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Wednesday, Nov 20 1996
The Friendly Skies
Flying Kamikazes, the rock 'n' roll sushi joint in the Marina that lost its name in a fight with Kamikaze Sushi of San Rafael, has taken to the air again as Ace Wasabi's. The new name is the result of a three-week contest in which more than 1,000 people participated; 12 winners who each suggested some variation of the winning moniker will receive $100 in sushi from the restaurant. Surviving the transition is the restaurant's distinctive airplane logo -- only now a dashing cat (Ace Wasabi, one presumes) is at the controls.

One morbidly witty name that didn't quite make it: Uni Bomber. Would you eat there?

More Peasant Pie
Tom Peasant Pies, which moved into the 24th Street space left behind by the defunct Knish Konnection just two years ago, continues to grow. Co-owners Gerard Long and Ali Keshavarz opened a second shop on 18th Street near Castro in March and a third, on Irving at 11th Avenue in the Inner Sunset, last week.

Why the Inner Sunset?
"Like our other locations, it's a neighborhood with a small-town feel," Keshavarz says. "We like to be a part of this kind of community, where merchants and customers know each other."

The presence of nearby UCSF, with its large and hungry student body, can't hurt either. Tom Peasant Pies are cheap ($2.40 each), low in fat, and interesting (leek with roasted bell peppers, blueberries with pears). Impecunious students can't ask for much more than that.

Good Times/Bad Times
There's good news and bad news about Michael Norton, the man who launched Berkeley's Kona Kai Farm in 1979 and went on to become a major supplier of organic produce to local restaurants. (Big client: Chez Panisse.) The good news is that the farm has been moved to an acre plot at Seventh Street and Heinz and now adjoins a 25,000-square-foot brick building, in which Norton had hopes to open both a restaurant and a permanent produce market come spring.

The bad news is that Norton was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. 6 for mislabeling coffee beans. The scheme (in which cheap Central American coffees were allegedly passed off as pricey Hawaiian Kona) is said to have netted Norton more than $20 million.

Federal authorities have already seized more than $3.5 million from Norton, including cash from Swiss and American accounts and California real property (though not the farm). A spokesman for Norton says the expansion of Kona Kai Farm should proceed as planned, unless the financing banks withdraw. As to whether that's likely to happen, he says, "I don't know."

By Paul Reidinger

About The Author

Paul Reidinger


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