chipolata casserole, beef teriyaki, bread rolls, wafﬂes, hash browns, mini muffins, mega muffins, scrambled egg, lime jelly, cherry jelly, tomato soup. orange, grapefruit, pineapple juice — and coffee.
From airport bars in Houston to trendy Gothic bars in Portland and Sports bars in California where you watch six games on six screens simultaneously and miss your mouth, you mostly find standard fare. Burgers with chips, salad with ‘rancher, blue cheese, Thousand Island, French or sour cream and salsa’ -— or all five — and seafood sandwiches with lettuce, avocado, shrimp, tuna, tomato, smoked bacon, smoked cheese, smoked croutons — smoked everything. ‘The Bigger. The Better’ as one supermarket still sees fit to claim.
It is really exciting seeing your preconceptions materialise on your plate, but there is far too much to actually taste anything. For much of my time in the States, I felt like Beatrix Potter’s bad mouse in a house full ofchina delights — even beautiful fruits were bland. ‘How are you doing there?’ Bland? What would that indefatigably grinning waitperson in San Francisco’s Stinking Rose restaurant say to that? She’d just brought us a dozen garlic cloves roasted in oil to dunk our bread, a garlic grilled fish sandwich and a garlic pizza. Theme restaurant overkill, and we couldn’t look each other in the face for days.
For every sweeping generalisation there is an outstanding exception. In Astoria, Oregon, people watch spellbound as personally picked, piquant peppers are stir-fried with ginger and clams and popped onto fresh egg noodles, while spinach steams to perfection on the bar-top hob at the Columbian Cafe. You wait for hours for your curried broccoli-filled crépe, but wow, is it worth it!
San Francisco, with more restaurants per capita than any other US city, considers itself a world-class culinary mecca, and a cut above many of its compatriots. The ethnic diversity is astounding. Chinese,
Italian, Japanese and Latin quarters bursting with cafes and restaurants are some of the most established in the country, but you can also find Hungarian goulash, Russian pelmeni, Moroccan couscous, Vietnamese crab rolls, Indian thali, Indonesian satay, Viennese pastries . . . In fact, in drawing on this richness and developing new eclectic styles, San Francisco’s chefs could claim to have influenced restaurant menus the world over. Light, seafood, salad-based meals with oriental influence - salmon with julienne of carrot, spring onions, ginger and lemon grass; linguini with lamb kidneys and teriyaki sauce: Cal-Asian, or Pacific Rim cooking is everywhere.
Ff; L l©© DIFFERENT
Cir—rooms I ORDERS
I The Artful Dodger 339 Byres Road, 339 3969. Every day 7.30am-l 1pm. Specialises in Hoagies, which are ‘more finished versions of submarine sandwiches’ with sauces to their own secret recipes.
I Back Alley 8 Ruthven Lane, 334 7165. Mon—Thurs noon—2.30pm, 5pm—midnight; Fri noon—2.30pm, 5pm—l am; Sat noon—1am; Sun noon—midnight. With a menu that squeezes every last pun out of American jargon — try Nat King Coleslaw for size - Back Alley specialises in traditional burgers and steaks, with diversions into Mexican and Italian cuisine for variety. Prepare yourself also for what the restaurant describes as the ‘weirdest sweets’ this side of Mississippi.
I Chicago Meatpackers 50 Hope Street, 248 4466. Mon—Sat noon—11.30pm; Sun 12.30—10.30pm. Big meals in a big restaurant - the only one I can think of that features a model railway running overhead — and a wide selection of burgers, grills and salads to keep you occupied for many an hour.
I Ed Dubevnlc's 53 Miller Street.“ Every day noon—10pm. Classic American diner with — according to The List’s resident expert— the best milkshakes in town.
I Joe’s Garage 52 Bank Street, 339 4507. Interesting menu that goes beyond the deep.fried potato skins and into less explored areas of Americana.
I Shenanigan's 351 Sauchiehall Street, 332 8205. Mon-Sat
7.30am—1 1pm; Sun 8.30am—11pm.
‘ o . a - H
, u ' 4 I, ‘ I ., //x/x'~ W ﬂ/ﬂ/llly, M [3 ///"'”I I
TO FIND OUT WHAT IT ALL MEANS come to
54 T3 LAME“
7 Victoria Street Edinburgh Tel: 225 7306 Tue-Thu:5-10.30pm Fri & SatIIZ-Ilpm Sun212-9pm
WHITE V SMOKE, . JAZZ &_ CAJUN
FOOD SMOKED ON THE PREMISES.
COOKED ON MESQUITE wooo. \
BLACKENED ON A ‘1‘
WHITE HOT CAST a. ..
IRON SHILLET. “all, h. .
6195 ﬁﬁofgméggs AUTHENTIC A‘ NEW ORLEANS
CULTURE IN THE HEART
30 GRINDLAY STREET EDINBURGH
(Opp. Lyceum) ' TEL: 031 229 1511
11amo1am 7 days
Ham-3am (Festival) LIVE JAZZ wrm A SELECTION or orrrcnem BANDS
'The List6— 19 December 1991 89