Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sausage Party


Gestalt Haus is one of those bars I want desperately not to like because it fits neatly into that genre of winking self-referential San Francisco-ness that gets roundly derided the whole world over: craft beer, nay!, sour craft beers (from Belgium), bike racks, funky décor, couches, 80s metal band tee-shirts, heavily tattooed bartenders and sausages.

"Beer, brats and bikes," as they say ("they" being every other publication that has written about the bar). Ironic mustaches and millennials. I should not like this place as much as I do.

However I don't hate Gestalt, although it is not my first (or even second) choice for drinks. There are several small details (and some not so small details) that make me sort of love it.

For one thing, they are allowing my friend who is effectively homeless do an art show there - the music scene might be dead in San Francisco but the art scene thankfully thrives even under the terrifying threat of the G-Bus to MV régime.

Gestal has a giant projector screen which exists, surely, so that patrons may enjoy la compétition du jour, however on a recent visit two twenty-something gals were watching Bob's Burgers as I saddled up to the bar to contemplate which gout triggers I would put into the face (beer and charcuterie are famously high in proteins called purines, which gout sufferers' kidneys cannot process efficiently, leading to painful uric acid cysts formed through capillary action).

"I'll take the oui oui frou frou ou la la* sour and a bockwurst, kind sir," I told the bartender, an amiable chap with (color me surprised) a trucker hat, tattoo sleeves on both arms, a full beard and probably an ironic vintage tee-shirt.

"Sorry, 86'd, the only Flemish sour we have is le Chateauneuf du votre maman*," which I ordered, "want anything on the sausage?"

"Kraut, onions, brown mustard," I said.

"Okay, one bockwurst with kraut and onions, mustard's back there by the napkins - help yourself."

Linda Belcher, the wife in Bob's Burgers, breaks into song as I plunk down and wait for my bockwurst, a light sausage made from veal, pepper, white wine, milk and usually stale breadcrumbs.

I open my laptop up being perfectly contented in my role in this so San Francisco tableau.

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Not far from Gestalt Haus is 4505 Meats, one of Gestalt's potential purveyors (I hadn't asked, and no news source that I hastily scoured prior to writing this mentioned which sausage maker they use). The other options are to source sausages is either Bi-RiteRosamunde Grill or possibly some other crafter of fine meat in tube form.

Meat in tube form is only one of 4505 Meats' fortés, however, and for a cool $9 or so you can come in for lunch and take out one of their fancy, fancy hot dogs. Get a bag of their house chicarrónes (which are seriously like butter... like crispy little pieces of pig candy).

A nod to the neighborhood's ubiquitous bacon-dog carts, 4505 Meats' prepared food takeout menu often features a variation on the bacon dog, as well as hot dogs garnished with house smoked cold or hot deli cuts, fancy local cheese, house-fermented pickles on a soft roll.



4505 Meats is a self described "brick and mortar" however they are the name to drop when you are trying to up-sell a sandwich anywhere in San Francisco: "made with 4505 Meats" is a label that adds real brand value to whatever you wish to put in a bun or nestle between to slices of bread (perhaps $10 toast, courtesy of Tartine).

Now that you mention it, I think I would like a hard roll stuffed with pastrami and Emmentaler (from Rainbow, natch) and a heavy dollop of Lev's Original Hot Mustard. That sandwich would be so super San Francisco!

Like Tartine, there is the prerequisite comely young men and women tending the deli counter. They are not just other pretty faces: 4505 Meats workers truly know how to smoke 'em, stuff 'em and put the meat between the buns.

Remember, sausages are healthy.


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* Not a real beer.

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Gestalt Haus
3159 16th Street
San Francisco, CA

4505 Meats
1909 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA