting. This was definitely put down the fork and dig in with your hands type of food. It came with a side of coleslaw and potato which after sitting on the barbecue the potato was finished off with the marinate from the goat. You could definitely taste the earthiness of the goat all over the potato without it tasting like dirt which I’ve found in a few places I’ve actually had goat in the past.

While places like this you can find downtown easily, out by the beach it’s not so easy. I have personally been tweeting the food trucks to tell them when we have sun at the beach so they should get out there, but it is very rare to see them out there. Here is a guy that will be there to feed you even when it’s not sunny and we’re hit with a fogged in cold evening. We need more people like this.

Why would someone start a business like this? It turns out not only does he like food, but selling the food opens door for him to talk about carcinoid cancer which is a really horrible disease that struck a member of his family. He gets to raise people’s awareness of the disease and keep them fed all at the same time. To find out more you can follow the sport he started to help bring awareness to carcinoid cancer by following @fieldfootball or visiting fieldfootball.com.

Currently if you want to find out where he is you’ll have to follow his twitter account since that’s the rogue way he operates. His choice of foods changes daily, but there’s usually chicken, pulled pork or ribs and the occasional goat or even quail. Send him a tweet of what you want to order and he’ll wait for you at the agreed spot along 46th Avenue in the Sunset. He also uses Square so credit cards are easily accepted along with cash. He’ll be there until he runs out of food seven nights a week. I was told that there might be an expansion to serving lunch as well in the future now that he’s a new dad and is getting up earlier. That sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Whitecaps: Barbabos

Yes, this isn’t about San Francisco, but remember it’s my wild weekend where I get to talk about anything and today I wanted to talk about Whitecaps in Barbados. I have a couple of close friends who have purchased a three bedroom house there that when they aren’t visiting they rent it out. They needed a website to best display the house so who do they come to…me of course.

I have never visited Barbados, but from the looks of the pictures, I definitely will one day and I will be staying at Whitecaps. I was given a tour via skype of the house [yes, the house has wi-fi] and it is pretty spectacular. I could hear the waves crashing on the beach because you’re literally about 50′ from the beach. Barbados is definitely geared for tourists which if you look at the photos in the gallery you can see that there are many shows that go on for free at the local plaza that’s within walking distance.

The food is very inexpensive there and fresh the fish and Barbados goats are all over the place so chances are good that it was alive a few hours before you purchase it. When you bring it back to the house you simply hand it over to Waple who is your personal chef that will cook all your meals. You also have a personal concierge who will help you arrange your site seeing trips around the island. In the evening you don’t have to work as there are two security guards that will make sure the house is secure. You also have your own maid service so you don’t even need to worry about making your bed every day.

Just to give you the full blown what you get for your money, allow me to cut and paste from their website:

  • Three bedrooms for a total of six guests
  • Three private bathrooms: two with tubs, one with a walk-in shower
  • Wet bar
  • Flat-screen TV with Bose sound system
  • WiFi internet access
  • Your own personal chef
  • Your own maid service
  • Located on Mullins Beach
  • Lovely shaded garden area for entertaining

Whitecaps is right on the beach halfway between Mullins Bay and Gibbs Bay — a mere stone’s throw from the highly regarded Mullins Restaurant and Cocktail Bar on Mullins Beach.

There is a 24-hour convenience store within a five minute walk to the north and a fabulous little gift shop, the Shell Gallery, a fifteen-minute walk to the south.

Further north lies Speightstown, a picturesque old town with a historical museum, an art gallery, a small supermarket, shops, a four-star restaurant (Mango by the Sea), banks with ATMs and a fish market, as well as farm stands offering the freshest tropical fruits and vegetables. It is about five minutes away by bus or taxi. To the south is Holetown, a larger community with high-end boutique shopping, a large supermarket, cafes and gift shops, banks with ATMs and a number of four-star restaurants. It’s ten minutes by bus or taxi.

