Giapra Short Ribs

Based on a traditional Russo Family recipe, I created this easy version for a Giapara-like slow-cooked short rib that should be more palatable to people who couldn’t handle huge chunks of briny green olives. Summer nights in SF call for this kind of thing, but I’m also looking forward to revisiting this in November.

3lbs seasoned (S&P) beef short rib, cut into individual servings (6-8)
3-5 Carrots sliced into med thick circles
4-5 Celery sticks, med sliced
1 large onion, big diced
3-5 minced garlic cloves
couple pinches, kosher salt
1-2 TBS canola oil
1 large and 1 small can, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (28+14oz?)
2-3 tsp dried crushed basil
2 TBS sugar
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 2.4oz container of capers, drained and rinsed
ground pepper to taste

– 15-30 min after seasoning, brown the short ribs in a big stove-top pan using the canola oil, removing most of the leftover fat when finished, Moving beef to slow cooker.
– use same pan with leftover fat (1-2 TBS) to sweat onions, carrots, celery, and garlic with a pinch or two of kosher salt. mix, cook til tender and steaming, getting all the browned bits from beef off bottom of the pan. add a little water, if pan gets dry, to deglaze. Pepper to taste.
– once cooked, add celery/onion/carrot/garlic mix to slow cooker with tomatoes (all of cans, liquid included), basil, sugar and vinegar.
– Set slow cooker for 5 hours on high (maybe 8 hours on low?)
– In the last hour, add the capers and give a decent stir/mix. If the stew is looking to too soupy, let it cook for an 30-40 minutes without the top on and that should reduce the liquid.

Hopefully, this leaves you with a nice reminder of one of our family faves!

I’ve also messed around with a chicken giapara recipe baked in the oven using only thighs and adding pancetta. Yum. Maybe I’ll post the soon.


One week: The Shrine, Red Fang, Drag Brunch, Jazz at Club Deluxe, QOTSA, Arctic Monkeys, and More!

After bouncing back from the dreaded norovirus, nothing could keep me away from the rock, the drag queens, the Queens of the Stone Age, or the B3 Jazz night at Club Deluxe. What a great week!

The Shrine and Red Fang – Slim’s – Saturday, 11/30/13
The Shrine rule. When it comes to fast, heavy, acid-washed stoner skate metal, there are few bands laying it down as thick and as real. These guys look like they smell like weed and pizza and just rode skateboards from Venice Beach to the show. And that’s how it should be. Whether thrashing out punk chords or unleashing evil, droned-out solos, this three piece brings. A huge presence and sound to the stage. A must see for metal fans.

I left about five songs into Red Fang. Not being as familiar with them as The Shrine, I wasn’t that into it. They are definitely a tight, tight, heavy band that deserves a better listen, but I saw who I came to see. Red Fang is reminiscent of Helmet in some ways, which is a good thing. I just crave the frenzy of The Shrine’s antics more.

Life’s a Drag Brunch – The Starlight Room, 12/1
What a better way to wake up from a metal show than to meet with friends and watch some drag queens perform a mix of pop and Christmas songs? The Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel has been putting on two brunch shows every Sunday for almost a decade. Things can get a little spendy if you’re deep into mimosas or bloody marys, but this is definitely a San Francisco spectacle to witness. The queens were equal parts hilarious, voluptuous, and nutty (not like that). Decent brunch, too!

Live 105’s Not So Silent Night – Oracle Arena, 12/6
Making it over to Oakland early on a Friday night is a pretty daunting task, but armed with some delicious meatball and chicken parm subs from Merigan Sub Shop, traffic seemed to go smoothly and we were able to nosh in the parking lot and still stroll in with enough time to see Arctic Monkeys.  Apparently, they’ve been spending a lot of time with QOTSA’s Josh Homme in the studio, which is paying off in spades. Rooting back through this band’s discography is extremely pleasurable. Their first albums are shaking with nervous, angry energy which has transformed into eloquent, heavy grooves on their last two albums. Live, they are tight and entertaining – their singer dressed to the nines and exuding a charm and presence equal parts Elvis and Morrissey. With such a limited time slot, they played the “hits”, but also gave us smarty-pants listeners a treat by sneaking Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” into the song “Arabella” off their new album.

