Posts for April 20, 2012

Crepe 'n' Coffee On the Way Out; Comal Takes Shape in Berkeley; and More

Pacific Heights: Looks like this Crepe 'n' Coffee place (2821 California) is going to become a full-service restaurant with a bar in the not too distant future. Details TBA. [Grub Street]
Nob Hill: Masa's is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and it's hoping to lure in some new folks with a deal, every Thursday this year, where they'll take 25% off of all food and wine. The current four-course menu price is $98, without pairings. [Scoop]
Mission: You may not see Danny Bowien pulling noodles at Mission Chinese this week; he's in China with Bon Appétit's Andrew Knowlton, for a piece on modern Sichuan cuisine. [Bon App]
Presidio: Dixie *might* make it open by Memorial Day. [Eater]
Berkeley: Comal (2020 Shattuck Avenue), the big new Oaxacan-inspired restaurant from former Delfina chef Matt Gandin, is slated for a May 2 opening, and Eater has some plywoody shots. [Eater]

Many Line Up to Say Goodbye to Sam Wo

Today's the last and final service at century-old Sam Wo in Chinatown, as reported yesterday. SFist brings us a shot of the line down the block this afternoon as patrons wait to get in for a goodbye meal, as well as some remembrances from fans. And the Scoop dug up that clip from the Tales of the City mini-series in which there's a Chinese restaurant waiter based on "rudest waiter in the world" Edsel Ford Fong.

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Patty U. Files Her Final Review, For Gajalee

As we learned earlier this week, thirty-year veteran of local food scene Patricia Unterman is taking her leave of the Examiner, apparently because they can't afford her anymore. In her place will be Jesse Hirsch, most recently from the East Bay Express. And today we get Patty's final review, which is of small, new, coastal Indian restaurant Gajalee. She has nice stuff to say about the fish thali and the meen pollichathu, "a filet of satiny true cod coated in a spice paste and steamed in a banana leaf, served with yogurt, minced onion and tomato." But mostly she's just phoning this one in, and she does inform us that the service at Gajalee is "tortoise-slow." But in true Unterman fashion, she can't end on a negative note, adding that the wines are "tasty," and concluding, "all is forgiven when the fish thali hits the table, and every dunk, scoop and spoonful of the aromatic food produces wonder at the infinite ingenuity of cooks." (To continue to read Patty, by the way, you should check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter.) [Examiner]

La Boulange Triumphs, Arizmendi Loses, in Sunset Squabble

The big new Sunset La Boulange, due sometime later.Illustration: Courtesy of La Boulange

We've quietly been watching and waiting to see what was going to happen with this little fight out in the Sunset between established independent bakery Arizmendi (1331 Ninth Avenue) and growing local bakery chain La Boulange. The latter applied to the Planning Commission to move into a new condo building at 1266 Ninth Avenue, and nearby Arizmendi balked. The argued, somewhat convincingly, that La Boulange was becoming a formula retail chain and that they're represent unfair competition entering a neighborhood that was already home to six bakeries within three blocks. Well, alas, the planning folk approved La Boulange and the development it's in yesterday, so that's that. La Boulange's rapid growth remains unabated, and you can look for La Boulange du Dome to open early next month on the fourth floor of the Westfield. [Scoop]

District in Oakland Set to Open Next Friday, April 27

The former Lavende East.

The sequel to SoMa's favorite wine bar, District, will be opening its doors in Old Oakland next weekend at 827 Washington Street, as we learn today. As reported earlier, the focus is going to be both on wines by the glass and whiskeys at the new location in the former Lavende East space, with 40 bottles of the brown liquor on offer in addition to a cocktail list. Wine director Catarina Mirabelli tells the East Bay Express, "Just like with the wine, we want to introduce people to whiskeys. So many people say they don't like whiskey, but maybe they just haven't had the right one." The food menu, meanwhile, will feature a variety of small plates and pizzettas, ranging from $4 to $17, including something called "oxtail sombreros." [EBX, Earlier]

French Laundry Snags Pastry Chef From Noma

We hope you're aware that desserts are getting a lot more cred in the culinary world these days, and thus it's kind of big news that a pastry chef who's been working at Noma (a.k.a. the "number-one restaurant in the world") for several years is returning to the states to take a job at the French Laundry. Chef René Redzepi tweeted the news today, and we find that pastry chef Milton Abel (shown asleep in a video), was actually part of Thomas Keller's team before, three years ago, before Keller encouraged him to go work for Redzepi. His start date is still TBA. [ReneRedzepiNoma/Twitter via Eater]

What to Drink on the New Drink Menu at Wo Hing General Store

The bar at Wo Hing.

