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Sunday, March 19, 2006

First Annual Anti-War Dive Crawl

Excuse me, but where were you?

Do you know how long I waited in front of the library for you to show up?

You must have been at home picking lint out of your belly button because I sure didn't see you with the Foodies For Peace contingent. Too bad, because there were lots of beautiful people (10,000 according to the Chron) and food lovers gathered yesterday for the anti-war demonstration and march.

Too bad because you also missed the First Annual Anti-War Dive Crawl.

Technically, it's the 3rd annual anti-war demonstration since the start of the Iraq invasion, but this year I cashed in a few chits, pulled a few strings, peddled a little influence and the end result was the first, Pro-Dive, anti-war march through, where else, the Tenderloin, Mission Street, 6th Street, and McCallister.

I mean, you couldn't pick a better route to highlight the diversity and magnitude of true, only in San Francisco, dives. Thanks to the organizers for heeding my suggestions!

Tour guides, take notice.

The weather for the dive crawl was wonderful and the crowd seemed energized to learn about, sample, and explore the culinary cantakerous cuisines of the TL and 6th Street "gourmet" ghetto. The event even brought out anti-divers!

You just can't plan this stuff, people!

Before the dive crawl began, however, I first had to sample the dive food concession stands, most notably the Uhuru stand. Before I began diving as a way of life, I would generally avoid the concession stands at various political demonstrations and street fairs, of which many were attended by the Uhuru Concessions people. In hindsight, I feel like I may have missed out on some of the better incarnations of the Uhuru concession stand, since I remember many years of being choked by all of the smoke coming from their barbecue.

I always thought it a little funny when Uhuru's barbecue smoke billowed over the head of the crowd, most of them, to be sure, vegan or vegetarian. Talk about strange political bedfellows. What's even stranger is that the guy who leads the Uhuru cult, er, I mean organization is a practicing vegetarian.

Hum? Could this be infiltration of the African people's minds by the petty bourgeosie as led by sell-out negroes and their honky, capitalist, imperialist masters?

Let's first have a bite of the cheesesteak and then decide, shall we?

As I was waiting in line, I happened to pull aside someone who had just ordered the Uhuru falafel sandwich. If there was falafel anywhere in that sandwich it had been drowned by a ton of something resembling tahini sauce. How lovely.

As a point of unity, I would like to suggest walking a block or two over to Gyro King to liberate your mouth from this catastrophic, imperialist, so-called falafel.

Now, I'm no stranger to cheesesteaks. Lord knows I've had plenty in my day and, in fact, at one time I use to make my living off of selling them (and other things).

Never did the steak come in processed, molded patties. And the cheese was never Kraft American singles. Sure there were grilled onions, but bell peppers? I don't think so. And they are served traditionally on rolls, not hot dog buns.

Even for $5 this was an awful and degrading impersonation of a cheesesteak. This was defamation of the cheesesteak.

In fact, it was downright oppressive.

It wasn't a field cheesesteak, it was a house cheesesteak! It made me want to break my chains and rise up in Socialist revolution against the well-meaning honkies running the concession stand and liberate the cheesesteak from their petty bourgeois claws, shouting "Uhuru! On The Move for the liberation of the peoples of the cheesesteak diaspora!"

However, I had a dive crawl to attend to. But take warning, I've penciled you in on my list, so-called "Uhuru" so-called "Concessions".

As bad as the cheesesteak was, and when I possibly thought things couldn't get any more divey at a protest rally food stand, I was encountered with the dive of all dives:

The Dumpster Dive.

You know, there is always at least one person or one faction at these events who has to prove they are more radical or more in-line with "The People" or more cooler or, in this case, more divey than another person or group. Often, this manifests itself in ways that are mockable, if not downright off-putting. I mean, do we really need one more point to our manifesto?

Please, let's stop this circular firing squad already because...this is just gross:

And who of all people do I see standing around this free-for-all, than our very own Frank Chu. Please, Frank, I'll give you 2 dollars. Go buy yourself a burger at New Lun Ting, already.

The dive crawl began on Larkin and made its way slowly into the TL. As we marched from dive to dive, we chanted loudly so that Bush, Cheney and the anti-divers could hear:

"Black! Latino! Asian, Arab, White!
Stop Hate, Stop War, Defend Our City's Dives!"

Here's a map of the dive crawl for your future use.

Instead of posting every single picture of every single dive, I've created a set over at Flickr, which you can view or you can click on the specific dives I list below. Here are just some of the dives we "toured".

The Lafayette Coffee Shop

Cabbies Burger (all halal and very non-traditional dishes)
Café Donut (bahn mi sandwiches)
Original Joe's
Crate & Barrel (not a dive, but I considered looking for a turrine dish)
Fu War(I've had delivery from here countless times)
Hooker's Gumbo Shack (hoping to try soon)
Tu Lan (what can be said that hasn't been said many times before?)
6th and Market Food Corner (this WILL be featured here soon)
Taqueria Castillo B (noted for it's awesome burritos)

There were a few I missed, like Harry Harrington's Hofbrau and some places on side streets. Otherwise, I would say this year's Anti-War Dive Crawl was a raging against the machine success!

In your face, Bush!



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