When I first heard someone talk about $4 toast in San Francisco I knew we weren’t talking about Wonder Bread. No one would have the cojones that big to try and sell Wonder Bread for $4, but of course San Francisco has plenty of bloggers with the cojones to make you think that. These rich techies are paying $4-$6 for a slice of toast!!!! Well, yes bread is involved and yes it’s toasted, but that’s pretty much where in ends for the most part.
Where it started is up for discussion, but people usually point to Trouble Coffee out in my hood or The Mill as the originators. They start with inch thick slices of wheat bread and slather it with butter and depending can top it with brown sugar and cinnamon, peanut butter and honey or whatever the hell they’re going to think up next. For a big eater it’s a light breakfast or a decent snack, but for the average person it’s pretty much a meal. It’s got a lot more calories and nutrition than a slice of Wonder Bread for sure.
The owner of Trouble Coffee said it was a comfort food for her because she grew up poor. For me, I was a kid in a middle class household that wasn’t hurting for money too bad and guess what my Grandmother used to make for me as a treat? Toast with lots of butter and brown sugar. Grandma would toss it under the broiler for a few seconds to get that serious caramelized effect that chefs like to go for now. It wasn’t a poor man’s pastry, it was actually more expensive than a donut back then probably because of the huge amounts of butter and stuff my Grandmother would toss on top of it. While most of the ingredients came out of boxes or bags this was home made for my Grandmother. I still like it today, I just never thought of slicing the bread an inch thick first.
My Grandmother would toss lots of stuff on bread that she’d toast. She used to broil cheese on bread and that was her version of a grilled cheese sandwich. I took a cue from her and toast bread then rub garlic on it and toss some chopped up tomatoes or other vegetables and call it lazy man’s bruschetta. Unfortunately for most people in San Francisco today lazy tends to be the norm. Finding a friend who is a foodie that can cook is kind of rare nowadays. Most of what people are spending their money on food wise has been prepared by someone else. Yes I cook so of course I’m going to not understand why other people don’t, but we’re talking about toast here. You can go to a bakery like Boudin and buy a loaf and ask them to cut it thick for you. You take it home, toast it, toss a bunch of stuff on top [if you’re slick you’ll put it under the broiler…] and you’re done.
The only reason there is $4 thick toast is that people don’t bother to do it for themselves. For the people who started selling it I think it’s a good idea. If you’ve never made it or bought it, it is something special. I had a poor period and a friend of mine gave me a 10lb bag of flour and a jar of yeast. That reminded me I knew how to make bread and I never felt hungry and I was able to do some pretty incredible things with it because when you’re hungry your mind sees everything as something you can turn into food [at least if you’re a guy like me.]
Incidentally, the $4 toast, after doing a little search didn’t start in San Francisco. It started in Japan as a breakfast item too. It has scrambled egg on top and is sprinkled with chives and is sold as tamago toast for the equivalent cost of…$4
Looks pretty good and I’ll have to give that a try one of these days now.
I apparently found out today quite by accident that Supervisor Katy Tang is up for re-election for Supervisor of District 4 just after she was appointed to the position. Those who wish to run against her have until June 11th to come up with the $500 to enter the race.
There is one person who entered to run against her, but he’s 64 and has only been here for three years. That kind of thing doesn’t work out for the Sunset District. If you’re going to run to be Supervisor of this district you’ve got to have been born and raised here. This got me thinking because several of the locals out here have asked me over the years, why don’t YOU run for Supervisor.
I thought about that today and it actually isn’t that bad an idea since I was born and raised in the Sunset District 50 years ago and except for a short six year stint living in the Mission District [pre-Hipster] I’ve been in the Sunset District the whole time. I’m a home owner. I frequent many of the local businesses and I know the area from 19th Avenue down to the beach probably better than anyone else who has lived here. I don’t really have the $500 to spare at the moment either, but unlike Matt Gonzalez, I’ve got a suit [three to be exact.]
I have been here long enough to see the changes in the area which have been for good and bad. When my parents purchased the house in 1954 from the McKuen Contractors this was a part of the Parkside District. Pretty much anything in the 94116 area code was the Parkside with Ortega being the Northern Boundary. While the boundries have changed and the Inner Sunset is now lumped in with the Parkside for areas under the charge of Norman Yee, what the City now calls the Sunset has been my home for more years that most people.
It would be tough for me because there is a very strong Asian population and I don’t really speak enough Mandarin or Cantonese without getting my face slapped so I may not go over so well with them. I do realize though that the Sunset has been getting a large influx of Russian and Irish immigrants that are finding their own niches to hang out at. Actually I remember when the Sunset District had a mostly Irish population in the first wave during the 50’s and 60’s. I went to school with most of their kids because my family having strong Italian roots [don’t let the Germanic last name fool you] moved from the Marina along with other Italians from North Beach to San Francisco’s suburbs or the Sunset District.
