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Teo Restaurant & Bar

Remember when “going out for Chinese” meant a Cantonese egg roll, wonton soup and egg fu yung? Then came the hot spice of Hunan and hotter, spicier Sichuan.

Now, there’s another province heard from. Teo (pronounced tee-oh) brings Chaozhou to San Francisco. Chaozhou, a.k.a. Teo Chew, is southern cuisine featuring marinated meats and and seafood rather than spices. The ingredients and the tastes are unexpected.

The unexpected begins with the décor; it’s more Japanese than traditional Chinese: clean, straight lines rather than curves and carves, blues and grays instead of red and gold, spare symmetry trumping decorative abundance.

One unexpected bonus — Teo is much quieter than most San Francisco restaurants. Thank you for that.

Service is cheerful, portions are ample, prices are reasonable, the food is … unexciting.

My favorite dish is the $14 marinated goose meat appetizer. The sauces enhance the mild-tasting meat and tofu slices. Without their sauces, the $6 fried shrimp balls would have almost no flavor, certainly none of shrimp. The $7 carrot and scallop soup tastes more like wonton than scallop; it’s pleasant though bland.

Teo’s $17 oyster and egg omelet is the Chaozhou version of California’s Hangtown Fry. The ingredients are fresh and nicely prepared; the flavor is unexciting. The same can be said for the desserts.

So. To try something new, at a price that won’t break the bank, in a room that won’t rupture your eardrums, with tastes that won’t set your ganglions jangling, by all means give Teo a go.

1111 Mission Street, San Francisco. Lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 2 p.m. Dinner nightly from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Weekday Happy Hour from 5 to 6 p.m. Web address is www.TeoSF.com. Phone (415) 626-8366.

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Hiding in plain sight

Though it’s in the heart of downtown, it’s easy to miss.

It’s in an alley. The alley’s at the end of a lane. From the outside, the restaurant looks tiny. You may have walked by it a dozen times and never known it was there.

Surprise! Not only is Le Colonial a San Francisco icon, that tiny exterior is just the entrance. One flight (or elevator ride) up is a long, open-air promenade called the Patio. That leads to the main dining room. Another flight up is the darkened bar and the Lounge, and at the end of that, overlooking the street, is the small Veranda.

It’s all dimly lit, tropically rattanned, ceiling-fanned. Old Hanoi meets San Francisco romance.

Service is smartly informed; food is French-Vietnamese fine, prices aren’t life threatening but aren’t cheap. The appetizer tasting platter for two is $28, as is the coconut poached Alaskan halibut. The flavor-rich steamed seabass in banana leaves is $33; that and the wok-seared filet mignon cubes are the house specialties. Our faves: the tasting platter and two desserts— the rich chocolate cake with peanut butter ice cream and the orange & lime crepes cake.

http://www.lecolonialsf.com   (415) 931-3600.

20 Cosmo Place between Sutter and Post. Open nightly for dinner, Sunday through Wednesday from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. On busy weekends, the Lounge stays open till 2 a.m. A DJ keeps things lively. Valet parking is available.


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The B-Side

Two sister museums, the de Young and the Legion of Honor, are hosting western-themed exhibits. The star attraction, Ed Ruscha and the Great American West, is at the de Young in Golden Gate Park. The B-side, Wild West: Plains to the Pacific, is at the more remote Legion.

But like “I Will Survive” and “Maggie May,” sometimes B-sides are the real hits.

That’s the case in San Francisco. Ruscha has an original eye, but much of his work is neither beautiful nor moving. Many of his subjects, like “ThirtyFour parking lots in Los Angeles”, are intentionally, yawningly banal.

Wild West, by contrast, features brilliant woodcuts by Chiura Obata, stunning photos by Edweard Muybridge, searing screenprints by Ester Hernandez, iconic posters by Michael Schwab, and much, much more.

Triumph of the B-side.

Wild West closes September 11; Ruscha, October 9.

