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NYT: Linea Caffe "The Kind of Food That Reflects the Tastes of the Mission"

Linea Caffe opened just six months ago in Duc Loi’s grim back corner space, but the New York Times has already discovered the joint, praising its style and the “mash-up” of menu items.  “Espresso, waffles, loud-and-proud salads: Only in San Francisco are these three at home on the same menu,” exclaims the Times, marveling at how only those zany San Francisco kids could possibly pair greens with beans.

According to the Lt. Waffle menu, the waffles are “Brussels-style” — a loose claim. The crispy potato waffle, made with mashed and powdered potatoes pressed into the griddle with hunks of pastrami from Mission Chinese, is served with sauerkraut and pickled mustard seeds. It’s not like anything you’ll find in Belgium. Ditto the buckwheat waffle, a pillowy confection topped with salmon roe, crème fraîche and dill pickles. Add a chopped salad, with romaine, salted radish, fried pieces of tortilla and queso fresco, and you have a meal.

This is the kind of food that reflects the tastes of the Mission District, the neighborhood that’s now the gastronomic epicenter of the city: In this part of town, anything goes on the plate. But being unconventional only counts for so much; the crowd at Linea is there because the coffee, waffles and salads are worth it.

So, is Linea about to blow up as the next ‘it’ Mission coffeeshop-cum-restaurant?  Possibly.  When the Times gave Weird Fish—right around the corner from Linea—a glowing review in 2008, there was a line outside for years.  But today?  You can pretty much grab a table whenever you please, despite the restaurant remaining one of the neighborhood’s better splurge meals.

As for Linea “[reflecting] the tastes of the Mission District?” We’ll have to take New York’s word for that.

[NY Times]

Woody Allen's Contempt for San Francisco?

Reviews for Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen's latest film, are finally coming in, and the critics can't help but notice Allen's supposed contempt for the city he shot he shot the film in.  Consider The New York Times' review, which outlines San Francisco's place as an humdrum refuge for New York's down-and-out elite:

Jasmine, née Jeanette, having reinvented herself, had risen to become a member of New York’s elite but, with everything gone, has come to San Francisco to move in with her sister, Ginger. For Jasmine this isn’t a comedown, it’s a catastrophe — everything is. When she first walks into Ginger’s apartment, she stops dead, as if paralyzed by its unspeakable ordinariness.

It’s hard to know if Mr. Allen shares Jasmine’s shock at Ginger’s place. (Mere mortals will note the ample square footage, natural light and fireplace.) With a series of sharp contrapuntal flashbacks that move forward in time — Hal and Jasmine in their empty new Park Avenue apartment and then later presiding over a dinner bathed in light so burnished golden calf must have been on the menu — Mr. Allen illustrates just how drastically she’s been humbled.

Gawker takes it a bit further:

Jasmine's presence in Ginger's modest apartment quickly grates, as Jasmine dispenses unwanted advice about Ginger's various working class boyfriends and crummy surroundings. Among other things, Blue Jasmine is a weird, inexplicable portrait of San Francisco. Allen shoots a series of throw-away touristy scenes and then a seedy grocery store, a clinical dentist's office, and nondescript restaurants. His disdain for the West Coast is obvious, but his uninspired indifference to San Francisco in Blue Jasmine is far less amusing than, say, the playful contempt of Los Angeles he put on in Annie Hall. In Blue Jasmine, San Francisco is painted loosely and tritely, and it suffers in comparison to Allen's careful portraits of New York.

Mind you, those crummy surroundings are the Mission District.  The so-called “modest apartment” sits behind the old Force of Habit record shop at 20th and Lexington—and would assuredly fetch three-plus thousand dollars a month if put on the rental market today.  However, it's widely known that Allen chose the significantly shittier corner of 14th and South Van Ness to act as the apartment's exterior location, suggesting he intentionally set to make the neighborhood look grodier than everyone knows it actually is.

It's staged as a clever, if not slightly dishonest way to introduce viewers to the city: dumping the fine-looking Jasmine out of a cab onto a four-lane urban freeway littered with crummy car lots, opposed to tree-shaded, single-lane street the apartment sits on in reality. (As the Times describes the scene, “[As] she stands with her monogrammed luggage on a nondescript San Francisco sidewalk, she looks frightened, alone — like someone who could benefit from some kindness. Instead, she waves off a stranger and, posing a question that’s as existential as it is practical, demands, “Where am I, exactly?”).  Surely this is set to depict Jasmine's unmistakeable fall from grace as definitively as possible, but the reviews suggest the joke is on San Francisco.

Blue Jasmine opens today in New York and Los Angeles.  San Franciscans will have to wait for a limited release at the Clay Theatre on August 2nd.

Jello Biafra to do DJ Pop-Up at Oldie's Night

If you're like me, you scroll right past the low-rent and low-effort promotions hawked on Mission Mission, but this week's blast for Primo's Oldie's Night is worthy of everyone's attention: former Dead Kennedy's frontman and Green Party presidential candidate Jello Biafra will follow in John Avalos footsteps and guest DJ this week's edition of Oldie's Night.  And since Jello grew up when Oldie's Night material dominated the radio charts, we trust it'll be a helluva show.

