Art's Cafe

Art's Cafe looks like your run of the mill diner counter. A trademark tall table runs down the narrow restaurant space. Behind it, the expected sizzling skillet, dented shake cups, and coffee pitchers. Underneath the tabletop's piece of glass lay faded pictures of smiling children and postcards from all over the world. Regular diner, right?

Except not really.

Art's Café  brings a Korean twist to the old American favorite. Next to the shiny toasters is a steaming rice cooker, and the ketchup squeeze bottles are paired with one for Korean red chili paste.

And it all starts on the back of the laminated menu. The front side of the single sheet features all the usual stuff: omelets, toast, eggs, blah blah blah. But on the back side there's a small section devoted to Korean favorites—bulgolgi, BBQ chicken, and different sorts of bi bim bap.  I asked the lady behind the counter which dish I should try, and she suggested the BBQ chicken ($7.30) only if I were really hungry and the bi bim bap ($7.10) if I were moderately so. So I chose the latter.

What a great decision! I chose the beef bi bim bap (opposed to the chicken or tofu), which had extremely tender, well-marinated, thin strips—I think possibly shredded pieces of bubolgi. The rice also earned tons of extra points because it was so fluffy. Unsurprising, since it came from the Mercedes of all rice cookers: the Zojirushi. Accompanying vegetables—zucchini, water crest, and bean sprouts—were unremarkable. You can also control the amount of red pepper sauce yourself, since they slide over a squeeze bottle for yourself. It was well-mixed, not overly spicy and carried tons of flavor.

The couple that runs the place is adorable. The old guy with fluffy white hair commands the skillet, while the older lady runs around, taking orders and chatting with customers (She went up to this one guy, an apparent regular, and said, "So have your friends gotten married yet?"). There are two other employees who the lady watches closely ("What are you looking at?" "No short cuts! Step! By step! By step!"). 

My only wish was that they had spicy pork. Next time: BBQ chicken (comes with kim chee!).

Art's Cafe
747 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 665-7440

Reporting On-site Without Being On-Site - Or: Twitter, Journalism & the Hudson River

So the Hudson River crash occurred just over an hour ago. Already, three immediate lessons on journalism today:

1. News organizations need journalists to spend time on Twitter. The media needs this web presence not only to dispense reliable information. Twitter has exceptional real-time reporting value. Our very first image of the crash was from Twitterer, @jkrums!

2. Twitter journalists should create hashtags. News organizations have the hard-earned advantage of having thousands of followers. They have the most influence and can most easily create the instruments to follow a developing story. The added benefit? If you create your own hashtag, you create a devoted readership. @ColonelTribune started the hashtag #hudsonriver. Not many people were using this tag at the time, but since then, it developed a following and really drove the conversation. The Tribune became one of the foremost Twitter sources on the crash—even if their reporters weren't on-site!

I noticed after the crash that Twitterers were using a bunch of hashtags--how was I going to follow them all? If major news outlets jump in and help make consensus, it makes the story easier to follow.

3. Twitter is THE WAVE!
I found out about the crash way before wire stories could appear on AP/Reuters feeds. News travels so, so fast. Journalists have to be there first. Journalists have to make it their own.

Final musings: I have always considered traditional newspaper reporting imperfect in breaking news situations. Too many foggy details, the deadline is too fast, it's easy to get facts wrong--and then the copy zips off to print. Reporters up until now have produced first-class coverage in spite of these conditions, not because of. Twitter appears to offer some improvements on this process: immediate and exclusive information with the self-awareness that, at early stages, the facts can indeed change.

First thoughts, there ya go.

Latte Macchiato: My New Peets Favorite!

On weekends, especially, when I am trying to wean myself from caffeine, the latte macchiato is my new favorite: a big plume of steamed milk and a smooth half shot of espresso. It's especially good with Peet's careful attention to quality froth, and the half shot of espresso ensures you get only the best part of the shot. Yummmyy. Of course when the cruel work week hits, it's strong black coffee all the way!

Sandy's Café and Deli: PHO!

This little Vietnamese café has become one of my favorite haunts for my
workday lunch. When I'm having a sour day, what's better than a nice big
bowl of fragrant pho? The soup here is great! The only cons of the pho here
is that the plate of vegetables is small (I like tons of bean sprouts in my
pho!), and I think the noodles sit in the bowl for a long time because
they're often really stuck together.
I noticed they have sandwiches for about four dollars. I have to try that
some time. It's just that every time I go there, I'm drawn to pho!
Sandy's Café and Deli
1382 9th Ave
(between Irving St & Judah St)
San Francisco, CA 94122

Original Pancake House: Flapjacks and Dutch Babies

We carried on the family tradition and headed down to the Original Pancake
House in Honolulu. We ordered our favorite: Forty-niner flapjacks--thin,
gooey pancakes that cover the whole face of your plate. Mmmm.
We vary a bit in methodology. My dad and brother like to cut through the
stack of three. My brother douses in maple syrup; my dad lays on the coconut
syrup. For myself, I like to push each of the stretchy pancakes into a roll
and eat one at a time. I like biting through the many layers.
Since my godbrother is visiting from China, this called for a special
occasion: ordering a dutch baby. This fluffy pancake that takes 20-30
minutes to bake, so the trick is to order it as soon as you sit down. I like
mine with drizzled lemon and lots of powdered sugar.
There are tons of Original Pancake Houses everywhere (I think the Walker
Bros one in Wilmette, IL, claims to be the original?), but we went to the
one in Honolulu on Kapiolani Street. There's often a significant wait for a
table. My dad and brother have even started a log with what time they went
and how long it takes, in search of the optimal time to go--still no
conclusions. :-)
The Original Pancake House
1221 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
When I could bum a ride, I went to this one during college:
Walker Bros
153 Greenbay Road
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

Birthday Cake!

One of my new and excellent friends Robin baked me a cake the night before
my birthday! Although it was made from a Trader Joes's box, the gingerbread
cake was scrumptious--soft, moist and not too sweet. Normally I'm not a huge
frosting fan, but the frosting from the can went together with the spicy
gingerbread just right. Robin even got a piece of paper and curled it into a
funnel, so he could spell my name in sprinkles. What a great birthday
present. Thanks, Robin!

Birthday Breakfast

My cousin gave me a lovely breakfast for my birthday. He made pancakes,
which he stirred together from a Whole Foods mix. Mmmm. My aunt also made me
a nice latte. A great start to a great weekend. I think we've got a budding
chef on our hands.

Hello, Posterous!

I haven't forgotten about you. In fact, I have tons of great content to upload very soon. I've just been going through some transitions which has taken quite a bit of time.

So stay tuned for a swift return!