Maryland native Joshua Grannell is a fourteen year Bay Area resident famous in part for performing as the popular drag performer-emcee-actor Peaches Christ. Peaches’ reign over her Midnight Mass movie event series that started in 1998 came to a mascara laden end in 2009. BAB interviewee John Waters was one of Peaches’ many famous guests for her Midnight Mass run. Peaches Christ was featured as a (saucy!) protestor in Gus Van Sant’s Milk feature film in 2008 and Trannyshack fans have long held their breath in her wake. Christ’s Facebook page notes she “has also appeared on other television productions, including VH1’s Totally Gay!, AMC’s Movies That Shook the World: Pink Flamingos, and IFC’s Cult Movie pilot.”
When Grannell is not performing as Peaches, he stays busy as a writer and director. Grannell recently “came up for air” from his latest film project, All About Evil. The film was shot locally and debuted at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival. Grannell fretted over being able to fit into his Peaches gear for the Evil film, and somewhat guiltily admitted that he “ate like crap on the movie (set),” and freely indulged in the donuts and candy that were in constant supply from the film’s craft services table. “It was both magical and ridiculous to get offered a candy bar” by his assistants the very moment Grannell thought of it. The pressure of being in the movie got to Grannell, and Peaches’ long time costumer Tira at one point had to “bring in hardware” to zip Peaches into costume.
Grannell calls Hayes Valley home, and loves the food in San Francisco. He said, “We have the best food, ever.” Because Grannell travels often, he will seek out local spots on the road. Depending on where he stays, he will at times add one Bay Area food/drink item to his suitcase. “If I know I’ll be someplace that doesn’t have access to good coffee, I’ll bring Blue Bottle coffee with me. I love the smell of it. I really love Peet’s (coffee) a lot, too.”
He confessed via phone interview that his alt ego, Peaches Christ, would eat at Little Orphan Andy’s. “That is Peaches’ favorite!” Grannell said. “(I) can be in drag and eat there at 3 a.m. Peaches loves their Monte Cristo.”
Don’t expect to see the trademark Peaches hair or telltale make up when Grannell visits his other favorite spots. To stay trim, Grannell, who does not own a car, tries to walk everywhere in the City.
His list of favorite places to eat include: Ananda Fuara, Mandalay, El Castillito, Pacific Café, Suriya Thai, Ton Kiang, and Greens. Grannell said pointedly that “not all tourist spots are bad,” and that he loves the House of Nan King.
Ananda Fuara: “Their neatloaf? Oh my God.” Grannell is also “obsessed with their samosas. Delish!” He also tried the strawberry cake for dessert on a recent visit. “The food is so unique and fresh, and I love the décor. It’s bizarre (there), like some sort of cult.” Cult-ish, maybe. “Folks from L.A. always go there,” Grannell confessed.
Mandalay Restaurant: “I love Burma Super Star but they are too popular, and you have to wait (forever) to get in. We were waiting for Burma Super Star and a local told us about Mandalay. The food is good, I love the ambiance, and it’s owned by the sweetest, coolest people.” Grannell worries that the secret is out on Mandalay, and conceded that “It’s a bit less of a secret (now),” for those seeking Burmese food in the Inner Richmond.
Mandalay Restaurant 4344 California Street (at Sixth Avenue) Map (415) 386-3895 Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30am to 3:30pm Monday – Thursday 5pm to 9:30pm Friday 5pm to 10pm Saturday 11:30am to 10pm Sunday 11:30am to 9:30pm
Grannell used to live in the neighborhood by El Castillito: “I miss a fresh burrito when I am on the road. If I really give in to my food ID, I get a carnitas (burrito). Otherwise, I get chicken. I think we always fool ourselves into thinking ‘I want guacamole.'”
Grannell was raised on seafood and grew up in Maryland. “Pacific Café is a great, old way of doing seafood. I love bringing my wino friends there for the free glass of wine.” (Grannell doesn’t drink alcohol). “I love the ambiance; it feels so sixties or seventies. There are giant globe lamps hanging from the ceiling. They do (seafood) platters that remind me so much of Maryland.” Grannell likes to order the parmesan encrusted halibut at Pacific Café.
Grannell used to go to the Valencia Street location of Suriya Thai, and was “devastated” to hear they had closed. “I was freaking out. I order the pumpkin curry (at Suriya) and a dish called Evil Jungle Prince” that includes Napa cabbage, spinach, lime leaves, and coconut milk in Panang curry sauce.
Grannell brunches on dim sum at Ton Kiang. “When they have those carts, it’s such a uniquely San Francisco thing. I had never, ever heard of dim sum before moving here.”
Ton Kiang 5821 Geary Boulevard (between 22nd Avenue and 23rd Avenue) Map (415) 752-4440, and (415) 387-8273 Hours: Monday – Thursday 10am to 9pm Friday 10am to 9:30pm Saturday 9:30am to 9:30pm Sunday 9am to 9pm
“Whenever my vegetarian friends are in town, I go to Greens.” Cassandra Peterson, better known onscreen as Elvira, is one such friend.