Anyway, its admission is priced at Not Nearly Enough and goes down at 9pm this Friday at Knockout.

RSVP and invite your oh whatever…

[via Mission Mission]

It's Tops Coffee Shop: Before It Wasn't Cool

Eater recently interviewed the owners of the delightful rust bucket of a diner It's Tops Coffee Shop, covering its million-year-old history, pink uniforms, stuffed waffles, and, of course, coffee.  In fact, their coffee is of such passable quality that it has endeared them to the notoriously snobbish anti-snob Quentin Tarantino:

Have you had any notable people dine here?

[Owner Sheila Chapman]: Let's see, we've had Sharon Stone, Metallica…

[Bruce Chapman]: Who was the big producer guy that did the diner thing, Pulp Fiction? Tarantino? He loves our coffee.

SC: Because he said it's not too strong. It's diner coffee.

(But, seriously, has he tried Four Barrel?)

Anyway, back in simpler days of the Nixon presidency, It's Tops used to serve up 50 different kind of coffee beans “before Safeway and all these stores were doing it.”

We had these shelves filled with different kinds, and each morning, we had a sign listing which country the beans would come from. And my dad would make me blind-taste them, and would say, “Which country is this from?” But we stopped doing that once all the stores got tons of beans.

I'll let you write your own hipster jokes.

[SF Eater | Photo by Beth Lennon]

Pablo Sandoval's Sports Car Gets Benched on Valencia

Signaling Valencia Street has become our generation's Sunset Boulevard, an Uptown Almanac reader sent us pics of Pablo Sandoval broken down outside of Limon, forced to open up the hood of his ridiculous sports car like a pathetic commoner and beg the nearest Hummer Jeep driver to give his battery a jump.

Really, All we need is for Randi Zuckerberg to snort some black tar heroin and violently overdose in her brother's arms outside of Elbo Room and the transformation will be complete.


[Thanks Jeff!]

Contest: Nick Offerman Live at the Roxie (And He Has a New Movie Too)

Nick Offerman is perhaps better known as Ron Swanson, or maybe “that guy who plays Ron Swanson on Parks & Rec.”  It's undeniable that he's become this generation's Michael Richards.  But despite the wake of 9 seasons of Cosmo Kramer leaving Richard with a grip of mediocre failures that ultimately cumulated with a racist breakdown, we're optimistic that Offerman won't see the same fate.

Take the above trailer for Somebody Up There Likes Me.  Sure, it's suffering from a serious case of indieitis, but it's funny.  At the very least, it shows promise. And that gives us hope that there's life after Ron Swanson for one of our favorite cult actors.

Fortunately for us, The Roxie will be showing the movie starting Friday, and Nick Offerman will be at the theater all day Saturday doing an audience Q+A. That's right, you can be in the same dark room as Nick Offerman for multiple hours Saturday night.  Swoon.

As a bonus, the folks over at The Roxie want to give away a pair of tickets to see Nick and the movie.  To win them, give us your best definition of “indieitis” (or give us the best reason why that's the worst made up word in the history of made up words) in the comments by 5pm Friday.  Be sure to use your real email so we have a way to get a hold of you.


Third Eye Blind on the Status of Valencia Street

Evidence as to why I should be banned from photographing concerts.

Because I've long aspired to be a 28-year-old man at a Third Eye Blind concert, I attended their semi-secret “urban disruptor mechanism“-transported gig last night at Bottom of the Hill.  The show itself was definitely a music concert, and the sea of people who hit puberty around 1997 were thrilled for what seemed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to hometown big name perform in a local small venue.  But the real hit happened when lead singer Stephan Jenkins—wearing the same flag-patched leather jacket he wore 16 years ago—shared his thoughts on Valencia Street between songs:

“We're right at that moment before Valencia turns to complete shit.”

Damn, pretty rough call from the guys that filmed the video for their breakout hit in front of Boogaloo's.

John Waters on the Roxie: "You Can Masturbate in the Theater"

Among many other fine compliments, he even endorses fucking fellow ticket-buyer in the place.

(Oh, and this video is plugging the Roxie's current fundraiser (which UA will be helping raise money for at our Holiday Comedy Show on 12/18), which aims to raise $60k to help expand the theater's programming and be even more awesome.)

And Here's Lil Wayne Singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Yesterday's Giants Game

Somehow we missed this killer performance by Weezy during yesterday's game (or worse, FOX was too busy airing another 30 second Men's Warehouse spot curiously featuring men with neck tattoos donning business suits, thus depriving millions of Americans the delight of witnessing this live), but here it is.

[via Isaac Fitzgerald]

The Mission Has the Best Food in All of NYC

At least, that's the word from food critic and amateur Kent Brockman impersonator Anthony Bourdain, who apparently visited Mission Chinese's new East Village outpost:

And the foodie backlash is already building: