Tom’s Garden

Growing by the Bay

Month: March 2007

Model Bakery, St. Helena

model bakery, st helenaThe Model Bakery, a fixture of St. Helena’s Main Street, continues to serve up pastries, cookies, and breads made fresh daily with organic flours and natural sourdough starters. Sandwiches, hearty soups, and wood-fired pizzas are also available. The unpretentious interior is called “vintage” by Zagat’s — appropriate for a bakery that’s been operating at the same location for 70 years. There are flowers on every table. You can also get a picnic lunch to go and take it across the street and up a block or so to a pleasant town park with a gazebo; that’s somethin my family has done a lot over the years.

Click image for larger view.

1357 MAIN ST., ST. HELENA; U(707) 963-8192. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. www.themodelbakery.com

Flying Fish Grill, Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a foggy coastal community of about 17,000 people located about 30 miles south of San Francisco at the intersection of highways 1 and 92. (Since I live in the East Bay I usually get there from highway 92 across the San Mateo Bridge, but be aware that 92 is often very slow.)

The main shopping area is on Main Street, which triangulates the two highways toward the south. Just west of where Main Street meets 92 is a rustic little fish place called the Flying Fish Grill.

(Click images for larger views.)

flying fish grill

The restaurant is an adjunct to the fish market that is located next door.

fish market

The Flying Fish has a good range of fish dishes. The fish tacos — though maybe not quite as great as those at El Tio in Puerto Morelos — are the best I know in the Bay Area. A Taco Grande, which is pretty big, costs less than $4. The crabby cheese bread and clam chowder are popular, and the fish sandwiches shouldn’t be overlooked.

The kitchen staff is an agreeable crew (you’ll meet them if you visit the rest room, which is reached by way of the kitchen), and the chef clearly knows what he’s doing.

kitchen staff

Service is a little unpolished, and orders sometimes end up at the wrong table. But it doesn’t matter. Our waiter on our last visit was a likeable fellow, and everyone has a good time, and a good lunch.

waiter

There is outside seating if the weather is nice.

LINKS

Troubles Continue for SF Chronicle

A few years ago when San Francisco’s afternoon paper, the Examiner, merged with the morning paper, the Chronicle, readers were promised a paper that would be greater than ever, with a larger staff and more investigative reporting and original news coverage than ever before. That never happened, and the new paper was a disappointment from the beginning. (I cancelled my subscription early in 2003 in objection to the paper’s editorial perspective.)

The new Chronicle never seemed to formulate and implement a viable and consistent vision. Now, in an “emergency meeting,” it is said to have warned of more in its seemingly never-ending series of layoffs.

Is there hope for daily print media in San Francisco?

Related:

Pelican Redux

santa cruz pelicanBy popular request, here’s another (clickable) view of our grave feathered friend.

Pelican at Santa Cruz Boardwalk

pelicanOkay, I’ll admit it, I’ve been a little lazy about posting here the past few days. I’ll have more to say about the Santa Cruz boardwalk later on. For now I’ll just let this image speak for itself (I think it might be saying “Hey, buddy, where’s the fish?”). Click the photo for a larger view.

Summer 2007 Art Exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area

I’ve moved this post to a static html page because it wasn’t formatting properly here.  The new location for the summary of 2007 art exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area is here.

Golden Gate Park Windmill

windmill in golden gate park, san franciscoI don’t think I have an image of the Murphy Windmill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park right now. The image at left is of another windmill in the park, the Dutch Windmill (thanks to Sarah in the comments below for pointing this out; click on the image for a larger view). Named after Samuel G. Murphy, who donated $20,000 to the city in 1905, the windmill once pumped 70,000 gallons of water an hour into an irrigation system that was instrumental in creating the park from its sand dune base. Over the years the windmill — which is extremely large; the photo below, for comparison (also clickable), is of a windmill in Bruges, Belgium — had fallen into considerable neglect. Fortunately, a civic-minded group known as the Campaign to Save the Golden Gate Park Windmills has rescued the decaying landmark.

You can read about the restoration in a March 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article by Kathleen Sullivan. Here is an excerpt:

Mark de Jong, a 43-year-old Dutch contractor whose speciality in Holland was historic restoration, lives only a couple blocks away from the windmill with his American wife and three children.
“The first time I saw the windmill, I thought: Wow, that needs work,” recalled de Jong, who emigrated in 1994.
De Jong, who comes from the land of 1,000 windmills, was impressed by the size of the building.
“In Holland, windmills are about half that size,” de Jong said….

golden gate park windmill

For another picture of the Bruges windmill, see my blog at rightreading.com.

Port View Park, Oakland

carol at 7th street pier, oaklandThe main feature of Port View Park in Oakland is what locals call the Seventh Street Pier. It’s a popular fishing pier that offers good views of the nearby Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. The Port of Oakland Container Terminal is also nearby — not a bucolic feature, but not without interest since the Port of Oakland is the main Bay Area shipping destination. (San Francisco’s piers are no longer major destinations, except for cruise ships. Because the city is on the tip of a peninsula it is inconvenient for ground shipping, whereas Oakland is well served by train and truck routes.)

In the late 19th century there was an enormous pier near this one called the Long Wharf (it opened in 1871). It reached nearly to Goat Island (Yerba Buena Island). Trains ran out the pier to connect up with sailing ships, a process that was fazed out around WWI.

In September, 2004, the park was in effect expanded with the addition of 38 adjacent acres called Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. I haven’t seen this new addition but according to Waterfront Action it features “spectacular views of the bay and shoreline, shorebirds, nearby maritime operations, San Francisco and Oakland skylines, and marine traffic at the estuary mouth;a dramatic observation tower; picnic and barbeque facilities; parking, restrooms, and water fountains; historical exhibits; an amphitheater; free viewing scopes; fishing pier and platforms; the only beach in Oakland; and nearly three miles of pedestrian and bike paths, some of which are part of the Bay Trail.”

map to middle harbor park

Hangtown Fry

Sometimes in San Francisco one encounters something called a “hangtown fry.” What is it? It’s a sort of omelet composed of oysters, eggs, and bacon. Some say the hangtown fry, which was served in 19th-century gold mining camps (the oysters were transported in barrels of sea water), is the first true California cuisine. It was an expensive meal, a signal that one had struck a rich vein.

The dish gets its name from Placerville, which was known colloquially as Hangtown because it was the site of a famous hanging of outlaws. Recently a Placerville group known as the “Hangtown Fryers” has tried to promote the dish as the official dish of the state of California.

Some rights reserved 2017 Tom’s Garden. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (attribution, noncommercial, no derivs: 3.0) License (US), although some of the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed. Text and images by Thomas Christensen unless otherwise noted. For print permissions or other inquiries please request via rightreading.com/contact.htm.