adrian is rad


Giordano Bros. Pittsburgh Style Sandwhiches in SF

Filed under: — adrian @ 7:28 pm

After the College DJ of the Week thing, Gumbeaux and I went to Giordano Bros. in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. They have all-in-one, or “Pittsburgh style,” sandwhiches. These are obviously patterened after Primanti Bros. sandwhiches, with italian bread, your choice of meat, french fries, and coleslaw.

The atmosphere isn’t very much like Primanti’s. I mean Primanti’s is as no-nonsense and unpresumptuous as possible. Giordano’s is only slightly more so but you don’t have a large lady behind the counter yelling at “Chjohnny.” The people are friendly and helpful.

The food is good. Very similar to Primanti’s on this account. Very slight differences make it seem a little more “San Francisco”: olive oil on the cole slaw, slightly fancier fries.

It’ll do. It’ll do good.


very pittsburgh weekend

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:11 pm

Pittsburgh-style sandwiches, #1: It was approximately birthday lunch time at work, so for Friday I chose one of my favorites: Giordano Brothers in North Beach (previously; previously). Their Primanti’s-style sandwiches always warm my heart [1] and grow my belly. Very delicious stuff and hits the line of nostalgia and delicious food just right. Outcome: I was a winner, 1-0.

Pirates at Giants: the Pirates were in town so I saw them at AT&T park. Zack Duke who has been good in the past but was 5-13, ~5.1 ERA before the game. He seemed to regain some of his past skill for this game, pitching a complete game shut out and getting out of a couple really tricky jams (like basses loaded, no outs). Outcome Pirates 7-0.

Texans at Steelers: For the season opener, Dug and I went to Shanghai Kelly’s again. It’s my favorite Steelers bar. What a bunch of crazy people, cheering, yelling and drinking as early as 9:30am on a Sunday. And coming back, there were some of the same people as last year and the year before, so I recognized them. I’ll acknowledge that my Steelers fandom is among the most ridiculous things I regularly participate in and I’m fine with that. Outcome: Steelers 38-17.

Pittsburgh-style sandwiches, #2 Near the end of the game Dug was lobbying for a Giordano Bros sandwich–he hadn’t been on Friday–and I acquiesced. After all, who’s to stop a man from having a sandwich with slaw and fries on it? It was delicious again.

[1] Well, by “warm”, I mean clog.


what can I say?

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:05 pm

I like sandwiches. I pack a sandwich four days a week for lunch back in the US. I make up recipes for sandwiches. I like places that make good sandwiches.

I haven’t had a sandwich in over a month—it’s been a month and a day since I left the states—and I really wanted one for lunch today. I don’t know of many places that have sandwiches here, so I just had to go to Subway, which is the first American food (or maybe any sort of American) chain that I’ve patronized since I’ve got here.

I had such a stupid self-conscious-that-I’m-a-corporate-whore-(sometimes)-and-don’t-really-mind grin on my face when I was ordering my foot long turkey breast sub.

[Also, I’ve misspelled sandwich sandwhich a shameful number of times on this blog.]


Bunny Chow

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:36 am

Last night I saw another film at the SFIFF: Bunny Chow (official site, wikipedia).

[Note: the film is named after a food popular primarily in Durban by the same name. Despite the description, it’s not a sandwhich. It’s hollowed out bread filled with curry.]

It’s a South African film (so I have an immediate bias) about three comedians and a random fourth guy who travel to a primarily music (but also comedy) festival together. It’s also about the comedy business and different approaches to women.

It’s a good film. It’s was a bit here-and-there, very conversational and, though it had an obvious plot, seemed like you were just watching friends hanging out a lot. I found it engaging. On the negative side, though I did laugh, I thought a film about stand up comedians would be funnier.

I’m fairly used to listening to various South African accents, but Gumbeaux had a hard time, he said. There were some parts that had subtitles even for English in the film (the Zulu and Afrikaans were obviously subtitled). I think the film could use subtitles throughout for American audiences.



