Posts for March 22, 2012

Bi-Rite’s Divis Offshoot Delayed Again; Tenderloin Market Spanked Over Heroin

Western Addition: The second Bi-Rite Market planned for 550 Divisadero, which was announced, like, two years ago, has been delayed again until October. [Haighteration]
Union Square: Regarding the drinks at Jasper's Corner Tap. [Examiner]
Also, a decision on the Gold Dust Lounge's historic status is now deadlocked, however the Board of Supervisors still may be stepping in. [Chron, Earlier]
Tenderloin: A certain corner market at Leavenworth and Turk is being asked, kindly, to quit it with allowing the sale of heroin and prescription drugs in and around it. [SFist]
Dublin: If you're in the East Bay, you may want to check out this awesome looking shaved ice stuff, a popular dessert in Taiwan, which they now do a good version of at Snowflake Cafe and Dessert. [Chron]

Bauer Revisits Tres, Awards Them Dos; Boer Calls Mua Loud and ‘Ponderous’; Rufus Revels in Brasa

Michael Bauer swings back for an update at Tres, the South Beach restaurant formerly known as Tres Agaves. And he finds things notably improved since the last time he was there. He calls chef Juan Martinez's menu "nicely done" and he especially loves the green pozole and the chile rellenos. He says to skip dessert and, curiously, he doesn't really have any comment about the drinks, except to say they have them. The updated verdict: two stars. [Chron]

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Former Times Critic Frank Bruni’s Got the Gout

Bruni at the gym.

Food writer turned Times columnist Frank Bruni admits today, in a confessional piece that's sure to make a lot of foodies wince, that he has gout now, and it hurts. Hence he's had to give up one of his favorite things: meat. Also, booze. He's leading a "lighter drinking life" and he says one of the worst parts is the guilt he feels just drinking water in restaurants when he knows they depend on alcohol markups for their bottom line. But, he says, he's "almost happy" for the cleaner life and renewed energy, and gout "provided a dietary shove where the gentle pushes of a vague desire for self-improvement hadn’t sufficed." [NYT]

Holy Guacamole: Taco Bell Is 50 Years Old

The OG Taco Bell in Downey.Photo: Courtesy of Taco Bell

That's right. The taco chain is half-a-century old. On March 21, 1962, Glen Bell Jr. opened his first Taco Bell in Downey, California, and our nation's late-night love affair with processed Meximerican cuisine (and FourthMeal) began. A new biography of Bell titled Taco USA makes some pretty bold claims about the chain's role in indoctrinating America into Mexican cuisine, and even goes so far as to say, "Taco Bell and its spawn became a gateway for Americans to accept Mexicans." We admit that as much as we might poke fun at the place and wonder a bit about their beef, we will admit to having devoured a Seven-Layer Burrito or two over the years, both drunk and sober, though mostly drunk.

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Find Don Bugito, Fat Face, and Belly Burgers Tomorrow at Off the Grid Fort Mason

It truly is spring, ladies and gentlemen, and with the season comes the re-emergence of the grand spectacle that is Off the Grid at the Fort Mason Center, tomorrow night starting at 5 p.m. Sure, it might be frigidly cold there come summer, but you can always warm yourself with a few Happy Dumplings and Kung Fu Tacos, and several beers. With Friday's relaunch comes a new group of trucks and cart vendors too, including edible-insect pusher Don Bugito, who will be selling their wax moth larvae tacos and "crispy mix" (hand-cut duck-fat fries tossed with crispy larvae and agave worm salt) to a hungry crowd.

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‘Wine Enthusiast’ Launches Mandarin Edition; ‘Pimpnho’ Raspberry Wine Is a Thing

"I prefer boysenberry wine."

• Want to entice a young twentysomething to buy a bottle of wine? The design of the label and the name are very important. Take for example this bottle of OMG! Chardonnay. [Washington Post]

• Catering to the booming Chinese market, Wine Enthusiast just launched a Mandarin Chinese edition, in partnership with something called [MarketWatch]

• There is now such a thing as Pimpnho raspberry wine, and a newly named American hybrid grape varietal called Valiant that can grow places like South Dakota. [Sacramento Bee]

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Grill ‘Em All: Metallica’s Lars Ulrich Has His Own ‘Trashy’ Burger

Some musicians think fame entitles them to be huffy about food. (Case in point: M.I.A.'s insistence on European cheese-and-cracker trays wherever she tours.) But not Metallica. L.A. food truck Grill 'Em All struck a deal with the band: In exchange for using their song and logo likeness, they had to create a Metallica burger. Fair enough. Owner Ryan Harkins concocted the Jump in the Fryer Burger with waffle buns, fried chicken, burger meat, cheese, and maple syrup with Sriracha. But his real masterpiece might be the burger he made in honor of drummer Lars Ulrich.

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The James Weird Awards: Reagan Robbery and a No-Fun Food Fight

Between product recalls and trans-fat wars, it can be easy to forget that food is fun. Luckily, this week was dominated by lighthearted food-related headlines: Marilyn Hagerty's adorable New York food tour, George Clooney-approved tequila, and the universal truth that "someday, somebody's gonna make you want to gobble up a waffle fry." But the weird stuff still found its way into the news, and we've gathered the best bits in the James Weird awards, straight ahead.

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Mozzeria Gets Some Journal Love

Deaf-owned Mozzeria (3228 16th Street) is set to serve its 7,000th customer this week, and the Journal throws them a little attention, noting that the restaurant is "likely" the first deaf-owned restaurant in the city, and one of the only ones in the country. One recent customer tells them, regarding her interaction with her deaf server, "It reminded me of ordering food in a foreign country." [WSJ]

The Iced-Coffee Economy: Why the Cold Stuff Costs More

What's the real cost?Photo: iStockphoto

All this week, Jonathan Rubinstein, the owner of the Joe mini-chain, has gone into work wondering whether today will be The Day. “Each year, there is one day when the world changes,” he says. It’s the day when the entire population it seems switches from hot coffee to cold, served from plastic pitchers into cups full of ice." When that happens, Rubinstein says, “my whole business changes for the next four months.”

