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Three Hours in the East Bay

Pepper | Nov 13, 200010:28 AM

It is one of those propositions delightful to contemplate in the abstract: Given three hours between a wine-soaked Sonoma County party and a redeye back to Sodom, how precisely might a chowhound while away the time?

Ton Kiang, followed by a browse through the cookbook section at Golden Apple? A seat at the Boulevard counter? A quick plate of the best pepper-salt shrimp in the country at Yuet Lee and a leisurely espresso at Tosca?

Barbecue, more likely, first a crisp, lovely slab of pork ribs at the San Pablo branch of Everett & Jones (a side of hot links too!), followed by some distinctly lesser ribs at the San Pablo branch of Flint's--oh, woe--and also at Doug's, although we snagged our ribs at Doug's seconds before it closed, and have to consider the possibility that it was probably not the freshest half-slab they had ever sold.

Winner: E&J, by a mile, although it must be conceded that their thick, fruit-jelly-based sauce may be an acquired taste, even if the medium does permit an awesome concentration of red-pepper flakes that approaches a dwarf star in both density and sheer heat.

Afterwards, a plate of chile verde at Picante just because. I am falling in love with Picante more and more with every visit, and I never order anything but that smoky, spicy emerald-green pork stew. Lord, do I wish there was chile verde this good in the five boroughs.

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