By John Birdsall
This story begins six years ago, as a silence I couldn’t stop thinking about.
I cooked, for more than a decade and a half, in restaurants. In 2002 I left the kitchen to chase a food-writing career, and at the end of 2008, got my first gig with teeth, as the first full-time editor of SF Weekly’s awkwardly titled restaurant blog, SFoodie. I remember driving to work on the Bay Bridge one morning (I lived in Oakland, still do), gaze toggling from the road to the fog dammed up behind the Golden Gate, over to the gray face of the Ferry Building’s tower, with heaving angst in my gut. I thought, Holy shit.
The responsibility of covering food in San Francisco weighed on my shoulders like a double-lug crate of asparagus. I wanted to report honestly, in stories that told how it felt to eat here, and why so many cooks with talent had come; still come. Even if nobody knew how to pronounce SFoodie, I was determined they’d know they had to read it.
By spring I was working on an idea: to write and edit a series, a sprawling set of stories timed for Pride month.
San Francisco swells and buds in June, breaks out everywhere into the queer utopia so many of us ached to find as teenagers, when we tried to cope in tiny, closed-door bedrooms, in the shitty suburban towns that hated us. I needed
to capture that.