Restaurant review: Nick’s Tacos at Underdog, plus your weekend plans! »
Underdog is a sports bar that serves Nick’s Tacos, located in an area of San Francisco I like to refer to as the Mid Sunset. Not quite Outer, not quite Inner. Technically, what is 19th and Irving? I have no clue.
Nick believes in slow food, fast, which I guess I love. I don’t respect the Slow Food movement so much, as it tends to be super meat-heavy/hypocritical. Unless we are talking about cooking dinner in my apartment! My old roommate Vanessa said I am a great cook, but she can’t wait two hours to eat. What?! I like the flavors to meld—and I cook on low so I can check Facebook every two seconds.
I went to Underdog’s on a whim last year with two friends, as one of them knew the bartender and we NEEDED to make it for beer-and-taco happy hour. Taco happy hour, by the way, is only for ‘street-style’ meat tacos, but Nick’s is so inexpensive, you won’t stay too mad about that. Perhaps they will make the street tacos sans meat, I’ve never asked.
Drinking and tacos are two of my FAVORITE THINGS! I could tell I was gonna like the food as soon as our chips and salsa came. SO COLORFUL AND FRESH! I mean, really? In a bar? I was not expecting this.
That first time, I ordered the vegetarian tacos, which come Nick’s Way in a crispy corn tortilla wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. YES AND YES.
The second time I visited UnderNick’s, I had the taco salad. SO AMAZING. The best part is that it is a vegan entree, so I didn’t have to waste time asking for no cheese or sour cream and then stress out it’s going to come with those condiments anyway. Cilantro-lime vinaigrette? Done. Fresh tomatoes and delicious guacamole? Done. The best part, other than how it tastes, is that it doesn’t come in a heavy, fried tortilla shell, the part of the salad I always try to abstain from and then demolish in 30 seconds flat. Instead they decoratively top the salad with tortilla curls!
The first time I went to Underdog’s, my friend informed me of second Underdog up the street (different place of business completely). So after gorging on chips, salsa and tacos, I found room in my stomach for a vegan sausage dog with sauerkraut. And then went home and made seitan (while checking Facebook constantly).
Here’s your itinerary for this weekend (whenever your weekend is. Mine is Mondays and Tuesdays, holla!). Go to Ocean Beach, try to stay warm and work up an nice appetite/beer buzz on the sand, and as you are heading back to the city stop at Nick’s. Scarf down your food so that before your stomach can register it’s full, you can demolish a vegan sausage dog down the street. Sounds like a perfect day to me!
Underdog Sports Bar and Grill is located at 1824 Irving between 19th and 20th Avenues in the Sunset. It can get pretty bro-y on game days, so I’d avoid it at all costs then. Here’s the menu [.pdf]. [Ed.: I’ve heard that on Fridays during happy hour, they have $1 margaritas. Girrrrrrrl…]
Wordspy’s lessons in vegan vocabulary! »
Hey young world, my pal Kev showed me this site Wordspy, “a Word Lover’s Guide to New Words,” because he knows I love the words. I’m into it! I thought I might see if they have any vegan-related terms, and do they ever! For your enjoyment, I bring you the latest and greatest in veggie vocab!
Ape diet: A vegetarian diet that emphasizes soy protein, soluble fiber, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
Ethical eater: A person who only or mostly eats food that meets certain ethical guidelines, particularly organically grown food and humanely raised meat, poultry, and fish.
flexitarian: A person who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but who is also willing to eat meat or fish occasionally.
freegan: A person, usually a vegan, who consumes only food that is obtained by foraging, most often in the garbages of restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers.
opportunivore: A person who eats whatever he or she can find, particularly food that has been discarded.
pescetarian: A person who supplements a vegetarian diet with fish. —adj. Also: piscetarian.
retro defiance: Hostility towards current ideas about healthy living, which includes a return to allegedly non-healthy activities such as smoking cigars, drinking martinis, and eating steak.
Slow Food: An agricultural and gastronomic movement that emphasizes traditional, organic growing methods and the appreciation of fine food and wine.
Tofurkey: Tofu molded into the shape of a turkey. Also: Tofurky. [It’s a brand, and it hasn’t got an “e” in it. Bad call, wordspy.]