Filed under: — adrian @ 6:05 pm

The 50th San Francisco International Film Festival starts later this week. Here are some of the ones I’m interested in seeing.

Bunny Chow A South African comedy. Despite the description, “bunny chow” is not a sandwhich and is not popular in Johannesburg (it’s a Durbs thing)

Phantom Carriage A classic Swedish silent film with live musical accompaniment by Jonathan Richman

The Old, Weird America: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music About the second best collection of American folk music and its effects.

Audience of One A documentary about an SF preacher that gets divine instructions to shoot a film and he goes about doing so on 70mm film.

Ghosts of Cite Soleil Documentary about Haitian gang rivals and rappers.

The Monastery Documentary about a former university librarian who wants to turn his ancestral home (a castle, actually) into a Russian Orthodox monastery.

Bamako An allegory about the Western World’s influence on Africa.

Third Monday in October A documentary about the heated battle for middle school president in a variety of schools in three states.

Once A rom-com (as I call them) about two Dublin musicians. I just love Irish musicians, alright?

Emma’s Bliss A German film about a man with terminal cancer and the woman whose pig farm he crashes his stolen car into.

Aqua About two swimmers in different parts of their careers. Minimalist and apparently good cinematography.

Eagle Vs. Shark quirky and compared to Napoleon Dynamite. I’m intrigued.

Rocket Science From the director of one of my favorite movies, Spellbound this is a feature film about a stuttering kid who joins the debate team to win over a girl.


Paul’s and Girl Talk: Night Ripper

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:53 am

I did a bunch of fun stuff, today, some of which I may write about later, but, for now, it’s all about Paul’s Compact Discs in Bloomfield. Dave and I made the trek over to Bloomfield after a Primanti’s sandwhich this afternoon.

It’s a smallish record store, not giant by any means, but also not shoebox and very navigable. The way it’s laid out and the way things are organized made it easy to look through things. They had a good selection among indie music, including the classic stuff (they had 3 of the 4 Seam albums in stock). They also have a good vinyl (7″ and LPs) selection. Their used CD selection is small and flat-priced (all $8) so that’s not the greatest. The people behind seemed knowledgable (one geeky clerk informed me of a Girl Talk show tonight after I bought the album).

I’d say it’s perhaps on par with Aquarius or slightly lower on my list for small record stores, but that’s saying a lot: Aquarius is pretty amazing and I like Paul’s a lot too.

I got:

  • Girl Talk Night Ripper
  • Ida Will You Find Me [used]
  • Sigur Ros Saeglopur

I was familiar with the Ida and the Sigur Ros sounds good from first listen. I had heard little snippets of the Girl Talk and had read the rave reviews and I figured I should buy it in Pittsburgh if I was going to buy it, given that he’s a Pittsburgh local. I listened to it in the car a few times while driving around today and, I must say, I’m impressed. He takes tiny samples of pop songs, often dozens for each song of his and mashes them together (quite different from a “mash up” in most ways) to make another song. The samples he mixes and the smothness with which he does it, for the most part, are pretty amazing. It’s good music and it’s fun to try to pick out the samples he’s using. Today I definitely heard, among others, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Pixies, Verve (itself a sample), Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, and Elton John. No one’s sacred.

I also found out today that Unwed Sailor has cancelled their tour, including tomorrow night’s stop at the Brillobox, so that’s sad. I was looking forward to that. If I’d know that it was cancelled (I just found out), I would probably have made more of an effort to catch Girl Talk tonight at Belvedere’s. Oh well.


a new old pittsburgh

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:42 am

I’m back in Pittsburgh for the Thanksgiving holiday. Today I went up to New Brighton in Beaver County to grab lunch with my friend Chris Atwell. He’s been working at his uncle’s business, Ceramic Color and Chemical Manufacturing Co. They take metals (inorganic chemicals), grind them and combine them in various ways to make pigments, which are largely used in tiles and other ceramics. He gave me a tour of the plant, which is mostly within a very cool 200 year old building and it was a bunch of industrial equipment. Man, I love factory tours. Giant mechanical equipment is my thing.

(Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of the giant mechanical equipment inside.)

