Late to the party on this, but when the Cod finds something special, it's special to share it, right? So the aforementioned Michael Bauer, food critic cum cheerleader for the SF Chronic, went to NYC. And got homesick. It's a jawdropping exercise in provincialism, and as a native Bostonian, the Cod knows provincial. The lede:
I returned from New York craving really good fava beans, asparagus and carrots. I had great food there, but the one area where just about every place fell short was the produce. All three of these spring items paled in comparison to what’s available here.
Astute listeners will note that Ray Charles does not enumerate fresh fava beans among the virtues of New ork. It's as if Bauer was concerned that some of his readers might wonder if there were chefs in NYC who worked a little harder or thought a little harder than the chefs in SF, and wanted to reassure them that NYC chefs struggle with such challenges in their produce that there is no threat there to the utopia that is the Bay Area:
A less SFcentric reader might consider this the difference between "cooking" and "shopping," but for Bauer, it's all the sneaky manipulating you have to do to make East Coast food even palatable.
Like I said, late to the party on this. The Bauer jawn dropped in early May. Presumably, Bauer's NYC trip was sometime shortly before, which is to say April/late winter in NYC, aka, the nadir of local produce. If you are visiting NYC with an eye towards seeing how chefs use local produce compared to SF, you are really stacking the deck if you make that trip in April:
I had even worse tomatoes on the burgers at the Dutch, which is Andrew Carmellini’s newest venture. They were merely wet foils to the cheese and thick beef patty. However, the little oyster sandwiches were superb, and those who got the fried chicken are still talking about how good it was.
Who goes to the Dutch to review the tomato on the burger? (Perhaps, Maws's famous hardline on out of season tomatoes makes sense in the event of visits from the likes of Bauer.) You want to try a good East Coast tomato? Come at me bro. In August. If, instead, the point of the article is to argue that SF has better produce for more of the year than does NYC, Bauer could have saved the jet fuel and spent the time doing sun salutations in front of the Ferry Terminal Market.