Food Secrets of a Writer and Litquake Co-Founder: Jack Boulware

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 9 years old.

Jack Boulware. Photo by Silke TudorJack Boulware came to San Francisco in 1983, where he started a small magazine and "washed dishes in exchange for room and board." He later founded The Nose magazine, and worked as writer for San Francisco Weekly, Playboy, Wired, Salon, and the New York Times. Boulware is the author of the book Sex, American Style, and co-authored the punk rock history book Gimme Something Better with Silke Tudor. He lives in the Mission District with his girlfriend, Christie Ward.

Boulware is also widely known for helping create one of the most successful lit events in the Bay Area. In 1999, he and Jane Ganahl co-founded a literary festival that eventually became known as Litquake while drinking beer at The Edinburgh Castle. Today, Litquake has grown into the largest fest of its kind on the West Coast and will feature more than 500 authors during a nine day run that starts on October 1st. Programming includes local and international writers and poets, youth programs, and topics ranging from science, religion, surf lit, "Hollywood Hell," and the intriguingly titled Fairy Tale Noir. There is a lunchtime "delicious" event called Litquake Bites on October 7 at the Book Passage Store in the Ferry Building, starting at 12 noon. Sarah Billingsley, Gordon Edgar, Steve Sando and Amy Treadwell will discuss local food and books.

Boulware shared his picks for food spots, while asking folks to not visit his favorites:

"I cannot stand waiting in line. Who does, really? So if you are reading this, please, please do not frequent the places I'm listing. Or we'll both have to wait in line." He lives near the Liberties Pub on Guerrero and 22nd, and says he goes there "because they’ve got the mighty Smithwick’s on tap." Edinburgh Castle Pub has been home to many Litquake meetings and events, and Boulware also appreciates it for “the Scotch selection, of course.” Also in the Tenderloin, Boulware favors “Chutney on Jones St., reasonably priced Indian food without the tourists. Again, do not go here."

His assessment of Peruvian Limon Rotisserie on South Van Ness is funny and frank: "The roasted chicken will make you take off your clothes and run naked down the street." For a more upscale dining spot, Boulware heads to Tadich Grill because it is the "oldest restaurant in the city -- your basic surf n turf and baked oysters, but the benefit of an old-school staff of scowling Eastern Europeans."


Julia Child also loved Vietnamese dive Tu Lan, which Boulware says is "in the hellish Market/6th corridor. Excellent spring rolls and lemon beef salad, accompanied by random schizophrenics and cockroaches, and an 89-year-old man upstairs, carefully making the rolls by himself." When shopping for ingredients, Boulware checks out Bombay Bazaar, which is "a great place to buy spices in bulk, even if you don’t know how to use them. Plus there’s the stacks of 1980s Bollywood VHS tapes. And the cardamom ice cream next door." Boulware’s guilty local food pleasure is "The infamous heart-clogging Mission burrito, carnitas and super, of course, but only once in awhile. Gotta let the arteries recover." Note he would not share exactly where he gets his belly bombs.

Date night is an order-in affair, with Zante’s Indian pizza in the outer Mission. "But get it delivered and order extra meat. Also their chicken korma is really great." This writer has spotted Boulware at Beretta/The Last Supper Club for weekend brunch. Boulware also is partial to Farmer Brown, for "Sunday jazz brunch buffet. What else do you need to know? Superb bloody Marys also." Cheers to that.

Mary Ladd has volunteered and done event work for Litquake, and has a husband who is on the Advisory Board.

Photo Credit: Silke Tudor