It's Friday, so you're likely looking to drink. FYI, cocktail guru Brooke Arthur at Wo Hing General Store has just done a revision to the well-regarded drink list at the six-month-old restaurant, and new stuff includes a Special Pendennis Club Cocktail with kumquats, gin, brandy, and lime; and a list of new low-alcohol spritzers to pair with food, including one called the Sparkling Chrysanthemum with local vermouth, benedictine, absinthe, orange bitters, and soda. See them all below.

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Kinky S.F. Porn Studio Tour Prompts Call for Groupon Boycott

The enormous "drill court" space was once used to house a Star Wars set by George LucasPhoto: SF Armory

Pretty much everyone in San Francisco knows that a porn company, (who are also branching out into the world of restaurants with the upcoming Armory Club, a.k.a. the former Ace Café at 1799 Mission), now inhabits the enormous Armory building at 14th and Mission. Because the company is into S&M and "torture porn," they have some detractors. And now that coupon-purveyor Groupon has decided, for the second time this year, to post a deal for a discounted tour of Kink's studios (something which, mind you, half of our friends already did a few years ago), an organization called Morality in the Media is calling for a national boycott. The reason: They don't like porn one bit.

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The Week We Learned Mitt Romney Is a Crappy Picnic Guest

Throughout his presidential campaign the very wealthy Mitt Romney has struggled to present himself as an ordinary guy, joking about his wife's Cadillacs (plural!) or his buddies who are NASCAR team-owners. Earlier this week we learned he's also a terrible picnic guest, because he'll come to your outdoor gathering — probably without even bringing a bottle of wine or a salad to pass, or even one of those little brie wheels they sell at the corner bodega — and insult your town's famous cookies just because they're not "homemade."

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Oh Man, Doritos Tacos Are a Big Hit

The taco that saved Taco Bell.

When news broke that Taco Bell would roll out a taco in an oversized Doritos shell, Grub wondered whether it was an abomination or a stroke of genius. Well, the verdict’s in, and it looks like it is indeed genius. The AP reports that since introducing the bright-orange junk-food mashup, the chain has seen sales soar, putting it back in the black for the first time since questions about the authenticity of its beef fillings first surfaced. Parent company Yum Brands Inc.’s CFO Rick Carucci says that recent double-digit sales growth can be directly attributed to the Doritos taco. Which means: Get ready for Cheetos-stuffed burritos any day now. [AP via Action News Philly; Earlier]

E&O Puts Off Closure Until Memorial Day

You may recall that E&O Trading Company was slated to close for a major overhaul this week. But, alas, they didn't. There've been some delays with permits, and now the plan is to close May 29, after Memorial Day, for that month-long renovation. Kinda might put a dent in tourist-season sales, but ah well. [Scoop, Earlier]

More People-Stuffed Empanadas in Brazil

They're made of people!

The gruesome news of the insane Brazilian pastry-makers who stuffed people into empanadas just got worse. Now Brazilian police are saying the Sweeney Todd-goes-samba trio may have killed five people in the northeast of the country, presumably disposing of their flesh in the same stomach-turning manner. That means a bunch of northern Brazilians are also likely cannibals, which is no doubt prompting the entire country to upchuck at this very moment. Incidentally, the horrific tale made the top Google searches over the past week, beating out even Pizza Hut's hot-dog-stuffed crust. Not that we're trying to give the chain any further ideas — sorry, now we have to go barf. [HuffPo, NYDN, Earlier]

Lower Haight Terrorized By Tip-Jar Bandit

Gillard caught in the act on Cafe du Soleil's surveillance camera.

A career criminal by the name of Odis Gillard has been making the rounds over the last year to virtually every food establishment in the Lower Haight with a tip jar on the counter. As you can read in a lengthy account from Haighteration, the six-foot-two-inch African-American man in his sixties is now well known to every business in the area, and he's been pretty ridiculously persistent and egregious in returning certain places, day after day, attempting to grab money out of the tip jar even after he's been caught and shooed away — including one instance at Greenburger's where, after employees had removed the tip jar from the counter, he tried to make off with the donation can for the Haight-Ashbury Food Bank instead.

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Crock Pot Cannabis

Everyone's heard that pot is fat-soluble, but did you know that coconut oil and olive oil are good options? The former is especially good for baking, wink wink. Just in time for 4/20, HuffPo checks in with the author of the recently released High Times Cannabis Cookbook, and comes away with some pretty good cooking tips. The book contains recipes for weed-infused pumpkin pie, "Ganja Granny's Smoked [heh] Mac n' Cheese," and Rasta Pasta, but you can stick to the basics, too. To make "cannabutter," simmer it "slow and low," like in a Crock Pot. Just imagine what the house will smell like after a long day at work. [HuffPo]


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