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What We're Obsessed with Right Now

San Francisco staffers on the restaurants, books, podcasts, and more they are geeking out about.

James Franco.

Carolyn Alburger, Associate Editor: The pastas at the revamped Tosca in North Beach, which are all made in house. Get the bucatini. It's like a thicker spaghetti noodle, cooked to a perfect al dente and lapped in a prosciutto steeped sauce with plump little de-shelled mussels. The dish looks so simple but the flavors just jump off the plate.

Ellen Cushing, Senior Editor: This two-part episode of the podcast TBTL—during which the comic Andy Haynes speaks with host/friend Luke Burbank about his very recent, evidently very raw divorce—is amazing. It's basically what you'd imagine it's like to hear a Very Funny Person talk about a Very Unfunny Thing: drily hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, oddly gripping, and totally worth listening to. Part One is here, and Part Two is here.

Sara Deseran, Editor-at-Large: Hashibiro Kou, the Korean-owned izakaya in the Fillmore district, is my favorite new restaurant discovery. The menu touches on just about every best-of-izakaya-hit, but I particularly loved the soft tofu topped with fermented squid. Kou also has a few little private tatami-style rooms and I see booking many a party here in the future.

Katherine Guzman, Editorial Intern: Jon Bonné's new book The New California Wine (Ten Speed Press, release date is Nov. 5th). I feel like wine-twinsies with him. Everything he discusses in the book is what I witnessed and tasted while I was living in Napa last year. I was reading and saying "YES!" every few sentences—while my cat looked at me like a lunatic. California wine is experiencing a renaissance and this book really brings it to light.

Scott Lucas, Web Editor: It's super politics-nerdy, but I'm totally obsessed with Orinda City Council member (and former Jerry Brown advisor) Steve Glazer making the issue of preventing BART workers from striking a campaign issue in his Assembly race. Until we got top-two elections recently, the Bay Area primaries were dominated by whichever Democrat could be more union-friendly. But if Glazer taps into voters' anger on this issue, does it presage a weakening in union strength in Sacramento? I have no idea—but its going to be fascinating to watch.

Caleb Pershan, Editorial Fellow: I'm loving the Beer Wench's local and national coverage of all things craft beer. Follow her feed here.

Sean Pyles, Editorial Intern: Two cats interviewing James Franco about his new book. The kitty interviewers create a dynamic between the reader and Franco where the latter is allowed to speak critically and seriously about his intent behind the novel without coming off as too pretentious or hyper-serious. It also creates a number of good kitty jokes, which I always welcome.

Jon Steinberg, Editor-in-Chief: The wondrous polygamous marriage of San Francisco author Jon Mooallem, band Black Prairie (which includes three-fifths of the Decemberists), and podcaster Roman Mars, which was consummated in Episode 91 of Mars's 99% Invisible show. Mooallem reads from his great book about animals Wild Ones, while the band plays and Mars gushes.

Annie Tittiger, Managing Editor: I just finished reading Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, which was a brilliant family dramedy, told through a mix of email correspondences and a first person perspective from the very observant 15-year-old Bee Branch. It's hilarious, but you also find yourself loving and hating every character at different points in the story, which means that they're all relatable, no matter how kooky they seem.

Stevanie Wazna-Blank, Editorial Intern: The kale tacos at Dear Mom: sautéed kale, avocado, queso fresco, pickled carrots, and jalapeños. Throw on some bacon for good measure and then get a beer. But I only became obsessed when I asked the bearded bartender "how much for the beer?" and he said, "how much do you want to pay?"

 

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