En Garde!

Serious Eats has the lowdown on a mild controversy surrounding GQ food critic Alan Richman’s claim in his latest column that San Francisco hasn’t done much for the American culinary renaissance:

Alice Waters and sourdough bread aside, the Bay Area has contributed surprisingly little to the culinary ripening of America considering its proximity to fertile growing regions from the Central Valley to Napa and Sonoma counties.

This, of course, incenses San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer, who says in his blog, “I simply don’t know where to begin. Has he heard of wine? Artisan cheeses? Arugula?”

In Bauer’s next blog entry, he refutes Richman’s assertion with a healthy list of “25 Reasons We’re a Food-Lovers’ Paradise.” According to Bauer, the Bay Area is responsible for everything from Starbucks to mesclun to the Mai Tai. Hey, I live here, and I didn’t know about the local links to some of this stuff: the martini? Domestic olive oil? Microbreweries? They all began in the Bay Area, says Herr Bauer in his well-linked survey. So suck on a baguette, Richman, we are so a food town.

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