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ALI BABA'S CAFE


I love burritos or anything burrito-like, but sadly, my outrageous obsession has led me down the path of Mexican-palette overload. Naturally, when I came to the realization that shawarmas are the Lebanese equivalent to a burrito, I started to maniacally pursue this new tasty phenomenon. I've now done my share of sampling the SF goods but nothing compares to

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MILLENIUM


I've been vegetarian for over ten years, and in the cities I've lived in as an adult (Chicago and Portland) it has been very easy to accommodate my needs when I go out. But something I always felt was missing from my experience was a place for fine wine and top notch food in an intimate, refined setting. Millennium, on a sloped corner in the Tenderloin, serves up everything I've ever wished

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SYCAMORE


at $3 a pop, 11 A.M. can quickly turn into 11 P.M. The owner/bartender/waitress doesn't flinch when I loudly shake my dice cup over my head either. You can thank me for the recommendation by scooching over in your booth next Sunday, ordering me a beer battered rock cod slider, and letting me school you in Pictionary.

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ALI BABA'S CAVE 799 Valencia Street • San Francisco
MILLENIUM 580 Geary Street • San Francisco
THE SYCAMORE 2140 Mission Street • San Francisco
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The geography of ingredients that grace the menus of our fair city's restaurants read more like a map of dairies and farms than that of a food menu. There is now a responsibility on the part of the Chef to validate his ingredients; their pedigree and radius from the restaurant seem suddenly as important as their taste. Now, I am not saying this is bad for food, or us, or dining in general, but is it done for flavor, or for fashion?

Restaurants have become beholden to the snobbery of their guests, or in some cases, their ignorance. People are suddenly less willing to eat something that may not be from a nearby farm. If a beet is not organic, it is stricken from the list. The hypocrisy of diners runs deep, though I don't suggest it is necessarily done with ill will, but rather the nervous energy of a youngster that doesn't know better.

There was a time when people discussed things over dinner like politics, relationships, music, and the simple pleasure of things tasty is no longer enough. Now the discussion of what we are eating is most important, every morsel dissected, looking for faults. Diners are more anxious than ever to fill their bellies with food that has a legitimate pedigree.

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FOOD COLUMN METADINING