The San Francisco Diet

Jonathan Kauffman: ‘It’s a Wonder I Don’t Have Gout.’

SF Weekly critic Jonathan Kauffman was kind enough to submit to us a San Francisco Diet, but because he couldn’t tip off any restaurants whose reviews had not yet been published, we had to wait a couple of weeks to publish. Also, out of respect for his anonymity — being one of the last truly anonymous food critics left standing — we’re going to copy the meme started by Beer & Nosh’s Jesse Friedman of using pictures of Harry from Harry & the Hendersons as a stand-in for Kauffman. Below, the details of a week in the life of an alt-weekly critic who, by his own admission, eats seven fruits and vegetables a day and “snack[s] the way some people doodle.” Take it away, Jonathan.

My poor belly. Not only does it have to metabolize 4,000 calorie, two-review days, it then must process obsessive dosing with local, organic produce, followed by absent-minded snacking. It’s a wonder I don’t have gout, or high cholesterol, or fat oozing out of my tear ducts each time I blink.

Monday, February 14
Breakfast: coffee, toast, and butter and jam. Every morning, I eat the same thing. After that, it’s on to habanero salsas, fried pig ear, you name it. Just let me start the day out bland. Today’s bread was a loaf of cranberry-walnut I picked up from The Model Bakery in Napa, and the coffee came from Stumptown ’ I always return from weekend visits to the family in Seattle with a bag or two. (Don’t mock.)

After breakfast, an hour of running/ellipsizing at the gym, followed by an apple and some crackers to counter the sugar crash. I took a friend to Citizen Cake for our first official review visit, where we ate pizza, a fried-chicken sandwich, and too many desserts. Luckily, it was Valentine’s Day, and so the waiter assumed we were being romantic rather than gluttonous.

After an afternoon of writing, I made dinner for my boyfriend. VD, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the three nights of the year when reviewing restaurants is impossible. Besides, it’s a great excuse to stay home. Being the cook in the house — my boyfriend is the cleaner — I made a fennel salad and a porcini-and-cremini tart from a Deborah Madison recipe (she’s one of my favorite cookbook authors), which we ate with a celebratory bottle of Champagne.

Tuesday, February 15
Breakfast: The same, followed by a ride to work. At lunch, I rode up to Burmese Kitchen to eat ginger salad and tamarind fish, which I was considering for a blurb in our SFoodie’s 92 countdown. Also: a packet of Goody Goodie cookies left over from SFoodie’s bake sale — Remi graciously told us she didn’t want us to return the leftovers.

Dinner was a last-minute review run to Kasumi for a second visit; even though the article was due the next morning, I felt like I needed a little more information before I could write it. We ate a few yakitori, a dispiriting bowl of ramen, and some snacks, and I came home feeling like I hadn’t gotten enough fiber in there, so I ate a handful of carrots. Next: writing until 11.

Wednesday, February 16
Toast and jam, as well as coffee (switched to Four Barrel). Today was review-writing day, which made me cranky, irritable, and snack-y. I think I snack the way some people doodle. It wasn’t all crackers and random pickles. There was a banana, some carrots — I have a seven-servings-of-fruits-and-vegetables-a-day policy — and another packet of those damn Goody Goodie cookies.

Lunch meant my favorite writing-day meal: sticky rice with Chinese sausage (from Chinatown’s Mow Lee) and a produce bin worth of broccoli. The moment the article was turned in, I rushed to the gym, rushed back to finish edits, then rushed out to dinner, stopping on the way for a half-caf Americano at Four Barrel.

A friend and I had some tapas at Bocadillos — great house-made chorizo, by the way — then retired to Barrique for a glass of wine. Ordered an ’08 Anderson Valley pinot, then remembered too late about the smoke taint that was supposed to affect this vintage. Yup, there it was. BBQ in a glass. I really like Barrique, though, and will check it out again.

Thursday, February 17

Toast and Azalina’s coconut jam (for a blog post) for breakfast, followed by another run to the gym. I grabbed an apple on the way to work, and had one last packet of cookies before finally setting the box out on our share table. I made the mistake of sending out an email announcing free cookies, and a swarm of locusts emptied the box in 60 seconds. They scare me sometimes, my coworkers.

Lunch: Sushirrito! I stopped by the Ferry Plaza farmers market on the way back to pick up some sauerkraut from Farmhouse Culture, and capped the visit off with one of its kraut-juice shots, which are purported to have miraculous powers. Don’t know about the powers, but they’re definitely an improvement on wheatgrass. The sushirritos were sampled, cut up, and distributed to coworkers. More writing, then a rush home to change for dinner.

Dinner was a rarity — a second trip to Citizen Cake in a week. I usually space things out a little farther, but I had a review fall through and had to speed up my visits to this one. We ate a shit-ton of food, which you can read about in this week’s review, and a trio of desserts. (For the record, I ended up going back to CC two more times for sweets.)

Friday, February 18
Toast and coffee. Friday’s normally my day to prowl around the city, looking for blog post topics, but instead I spent the day writing, grabbing a slice of pizza from Escape from New York for lunch. I ended the day a little early to meet up with friends for a drink. Then we all had dinner at Lers Ros, followed by beer and some birthday cake at a party.

Earlier SF Diets: How the Tablehopper (a.k.a. Marcia Gagliardi) Works Through Turkey Leftovers, and Everything Else She Ate Last Week
Tasting Table Editor Jessica Battilana Likes Her Wines Gutsy, and Her Cookies at Night
S.F. Drag Star Juanita MORE! Loves Herself Some Four Barrel, and Slanted Door
How Sommelier and Budding Winemaker Rajat Parr Eats and Drinks His Way Through Harvest
Publicist Andrew Freeman Eats Fries With His Steak Tartare, and Popcorn With His Peanut Butter
Bar Star Brian MacGregor Likes a Good Slider, and Occasionally a Cocktail With Lunch
The Cooking Channel’s Aida Mollenkamp Is a Girl Who Can Really Eat
Timothy Hollingsworth Ate Some *Really* Spicy Sh*t in Sydney
Chris Kronner Loves Sebo Almost as Much as Ryan Farr’s Burgers
Where Didn’t Michael Bauer Eat This Week?

Jonathan Kauffman: ‘It’s a Wonder I Don’t Have Gout.’