I also think it’s cool that they’re doing what they’re doing: growing slowly, competing on the global market with a family business using local labor. That seems increasingly rare these days.

We ended up grabbing lunch at the Backdoor Tavern up there. (I must admit, I winced after I hit enter in google with the search terms ‘backdoor’ and ‘beaver’ (it’s in Beaver county) thinking I’d get a bunch of dirty results but I was actually able to find the place I wanted.) I got a really solid meatball sandwhich and a Penn Pilsner. The total for the two? $7. In Palo Alto, I might get a mediocre sandwhich for seven bucks…

After lunch, the following sign caught my eye and I had to check out the Rosalind Candy Castle:

That 3ft tall chocolate Santa was like a little person but jolly and made of chocolate. mmmmmm three foot tall chocolate Santa…. (give me a minute here.) I ended up getting a Santa chocolate lollipop and some dark chocolate covered pretzels which my family agreed were excellent when we had them for dessert tonight.

Then I walked through downtown Beaver before coming home.

I put more photos from today online


nyc3: food

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:20 am

I ate some food in NYC.

Grimaldi’s Pizza on Old Fulton* in Brooklyn. This is some seriously good pizza. Not-too-greasy and thin crusted, it tastes like it was made with care. Recommended.

Hallo Berlin on 10 Ave. Great German restaurant. Good food (brats, other sausage, potato pancakes) and good German beers (Kostritzer!). The only damper was they were out of Spätzle (which, I’d like to remind everyone, is from Schwaben). Highly recommended.

Katz’s deli on Houston**. The giant pastrami sandwhich is giant and delicious (if a bit overpriced). It’s the best pastrami sandwhich I’ve had. So succulent and juicy.

Nathan’s and funnel cake at Rye Playland. Nathans? I’m unimpressed. Funnel cake, on the other hand, is just about the best food ever invented. My hat off to the Pennsylvania Germans.

*Funny story: I went to Grimaldi’s on Old Fulton and then walked back to the subway station with Paul, my coworker. Right outside the subway station, a girl approaches us and asks me if I know where Old Fulton Rd. is. Well, there are about 1 million streets in NYC and I get asked about the only one I know! I felt pretty great! I told her “down here and then take a left at the bottom.”

**It was Sam Hyuston, wasn’t it? Then why is it Howston St.? New Yorkers, you need to get this straight.



Filed under: — adrian @ 11:40 pm

I say this without fear of exaggeration: I am quite possibly the smartest person on the planet.

I say this because I invented the FlufferPretzeler.

You take the already delicious Fluffernutter sandwhich, with Marshmellow Fluff and peanut butter, and you add pretzels to the mix, right between the fluff and the peanut butter.

Both the flavor and the texture are now explosive! Delicious!


things we’ve made

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:05 am

The other day I was surprised to find out that no only has Rick Sebak put some of his programs on DVD, but that Netflix carries some of them. Rick has made documentaries for many years. Originally they were all for WQED, one of Pittsburgh’s PBS affiliates (now it’s only PBS affiliate) and they were about Pittsburgh. A program about downtown Pittsburgh; another about the churches and places of worship in Pittsburgh (just about always shown on Christmas and Easter), another about the renowned Kennywood; a couple about things that used to be around and one specifically about things that are still there. I watched all of them, taped most of them off of TV during one of their pledge drives. When I first moved to the city they were a way to get into the culture pretty quickly. Later I just loved watching them. I remember when I first heard that he was going to do national programs and I was happy. Now I pop on the TV occasionally to see “Sandwhiches that you will Love” or the one about roadside attractions. They’re infectious. I want to go to the places that Rick shows and talk to the people he talks to.

I haven’t seen some of the newer programs, both the national ones and the Pittsburgh ones. I put Things We’ve Made into my queue and watched it on Friday.

This movie is probably mostly of interest to Pittsburghers or ex-Pittsburghs, but there is quite a lot of manufacturing processes shown, so geeky mechanical engineers or the like might also like it. One of the coolest parts is when they’re showing the Glenshaw Glass Company plant in which they made millions (billions) of beer bottles and how the machines cut up the molten glass into measured blobs and then pushed it into molds and out popped a bottle.