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The latest Zillow report shows median rent in San Francisco has hit $4,528, now the hottest and highest in the country.

That makes our apartment, which we got using the methods in TAKE ME HOME, a mighty bargain only one year later. Looking for an apartment or house in a hot market? This $10 could be your best investment.


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So. I predicted Donald Trump would not pick a nationally known political figure, and he did.

Then I predicted Hillary … see below.

I thought she’d choose one of the Castro brothers or Cory Booker, thus sealing the Latino and/or Black vote.

Instead, she picked a white guy, a moderate Democrat who’s well known and highly respected in Virginia and beyond.

Still, I had my doubts about the wisdom of this safe choice, all of which evaporated when I heard his first campaign speech today.

This is exactly how it sounded to me.

So. Two predictions down, two predictions wrong.

Stay tuned.

— jules

Jules Predicts

I predict that Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president will be male and ethnic, either Black or Hispanic. Probably Hispanic. Maybe sharing a name with a revolutionary or a former slave.


PS I’ve enjoyed and appreciated your many replies, and there’s one I just have to share. It’s from Erin Caslavka in northern California. In response to this, “I predict that Donald Trump will not pick any of [his rivals] as his running mate. I further predict that his choice will not be a nationally known political figure,” she wrote this:

Wait, wait … don’t tell me: it’ll be Cher! Because she’ll bring in the female, LGBT, 60+ and Native American vote AND can perform at the swearing-in ceremony. Plus, she’ll be instrumental in pushing Congress to enact healthcare reform that covers plastic surgery.


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[I wrote this in 2012. Now, examiner.com has suddenly and without any real advance notice to its “content providers,” closed up shop.]

How is it, dear friends, that so many of us don’t just say no?

We gnash and moan at the parlous, perilous, ever-worsening state of writing for pay… and then we write for free.

I’m not talking about writing for struggling startups. Nor for good causes. I’m talking Huffington Post. I’m talking examiner.com

And I know why you’re doing it. When I ask, you give me answers I understand. “I do it for the free trips. For the free theatre tickets. For the free lunch.”

I understand.What I hope you’ll understand: There is no free lunch.

Especially for writers. When you write for lunch or tickets or trips, you’re holding out a sign that says, WILL WORK FOR FOOD.

And once you do that, there is no reason on this good, green Earth that anybody should hire you for money. Ever.

When you write for Huffington Post, you’re working for AOL — they own Huffington Post. How’s AOL doing when they’re not paying you?  They’ve just “reported more than a fourfold jump in first-quarter profit as online advertising revenue increased. Net income rose to $21.2 million from $4.7 million a year earlier.”

When you write for peanuts — no, for peanut shells — for examiner.com, you’re putting cash in the pocket of a billionaire who uses what he doesn’t pay you to support right-wing causes that will make you even worse-off than you are now.

Why are AOL and examiner.com doing so well? In part, because you’re supporting them. You are a 21st century ragged-trousered philanthropist. That phrase was coined in 1910 by Irish-English author Robert Tressell to describe workers “who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.”

I urge you: Don’t be that sap.

Don’t steal from yourself. Don’t take food from your family. Don’t be a ragged-trousered philanthropist.

Stop giving away your talent, your skills, your work to the obscenely rich who grow ever richer on your back. Your voluntarily offered back.

Take back your back.

Demand pay for your services. Your plumber does. Your kid’s teacher does. Your receptionist/librarian/nurse/croupier/mailman/mechanic/publisher does. So should you. Starting here and now — Just say no. Let your sign read,


— jules

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Jules Predicts

Despite his loss at the polls (assuming I’m right), I predict that Donald Trump will be the worst loser in the history of American presidential politics. Instead of a graceful concession, he will proclaim that he was robbed, the election was fixed, and his followers should take to the streets in protest. Burn the house down! He will urge this from the safety of his gold-plated penthouse.

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