While there are regular buses to and from Bridgetown, and taxis can be reserved for dinner dates, most guests will rent a car to have full run of the island, including the night life of St. Lawrence Gap and the many historic and scenic points elsewhere.

Note that for what us Americans consider a time to take a vacation is considered the off season and is $345/night. If you get another couple or two to make trip with you it becomes downright affordable. It’s pretty much always in the 80’s dropping to the upper 70’s at night so you won’t have to bring a heavy coat. I suggest lots of tank tops and shorts and maybe an eye patch if you want the total Pirates of the Caribbean vibe.

[gmap width=”650px” height=”200px” type=”satellite” visible=”true” static=”true” zoom=”16″ lat=”13.232938″ lon=”-59.642313″]

SF Surfriders’s Earth Day Party

Yes, I know I haven’t posted anything in a week, but I needed a little vacation. Sunday of last week [not yesterday] I dropped in at the SF Surfrider’s Earth Day celebration out at Ocean Beach at the foot of Taraval. I actually did it twice because like always I don’t tend to make a fashionably late entrance. While there weren’t too many people there in the beginning, when I went back i really got to learn a lot about the group and what they were doing.

Now I’ll admit that at first I thought the SF Surfrider’s hit me kind of like the SF Bike Coalition, but since most people don’t drive on the waves the whole hooligan attitude is missing from them. The whole Earth Day part started at 10am at Ocean Beach with a bunch of people from the group and supporters gathering to clean up the beach. This is always a good thing as there are lots of nasty bits you can find on the beach. I actually saw a picture this morning of someone’s dog who had manage to find a rather large, umm, well, sexual device let’s just say and was bringing it back to his owner like he had a bone in his mouth. While that was one of the rather least offensive things found the beach there have been syringes that people dump into drains or flush down their toilets that don’t properly get processed or someone digs a hole and toss some briquets in to have a beach barbecue and then some one like a cousin of mine sits on the beach and ends up with 3rd degree burns on her feet because old hot coals look like sand.

I have to applaud them for this because they love to surf and why would anyone want to surf in a garbage dump? They are also concerned with the erosion that’s occurring on the south end  of Ocean Beach and I have to say that my wife and i used to like to run out on the weekend and get coffee and danish and then drive out the parking lot by the zoo to have our breakfast. There’s not too much left out there now and the SF Surfrider’s are trying to find a way to fix the problem.

I got to talk to a couple of people from the group and told them that I’d be mentioning them and I really have to say that the party they organized [after I went back for the second run] was a lot of fun. SF Surfrider’s is a very eco-friendly group and they were even using blocks of eco-friendly surfboard wax to hold down their materials and giving out roll up eco-friendly grocery bags made from recycled water bottles. They also were having a raffle for a surfboard, but I decided that I’m a bit out of shape to start up my old surfing days again. Give me a few years and maybe I’ll get back in shape for it though.

While they were the focal point there were also a couple of food trucks, Seoul on Wheels and Cheese Gone Wild as well as well as a beer garden that got bigger as the day went on sponsored by Trumer Pils. I did happen to notice for the celebrity gossip column angle that the ever sexy Nikki Blakk of 107.7 The Bone was there early on, but I couldn’t find her on my second trip down there. She might have been in the RipTide that was packed to the gills while having the Mermen entertain everyone. I was a bit bummed because I was hoping to slide a copy of my CD into Nikki’s hand so that, you know, I might get a mention or something like that on her show. Oh well, things don’t always go my way, but the party at the beach was pretty fun and I salute the SF Surfrider’s for give us a chance to see what they’re all about.

Surfing San Francisco

Now that my Mother is gone I can come out publicly. I was a teenage surf bum. My Mother would always tell me the horror stories of how surfer’s would get pulled into the undertow and sucked out to the Farallone islands. I always thought that was a bit of overkill, but she just never wanted me to surf.

