What’s up, San Fran?

Hello from San Francisco!  I’m here for the next 3 weeks, externing at a very cool startup called Zipongo.  The company and the city both have a great food culture, and I’m really looking forward to exploring it.  If Day 1 was any indication, it’s going to be an interesting month.

I landed in San Fran yesterday a little after 1pm.  By the time I got into the city, I was crazy hungry.  Traveling and time zones put me at about 5pm (eastern time) with only a banana and an orange in my system – I needed food and fast.  Unfortunately, I was facing an uphill battle.

The reason was thanks to a documentary I just watched, called Forks Over Knives.  FoK is all about food from animals (and how bad it is) and food from plants (and how wonderful it is).  It presents a ton of evidence that all animal products (fish, eggs, and yogurt included) are slow poisons to the human body, directly translating to cancer and heart disease.  In fact, I found it all so convincing that I decided to drop them from my diet completely.

That left me combing the streets of San Francisco like a madman yesterday afternoon, praying to find something vegan.

I eventually stumbled on was a cool lunch spot just off of Union Square called The Grove.  I walked up to the counter salivating over the sandwiches I saw people eating.  Unfortunately, they were all off limits to me, and I ended up with the vegetarian chili… hold the cheese… hold the sour cream.  Dammit.

Was it tasty?  Yeah it really was.  Was it filling?  Not really.  I needed about 5 times the amount served to quell my monster appetite.  Why did I have to watch that movie this week?!

But things turned around: walking to the hotel, it became clear that I was headed straight to the heart of Chinatown.  I forgot completely about my stomach while I explored the neighborhood, wandered through the Italian district, and ended up at the bay by sunset.

Scenes from Day 1

By the time I made it back home, I was ready for dinner.  Veggie soup, again.  This time, though, it was probably of the best bowl of pho I’ve ever had.  And as I’ve learned in NY, the Vietnamese truly understand the proper size of a soup bowl.

Unbelievable soup in a completely empty restaurant.

As for my diet, late last night I came across this great critique of the documentary, which paints a more accurate picture of the research that led to the film’s conclusion (animals = poison).  It’s not that the doc was garbage, it’s just that it oversimplified to make its point, relying on black and white generalizations to describe the effects of complex processes.

In other words, look’s like meat’s back on the menu, boys!  

In conclusion, I recommend 1) watching Forks Over Knives, 2) reading the critique of the movie on rawfoodsos.com (and other analyses on the China Study and other examples from the movie), 3) staying tuned to eating goodly… this is going to be a fun month.


2 comments on “What’s up, San Fran?

  1. Shiksa Lover says:

    You seriously went vegan for a week just because a documentary told you to? also. pretty much every single documentary relies on oversimplified black and white generalizations to describe the effects of complex processes. Weren’t you a film minor or something?

    Norcal has some seriously great beers. Make sure to try Russian River and Bear Republic.

  2. Andy Ogden says:

    Shiksa, just went to the Rogue Public House (San Fran outpost). Incredible selection, with 10 or so Rogues on tap, alone. As for the documentary’s effect… the reason I was drawn to film in the first place was because of my own enamor of/susceptibility to it. Didn’t I want to be an archaeology major or something?

    Now who’s the one in the middle east?

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