Saturday, August 20, 2011

Green Light for Gator

Alligators, so fierce in the water, but not so feisty in a deep fryer. Which is where it comes from as far as any folk from the city by the bay are concerned. Eating a plate full of it sitting at the oyster bar in Hayes Valley's Boxing Room, we are struck by its crispy exterior, flaky interior and can't help but exclaim "tastes like chicken!" Seriously battered, the alligator is chopped into bite-sized pieces, dredged in well-seasoned flour, deep fried and placed atop a lemony creole-rémoulade. Yum.

Named after the part in the Standard Shirts shirt-making factory it once was, Boxing Room--in true San Francisco style--pays homage to the history of the building before it became a restaurant. The newest venture from the same people who gave us Absinthe, Boxing Room does French-Creole cuisine, California style. Read: fresh, seasonal produce, local oysters, and California brews to boot. A welcome addition to a city that seriously lacks good soul food. Probably because there aren't many black people in the city, but that's a topic for another post.

Slightly new-aged the menu does not leave out any old favorites: hush puppies, gumbo, dirty rice, Po' boy and boiled peanuts bring authentic New Orleans flair to the Golden Gate. And hats off to executive chef Justin Simoneaux, for tinkering very little with dishes that aren't broken and require no fancy fixing. The alligator and everything else was delicious. 399 Grove St. at Gough, (415) 430-6590. $$

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Food Police

By Dan Dailey for Wandervogel Diary

On August 3, Rawsome Foods, a Los Angeles area private raw foods buying club, was raided by an armed SWAT-style combined-force team of agents from the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

The “crime” the authorities were acting upon was “conspiracy” related to the sale of unpasteurized raw milk products—specifically raw goats’ milk and cheese.

NaturalNews reported that the raid was conducted like a “terrorist operation,” where the agents immediately went after Rawesome’s cash and then began vandalizing and destroying the store’s entire inventory. Feds not only seized cash and raw milk supplies (most of which was dumped down sink and sewer drains) but also mangos and other fresh organic produce. The raid, said the report, was “an act of economic terrorism” against a legitimate, ethical business selling wholesome, healthful products to a group of happy and satisfied members.

On the same day, Healthy Family Farms, a sustainable, pasture-based farming operation in Santa Paula CA, was also raided by SWAT teams. Healthy Family Farms is Rawsome Foods’ supplier of the goat milk. “We raise all our livestock on pasture,” said a spokesperson for the farm. “We raise all of our animals from birth. We do not feed any of our animals soy, choosing instead to feed animals as they are designed to be fed. This results in healthy, sturdy animals needing no hormones, antibiotics, or other artificial ‘enhancements.’ We harvest our animals humanely by hand before they are delivered to the farmers’ markets. We never freeze our products.”