From tangerine trees and marmalade skies to yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye, the lyrical language of the Beatles is laden with talk of food. In a humorous study called “Eat the Beatles!” conducted earlier this year, Beatles super-fan and humorist Martin Lewis discovered that the Fab Four “actually recorded more overt references to tea than drugs!”
In its heyday, the Beatles were extraordinary hawkers of food products. Mitch McGeary, proprietor of the RareBeatles.com website, lists a number of treats that the group endorsed by name and sometimes image. It would seem that the boys were quite fond of carbohydrates, lending their credibility to products like cereal, potato chips, crackers, bread, and cookies. Junk food giant Nabisco even named a package of fudge sandwich cookies Ringos.
Cafés and eateries with Beatles themes exist across Europe, and even the Bay Area has a piece of the action. At Heimerhaus (601 Main St. at Veterans Blvd., Redwood City), “John, Paul, George, Ringo’ is a popular “super-sandwich,” a creation that actually looks like three sandwiches stuck together with the aid of corned beef, roast beef, turkey, Swiss and American cheeses, cucumber, cranberry sauce, pickle, coleslaw, mayonnaise, and mustard on rye. It’s a feat of construction that is both intimidating and fun to eat. Never mind the avowed vegetarianism of three-quarters of the group.
In San Francisco, another deli, the Sunset District’s Yellow Submarine (503 Irving at 6th Ave., San Francisco) doesn’t have any themed menu items but instead honors the group with colorful décor inspired by the famous Beatles cartoon. Across Golden Gate Park in the Richmond District, the Japanese restaurant Halu (312 8th Ave. at Clement, San Francisco) serves sushi and yakitori in a funky room covered with Beatles posters, toys, and other memorabilia, a drum set with the band logo towering in the loft above.
Across town, Connecticut Yankee (100 Connecticut at 17th St., San Francisco) makes a showy New York strip steak covered in crushed black pepper, flambéed in brandy, and crowned with green peppercorn sauce: Sgt. Pepper’s Beef. The leader of the Lonely Hearts Club Band also features on a flat bread pizza at Blue Light (1979 Union at Buchanan, San Francisco) with bell peppers, pepper Jack cheese, and pepperoni.
This can all be washed down with a Blue Meanie (strawberry, blueberry, banana, and apple juice) or Strawberry Fields (strawberry, banana, and apple juice) smoothie at Rockin Java (1821 Haight at Stanyan, San Francisco).Strawberry Fields, a reference to the Beatles’ 1967 song, is quite popular as a beverage name in San Francisco; it also pops up as a vodka cocktail at The Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut at Scott, San Francisco), a fruity green tea at Crown and Crumpet (900 North Point at Larkin, San Francisco), and, again, as a smoothie at Blue Danube (306 Clement at 4th Ave., San Francisco).
The legacy of the Beatles is long, vast, and occasionally delicious.