Archive for March 4th, 2010

House of Shields – San Francisco,CA

March 4, 2010

Work has ended for the day, and libations are to be had. House of Shields is a favorite local drinkhole that is quite honestly the strangest mix of people I’ve ever seen drinking in one spot. A combination of bike messengers, businessmen, and the ocassional catagory “other” wandering in. Symbiosis among social classes, it encompasses all the best of living in San Francisco. The bar is located at the base of 55 Montgomery St. in the financial district. The place packs people in, and isn’t for those who hold their personal space near and dear, but be patient and it clears out soon enough. Obviously the beer is a no-no for the gluten intolerant (except for a few beers made from fermented sorghum – Redbridge for example). Having always been a beer drinker, not a cocktail guy, getting used to the harder stuff was a change. House of Shields uses V8 for their Bloody Mary mix, and I haven’t had any problems (aside from being over salted at the end of the night). My alternative go to drink when I’m not feeling like a sodium overdose, is the vodka 7. Vodka (an easy liquor for most people to tolerate) and 7up (a fantasticly uncaffeinated beverage – nothing to do with gluten, I voluntarily gave up the caffeine) are together a great choice to ween yourself off of the beer. If you are visiting San Francisco, make sure you experience one of the best happy hour bars in the city, just don’t take my seat!

Itinerary/Menu For Horn of Africa/Middle East

March 4, 2010

I depart this Sunday, March 7th From San Francisco to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and will finally arrive on March 9th around noon. I’ll spend a couple of days arranging visas and hanging out in Addis, before departing for Djibouti City on March 12th. After a quick overnight in Djibouti, I’ll catch a flight on Jubba Airways on the 13th to the northern part of the internationally recognized country of Somalia. Due to very infrequent flight schedules, I’ll be there 6 days until my flight starts backtracking countries on the 19th of March. I will have the opportunity to spend about a week traveling throughout Ethiopia before heading back to the Emirates to spend 5 days in Dubai. I will make my way back to San Francisco on the 30th to show up to the day job the next day.

As far as the important stuff, I am very excited about the meals to be had in this wheat deprived part of the world! Ethiopian food is one of my favorites and it’s a shame that the staple grain (tef – naturally gluten free) is very expensive and usually cut with bisquick/all purpose flour/etc. (all loaded with gluten) in the states. Eating Lamb Begee with a fork is a line that I am just not willing to cross. Injera (Ethiopian Bread made from tef), here I come!

I am a little nervous about the food options in Djibouti. Djibouti was formerly known as French Somaliland and has a huge prevalent French influence. If there is one thing the French are known for, it is their bread. I plan on stocking up on quite a few Lara Bars (gluten free!) just in case, but I am positive I will make this country work somehow.

Somaliland, the self-proclaimed, unrecognized state located in the northern part of the greater Somalia is known for its goat meat. This should be quite a fun time trying to play 20 questions with the waiters in Somali/Arabic. I am specifically excited about the prospect of the gluten free vegetarian opportunities.

Finally, Dubai. It amazes me that the degree to which a country is “developed” is almost always proportional to the amount of Wheat, Barley and Rye their diet consists of. The third world, hasn’t found gluten yet, but the first world seems to use it like it is salt. Dubai is rumored to have some fantastic South Asian food (chickpea flour is usually used – think Pakora) to hold me over. Obviously, I will be scouring the country looking for new options.

A quick comment about the airlines, I was able to select a gluten free meal on both Emirates as well as Kenya Airways. I was very happy to see this option, as the flight is almost 16 hours. Any suggestions are very much welcome…

Upcoming Culinary Adventures

March 4, 2010

Ethiopia

Djibouti

Somaliland

United Arab Emirates