American law professors are converging on San Francisco later this week for the annual AALS conference. I won’t be there. But as a Bay Area native, long-time resident, and frequent visitor I have a couple of tips for those who will be. And those tips have to do with … food.
Given the ongoing brouhaha over the labor situation at conference hotels, why not try out a place that has real ties to The City’s labor history? Back when shipping was a major part of the San Francisco economy, the waterfront was a hotbed of union activity. Read about organizing legend Harry Bridges here; get an introduction to the 1934 general strike and the “Battle of Rincon Hill” here and here. To get a faint whiff of life for longshoreman, check out Red’s Java House. Red’s has been on the Embarcadero, just south of the Bay Bridge, for more than 80 years. Anyone who takes a run from the Ferry Building down to PacBell Park (or AT&T Park, or whatever it’s called now) will jog past the little white building by the water. Read about it here. The food isn’t great; it’s cheap, just like the beer. Red’s is a throwback to the days before San Francisco got obsessively self-absorbed with cuisine. If the weather is clear and tolerably warm, sit outside on a bench and enjoy the view of freighters unloading in Oakland, tankers at anchor in the south Bay, and planes taking off from Oakland International.
After a throwback meal at Red’s, go have some modern San Francisco cuisine at:
The House. In North Beach, on Grant just above Columbus. The restaurant has a dazzling, media rich website here. (Clearly, the money goes into the menu!) The House is a compact but comfortable restaurant that serves outstanding Asian food. Just outstanding.
Happy New Year.