There’s still steel made in the Pittsburgh area—they visited the Clairton US Steel plant. I’d love to go there and take photographs. There’s this one shot in the movie where they’re in a semi-open area and there are these two giant cauldrons of molten steel being poured out and in the background there are the machine operators and a sign saying “House of Pain.” My goodness that could be an amazing photograph.

There were also quirky little things in there, like when they’re talking about All-Clad which is made in Canonsburg, really close to where I grew up and they’re talking about taking some of the new products to this restaurant and this chef to test. Well, that place, the Classroom in McMurray, is where I took my first girlfriend before the Homecoming dance and where my family at dinner on New Year’s Eve, 1999. I realize it’s just a local Pittsburgh movie, but given that it’s a movie out on DVD and that I got from Netflix it has enough separation that it seems weird to see this place on the screen.


I don’t think that one gave anyone a heart attack

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:20 pm

Steelers won another one on the road, this time to get to the Superbowl.

I watched the game at Shanghai Kelly’s again. By game time they were turning people away—dug almost couldn’t get in until I said he was with me (and I was inside already). I’d guess somewhere between eighty and a hundred people in there.

After last game, it was nice to see a game more in control this week. The Steelers looked really good out there. I’m pretty happy with our* chances out there against either of the teams that may be representing the NFC (it looks like it’ll be Seatle at this stage).

*I acknowledge that it’s a bit stupid to use the first person possessive when talking about teams that one supports, but I like it anyway.

A post script of sorts: Two funny stories from half-time. I went out to a store to grab a sandwhich because Shanghai Kelly’s doesn’t serve food. 1) a Bronco’s fan was in the store. I didn’t say anything (though it was 24-3 by that stage) because I thought I’d be nice. To my Bettis jersey, he said “I hope Bettis dies.” Wow. 2) The bagger was talking to the cashier while I was in line. “It’s possible to be a sports fan and not be a total douche. I don’t think people realize that,” to which I said “I try [not to be a total douche].”


Boston recap

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:30 pm

I’m sitting in the W20 (the student center) at MIT, burning about an hour before I leave for the airport. I got in Saturday morning early and I’ve been going just about non-stop since then. I hope I sleep some on the airplane because I need to get some rest before I go back to work tomorrow morning. My goodness.

The itinerary, in somewhat chronilogical order:

  • Brookline Lunch with Jesse. Cheap good diner food.
  • hangin out at Jesse’s place. Watched The Breakfast Club
  • Newbury Comics. Bought something for Logan Sandmeyer of
  • Pour House for half priced hamburger night with Elmo, Snellla, Sam, Jesse and Mim. I got the double Wisconsin, of course.
  • Beers on the roof of tEp
  • My Summer of Love at Kendall Square Cinema with mim and Jesse
  • lunch at Thorton’s Fenway Grill with Abe and Amrys, followed by a game at Fenway with the same plus Colin.
  • FroYo at Ankara with Abe and Colin
  • Bukowski’s in Inman with Wally, Mim, Indy, Farhad, Wumph, Mim and Jesse.
  • Get the new Night Rally and Clickers split 12″ from Farhad at April Fog.
  • Breznev’s with Wally, Agi, Morton, Sarah, Blake, Paladin, Kraken, Mim, Andyl, Jesse, and Qwgbo. 2 Peking Ducks is a whole lot of fat!
  • Newbury Comics (this time picking up the new Stars CD, a 2 CD Neil Diamond Set, and the old Time Are a Changin’ CD by Dylan) and a Frappe at JP Licks with mim.
  • the 4th of July Part at tEp. The fireworks, despite other reports, were fantastic and very well done. The music selection in parts could be overlooked.
  • Lunch with Amrys, stop by to see Georgeji (Prof. Ruckert), errands at my Boston bank, buying an MIT ringer T at the Coop, drink a dr. pepper while blogging this.
  • get a sandwhich for the plane, hop on the T

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