The Great Plotnik

Friday, October 31, 2014


The Plotniks had not been to Boulevard before last night. Now they know why this is considered one of the best restaurants in the city. This desert you're looking at – – a couple of tiny flans with slices of pear and some strange Japanese cake – – was not the best of it, not by any means. The best was the truffle broth over the piece of glazed black cod. A beet salad lurks in the background. Did we mention the quail?

TGP loves old-line restaurants like these. And no one wears a tie any more except the hosts and the waiters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Game Seven. The Best Part is Tomorrow.

What a perfect end to the baseball season. Game Sevens are what all Sports Fans dream of, at least the ones who don't waste their time caring about The American Idiot Super Bowl. Even if your team sucked eggs this year, when Game Seven comes up you realize you wish your guys were playing, even though you know they couldn't beat either of these teams. So, let's hope for a great game and once it's over, AT LAST, Spring Training will be right around the corner.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Facts of Life

You set up a studio, an engineer, and two players and one singer, and you get the date and everything is fixed for exactly thirty seconds, and then the singer hurts her back scuba diving and the engineer had the wrong date and is not free after all and the trombonist probably doesn't even exist.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pedal to the Puddle

Oct 26, 2014. Read a letter to the editor this morning in the Crusticle from a woman complaining about bicyclists. She said "It's obvious the city only cares about bicycles and not about drivers. I'm 70 years old! I can't ride a bicycle!"

Well Plottie isn't 70 yet but he is getting close to putting punctuation on that decade before. So today, on his birthday, he decided to pedal down to the beach. It's 'way closer than he remembered, maybe half an hour there and forty five minutes back, if you don't get flattened by that idiotic bike lane they put in the middle of speeding cars on Sloat and speeding cars entering Sloat from Lake Merced.

Beautiful, beautiful day. Wind, waves, people walking dogs on the sand and trying to keep both sand and wind out of their eyes. The ocean is far from the bay, so no baseball over here. Perfect.

Thank you to all hereditary forebears who have permitted The Great Plotnik to ride his bike to a glorious ocean and back home again without really noticing the hills. Ain't braggin,' just thankin.'

Saturday, October 25, 2014


My Mom has started asking for her daughter, the one who died at two days old in 1938. In the middle of the night, she wonders where Kenni is. She's been asking for The Chief too, and last night told Lillian she couldn't get into her bed because her mother and Auntie Dora were in it and there was no room for her.

Brother Shmeckl can't face it, he's resolved not to let himself think about it until he has to, but to me it's kind of wonderful. Is this what happens as we taxi towards the end of the runway? Who am I to know what this is like, or what I'll see or won't see, or hear or won't hear, or how the brain and the body prepare themselves for whatever they've got planned?

Or, maybe, this is nothing at all. Or maybe it's everything. The only thing I am sure of is I have no idea and neither do you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Apple Juice

The old green pippin is giving more apples every year. This year I've made good apple sauce, especially fine to cook with, and incredible apple juice.

The recipe is all the pippins that fall off the tree without too many blemishes and before the squirrels get them, plus an equal amount of Fujis from the farmer's market guy who sells me all I can carry home in my bike pack for $5.

That's around 20 pounds of apples which makes maybe a gallon or a little more. You've never tasted apple juice this good. It'll last maybe ten days in the fridge. Days two through eight are the best, and then it starts to ferment. The alcohol it produces tastes so bad you can't swallow it, so forget that idea.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Apartment in Chicago

It was a quick trip, and worth going. Being with Mummy P. works in 20 minute spurts these days. She doesn't sleep much at night, so the day becomes her night, when she has to pick up all those missing hours. Saturday she slept in the car coming home from Burbank airport, slept most of the day away, had dinner, fell asleep on the sofa and then went to bed. Today was better, she was alert in the morning. Nefnik and Lilli came over and were there with her when Ducknik and Plot took a cab to the airport.