Unfortunately when you push too hard against your child not doing something it only makes them want to do it more. Good work Mom. I had a friend that lived a block from the beach and we found a couple of boards at a garage sale out there one day and picked them up for around $50 each [this was back in the 70’s when things were cheaper]. I had no idea how to surf other than watching people surf on TV. We did make skimboards that you’d throw on the surf as it washed in and then you run and jump on it so we at least knew how to wax the boards.

Ocean Beach is actually not the best place to surf. Unless there’s some really bad weather the waves aren’t that great and yes there is that nasty undertow, but I was a very experienced swimmer so that wasn’t too much of a problem. Ocean Beach was surfing as I knew it [our spot was Kelly’s Cover] until one day when my friend bought a car and suggested we try out the waves at Santa Cruz [I would never try Mavericks]. We packed up the station wagon and go on the road one weekend. I had never really been to a surfer town before and our jaws dropped when got there and saw girls in bikini’s everywhere. I was in heaven.

I also didn’t see anyone in wetsuits like you had to wear in San Francisco. It was all surfer shorts. We grabbed the boards and hit the water. Much warmer than San Francisco and very smooth waves. It was a lot less work than the waves in San Francisco and I think because of that there were more surfers. While we were taking a break a couple of the locals came up and started the conversation with, ‘Frisco right? [Grrrrrr]. Yeah, let me guess, the wetsuits gave it away? Yeah. OK so there was an apparently rivalry between SF And Santa Cruz and I wasn’t even aware of it.

I ended up giving up surfing when I turned 21. I don’t exactly know why, but I just lost the desire to go out into that freezing cold water. When my wife and I got married we did take a trip to Hawaii and I was tempted again, but I didn’t go for it. I suppose I didn’t like all the little fish swimming around in the water bitting at the hair on my legs. That and the fact that the fish were probably bigger as you went out farther. I’ll just keep it in the back of my mind for now and maybe one day I give it a go again.

Beach Chalet: Great Views & Food

The Beach Chalet occupies the top floor of the old Golden Gate Park Visitor’s center with stunning views of the ocean, great food and a microbrewery that in addition to making beer also makes a great root beer [more on that later]. I’m not sure when the actual building was constructed, but I do know that they artwork downstairs was done as part of the WPA project in the 1930’s by artist Lucien Labaudt. It spent most of its years a vacant empty shell during my youth until Gar and Lara Trupelli and Timon Malloy bought it and started to restore it sometime in the early 80’s.

The place is filled with that “outside lands” vibe that I always talk about. It’s a great place to kick back and relax while enjoying some great food. When the weather’s good I usually like to skip the Beach Chalet and go around back to the Park Chalet. Same general food, but to replace the view of the sea you get a very open area where the windows that also serve as walls can be turned and moved to open up the space to the well kept up garden area where you’ll usually find a few kids running around on the weekends.

Now let’s talk about the food. The prices are in the $10-$32 range for main courses and the variance depends on what time of day you go and of course, what you get. I think the prices are pretty reasonable considering what you get. They have a range of dishes covering the beef, pork, chicken and fish departments and each one has a favorite for me. THey also have a Prime Rib Monday special that while I haven’t tried that yet, I think I’m going to have to.

For beef I have to go with the flat iron steak & frites. I’ve learned to love flat iron steak ever since Chef Bruce Hill [Zero Zero] introduced it to me at a restaurant he previously worked. It’s got a meaty flavor, but is also very tender served with a caramelized onion sauce and the frites are crispy to perfection.

For pork I have to go with their Carolina style pulled pork sandwich. I’m a sucker for pork and this is a juicy sandwich to bite into. You get a really good taste, but not overpowering flavor of the Carolina style sauce in the meat and the fried onion strings [always a favorite with me] are just icing on the cake.

Chicken is tough with me as it is in most restaurants, but they put it to good use in the west coast carbonara. The fettucine, chicken, english peas, bacon, thyme and shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese all blend well with the sauce to create a dish that won’t leave you feeling weighed down when you finish like some pasta dishes can.

