I wrote about the makeover Great Highway was going to get a few months ago and I’m glad, in a way that it’s finally started. That being said, the beach is not the best place to go right now.
My wife [hear after known as wife because she doesn’t like public attention like I do] and I like to shop at the beach Safeway because it’s bigger and the lines are smaller. We took our once a week trip out there as opposed to our trips to the worst Safeway in San Francisco, but we were in for a rude awakening this day.
Construction workers were everywhere. The road was torn up all over the place and our usual trip of driving out Lincoln Way and making a right had to be re-routed due to the construction. On the upside, there are a lot of construction workers there so that means that the job will usually be quick. The down side is that it’s not a pleasant place to be right now which is a bit of a shame with the warm weather starting to grace our coastline and giving us sunnier days [side note: wife hates sunnier days. I think she was given up for adoption by a young Viking girl because the foggier and more unpleasant it is the happier she is.]
Right now if you need to cross the park down by the beach do it at 45th and Lincoln Way and drive through to 43rd and Fulton. It will be a much easier drive for you than having to go all the way to the end and then having to snake around the west end until you can find the exit at 47th and Fulton. Just give the workers some time to finish off the job they’ve started and I’m hoping it’ll become a nicer place.
All this being said, I am hoping that this makeover will bring back a little of the beach area we once had. You have to be a very stalwart type of person to love Ocean Beach, but there was no reason for it to be left as a Russian industrial park looking place. I would like to see some food trucks out here on weekends and it would be nice if there was a way to have some craftspeople to set up shop on the large walkway on the sunny days that we do get out here. The first thing that needs to happen is a good marketing game played by the city to make people want to come out here. It’s a great place to relax and watch the surfers if you’re not going to surf yourself.
Rarely 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.
Since the Super Bowl is tomorrow it’s all about the food you serve along side the game that makes it a winner or not. I could tell that today when my wife and I went to the store and everyone was there stocking up on chicken, brats, steak you name it. The problem is that with all this protein people will be sucking down tomorrow they need a little something to balance it out it with and that’s where I come in.
My Mom discovered the recipe for Chili Con Queso a little late. Back then microwaves were for heating up food not really cooking it so she would prep this one on the stove. Microwaves are easier now and just about everybody has one so here’s the recipe:
1 lb. (16 oz.) VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
Chop the velveeta® into chunks and toss everything into a large microwaveable bowl and nuke it on high for 2:30 stir and nuke it again for 2:30. Serve with tortilla chips, chunks of bread, pretty much whatever you have around the house. I have friends who say they can’t cook and the only way to prove that to me is if you can’t make this recipe.
Since this is the Super Bowl you’re not supposed to ask whether or not it’s low salt, vegetarian, organic, healthy. Most Super Bowl snack foods aren’t healthy for you and that’s why I think it only happens once a year. I’m on the verge of calling this vegan because there’s no way anything living [except the tomato and chilies] could have ever come from a living thing. If you don’t go over board and down a couple of cups of the dip your salt and saturated fat shouldn’t put you over the deep like a brat would.
Note to all: This is old school and there is no artisanal, gourmet or other brand marketing in it. Hipster’s need not make unless they’re hosting a retro party.
This is probably one of the simplest dishes to make to go along with all the other garbage you’ll be eating tomorrow and it’s not quite as deadly as some people would think. My friends who are vegetarians and not vegans love this, but they wouldn’t ever admit to eating Velveeta®. Just as a side note, the original recipe called for a can of chili without beans and that definitely had a meatier punch to it. If you go this route I’d start slowly with the chili until you get it at the right consistency for you. Leaner chili would be good since you don’t want grease from the chili having an orgy with the oil in the Velveeta®.
Welcome to the 4th of July were the U.S.A. celebrates it’s independence from the tyranny of the United Kingdom with a Chinese tradition — fireworks. It’s also the one day of the year where you can have an open beer in your hand before noon and no one looks at you funny. Many of you will be going down to Crissy Field or Fisherman’s Wharf with the thousands of others to be crowded together to watch the fun. I will not.
I did the Crissy Field thing once and while it was fun there were too many people drinking too much to get in a portapotty to give back the beer and afterwards the drive out was so slow that I have to say I have never seen so many people jumping out of their cars and running off to the side of the road to pee. Nope, I’m not going to drive through a river of hot urine just watch some fireworks. There’s plenty of other places to see them minus the urine and drunkards.
The first thing is you need to get high. No I’m not talking about smoking pot, but get as high up in the air as you can. Twin Peaks is a good place as you can see Crissy Field as well as Oakland and Union City’s shows. This place does get a little crowded though so get there early. Oddly enough on a warmish day like today when you go up there at night the heat of the day rises so be prepared to have shorts and tank top handy as San Francisco radiates back all the heat of the day.