AFI (A Fire Inside) was the next band up and they were surprisingly entertaining for a group of local dudes dishing out some emo/punk-core for a stadium full of people. They used the entire stage, jumped around like emo kids (did?) do, and whipped some local devotees into a frenzy. Good for them.

Seeing Queens of the Stone Age doesn’t defy description, but it is hard to avoid overloading your sentences with superlatives. Josh Homme is not only a masterful guitar player and singer, he’s a charming, cheeky fuck up there on stage. While treating the fans to the chunky speed of “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” right off the bat, he also proclaimed, “Well, that should have shut down our live radio feed”. They dipped into the most rocking songs from each album, only with a slight focus on the new album, pulling out the best set you could ask for in forty five minutes. It was awe-inspiring, jaw-droppingly good. No one I was with was anything short of blown away. Younger kids seemed to take note. This group is so on top of their game live and in the studio, it’s hard to imagine anything less than the best from them. And then Vampire Weekend and Kings of Leon tried to follow them on stage… Good for those guys for trying. I will admit both bands are talented and decent live, but Homme and company used blew them off the stage. We were gone before Kings of Leon finished.

Pizza and Jazz – Club Deluxe
Almost any night of the week, Club Deluxe offers a jazz combo band (sometimes for no cover) and a list of pizzas and drinks that are sure to make your belly happy. The Spa Collins is a refreshing mix of ginger, lime, and cucumber that makes scarfing down their delicious thin crust pizza pretty easy. This is a great, laid back scene, and is usually not crowded – especially from 6-9. It feels great to be an aging denizen of the city in this bar, instead of trying to wedge into some shit bar packed with goofballs.

20131210-111617.jpgArctic Monkeys

Survive the San Francisco Street Food Festival

There’s nothing San Franciscans like more than to crowd around and crow over food – myself included. Although I can’t be there this year, I’m hoping to offer my advice on what to eat, but more importantly how to manage what will surely be nasty, hungry crowds. I’ve chronicled the San Francisco Street Food Festival before, and can offer some solid advice:

1. Get there early and be patient – Despite a smorgasbord of food vendors offering tasty treats, the best and most sought-after vendors will no doubt have ridiculous lines until they inevitably run out of whatever it is you want.

2. Posse up, hit multiple targets, and share – With a group of four to six people, you can split into duos, get a couple dishes from different places, and share the fruits of your patience, possibly in the beer garden where someone has drinks waiting. Otherwise, you could wait hours between bites and drinks.

3. Take a chance on an unknown – To truly fill your belly, you’re going to have to hit up a stand that doesn’t have a huge line in front. And you’ll probably be the better for it, having tried something new and delicious.

4. Take some things to-go – La Cocina’s mission to help new and small business owners realize their dreams of small-batch food production should be supported, especially since that means eating delicious treats, many of which are packed up to enjoy later.

5. Break away from what you know – While I LOVE many of the SFSFF vendors, I also know that they are available at farmer’s markets and Off the Grid events on a regular basis. I think some of the pop-ups and restaurants doing special offerings are the best bets to get something special, but keep your mind open to anything.


I’m not clairvoyant, but there are some vendors I would have very high expectations for, so line up early:

State Bird Provisions – Recently named the best restaurant in the nation and on hiatus to expand their dining space, this vendor naturally has a huge target painted on them. They want to serve tomato soup and garlic bread? Fine. Bring it on.

Hapa Ramen – While their steaming bowls of deliciousness are available at the Ferry Building on a regular basis, chef Nakano and company plan on switching things up with a corn pudding and a chicken sandwich that sound fantastic.

La Victoria Bakery – There are a lot of choices for sweets at the fest, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss out on a goat tres leches parfait, along with their many other offerings.

Nojo – Offering Japanese style poutine and fried chicken speaks directly to the part of my stomach that says “feed me”.

Nombe – The Ramen Burger sounds like a challenge, but one that I’d be up for with a beer.

Pig & Pie – This sounds like the place to be for a German sausage fix.

Rice Paper Scissors – They had me at “grilled baby octopus”.

Bon appetit!