Showdogs, San Francisco

We stopped at this dog joint the day after Christmas for a quick lunch.  It’s located on 1020 Market Street (by Union Square) and was packed to the gills at 1pm.  For good reason – the food here is made in house with natural and / or quality ingredients.  Selections range from the exotic Wild Boar with Cherry Chutney to the humble Italian Veggie Sausage with Brown Mustard.

I chose the Wild Boar dog with a half pint of Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’.  The  ale’s hoppy body with just the right touch of bitter was an excellent match to the sweet chutney laced meaty boar!

The sweet potato fries didn’t disappoint either.  Thin, crisp and sweet – just the way they should be.  The house made serrano ketchup kicks ass!

Connie chose the Pulled Pork Sandwich – loads of slow roasted pig, coleslaw and BBQ sauce.  Juicy and delicious, with a nice touch of sweet, tang and spice.

With all the walking around the city, my appetite was not quite satiated with the dog.  Went ahead with an order of beef chili.  The texture on the chili was smooth (no lumpy beef pieces), the spice level perfect and smooth cheese to top it off.

As a bonus, Showdogs carries one of San Fran’s best local coffee – from Four Barrel.  The Ethiopian Welena Suke Quto has an amazing flavor profile – Intensely floral fragrance introduce a cup layered with citrus, tangerine, blood oranges, and pink lemonade. A sweet and clear cup.  Just plain beautiful!

If you are in downtown SF by Union Square, check out Showdogs.  Will not disappoint.




A Magic Night

The simple stuff in life … It’s one of those magic nights today. Christmas shopping done, the “de-stressing” comes by way of what else? … Food, wine and music. Seared filet mignon bowl from Rimel’s, Crozes Hermitage from Delas. The filet is juicy and tender, the wine from the eastern bank if the Rhone river is absolutely seductive! Fat dark fruit, spice with a silky texture.    With Patricia Barber’s Cafe Blue on deck via Spotify and coming through on B&W’s … sheer magic.  Cheers!



Don Ville, Bespoke Shoemakers in Los Angeles

Raul Ojeda is a man fueled by passion.  The owner of Don Ville bespoke shoemakers on 113, N La Brea Ave. is a great conversationalist beyond the craft of shoe making.  Upon passing by this beautiful storefront window on my way to Self Edge denim store last Sunday, I was instantly drawn in.  Greeted by Raul as I walked through his front door, we struck up a dialog that lasted a good hour as he diligently expanded my knowledge in the art of custom shoe making.

Raul Ojeda, Owner

Raul has been in the shoe business since 2004 and credits his teacher and mentor Willie Rivera from whom he earned his apprenticeship and perfected the art of shoe crafting.  I asked Raul if he had any reservations about opening a niche business in the current recessionary environment, to which replied as any confident entrepreneur would – “If you build quality, the demand will be there”.  His customer is clearly not of the mass market variety but rather a discerning individual that will pay for quality that lasts a lifetime. The store space at Don Ville is very inviting, clean, chic.  Lingering is encouraged!


Raul explained that footwear service at Don Ville comes in two flavors “Made to measure” and “True bespoke”.  The former is a process that is semi-custom with footwear made for customers with  “shoe lasts” that the store has in it’s inventory.  With bespoke, the lasts are made for customers and represent individual custom molds.  The approximate price for made to measure shoes ranges from $700 – $1000.  Bespoke shoes will set you back $2000 or more depending on the leather, customization, patina or other special requests.  While it seems like a lot, quality shoes made here will last you a lifetime if cared for well (for context, bespoke services from the like of John Lobb would reach upwards of $7,000!)

A peek into Raul’s operations and workshop is a visual treat as well.  It provides a great perspective into the labor, skill and touch that goes into making a great pair of shoes.  Seen on the shelves are the hundreds of lasts that are in Don Ville’s inventory.

Yes, it’s all made in America baby!  100% quality – no cheap imports.

Like a great suit from Savile Row, a pair of bespoke shoes from Don Ville will make you feel like a million bucks!

Continued success and best wishes Raul!.  Thanks for showing us around.

Breakfast at Doughboys, Los Angeles

Hungry for a big breakfast made from scratch?  Head to Doughboys on West 3rd Street  in Los Angeles.  Our breakfast there last Sunday turned out to be a surprise – we had the pleasure of being seated next to owner Terry and his older brother Sydney two of the finest gentlemen you could meet.  They were both gracious conversationalists.  We had plenty of questions for Terry and he was more than willing to engage.  The restaurant boasts “made from scratch cooking”, healthy portions and fresh ingredients.  Sydney is well traveled and shared his cinnamon french toast with us 🙂

Doughboys Cafe owner Terry


Cinnamon french toast

The restaurant space is fairly small but clean and much more inviting than the Griddle cafe which we walked in and out of instantly before landing here.

Our first dish was a classic eggs benedict with vegetarian sides of spinach, tomatoes, greens, potatoes and fruit.  Not the prettiest presentation. This was a good dish essentially marred by a gallon of Hollandaise sauce.  Message to the kitchen – a third of the sauce next time please!

We also tried the Blueberry flax seed griddle cakes – low fat, no added sugar, made with whole grains, oat bran and flax seed.  Dense, rustic with a great chewy texture.  Topped with pure maple syrup and a side of smoky bacon – fantastic!!!

Our friendly waitress

Terry asked us to try the Doughboys bakery a few blocks away and offered up a 20% discount coupon as incentive.  Fueled up from breakfast we headed to the bakery.

A small space to grab fresh bakery and coffee.  We grabbed some walnut bread and chocolate cookies and headed back south to San Diego.  Terry and Sydney – thanks for your hospitality.  We will be back.