Grandview Park is another good place in the Inner Sunset and you only have to walk partly up the steps to see it. This was our usual place, but tonight I think I’m going to try the Northwest corner of the Sunset Reservoir. I’ve heard lots of people recommend it and it’s closer to my house. The parking in all these other places is much easier to get in and out of and they’re also nice if you have kids that are scared by the loud banging.
Fisherman’s Wharf I did one year which is a good place if you want to get closer without being boxed in at Crissy Field. You can even hop on the Metro and enjoy the fireworks from the Embarcadero and if you’re quick you can hop back on to before the rest of the crowd does.
If you want an alternative fireworks festival go down to Ocean Beach. The outer Sunset and Richmond district seem to have a number of pyrophiliacs and while not as big as the Crissy field show there are still some pretty big rockets going up in the air out here. I do remember one year there was an older Chinese man with his granddaughter set up at the school yard of A. P. Gianinni Junior High that was sending up some definitely not safe and sane stuff that was pretty impressive. He was there for over an hour. Local schoolyards seem to be a hit or miss attraction for people. The police generally leave you alone there unless you’re tossing M-80’s around because there isn’t too much to burn on the asphalt play areas. The good old days of driving to Daly City to buy your own fireworks are pretty much gone. I’m not sure if Pacifica is still selling the old Red Devil fireworks of my youth, but at least I’ve given you a few ways to see something tonight while you’re eating your burgers and slugging down too many beers.
Someone once said you’re a real San Franciscan when you put on your winter coat to go out and BBQ in July. People who live here understand that because the weather throws a few monkey wrenches into being able to properly BBQ here depending on what part of the city you live in.
When I did my brief stint in the Mission we generally had good weather most of the year so BBQing wasn’t too difficult. When you live near the coast in the Sunset or Richmond districts things get a little more challenging. We get cold and wind here. I skipped the corned beef for St. Patrick’s day and decided to grill some steaks. It was a very windy day so I knew I had to start the grill early. We’ve got a propane grill so it needs some time to warm up. It took about a half hour before the grill got up to 400°. I figured I’d be going a little longer for the steaks and I opened the grill and dropped the steaks on it and the thermometer now said it was 300°. So much for the sear and grill lines.
In warmer weather like we get in our Indian summer later in the year I can usually get the grill up to over 500° in under 15 minutes. That’s when cooking outdoors is fun. Prior to the propane grill I remember that El Niño year late in the 90’s when I grilled on a hot New Year’s Eve when it hit 80°. My little Smokey Joe charcoal grill got so hot that I singed the hair on my arm. The steaks ended up cooking too hot and where blackened on the outside while raw on the inside.
These are things you need to understand when you grill in the outside lands. If it’s windy or cold your grill won’t get as hot and on a hot day it’s better to indirectly grill unless you have a propane grill that lets you control the heat. I’ve been grilling for years and have learned how to take the weather into effect even mildly enjoying grilling in a heavy fog where the water sizzles on the grill [which also cools the top area creating a circular effect which cools your grill.
So take these tips into account if you’re out in the windier areas. We unfortunately have a gorgeous view because we’re up on a hill, but that also puts us into a direct line of attack from the salt air off the beach so it can get very windy. I’ve even had my propane grill blown over with the wheels locked.
Welcome to the 4th of July weekend. A day where we all drink up and under the influence of alcohol light explosive devices, or in many of our cases the safe and sane fireworks of the Red Devil fireworks company.
The funny thing about this is that San Francisco ever since I can remember has outlawed the sale of even the safe and sane fireworks on top of the unsafe and insane fireworks such as the firecrackers and M80, roman candles, bottle rockets, skyrockets, you know…the fun stuff.
If you wanted to get the legal fireworks you had to go to Daly City at first and now Pacifica to get them. These were always cities with open spaces that were overgrown with weeds that dried out in the summer unlike San Francisco which had very few spaces with dry weeds that could catch fire.
As a kid I remember my parents always telling me how a bottle rocket that flew up several hundred feet in the air and fell down through the air could land on your roof and set your house on fire. Unfortunately for her no one’s house ever caught fire in this fashion and none of the sparks from the large blasts at Crissy Field ever blew down on anyone’s house to burn it down either.
This got me thinking last night. Why is it that areas with the largest amount burnable material are allowed to sell fireworks, but large cities surrounded by asphalt that doesn’t burn aren’t? Is it a deal that the fireworks companies cut with big cities to get paid off to not sell there and give a kickback to the suburbs?
I honestly don’t know, but at least have some fun this weekend and blow sh*t up.