I’ve seen lots of changes over the years with the outer lands near the beach starting to pick up and creating the new Westside Hipsters™ as I coined the term which are techie based people who like hanging out at cafes and coffee shops without the hipster attitude. I like that. The Sunset District needs to be brought into the 21st century like the rest of the city not just in small places here and there, but more like what the Inner Sunset has developed into over the years while maintaining households instead of apartments.
So what would I do if I was elected Supervisor of District 4? Here’s what I’d do:
- Work on the roads. Yes, there has been work on the roads, but it really is more of a small scale of look what we’re doing. It doesn’t affect the entire Sunset District only small parts. The street that I live on had a section in front of my house torn up to work on a sewer pipe over 30 years years ago. You can still see scar on the street today because it hasn’t been repaved in that long. While the Sunset District doesn’t get real seasons other than foggy and not-foggy our roads still need work. We don’t have lots of traffic compared to other parts of the city and because we’re built in an easy to navigate rectangular way it’s easy to drive around the block if a street is being worked on. With the new machines that basically eat the old road in the front and lay down the new road in the back having your street worked on should be able to be held to a minimum.
- Crack down on double parking. In the commercial areas of the Sunset we do have a parking problem sometimes which leads people to double park and leave their cars so that if you are parked you have to sit there honking your horn to get the owner to come out and move [which usually doesn’t happen because there are several cars double parked and then never know who their honking at.] If you double park and leave your car, automatic ticket. If you are in your car with the engine off, automatic ticket. If you’ve got the car running you’ll be moved along to circle the block until the person you’re waiting for is ready to get back in the car like we used to.
- Stop Muni Switchbacks. While I haven’t needed to take Muni lately I have to say that every time I have, I have not been able to get to where I’m going. Even when it’s the middle of the day during the week they have switchbacks and even though we’re one of the most populace districts in the city the L-Taraval, N-Judah and 29-Sunset should complete their routes.
- Ditch the 66-Quintara. This bus line used to have a purpose, but it doesn’t really anymore. There are plenty of ways to get downtown faster now and the 66 hasn’t gone that far in years. It runs from 30th and Vicente to 8th and Judah and that only really services people who want to shop in the Inner Sunset who could use the 71-Noriega and N-Judah to get there directly or the L-Taraval, 48-Quintara and 29-Sunset with a single transfer. If you’re attending UCSF you probably live close by. I would have the 48-Quintara switched to full time instead of only rush hour to serve a neglected part of the Sunset District.
- A guaranteed physical and electronic presence. Because I live and do business in the Sunset District you’ll see me around here frequently outside of Supervisor related roles. I will also have a very nice electronic presence to keep everyone in the Sunset District updated as to what is going on here and what I am doing in the Sunset District. I have a large network of people I interact with out here and access to all the tools necessary to building a great community. I can easily guarantee my website will look more attractive than the supervisor pages on sfgov.org.
- Acknowledge that more than 50% of the voting population isn’t Asian. Everyone seems to focus on the fact that nearly 50% of the voting population of the Sunset District is Asian, but they don’t realize that means that more than 50% of the population isn’t Asian as well. I honestly don’t like focusing on people in this way because it makes them out to be a singular entity like the Borg on Star Trek or like the 800 pound gorilla in the room metaphor. When I was growing up in the Sunset and attending Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary, Lawton Elementary and A.P. Giannini Junior High School [that shows you how long I’ve been here] there was more ethnic diversity then than now [note of full disclosure: While I have spent the majority of my life in the Sunset District, I did attend George Washington High School in the Richmond District through an out of district permit because they offered Marine Biology and Japanese that were not offered locally at Abraham Lincoln]. Sure there was a much larger population under the category White back then, but it also included people of Hispanic, Middle-Eastern and East Indian descent which have now been separated out. We also had lots more European immigrants back then who were not as Americanized as they are today so when you opened a can of Spaghetti-O’s you were having ethnic food. I am all in favor of bringing your cultural heritage to the table, but I think we all have to remember that we are American and San Franciscan first.
- Keep my word and think about what I do. This has been a problem for a long time in the Sunset District. Fiona Ma who was once the Supervisor of District 4 rallied everyone around the idea that she was going to get rid of the overhead power lines in the Sunset. My street was supposed to have them removed by 2010. They’re still here along with almost everywhere else in the Sunset. Carmen Chu replanted part of the median on Sunset Boulevard with grass…golf course putting green grass that has been ignored now and is dying or beginning to look like thick weeds. In the Sunset District why not rip that up and plant a more drought tolerant row of succulents that hardly ever need watering or upkeep? It would save thousands of dollars. Ed Jew, well I don’t think I need to say more there. I want to research or have someone under me research properly anything I want to have done for the Sunset District so that I don’t promise something and am not able to come through or come through badly. I am not a glad handler who likes to show off and go back and sit at my desk. I have to shop and walk around the Sunset District every day. I don’t want to have to face someone that I’ve failed on a promise to.
Thank you and I will now take your questions…