Posts for April 18, 2012

A Little Bit of Funny From Cecilia Chiang

Heh.Photo: Michael Murphy

93-year-old local legend Cecilia Chiang forwarded this funny email, via snail mail, to friend Michael Murphy (who also happens to be Michael Bauer's partner), who then tweeted it. Thusly, we bring it to you, though we cannot confirm if it was a real sign. And, obviously, Chiang has a thing for Chinese-restaurant jokes. [CuriousMikie/Twitter via Scoop]

Jonathan Kauffman Reviews a Trio of Peruvian Chicken Joints

Brasa's pollo a la brasa.Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

No sooner had we found ourselves in love with the chicken at Brasa in Berkeley, but now Jonathan Kauffman writes a compare-and-contrast review of three Peruvian chicken joints: the new Limon Rotisserie in the Bayview, Inkas, and Brasa. All told, the chicken he had at Inkas was the best and juiciest, and the ones he had at Brasa and Limon were either dried out or over-seasoned. He notes one particular dilemma with rotisserie chicken, though. "Finding a great one seems to be as much about luck and timing as it does about the cooks' skill with the spit." [SF Weekly, SFoodie]

Thomas McNaughton Loves Zuni, Would Cook His Last Meal Himself

Still love this pic.

Flour+Water chef Thomas McNaughton, who's hard at work getting ready to open spinoff restaurant Central Kitchen in the next few weeks, talks to the Bold Italic today about his favorite bar for a date (Brazen Head), his go-to S.F. institution (Zuni Café), and what he would want for a last meal. As it happens, he'd prefer to cook it himself. "I would close Flour + Water. Start a fire in the wood oven. Invite close friends and open all the special wines that are being stored for future meals. I’d roast game birds in the fire oven. Pass round big platters of cheese. And I’d get all my chef friends to cook a course to celebrate my life." [Bold Italic, Earlier]

Marcia Gagliardi Steps Into Food Role at 7x7

Ms. Hopper, er, Gagliardi.

Marcia Gagliardi, known to many about town for much of the last decade as The Tablehopper, has just taken on a contributing editor role at 7x7 under new executive editor Chloe Harris. This news follows on the recent departure of longtime food editor Sara Deseran, who's taken on a similar role at competitor publication San Francisco. As the Scoop reports, Ms. Gagliardi will be responsible for most of the Eat + Drink section of the mag, and her first issue will be the June "Best of SF" issue. For an example piece of writing outside her weekly newsletter, check out her San Francisco Diet from 2010, in which she explained her addiction to a certain morning cleansing beverage called Green Vibrance. And for those not in the know, her first name is pronounced not like the Brady sister, but like "Garcia." [Scoop]

California Citrus Industry Shaken by Discovery of "Serious Citrus Scourge"

Disease-free citrusPhoto: MITCHELL via Flickr

California's citrus industry is in a panic over the spread of huanglongbing, considered "one of the most serious scourges of citrus," and also known as citrus greening. The malady, spread by Asian citrus psyllids and already responsible for a $3.6 billion citrus industry loss in Florida, was discovered on a lone lemon-grapefruit hybrid tree in a Hacienda Heights yard, the first time the arboreal illness was unearthed in California. While The New York Times reports that the biggest immediate danger is for the trees of homeowners, the president of California Citrus Mutual calls the find "a gut-shot," and explains, "We've been looking for this, and unfortunately we've found it." The state is now trying to take a proactive approach to getting the word out. So if you happen to have a tree exhibiting yellow leaves and tasteless fruit, not to worry: there's an app for that! [NYT]

Department of Deportment: How to Order Coffee Now (There’s More to It Than You Think)

Don't even think about adding nondairy creamer.Photo: David Sifry/Flickr

Buying a cup of coffee has become a lot more complicated in the last half decade. Yes, you can still run into a diner, or a convenience store, or even a Starbucks and get your usual, but a new breed of specialty roaster that respects every aspect of the coffee-making process — from the welfare of the folks who grow the fruit to the technical skill of the crew crafting your cortado — has changed the rules, for the businesses and for customers.

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Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Are Lunching at the St. Regis Right Now

Also, they can pickle that.

Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are, as we type, arriving to lunch at the St. Regis. It's a fundraiser for 826 Valencia, in honor of the local org's tenth anniversary, Dave Eggers is hosting, and a bunch of cute tykes are reading from their own writings. We'll let you know as soon as we hear if pickles were, in fact, on the menu, and if the chicken was local.

Twinkies: Nearing Expiration?

“It doesn’t get more American than Twinkies, yet Twinkies will be no more unless the company gets serious.” —Ken Hall, the Hostess Teamsters’ general secretary-treasurer, reflecting on the company's bankruptcy-related battle with its own union. [Baltimore Sun, Earlier]

Some New Action at the Shuttered Spire Space

The big empty restaurant briefly known as Spire at 685 Third Street appears to be getting some new life. Grub Street discovers this morning that a new owner, Grant Leong, is trying to get a full liquor license for an unnamed new restaurant at that address, which is probably a smart idea given the proximity to AT&T Park (baseball=booze). As you may recall, Spire opened in late 2010 with a menu centered around small plates and a raw bar, only to close six months later with some vague promises about re-concepting. That never happened, and the former managing partners (Richard Huang, Sean Hung, and Roger Lwin) seem to have cut their losses. This is the first we're hearing of any movement in the space since early last year, and we're intrigued. File under: Developing.

The New Medjool Replacement From the Beretta Team, Will Be Argentinian [Updated]

The roof remains open until further notice, but maybe not for long.

We've got the name and a few more details today about Beretta's new offshoot in the former Medjool space (2522 Mission Street), which we'd earlier heard would be Latin in concept. The name popped up on a liquor license this a.m., and it's Ciudad, which means "city" in Spanish. Eater reports that the concept will be Argentinian-grill focused, and the redesign is being done by Jim Zack, who also designed the most recent incarnations of Super Duper.

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First Look Inside Marbella, Opening Tonight

Marbella (pronounced mar-BAY-ah) makes its debut tonight in the former Rex Café space (2323 Polk Street) with chef Nelson German at the helm. We already showed you the Spanish-focused menu, and now you can take a look at the refreshed dining room, which includes a prominent exclamation of "ESPANA!" across the main wall. There's a shiny new red-lacquered bar, and the overall color story, as you'll see, is pretty red and romantic.

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Jacques Pépin Talks About Cooking for Charles de Gaulle on ‘Forum’

We already knew that Jacques Pépin loves KQED. And in case you missed it, he was on KQED's 'Forum' yesterday with Michael Krasny (who insists on pronouncing his name 'Pep-pon') talking about his days working as a cook for Charles de Gaulle (Mrs. de Gaulle believed rare meat was bad for the blood), and how he was "blown out" by Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia Child in Julie & Julia. "I said 'You cannot do Julia Child without doing her voice, and if you do her voice it's going to be a cliché.' But five minutes into the movie I totally forgot about it." [KQED]

Jon Hamm and Kevin Bacon Have Disappointingly Veg-Centric Diets

More into kale than actual bacon.Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

It goes without saying that when you're in the same room with Kevin Bacon and Jon Hamm, your mind might drift to pork. It's doubly true when the room in question is Cipriani Wall Street, where Mario Batali and Stanley Tucci hosted Food Bank for New York City's Can-Do Awards, which is where we bumped into the two last night.

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IHOP Sued by Fired Arab Muslim Workers

That sign might be a problem.

Controversy is rearing its head at several different Texas-based IHOPs after four former employees filed suit yesterday against the chain and its local franchisee. The lawsuit alleges that the quartet of workers, all Arab and Muslim men, were fired in 2010 because of where they come from and what they believe, claims that are supported by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after a review.

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Lafitte Closes After Two Years; Chef Russell Jackson Heads to New York

The view from the enclosed porch at Lafitte.Photo: Courtesy of Lafitte

Almost exactly two years after opening at Pier 5, Lafitte, the restaurant borne out of Russell Jackson's SubCulture Dining, has closed. Jackson tells Eater the reasons were financial, and that he "barely got to touch food," by the end. "I became a high level administrator," he says. What we observed was a restaurant that struggled to establish itself from the start and to find a clear vision for the food, and certainly those early disses from Michael Bauer and Josh Sens didn't help.

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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