VB6: A person who eats a vegan diet before 6 p.m., and then whatever they want after that. (From the phrase “vegan before 6.”)
vegangelical: An extremely zealous vegan who is eager to make other people believe in and convert to veganism. (Blend of vegan and evangelical.)
vegivore: A person who craves or has a special fondness for vegetables. Also: vegevore.
victimless meat: Meat grown from a tissue culture.
OK, who’s got more?! This is fun! At least for me! And word nerds like myself! Here! I just made up another! Off the top of the dome:
Borivore: Someone who won’t stop talking about how much they just love cheese and bacon: BORING!
The “Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian” article in The Guardian: Lady, you’re an IDIOT. »
I’m not going to even dignify this with a real response because goddamn, what a fucking idiot. I will simply copy and paste our rebuttal to the Mother Jones piece that we published earlier this month because it pretty much sums up how pathetic this woman is:
The Guardian published an interview with Jenna Woginrich, a former vegetarian who started raising and killing animals so she could justify eating them. Woginrich was vegetarian until, she says, she realized that:
One way to make sure the animals I ate lived a happy, respectable life was to raise them myself. I would learn to butcher a free-range chicken, raise a pig without antibiotics and rear lambs on green hillside pastures. I would come back to meat eating, and I would do it because of my love for animals.
She actually wrote that, that the way to love something is to kill it and eat it. She got waaaaaay into “sustainable” meat and thought, Oh, snap! I better start a farm where I raise and kill animals because that’s the way to teach everyone about sustainable dining—SLOW FOOD FOREVA! She’s obviously not the brightest bulb, but there are thousands of dumb-ass Slow Foodies who think the way to feed the world is through reducing meat consumption, and when it comes to their own diets there’s not a veg item in sight. You see, they mean “reducing the meat consumption for everyone else.” Lead by example? That’s asinine!
It’s like the problem with Michael Pollan’s elitism: these Slow Food dummies are so intent on showing the world that there’s “sustainable meat” (a whopping fewer-than-1 percent of it!) that they ignore the much larger, more important lesson: WE ALL NEED TO EAT LESS MEAT. Well, not us vegans, but you know, the rest of you fuckers. The constant message the world needs to hear from the Slow Food movement is EAT LESS MEAT. Then, if they want to get into where the meat that people “should” eat comes from, fine. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Global meat consumption has increased 500 percent since 1950 and people who care about sustainable dining should (one more time with feeling): EAT FEWER DEAD ANIMALS.
Jenna Woginrich, you ma’am, are a straight-up nincompoop. You’re doing the exact opposite of what you think you’re doing and you’re being so ridiculously vocal about it that it’s hurting the cause at an even larger scale. Just go hide your shameful face in a corner while you butcher the pigs who grew to trust you, and then sell their carcasses to extremely rich people so you can all feel better about eating dead animals. I hope all her friends read that and are running in the other direction. You know what they say: lay down with Jenna tonight and you’re gonna end up in her stir-fry tomorrow! Way to rock the system! I know Slow Food people are our supposedly vegan “allies,” but they could be less hypocritical about animal-eating issues.
And just because I love it so much and I need something to counteract the negativity of this piece, here is a picture of BABY OWL cuddling a STUFFED OWL TOY. What?! I can’t even directly look at this picture because my heart will explode IT IS TOO MUCH.
[photo via Ladyxo]
This is a factory farm map of the United States. It’s really, really, really fucking sad. I want to show this to every slow foodtard who is all, “BUT HUMANE MEAT! It’s the answer!” It’s like, NO, the answer is telling people NOT TO EAT MEAT. That is the only way to get them to seriously cut down. If we keep holding the myth of humane meat in front of them, they’ll have hope that they don’t have to really change. The fact is, we can’t sustainably feed people the amount of meat they’re used to. It’s impossible. The only thing will help is if people give it up completely (or drastically reduce how much they eat, that helps!), and the only way that will happen is if we keep talking about how disgusting meat is for us, the animals, and the environment. Maybe once factory farms are eradicated, slow foodtards can start talking about small family farms and how they’ll feed the nation. Or, you know, the wealthy, elite few of the nation.
