Posts for April 23, 2012

Cocina Criolla, a Puerto Rican Pop-Up, Coming to Oakland

Not to be confused with the defunct Criolla Kitchen.

Fans of Puerto Rican food should be glad to hear that a new pop-up is brewing in the East Bay by the name of Cocina Criolla — a name no one should have any confusions about given that the more New Orleans-inspired Criolla Kitchen shuttered last month. It's the project of one of the cooks at Dopo (4293 Piedmont Avenue), Ian Hernandez, and it'll all be going down for the first time at the restaurant on Sunday, May 6.

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Step Inside the Sunset’s New Nopalito Sequel, Now Open

Today is opening day for Nopalito's second offshoot at Ninth and Lincoln in the Sunset, in what was formerly Bistro 9. They're now going to be serving lunch and dinner daily out of both locations, with a similar menu of well-crafted, several-steps-above-a-taqueria Mexican fare, including their locally famous carnitas. Also, there's a spacious patio in back which, while not open now, is going to be a welcome addition for al fresco dining when it opens — which may not be until early next year.

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Prime Rib Shabu Shutters, Will Be Replaced By a Cajun Place

It looks like Luke Sung, formerly of Isa fame, has decided to close up shop at his latest venture, Prime Rib Shabu (308 5th Avenue), which had been Jonathan Kauffman's favorite shabu-shabu venue in town. The Scoop reports the news, noting a sign in the window for what's coming soon: Cajun House Louisiana Crawfish. We have to wonder if the ADA compliance issues that forced the place to close for part of last year ended up impacting the bottom line too greatly — or if local ADA activist/opportunistic lawsuit-bringer Craig Thomas Yates had anything to do with this. [Scoop]

Now Watch Jeremy Fox Make Some Pizzas With Friends in L.A.

The ever elusive Jeremy Fox, who's lately been down in L.A. doing a bit of consulting and possibly maybe working on a restaurant of his own, pops up today in this video, shot by a friend, of a pizza party in the friend's home. They shop at the Hollywood farmers' market, and make some good-looking pies with spring-y stuff like green garlic, purple potatoes, clams, and other stuff.

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Bask Due May 1 in North Beach

You may recall some earlier reports about Bask, coming to the triangular corner of Columbus and Jackson that was formerly home to Clown Alley and, more recently, Pickles. Eater has some more details today about the Basque-inspired restaurant, including a potential opening date of May 1, though things remain papered over. There will be warm tapas and a full bar, and a 36-month-aged Belotta ham that owners refer to as "the caviar of ham." Stay tuned for more. [Eater]

It’s Raw Milk, Man, Not Marijuana

No raw milk allowed.

Is raw milk the new pot? That's the question Dana Goodyear poses in this week's New Yorker, mostly based on the milk raids and arrests at Rawesome, the Venice food co-op targeted last year. She lays down a pretty solid case — federal agents, raids, wads of cash, illegal transport and sale of goods, a robust underground market, secret farms hidden in the mountains, thousands of gallons of product destroyed, and arrests. Just switch out marijuana, DEA and "farmacies" for raw dairy, FDA and members-only food stores, and you get the idea.

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Mozzeria’s Deaf Owners Discuss Dealing With Hearing Clientele

We're now about five months in since the opening of Mozzeria, the 16th Street pizzeria that's also San Francisco's first deaf-owned restaurant. Today, KQED shares this video interview, via American Sign Language, with owners Melody and Russ Stein, as well as a new review of the place by Anna Mindess (hint: she really likes it). We especially enjoy the extremely animated Russ as he talks about how some of their hearing guests have gotten "really excited" about learning how to sign the word for "pizza."

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Four Corners Set to Close on Union, to Become New Restaurant-Bar From Bullitt/Tonic Guys

The team of Duncan Ley and Ben Bleiman who together own Bullitt, Tonic, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and Rebel, are branching out to Cow Hollow. Grub Street discovers them this morning applying for a liquor license for the space at 1875 Union Street that's currently home to Four Corners, which was the quick southwestern-style redo of Unwind on Union that just opened in November. The new working title: Lightning. Four Corners remains open for now, however it looks like the place is not long for this world, as a deal to sell it to Ley and Bleiman must be pending. File under: Developing.

Jeremy Tooker of Four Barrel Talks About the New Bakery, Not Being Too Hipster

The unapologetically hip kids over at American Hipster (we keep wanting to call it This American Hipster, but we digress) just released this video interview with Jeremy Tooker, the man behind one of the Mission's two most hipsterish coffee emporiums, Four Barrel. He talks about trying to make things feel less snotty since they opened — "Definitely we had some pretty bad customer service," he admits, and we quickly flash to this hilarious spoof video as evidence. Also, he shows off the four-barrel mini roasting contraption that they use for testing out different roasts on the beans, hence the name.

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Bauer Upgrades Quince to Four Stars, Compares Tusk to Mozart

The new front lounge at Quince.Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

For about a year now, Quince has shared a star rating with it casual next-door sister restaurant CotognaMichael Bauer gave Cotogna three and a half stars out of the gate in 2011, which was the same rating he had given to the more formal and refined Quince, though he justifies this by saying he rates restaurants as compared to others in their own categories, etc. For his Sunday review, he now upgrades Quince to the four-star club, making it the eighth restaurant to join this prestigious list. He compares Michael Tusk's current menu to Mozart's "Paris Symphony," saying, "Each course builds on the last."

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Hold the Phone: Sam Wo Might Actually Reopen

Right after news broke of the sudden closure of century-old Sam Wo in Chinatown, hundreds flocked there for a final meal on Friday. But come Saturday, the Chron was reporting that the Ho family, who own the restaurant, have a hearing with the city health department Tuesday at which the fate of the place could be reversed. It sounds like David Ho, the patriarch of the family, was discouraged and ready to give up on trying to fix the various fire and health code violations in the building, saying it was all "too old," but his daughter Julie told the paper, "This restaurant is my life. We're definitely closing for the weekend, but beyond that nothing is definite." Stay tuned. [Chron, Earlier]

Genius Vegas Doctor Launches Hangover-Cure-on-Wheels

Going mobile.Photo: Courtesy of Hangover Heaven

How did this not happen sooner? Today we get word that enterprising anesthesiologist Jason Burke launched an operation called Hangover Heaven. Of course, this is in Las Vegas, on a bus, outfitted with plush seats and flat-screen TVs. He calls his treatment room a "medical practice on wheels, analogous to a physician with an RV offering X-rays, MRIs or mammograms, a mobile dentist, or a blood bank bus set up in an office-building parking lot." Well, it's almost like that, except his patients' wounds are self-inflicted.

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See Zadie Smith’s Brother Bug Out Over a Bad Cup of Tea

Novelist Zadie Smith's younger brother Ben has a rap-comic alter ego, Doc Brown, who cannot abide a subpar cuppa. In fact, it's the one topic that gets him properly fired up to rap, as you can see by the lyrics: "What I see made my heart burst / you went and put the fucking milk in first. ... You picked the wrong brother's cup to mess with / Now go get me a motherfucking digestive." Guess we all have our hot buttons. See the rest of his raging in the video below.

Video this way. »


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