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    tommy's Avatar
    Supporting member

    Eating San Francisco

    Diner Disrupted
    by Daniel Duane;

    SAN FRANCISCO — At a fancy Silicon Valley restaurant where the micro greens came from a farm called Love Apple, I got a definitive taste of California in the age of the plutocrats. This state — and this native of it — have long indulged a borderline-comic impulse toward self-expression through lifestyle and food, as if success might be a matter of nailing the perfect combination of surf trunks, grilled lamb hearts and sunset views.

    For baby boomers who moved to the Bay Area in search of the unfussy good life, in the late 20th century, it was all about squinting just right to make our dry coastal hills look like Provence — per the instructions of the Francophile chefs Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters of the legendary Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse.

    By the early 2000s, that Eurocentric baby-boomer cuisine enjoyed a prosperous middle age as “market-driven Cal/French/Italian” with an implicit lifestyle fantasy involving an Italianate Sonoma home with goats, a cheese-making barn, vineyards and olive trees, and a code of organic-grass-fed ethics that mapped a reliable boundary between food fit for bourgeois progressives and unclean commodity meats.

    Today, Northern California has been taken over by a tech-boom generation with vastly more money and a taste for the existential pleasures of problem solving. The first hints of change appeared in 2005, when local restaurateurs sensed that it was time for a new culinary style with a new lifestyle fantasy. That’s when a leading San Francisco chef named Daniel Patterson published an essay that blamed the “tyranny of Chez Panisse” for stifling Bay Area culinary innovation. Next came the 2009 Fig-Gate scandal in which the chef David Chang, at a panel discussion in New York, said, “Every restaurant in San Francisco is serving figs on a plate with nothing on it.” Northern California erupted with an indignation that Mr. Chang called, in a subsequent interview, “just retardedly stupid.” Mr. Chang added that, as he put it, “People need to smoke more marijuana in San Francisco.”

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    podfish's Avatar
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    Re: Eating San Francisco

    Quote tommy wrote: View Post
    ...Today, Northern California has been taken over by a tech-boom generation with vastly more money ...
    See article on the New York Times.
    very entertaining. Not what I expected. It's interesting how perspectives change when someone has to pay for things themselves. (Damn, that phrase is more likely to come from a salt-of-the-earth conservative than me. weird..) I expected the article to be about the crassness of the nouveau riche. As I read I thought it was based on a claim that tried&true Euro cuisine was a standard of quality being ignored in favor of novelty for its own sake, but then it veered into weird social commentary.

    For me the fun part is not that it's a modern equivalent of the Great Gatsby - it's the way the author suddenly is moved to write something like this. I find the whole issue of blindness to the signs of extreme wealth among us a fascinating topic. Once in a while the veil tears, but it's pretty transparent even when whole. Still, most of the discussion of the 1% never goes beyond caricature.
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