Annals of self-promotion: Best practices for being authentically Slow Food »
From today’s SFoodie:
Important: Slow food doesn’t mean eating Snooki (or anyone else who is “slow” mentally). Besides, that shit is definitely NOT organic. Slow Food is an eating movement that counteracts fast food and fast life, and connects us with the Earth and its Magical Bounty.
Basically, it’s the dietary equivalent of Sting and Ms. Sting’s sex life. Yum!
Read the rest of Laura’s piece to learn how to properly discuss Slow Food, who has a secret Slow Food blog, and more! George Takei’s preserved head is so excited he can’t hold onto the heirloom gourd sacrifice he’s prepared for his kitten’s head god!
Rabbit, delicious rabbit »
Welcome to our national nightmare: killing really cute animals, for the environment! What? Yes, and also to expand our narrow palates, which are so embarrassingly American (everything tastes like chicken!). If only we were as sophisticated as the French, while as self-reliant as migrant workers in a Dorothea Lange photograph (only less dusty because ugh)! Plus, the environment needs saving, and also Slow Food and eating locally and getting your food blog nominated for internet awards, plus being a total badass (read: getting a feature in Meatpaper magazine)—how can one person do it all? It is most perplexing.
Thank goodness The New York Times knows: kill, butcher, and eat your own rabbits! No, not even kidding a little bit; this is THE answer to all of the “problems” of wealthy, conscience-plagued omnivores with time on their hands and bloodlust in their hearts. It’s not evil, though, because the rabbits are raised on small farms, and the babies are left with their mothers for eight of the 12 weeks they live on those farms before they’re killed. It’s so humane! Serious Eats actually made a video of John Fazio’s rabbit farm, in which you can see some baby bunnies in a nest their mother made of her own fur. It’s super-great to see how “happy” the rabbits look in their tiny wire-floor cages! Honestly, I could not watch this video past 1:23, where Fazio reaches into such a nest to pet some of the babies; it was too depressing. You all are welcome to finish it, though, and report back on how it ends. This farm also features in the Times article; apparently his signature is selling rabbit carcasses with their heads still attached. Delightful.
Adorably, the Times Dining section photo editor also popped by to write a little post about all the different photos that Jennifer May took of the rabbits on Fazio’s farm. And with so many pictures, how to find the one that “carefully illustrate[s] this sensitive topic”—i.e., doesn’t make you rise up with pitchforks against everyone involved in the article? Turns out the ideal image is “the one that says ‘deal with it.’” HAR HAR, Dining section Photo Editor Tiina Loite! You are the wittiest! Just cold putting it out there, all that hard truth.
I think the best part of the pro-eating-rabbit argument is how it’s supposed to be all economic and awesome, but the “how to murder, cut up and cook bunnies” class cost $100 per person and some of its participants had to fly cross-country to attend. That is super-environmentally friendly, for sure. Beware the photos from this event—some of them are quite nasty. The Pasternaks, who run a rabbit farm in Marin County, actually “travel regularly to Haiti to teach families to raise rabbits on foraged food.” Clever! Of course, rabbits’ and humans’ diets do not differ so significantly, meaning that the food a rabbit is eating could be food for a human; “[a] seven-pound live rabbit might weigh four pounds cleaned;” and [i]n the kitchen, rabbit can be a challenge,” but YES, let’s teach poor people to raise rabbits for food. That is definitely a smart idea.
Whatever. Murder rabbits for fun and profit and patriotism and the economy and the environment and individualism and liberty and every other excuse you need to invent to get yourself through it. You know it’s disgusting. We know it’s disgusting. At least we can sleep at night, knowing our efforts to be better citizens of the world and eat lots of exciting foods don’t involve the slaughter of innocents.
Alice Waters + Humane Society = Sharks! »
Well, well, well; it turns out Mrs. Slow Food Nation, Queen of the locavores (GOD I hate that term) Alice Waters has a heart after all. She may have once been crazy about shark fin soup, but since Friday she is firmly against it, “committing never to [eat] or serve” anything with shark fin in it. Looks like the Humane Society schooled her pretty good—not sure how they got to her, as she was very publicly pro-shark fin soup just a few months earlier—but their methods are beside the point.