So you don't get a lot but you do treasure those little spurts. In one, this morning, she remembered how things were when she was newly married into a large family in Chicago. Those days are mysterious to Plotnik, he loves to hear about them, since he was only three months old when the family uprooted themselves and moved to L.A.  It was nice to talk about Aunt Ann, a gracious woman who Plot never saw much but always cared for. All those Chicago relatives, and all the New York relatives, and Plottie and Schmeckl never really knew any of them. L.A. was a long way to come in the '40s and '50s.

So that was a nice little memory segment. The rest of the time was asking us over and over whether or not we'd eaten breakfast.

The thing is, nobody ever said getting old is gracious. But you can be gracious about it, and that's what Mummy P. does. Plot sits out on the patio and holds her arm and she says she knows she's not much fun anymore, but smiles and asks "what can I do about it?" She can't remember names or words, but she can remember driving around Chicago in 1936 with Aunt Ann. She can remember where her apartment was. She remembers her mother-in-law's mother, also named Rose. She can remember old Abe who carried a long horn that you had to shout into. She remembers the nice things people did and the nasty things they said, and her mother in law who helped her own two daughters but never her daughter in law, and her father selling candy on Maxwell Street, and then her face goes blank and she is silent and when Plotnik thinks she has fallen asleep she says "I was just thinking about that apartment."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kind of a Sad Afternoon

The thing is, I want to live as long as I can, I want to scratch for every last second on this Earth. Yet I don't want my kids to have to see me the way I see my mom. So I guess I just want to live forever, in perfect health, able to see, and hear, and remember, and perform all my bodily functions discretely, and maybe that will be enough, but it's not really all that much, is it?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Great Weekend of Theater

It was a great theater weekend, the kind Plotnik loves best. Friday night we took Mush's advice and saw "Old Hats" at A.C.T. Laughed, laughed, laughed. Saturday night we went to Mountain View to see a new "Sweeney Todd." Brilliant, flawed, brilliant, like all Sondheim. Last night we saw "Bad Jews" at the Magic and that one was the jewel. You don't have to be Jewish to love this show but if you are it will make you cringe in your kishkes. Here's the link:

SF Theater Blog review of "Bad Jews"

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Dan, Belly and Des as the Colors Change

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


OK, so the worst that can happen happens: the Cardinals and Giants win and will play each other for the championship. The Plotzers underachieve again and are through for the year.

Plot hates the Cardinals. The Giants -- well he hates them much more, it's visceral, it's primal, he's hated them since he was thirteen. He's only hated the Cardinals since 2012.

Worse, only one of those teams can lose. The best that could happen would be for whoever loses to be miserable, and then whoever advances to the World Series to become suicidal when thumped in four by the Kansas City Oriole Baltimore Royals.

But that's not enough. Not nearly enough.

If Plotnik were to count up the hours he spent watching Plotzer games on MLB-TV this season, he would come to two conclusions:

1) He really enjoyed watching those games.
2) He needs to get a life.


1) You can't beat the Giants enough. You can whup them during the year but if you don't get a chance to whup them in the playoffs it doesn't mean anything.

2) This mixed marriage thing sucks. A Giant fan. Jeez.

3) If that deplorable orange and black beats the Cards and gets to the World Series, Plotnik will be as far from here as an airplane can take him, preferably somewhere they use chopsticks and have no newspapers and the government has canceled the internet and no one on the street ever heard of baseyborr.

Friday, October 03, 2014


After tonight's debacle of unimagined proportion, I declare my belief in Sainted Bleeding Gums Murphy.  He's the best chance we've got. Go, Bleeding Gums! Carry us to Victory!

Now you watch!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

First Fall Potatoes

The ones above are to store. They're combined below with the ones we're going to put in the cabinet to eat now.

You're looking at around six pounds of white Yukon Golds and Fingerlings, purple Peruvians and red steamers. Six pounds of potatoes is probably more than we eat in a year, but any that sprout, which they'll do within a few months even if we keep them cold, we just cut in half and replant them for next year. Potatoes never fail, except in Ireland, but that was no joke.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Piperade is one of the best restaurants in S.P.  And they have Living Social coupons at least once a year. So we go once a year.