San Francisco – California’s Locavores

California

Californians are proud of their produce. They take great delight in letting you know who their local providors are: their baker, brewer, butcher, creamery, market gardener… and none more than San Franciscans it seems. While not the only city to embrace buying seasonally from within its provincial boundaries, it was the first to give it a name, in fact, two names: in 2005 a group of San Franciscans challenged Bay Area folk to become ‘Locavores’ –  to source food from their ‘Foodshed’ – the area within a 100 mile radius of their home. The idea soon spread, becoming so popularised that ‘Locavore‘ was Oxford’s New American Dictionary word of 2007. San Francisco menus are a ‘who’s who’ of local artisans and growers, for the visitor, their urban and rural locales become familiar, neighbourly, and inclusive.

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Californian San Marzano Tomatoes – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Californian Land O Lakes Butter – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Californian Chimes Ginger – Photo: InkEatsMan

Acme Bread

Berkeley’s Acme have been baking organic artisan bread since the early 80s. We were lucky that our closest store, Alpha Market in Cole Valley, not only stocked Acme’s bread but had a great deli. Marin Cheese Company’s Jalapeño Jack, Acme’s Walnut Sour-dough, and Anchor Steam Beer.

The Acme Bread Company San Francisco

The Acme Bread Company – Photo:InkEatsMan

Beer

Anchor Brewing's Californian Lager – Photo: InkEatsMan

Anchor Brewery’s Californian Lager – Photo: InkEatsMan

Pepsi Cola & Liquor – Photo: InkEatsMan

T & M Liquor, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Anchor Brewing's San Francisco Giants Lager– Photo: InkEatsMan

Anchor Brewing’s San Francisco Giants Lager– Photo: InkEatsMan

Liqour & Grocery San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Liquor & Grocery, 17th & Eureka San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sierra Nevada's Torpedo India Pale Ale – Photo InkEatsMan

Sierra Nevada’s Californian Torpedo IPA – Photo InkEatsMan

Grocery & Liquor San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Grocery & Liquor, 17th & Noe San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mad River Brewery's Steelhead Extra Pale Ale – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mad River Brewery’s Californian Steelhead Extra Pale Ale – Photo: InkEatsMan

Anchor Steam Beer – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco’s Anchor Brewery Steam Beer – Photo: InkEatsMan

Frances

Jo found and booked Frances a couple of months before we left New Zealand; Frances is small and popular, so reservations are a necessity.  Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets with the local Magnolia Prescription Pale Ale from the tap.

Frances Cnr 17th Ave & Pond San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Frances, Cnr 17th Ave & Pond San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Frances Cnr 17th Ave & Pond San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Frances, Cnr 17th Ave & Pond San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee

At Heath Ceramic’s tile factory and shop (a re-invented industrial laundry), a glass wall separates Blue Bottle’s espresso bar and lounge from the factory. In quirky alignment with Edith Heath’s very cool signature ceramic styles (made in small batches since 1948 across the Bay at Sausalito), the shop’s gallery-like display mixes an eclectic range of objects – from vintage cook books to artisan food products.

Blue Bottle Coffee Hole-in-the-wall, Ferry Building San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee, Hole-in-the-wall, Ferry Building San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee Espresso and Seltzer, Ferry Building San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee Espresso and Seltzer, Ferry Building, San Francisco – Photo InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee Heath Ceramics San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee at Heath Ceramics, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle Coffee Heath Ceramics San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Blue Bottle at Coffee Heath Ceramics, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Blue Chair Preserves  Heath Ceramics San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Blue Chair Californian Preserves at Heath Ceramics, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Z Salted Caramel Corn Heath Ceramics San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Z Confections Californian Salted Caramel Corn at Heath Ceramics, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine

We had to visit Tartine. After graduating with a visual arts degree, our daughter then studied and graduated as a pâtissier; she has worked as a baker ever since. When she first become interested in bread, we got very used to the Tartine Bread book lying around.

So, while this was somewhat of a wee homage, we did anticipate the coffee and baking of Tartine as we walked from our stay in Mount Olympus, through the Castro, and toward the Mission – because it was Sunday morning. We joined the queue that slumped lazily around the corner of 18th and Guerrero, and like the others we chatted, read the paper, and contemplated the snatches of surrounding conversations – because it was Sunday morning.