"The hardest part is just making sure we’re prepared for cold brew." »

Bauer Back on the Anti-Healthy S.F. Brigade, Now Via Tip Calculations

You should all have come to understand by now that Michael Bauer really hates Healthy S.F. surcharges. And so do many of his readers! (Also he loves to unleash commenter fury, and this topic is always a winner!) Today finds him back to blogging peevishly on the subject, this time via a slightly new angle, per a reader email. Apparently, some restaurants which provide those handy tip calculations at the bottom of bills are making said calculations on the total, including the Healthy S.F. surcharge, and that does not sit well with Mr. Bauer or the complainant. And so today, once again, for the umpteenth time, Mr. Bauer writes, "I think the time has come for the service charges to disappear." Hear ye, restaurateurs: It is quite clear, from here on out, that if you do not roll these health care costs into your prices, Mr. Bauer will spank you with his words and stars when he swings back for an update. [Between Meals/Scoop, Earlier, Earlier still]

John Campbell’s Irish Bakery Employees Sue for Back Pay

The flagship.

The rapid expansion and just as rapid shuttering of John Campbell's Irish Bakery certainly caught our attention last year, if only because we'd often wondered how the market got so suddenly white hot for soda bread. The mini-chain began in the Outer Richmond and opened two more locations in quick succession in Cow Hollow and Potrero in 2010, only to close them in mid-2011, keeping only the original Geary Boulevard location. According to a new piece by the Examiner, the trouble began in January 2011, when Campbell stopped being able to pay employees their wages — he even told one employee to take cash from the till to tide him over. Then the bakeries failed to reopen after Memorial Day, and employees say they discovered at that point that owner Campbell had filed for bankruptcy, and had obviously spread himself too thin.

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Flavor Ammo: Why Maggi Goes Great With Just About Everything

Maggi makes a mean Michelada.Photo: Ian Knauer

If you’ve ever been to just about any great dive in Mexico, you’ve seen a bottle of Maggi Seasoning sitting on the table next to the salt. The same goes for cafes in Vietnam and China. Bottles of Maggi have been a staple in many cuisines for over a century, but interestingly, the actual product hails from none of those places. The sauce-bullion-noodle company is based in Germany, and was originally founded by a Swiss, Julius Maggi, the son of an Italian. Maggi is an international sauce of mystery. But what is it, exactly, and why is it so popular in so many countries?

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E&O Trading Company to Close in April For Major Renovation

Gourmet once called it "one of the best-looking restaurants in town," but that was over a decade ago, and now E&O Trading Company is ready for a facelift. As the Chron is reporting, the colonial-themed, pan-Asian restaurant will be closing on Tax Day, April 15, for a month-long overhaul that will "bring the look of E&O into the 21st century." Included in the plans will be a change of the flow for the ground-floor bar area, with dining moving primarily upstairs to the mezzanine. Also the bar program is getting an update, courtesy of former Absinthe bar star Carlos Yturria, with the hopes of "mak[ing] the bar a destination in itself." The plan is to reopen sometime in May. [Chron]

Tom Colicchio Slaps Wisconsin Bar With Trademark Infringement; Gordon Ramsay Sues His Former Montreal Partners

• Tom Colicchio, to protect his chain of Craft restaurants, sued a small Wisconsin craft beer bar called Craft Table & Tap for trademark infringement. They will now be called Craftsman Table & Tap. Not that anyone thought Colicchio had expanded to Wisconsin, but whatever. [Eater National]

• California-based Diamond Foods, the walnut processor that also makes Emerald Nuts, is now seeking a minority investor in its aforementioned struggle to get on its feet following an accounting scandal. [WSJ, Biz Times]

• Today in pink slime: Grocery stores Safeway, SUPERVALU, and Food Lion have all agreed to stop selling the recent scourge of the meat industry. [ABC News]

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Bagel Celebrity Murray Lender Has Died, and So Has Mr. Coffee

The most important bagel man of all.

Murray Lender, the highly respected man behind Lender's bagels, the bagels many grew up with and skill keep in their freezer for sentimental purposes, and that which Consumer Reports "hole"-heartedly raved about yesterday, has died at 81. Lender's Bagels was founded by Murray's father in New Haven in 1927; it evolved, as the Big Gay Ice Cream guys just tweeted, into the bagel that "introduced us hillbilly goyim to bagels. Thanks for the shmear." But that's not all.

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Elizabeth Banks Has Good Taste in Burgers

As part of the Hunger Games media blitz, actress Elizabeth Banks paid a visit to the Late Late Show last night to chat with Craig Ferguson about, well, not going hungry. She loves meat too much to ever go vegetarian, or vegan for that matter, and she's got an affinity for hamburgers topped with eggs. (We can relate.) She's also into "butter on everything." Watch the clip straight ahead.

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Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Lucca Food Store See the menu

    “Billy's Philly”

    Billy is only there after 5 pm but if you are around go there and ask for his billy philly, the best philly you'll find this side of the Mississippi.

  • Le P'tit Laurent See the menu

    “Elegant Sauces & Fabulous Bread”

    It is the place me and my love go for every intimate moment.

  • Hidive See the menu

    “Are you kidding?”

    You have to be totally drunk to think that this is even acceptable as a public watering hole.


Jay Barmann
NY Mag