Posts for April 24, 2012

New Movie Alert: Trattoria, or How Opening a Restaurant in S.F. Is Hard

Remember how there was some action at the cursed space that is 500 Jackson last year that caused a bit of an internet stir but turned out to be just a set for a film? Well, that film is called Trattoria, and it's a comedy, and it just showed at the Sonoma International Film Festival. And watching the trailer we're thinking maybe the curse extends to fake restaurants too!

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Bonny Doon Is Making Cider Now

Renegade winemaker Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon, who as Blake Gray points out was way ahead of the curve on the Riesling trend, has just started making his own Spanish-style hard cider under the label ¿Querry? It's a seven-percent-alcohol cider that's selling for $16, and it's made from a mixture of apples, pears, and quince. You can order it here or try it at the winery's newly revamped restaurant, Le Cigare Volant. [Gray Report]

Troya Opens Wednesday on Fillmore, in Former Citizen Cake

New sign.

The space occupied briefly by Citizen Cake at 2125 Fillmore — and for many years prior by Vivande Porta Via — is getting new life tomorrow as a second outpost of Richmond Mediterranean spot Troya. The owners tell Grub Street that they were trying to make it open this evening, but that isn't going to happen, so Wednesday night it is. The menu will be similar to the original, though the owners had promised something a little hipper, but still in a Turkish/pan-Mediterranean direction. Tablehopper reports that they've got former Terzo chef Philip Busacco on board, and that Saison's Mark Bright consulted on the wine list.

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There’s a War on Brunch in Brooklyn

If it weren't bad enough that you can't even order a Bloody Mary in many New York brunch places before noon on Sundays, a community board in Williamsburg has now pulled out an obscure law prohibiting restaurants from serving food outdoors before noon on church-going days. The law was meant to keep sidewalks free for people walking to and from church, but there's a definite tension here between the hordes of hip, hungover newcomers to the neighborhood and the elderly Polish and Italian people who must suffer them. Anyway, this was just your requisite feel-superior-to-New-York moment of the day. [Grub Street NY, Gothamist]

Tyler Florence Releases Super-Cute Kids’ Book

Ty-Flo's empire gets bigger ... with the little ones.

Tyler Florence, who recently said that overnight success takes fifteen years, is the father of three young children with wife and business partner Tolan Florence, and he's released his first children's book today, Tyler Makes Pancakes! Here's an excerpt: "Tyler and his dog, Tofu, are hungry for blueberry pancakes." Adorbs!!

What to Drink (and Eat) at Goose & Gander, Opening Today in St. Helena

One of Beattie's new concoctions: The Scarlet Gander

A new restaurant called Goose & Gander (1245 Spring Street) opens this evening up in Napa, not far from Meadowood in the former Martini House space. They brought in former Martini House chef de cuisine Kelly McCown, who's lately been working in Sacramento, and he's put together a fairly standard menu of steaks, chops, chicken, and fish with a few surprises in the small plates. But we're most looking forward to trying out a cocktail or two from bar star Scott Beattie who was brought in to create the drink list, which you can see below along with the bar-snack and dinner menus.

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How to Get In and Out of Meadowood for $300 a Person

The recently remodeled Restaurant at Meadwood in St. Helena.Photo: Creel Films

You've probably heard of the various prix-fixe hikes that have been happening at the Bay Area's finer restaurants as the economy improves and as soon-to-be Facebook millionaires discover what sous-vide means. Well, as much as the Michelin three-star Restaurant at Meadowood is an amazing dining experience — we'd even assert that it's more interesting than the French Laundry, and equally luxurious — it's kind of out of the league of most of us workaday blokes, price-wise. (The regular chef's tasting menu, which is upwards of nine customized courses, including wine, will run you $450 per person, without tax and tip, and the chef's counter, including wine, starts at $850 per person.) Well, this week Gilt City is offering an introductory Meadowood package that will save you a few bucks if you want to head up there for a special occasion, with a full meal for two, wine, tax and tip included, for $635.

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Moo: A Brief History of Mad Cow Disease in the U.S.

You won't like us when we're angry.Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Today, USDA officials confirmed the country's latest instance of mad cow disease. The cow in question was discovered at a rendering facility in central California, and its meat didn't enter into the food chain, and the USDA says we're safe — which is good news for people who buy Steak-umms. So we're probably okay for the time being, since of course this isn't even the first time an infected cow's been found on U.S. soil. Let's take a look back ...

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File Under Yikes: Mad Cow Disease Found in California Dairy Cow

Got untainted milk?