For all the praise that “eating local” gets, the truth is that limiting your meat consumption is a lot more helpful for the damn environment than scarfing down whatever fish caught within a 100-mile radius of your house. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been telling you that for years, A-dubs. Good on you for finally saying something both positive and sensible. As for us nonentities, we can help support the Shark Conservation Act from behind our computers by sending strongly worded emails to our senators, demanding (politely) that they vote for the bill that the House has already passed.
(because all this converges with the Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK 2009, maybe you want to know there is a free video podcast that accompanies said SHARK WEEK broadcast, which—if you are into this sort of thing—is fairly interesting.)
On Eating Rabbits »
Could you kill this bunny?
Would you eat him?
Mission Street Food would! And if you would like to eat some rabbit, MSF will cook you up some “rabbit rillette,” which means the dead rabbit is slow-cooked until its flesh is soft, which is then shredded, mixed with other ingredients, and made into a sort of pâté. The collaborating chef is really into eating like Native Americans did, which can be the subject of another post, when we discuss how Slow Food and locavorism are cruel, ridiculous lies. Today, bunnies.
Rabbits are not protected under the Humane Slaughter Act, not in its first version in 1958, and not in its most recent version in 2002. This means that bunnies who are raised for their meat are not guaranteed the “quick, relatively painless death” that all cows, goats, pigs, and sheep must have before their bodies are cut up for your friends’ and neighbors’ tasty suppers. Rabbits are really sensitive; they scream when they’re in pain. It is the most horrible sound. I wonder if people who kill rabbits for a living have to listen to those screams all day, or if they wear earplugs or something.
Look at Nibbler up there; what do you think it’s like to be faced with a bunny like him and know that your job is to kill him? What might it be like to hold his lifeless body and think, ‘okay, time to cut the face off’? I wouldn’t open that link if I were sensitive to photographs of dead rabbits; I’ve heard they’re quite gruesome.
Obviously rabbits are excruciatingly adorable, and soft, and quiet; they are also totally chill companions whose ideal days include napping under furniture, hopping around their favorite people’s feet, gnawing on a variety of textured items (i.e. cardboard and wood), tasting whatever their people are eating, and getting some pets. Some rabbits are friendlier than others, and more inclined toward lap-sitting and snuggling; others are shyer and prefer to make a blanket-nest next to you while you’re sitting on the floor watching TV.
It’s difficult to make the cognitive leap from “I love my dog” to “I can’t eat cow.” Not too many people have ever had a beloved pet cow. Bunnies are people’s pets, though, lots of people’s pets; can you really look a rabbit in the eyes and eat pâté made of his relations? The disconnect between the inherent violence of eating animals and the natural affection for tiny, big-eyed creatures is remarkable. Could you pet this bunny and eat another?
Rabbits raised for people to eat don’t live in homes with cardboard boxes to chew on and little trucks to throw around. They don’t even get the courtesy of a “quick and painless” death. When treated as livestock, the cutest animals live the worst lives, and are subject to the most painful deaths. Tell your friends who patronize Mission Street Food; see if it makes a difference. A happy house bunny smells of hay, and sometimes when you get up close to him to get a good sniff of fur, he’ll lick your face; like many, many other animals, rabbits show affection through grooming, licking and smoothing each other with their little pink tongues and little furry paws. Are you comfortable eating animals who share the affection for people that we feel for them?
I don’t love all animals, but I believe that they have as much right to live as I do. I’m happy to support MSF when they support vegan and vegetarian causes. After three months of living with an actual bunny, though, the idea of eating a rabbit isn’t as abstractly wrong as the idea of eating a pig—it’s vivid and frightening.
Omnivorous friends, please don’t eat rabbits. When you see dishes made of rabbit on menus, please don’t order them. Think of this photo of Nibbler instead; think of eating this little bun, who follows people into the kitchen in hopes of catching fallen crumbs, and who licks his delicate chops after taking a bite of strawberry to get all the juice off his face. No one who’s spent quality time with a rabbit could eat another. They should never, ever be someone’s meal, nor should anyone with a speck of compassion eat an animal—especially one whose “quick and painless” death is not demanded by law.