Tartine’s terrazo foyer is a link to a former bakery; originally established in 1950 by Carl and Mabel Reichmann, Carl’s Pastry Shop closed in 1998.

Corner of 18th and Querrero – Photo: InkEatsMan

Corner of 18th and Querrero – Photo: InkEatsMan

Former Carl's Pastry Shop Tartine – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine: once-upon-a-time Carl’s Pastry Shop – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine Bakery San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine Bakery San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine Lemon Cream Tarts – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine, Lemon Cream Tarts – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine Orange Cinnamon Morning Bun – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine, Orange Cinnamon Morning Bun – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine Orange Oatmeal Currant Cookie with Four Barrel Coffee – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tartine, Orange Oatmeal Currant Cookie with Four Barrel Coffee – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese

Mission Cheese hand-pick a Californian sideshow of artisan produce to match their cheese selections, they enthusiastically present simple food with style, humour and little fuss. A place so laid-back you buss your own table; yet, if you can spare 20 minutes they will bake you a fresh batch of cookies. A place where they have individual cloth hand-towels in the bathroom, where a green salad is finished with seasonal fruit and a champagne vinegarette, and where a sandwich is named ‘Ched or Alive’.

Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Izze soda Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Californian Izze Soda at Mission Cheese, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Spindrift soda Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Californian Spindrift Soda at Mission Cheese, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Mission Cheese, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen

Describing their self-styled ‘Haight Cuisine’ as ‘Modern American’ Sparrow Bar and Kitchen clearly revel in the history and future alike, of their iconic locale. Casually efficient, serving largely organic local produce from a roomy, handsome place – where floor to ceiling windows up-front let fractured light splash about sweeping timber floors and white walls – while providing a casual distraction outward onto the street-scape of Upper Haight.

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen Bacon and Corn Griddle Cake – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen, Bacon and Corn Griddle Cake – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen – Photo: InkEatsMan

Sparrow Bar and Kitchen – Photo: InkEatsMan

Four Barrel Coffee

Four Barrel Coffee Valencia San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Four Barrel Coffee, Valencia San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Four Barrel Coffee, Almond Cake – Photo: InkEatsMan

Four Barrel Coffee, Almond Cake – Photo: InkEatsMan

Four Barrel Coffee Valencia San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Around Town

Whizz Burgers San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Whizz Burgers, South Van Ness San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San FTads Steaks San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsManrancisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Tads Steaks, Powell Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

The Little Chihuahua, Valencia Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Straw, Hayes Valley San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Orphan Andy’s Diner, The Castro San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Love N’ Haight, Haight Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Alpha Market, Cole Valley San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Loma Produce Number fourteen, 16th Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Linea Caffe, 18th and San Carlos San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Linea Caffe, 18th and San Carlos San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Linea Caffe, 18th and San Carlos San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Harvey’s , Castro Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Golden Gate Bakery, Chinatown San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Fresh, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Dandelion Chocolate Valencia San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Dandelion Chocolate Valencia Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Chinatown, San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Boba Guys, 19th Street San Francisco – Photo: InkEatsMan

Cowgirl Creamery San Francisco – Photo:InkEatsMan

Cowgirl Creamery San Francisco – Photo:InkEatsMan

Australian Indie Bands and Labels – an ANZAC Day Special

Today is ANZAC Day, while we remember those Australian and New Zealanders who’ve had the unfortunate experience of living through or fighting wars, those who have served to protect our and others independence, it’s worth taking time to appreciate our freedom of expression; so hats off to our neighbours – we might give each other a ‘bit of stick’ every now and then – but we can only do this ’cause we’re such good mates. Here are a few small Oz record labels and artists that are full of enterprise, talent and independence.

Milk-RecordsMilk Records

Milk Records is a Melbourne label, home to half-a-dozen artists, including the prolific Kingdoms and the talented Jen Cloher. Cloher has recorded solo and with a band – her 2013 In Blood Memory included Milk Records rising star Courtney Barnett. If you haven’t heard the laconic Barnett yet, you soon shall – or should. Really. With press hotter than a mid-summer arvo at St Kilda – from Pitchfork to the Guardian – and recent international deals in the US and England, you best come out from that shady rock.