The fourth ever known U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a.k.a. mad cow disease, has been discovered and confirmed by the USDA in a central California dairy cow. The USDA is quick to assure us that this cow "was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health." Also, you can't get mad cow from milk, so the USDA is also quick to proclaim that their "systems and safeguards to prevent BSE are working" and that this discovery shouldn't affect the U.S. beef trade. (Live cattle futures and McDonald's stock nonetheless tumbled today.) But, uh, yeah. Ick. [Reuters, HuffPo] Update: The sample was taken from a deceased cow found in Hanford, California, and was a random test sample. [AP/HuffPo]

New Lawsuit Reveals the World’s Grossest Meat Product Is Probably Steak-umms


And here we thought pink slime was bad. Turns out that stuff pales (heh) in comparison to Steak-umms, which the name alone should tell you is bad news. For the uninitiated, Steak-umms are not dog food, but are instead kind of like a frozen DIY Philly cheesesteak. But in a trademark-infringement suit this week that pitted Steak-umms owners against a South Philly cheesesteak and pizza shop named Steak 'Em Up, the ugly truth of the mass-produced sandwich steak was revealed. And the details are pretty bleak.

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Sam Wo Saved! [Updated]

Sam Wo owner David Ho and his daughter Julie pleaded their case before the health department this morning in the hearing we mentioned yesterday. The restaurant closed Friday after multiple infractions from fire and health inspectors were too great to surmount, but Julie Ho sounded determined to fight to keep her family's 100-plus-year-old restaurant in business. Now we get word that Sam Wo is, indeed, planning to reopen, but they've got a list of improvements that need to get made including the fixing of a fire escape, and the installation of a designated hand-washing sink. There are apparently more juicy details to come, probably regarding rodents and cockroaches, and we'll update you whenever we hear of a possible reopening date. [Scoop, BloomTV/Twitter, Earlier, Earlier still] Update: The Chron has a full report from the hearing, including a moment in which one man stood up and said he ate there for 60 years and never got sick. [Chron]

Heart Attack Grill Owner Delighted That Diners Keep Heading to the Hospital

Doing America proud.

Up until now, it's been difficult to believe all that garbage from the self-helpy The Secret claiming that whatever you put out into the universe comes back to you. But strangely, it rings true in Las Vegas, of all places. The local Heart Attack Grill outpost watched another customer go down this weekend from health issues that hit in the middle of their meal, necessitating a trip to the hospital. The trauma follows fast on the thick calves of an incident here in February, where paramedics had to come between a customer and his "Triple Bypass Burger" after he had a heart attack at the restaurant, which promotes pure lard-cooked "flatliner fries" and "Quadruple Bypass Burgers" packing 10,000 calories. Today, the L.A. Times shares a few words from the owner, Joe Basso, who couldn't sound more thrilled about another customer falling unconscious while drinking a margarita and smoking this past Saturday.

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Meet the Multidimensional Drive-Thru of Tomorrow

Not actually the drive-thru of tomorrow.Photo: Christopher Tompkins/iStockphoto

What are the best minds in fast food thinking about? "The drive-thru as an incredible opportunity to innovate," that's what. That's according to a report from Big Red Rooster, which is not itself a fast-food chain, but is a "multidimensional brand experience firm" (rough translation: consultants) that helps fast-food chains, er, we mean "quick-service restaurants," get their act together better. In the scary/fascinating world they conjure up, what is now an "impersonal, drive-around-back experience" could become a multimedia phantasmagoria of sensation and delight guaranteed to increase your loyalty to Scream-a-Burger or Taco Wowzo. Here's how.

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City’s Star Chefs Gather for Meals on Wheels Gala

The big 25th annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala went down on Sunday at the Fort Mason Center, benefitting Meals on Wheels and featuring a bevy of big chefs around town. Nancy Oakes has been the chairperson of the event for nine years running, and the spread is always pretty amazeballs — and the event typically raises millions for the organization. See some pretty photos via Food Gal. [Earlier]

Occupy the Farm Protest in East Bay Isn’t Going Anywhere

On Earth Day on Sunday, a group of about 200 people who had organized under the moniker Occupy the Farm descended on the Gill Tract in Albany, tilling long untouched soil and planting corn, broccoli, and carrot seedlings. The action was the result of months of planning, as ABC 7 reports, and the land in question is a 10-acre piece of UC Berkeley property that's been the subject of a kerfuffle with preservationists for over a decade. And check out the kid in the skinny jeans wrestling with that rototiller!

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Pinkberry Heads to India

Pinkberry, the frozen-yogurt chain that has proven surprisingly resilient, will soon be opening its first location in India, a country that many people say could soon become the world's largest growth market for restaurants. (That honor currently belongs to China.) Nation's Restaurant News says India is the eighteenth country that will house a Pinkberry, which currently has spots in far-flung places like Kuwait and Peru. And would it surprise you to learn that Starbucks is eying India, too? No, we bet it would not. [NRN]


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