Willie Brown a food critic? Nah, but he’s still funny


Upon reading SFist’s headline “Willie Brown knows where to find the good pickles,” I had to issue an immediate chuckle and follow the adjoining link.

An interview with the chatty former mayor about pickles? This I gotta read!

But arriving at the InsideScoop‘s article, I came to find that this is no interview at all: It’s Brown’s own writing contribution, highlighting condiment jars and restaurant conversation from his recent outings about The City.

I have to admit, it’s a pretty entertaining piece.

Not entertaining in a “oh-my-god-he’s-a-phenomenal-writer” way. Entertaining in an “I-don’t-know-what-he’s-talking-about-but-I-still-like-it” way.

Despite the lack of any real detail about the places he dined at, this little SFGate blurb was still a conversational slice showcasing Brown’s sharp humor.

Brown’s account of eating at Park Tavern in North Beach tells you absolutely nothing about the food, except that the Brown’s dining party was aghast that he ordered a cheeseburger. Why was this such a shocker? Who knows. The only note about the cuisine was that he called his burger “good” twice in the span of three paragraphs.

Then the former mayor goes off on a mini-tangent about spotting Slanted Door owner Charles Phan dining on hearty fare at Town Hall, and joking to the waiter about what Phan might have ordered to eat. Do us readers ever find out what the owner of SF’s best Vietnamese fusion restaurant ordered? Sadly, no. Perhaps because he wasn’t overtly animated enough to hold Brown’s attention span.

And Brown’s fascination with the pickle jars on the tables at Bob’s Steak & Chop House was random enough to be a joke Mitch Hedberg told at the Purple Onion back in the mid-90s.

Brown’s piece reads like the old uncle at the family reunion that can’t stop telling “you-had-to-be-there” jokes because he doesn’t realize that nobody else understands what he’s talking about. But it also highlights Brown’s quirky sense of humor and the joy he still gets from being out and about in The City.

Would I take Willie Brown’s restaurant recommendation over the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer?


But I would definitely read him again. You know, for entertainment purposes.

It’s my digs in a box

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