Courtney Barnett

Jen Cloher

Bedroom-Suck-RecordsBedroom Suck Records

Bedroom Suck Records are based in Brisbane and have a small but impressive roster, including Brisbane’s Per Purpose and Melbourne’s Full Ugly, they are also the original home to Melbourne’s Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – now New York based and gathering fans by the ute-load – and this lot:

Blank Realm

Blank Realm are a Brisbane family affair; siblings Daniel (drums & vocals), Sarah (synths & vocals) and Luke Spencer (bass), plus Luke Walsh (guitar). They have a number of releases, but this year’s Grassed Inn will find its way into many ‘best off 2014′ lists. Mark my words. Blank Realm are on my ‘must see’ list, they are monstrously good live by all accounts and I have every reason to believe that.

Boomgates 

Boomgates are somewhat of a Oz super-group: Dick Diver’s Steph Hughes; Eddy Current Suppression Ring vocalist Brendan Suppression; Twerps bassist Rick Milovanovic; Deep Heat’s guitarist Gus (Angus) Lord; and Shaun Genius (Gionis), Trial Kennedy drummer. They have released a number of singles, including a split 7″ with The Bats (December Ice/Widow Maker), and the album Double Natural. I’m really stoked Boomgates are as good as I wanted them to be, since gathering up all of Eddy Current Suppression Rings albums, the thought of a silent Brendan was too much. It’s sweet to hear him ‘singing’ – and Steph Hughes is his perfect foil.

Bon-Voage-RecordsBon Voyage Records

Also from Brisbane are Bon Voyage Records, a small, young label, who appear to understand that despite the ability to communicate and sell digital media internationally online, emerging labels like this survive by selling to local fans, making a fist of gig merchandise, specialising in short-run and limited editions, and taking advantage of resurgent interests in vinyl and cassettes.

Martyr Privates

With bands like Martyr Privates on the books, it’s hard to imagine the good-word not spreading far and wide. Martyr Privates are Brisbane locals, this self-titled song is from their debut 7″ single.

Ela-Siles-Bedroom-Suck-RecordsLets talk about Ela

Ela Stiles is a name that we will hear much more of in the future too – still a young-thing, Ela has a formidable catalogue, and appears to be finding her own voice with confidence.

The first track is from her long-time Sydney band Songs, centred around the core duo of Ela (Bass, Vocals) and Max Doyle (Guitar, vocals), the first Songs band included  Jeff Burch and Steve Uren of Kiwi band This Night Creeps. Retreat, is from their 2009 self-titled debut – back when they exuberantly credited the influence of John Cale, The Velvet Underground, Television, and Galaxie 500 – although “no influence is as strong as The Clean, New Zealand’s greatest exponents of the Dunedin sound.” Their debut 2008 EP even had a song called Keeping it Clean. Good start then.

Songs

This second track from Songs, Boy/Girl is taken from 2013′s Malabar album. By now the Kiwi connection has been lost, replaced with a couple of fair-dinkum Aussies: Cameron Emerson-Elliot (Youth Group) on guitar and on drums Ben James (Talons).

Songs

Apparently as far back as 2001 Ela was considering a solo recording – enlisting Melbourne musicians, Nisa Venerosa (Fabulous Diamonds) and Karl Scullin (Kes Band) – but the trio clicked and Bushwalking was formed. This first track is from their 2012 debut First Time.

Bushwalking 

This next track is from 2013′s No Enter.

Bushwalking

Due for release in May 2014 is Ela’s debut solo, to be released by Bedroom Suck Records it is entirely her voice; listen, you will hear what I mean about her finding confidence. BSR says side one will will be the likes of Kumbh Mela, side two being drone versions – no effects, but layered versions of the vocal – the second track is a single edit version; Drone Transitions.

Goons of Doom

I’m going to leave you with a bunch of loveable, irreverent larrikins. These Goons are bleached, forever 18, and are turning out songs any-time they are not surfing – as easily as they open a stubbie. The Goons have an enormous catalogue spanning many years, some brilliant, some daft, some hilarious – have a listen to Clean for Jesus:  “…I think I’m passin’ out, I think I’m passin’ out, I just saw Jesus sweeping up the floor. I think that he should know, it’s garbage night tonight, can you get him to take the bins out, when he goes…”

Goons of Doom