For the fish I have to go with an old standby because they do it so well and that’s their V.F.W. beer battered fish and chips. The flavor is intense, but not fishy nor overly greasy.

Now one thing you always have to remember when you come here is that it’s a micro brewery so you have to try the beer. They have five regulars on tap, V.F.W. Light, Presidio IPA, Riptide Red, Fleishacker Stout  & Dee’s Bitter Ale. They also have specials that pop up like their Ocean Beach Oktoberfest beer and I honestly can’t pick a favorite. They’re all good and there’s something for every beer drinker there. They offer a circle of ales where you get a small glass of each of the beers to try and compare.

Now about the root beer. Funhouse Root beer is unlike any root beer you’ll ever taste. I tell everyone who goes there that they have to try the root beer and they all say the same thing, Damn, that’s good root beer! It is and brewmaster Aron Deorsey hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s got a bit of a thicker and heavier taste than most store bought root beers and the flavor will stay with you after you’ve finished it. Best not to switch over to beer afterwards unless you like your beer tasting sweet. I wish they did sell it in stores, but unfortunately they don’t. They did used to sell what they called a growler that was basically a gallon jug they’d fill up with whatever beer or root beer you wanted and you could take it home with you. It really is that good. TRY THE ROOT BEER!

Tuesday’s and Fridays they have live music and there’s always the 3-6pm and 9pm-closing happy hours with $3, $6 & $9 drinks and appetizers Monday through Friday. Since it looks like we’ll be having some nice weather for a bit I suggest you head down to the beach and check out both the Beach and Park Chalets.

[gmap width=”650px” height=”200px” type=”satellite” visible=”true” static=”true” zoom=’16’ lat=’37.7694097′ lon=’-122.5105452′]

[ad#AdBrite]

Taking a break…

Hello my friends and readers. I just wanted to let you know that while writing every day doesn’t always take up too much of my time, the researching does and I feel I need to step back a bit so that I’m giving quality and not quantity. I want to make sure I get to fact check anything I put out there unlike some of the modern day journalists. So I’m going to try something…

I’ll write Monday through Friday and keep the weekends to myself. That’ll give me time to travel around San Francisco more and get more pictures of my nefarious deeds and actually have some time to work in audio interviews for the podcast I’m trying to get started. Besides, I need to get out of the house more and moreover, I need to get out of the Sunset District more. Not because I don’t like the fog. It’s one of the things I actually like about the Sunset because I appreciate the sun so much more.

So for now I’m going home early, wait, I’m already home. I guess I’ll go out and take some photos around San Francisco. For today I’ll leave you all with some of my pretty pictures taken at Ocean Beach when we had good weather. Let’s all hope for a nice spring this year! Cheers to my friends at the Ocean Beach Bulletin!


Sunset Summer Morning

©2010 Eric Kauschen

This morning was one of those mornings that was like no other. My alarm goes off at 6:50am and I wake up feeling warm. I get up to open the window and realize that it’s already open. Grab the iPhone and check the temperature and it’s 70° at 6:50am in the Sunset District.

I knew it was going to be a good day so I had to run down to the beach because on a nice day like this there’s nothing better than the beach in the morning. I know for people in places like Texas, Florida or Hawaii 70° in the morning is nothing for them, but here since we don’t get weather like this most of the year, we love it all the more.

How can I best describe the beach in the morning on a warm day? Quiet. The sun is at your back and not glaring in your face, everyone slows down a bit and even the waves aren’t crashing as hard as they do on one of our foggy mornings. I was watching Anthony Bourdain yesterday in Miami and he was walking around Key West and I remember how cool the water looked with all the greenery growing as close to the water as it could get and that image popped into my mind. It may not be exactly the same, but for that short period of time, watching the early morning surfers, I was in a tropical paradise.