Posts for April 26, 2012

Reminder: The Silk Road Comes to Jardinière Monday

Just a reminder that former Jardinière chef and recently former Bushi-Tei chef Michael Hung is returning to Jardiniere for one of their Monday night prix fixes. The theme is The Silk Road, and the deal is $49 for four courses, including wine pairings. Dishes include lightly pickled root vegetables with spiced peanuts; steamed rabbit dumplings; and hand-cut noodles with cumin-braised beef, daikon, and cilantro pistou. Reserve at 415-861-5555, though walk-ins are welcome. [Earlier]

New Hawaiian Restaurant Pa'ina Opens in Japantown

The former Sundance Kitchen now has a new replacement: Pa'ina (1865 Post Street). The name means "get together" in Hawaiian, and as Eater reports, it's the project of first-time restaurateur Samantha Cheng, a recent USF grad. The menu's got a bunch of cheeky dish names on it, like "Oompa Lumpia" and "Can't Make My Mind Up Platter," and it features a lot of the grilled, fried, and trashy stuff that people associate with Hawaiian cuisine, like Spam musubi. See the full food menu below, and you should know that there's a cocktail list too, including goblets for two ($18) like the Blue Hawaii Wipeout (Malibu, blue curacao, sour mix, and pineapple juice). Also, expect reggae music.

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Is Mr. Pollo an Adequate Alternative to Quince?

Tamara Palmer just unveiled a fun new "pick this not that" list at Eater offering comparable but more affordable alternatives to the city's finer restaurants. For instance, South Sea Seafood Village, where they've got "authentic versions of a lot of Wo Hing's treats for about half the price." And AQ, where you can get a fine, inspired California meal for a fraction of the price of an albeit more inspired meal at Saison. It's like Designer Imposters! But is Mr. Pollo ever going to be as satisfying as Quince? That one might be a stretch. [Eater]

Miller Loves the Burger at Mission Bowling Club; Boer Likes the Pizza and Ragouts at Divino

Virginia Miller files a few capsule reviews of unconventional casual dining spots this week, singing the praises of Anthony Myint's Mission Burger as Mission Bowling Club, and other "exceptional" food including the aforementioned upscale corn dog. Also, she likes several dishes at the recently opened Castagna in the Marina, though they did overcook her steak. She says Claudine is charming and delightful. And she gives a shout-out to the "pure comfort" of the fried mozzerella cheese log called the Mozzeria Bar at Mozzeria. [SFBG]

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More Details About Hakkasan, Opening Downtown Later This Year

Hakkasan's new multi-million-dollar NY location.

Hakkasan, if you did not know, is kind of a big deal in London. The Michelin-starred, very upscale Chinese chain just opened a 200-seat location in New York, and today the Chron gets a few more details about their previously announced San Francisco expansion, which is due by early winter on the second floor at 1 Kearny Street. Richard Miyashiro, a local industry vet, is working as projects operations director for Hakkasan, and he says he's aware that San Franciscans are "sophisticated ... and can see through the smoke and mirrors" of a too-slick corporate restaurant. Still, he feels like there's a void to be filled here at the upper end of Asian cuisine, and that Hakkasan is going to do it. Expect to be dazzled, in other words, and expect them to be dropping a lot of cash on the design. [Chron, Earlier]

If You Were Ever Stupid Enough to Think Nutella Was Healthy, You Might Be Owed Some Money

Nutcase wins Nutella suit.

It absolutely kills us to turn on Nutella but ... just in case you were ever misled into thinking that the rich, chocolatey, sinful spread had the same calories as a celery stick (what is wrong with you??), then you should know there's a class-action case you can creep into. NPR reports, "Each claim will pay out up to $20 — that's $4 per jar, on up to five jars — or less, depending on the number of claimants." Contact: nutellaclassactionsettlement.com. Conversely, just be cool. [NPR]

Vote For Your Favorite Dives, Taquerias, Sushi, Etc. In SF Weekly’s Best of S.F. Poll

The Weekly's Best of S.F. Readers' Poll for 2012 closes on Tuesday, May 1, so get your votes in, kids! We can't have another situation like we did in 2009 when, bizarrely, due to some sort of corporate ballot-box stuffing, Pasta Pomodoro took home the prize for Best Restaurant. That was just embarrassing. [SF Weekly]

Move Over Pink Slime: Now Granola’s Toxic, Too

Mmm… pesticides

No doubt meat’s been getting a bum rap lately with all this bad news about mad-cow scares, pink slime, and feces-contaminated chickens. But before you get all high and mighty from atop of your tower of tempeh, consider this: Meatless munchies like granola aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, products from Kashi, the seemingly safe brand of “all natural” cereal and snacks, are loaded with residual toxic pesticides and are all too often wrought with genetically modified soy and corn ingredients. PreventDisease reports that an investigation into the validity of all-natural claims made by Kashi, which is actually a subsidiary of Kellogg's, are mostly bunk.

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Pregnancy Be Damned, Drew Barrymore’s New Wine Hits Stores Next Week

Drew aglow in February.Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

A couple of months back we mentioned that actress Drew Barrymore had parlayed her love of wine-drinking into wine-making. Now we learn that the first bottles of Barrymore Pinot Grigio will go on sale in New York on May 3 for $20 a bottle, and Drew might be a little sad about the timing — given that she won't be able to drink at any of the launch events if the rumors about her being pregnant are true.

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Comal Opens May 4 in Downtown Berkeley

A sneak peek into the industrial interior of the new Comal.Photo: Courtesy of Comal

We heard some rumblings last week, and today Grub Street gets word that Comal (2020 Shattuck Avenue at University) is opening next Friday, joining a bunch of pending openings in this busy Bay Area spring. The new Oaxacan-focused restaurant from former Delfina chef de cuisine Matt Gandin promises to cover a number of regions of Mexico with its menu, with attention to carefully-sourced local ingredients and some allegedly exceptional masa. Also, the bar program is being created by the Bon Vivants, Scott Baird and Josh Harris, and it features a curated selection of sipping tequilas and mezcals, as well as seasonal sangrias and a Latin-focused cocktail list.

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Family at Hungry Jack’s Finds Surprise ‘Package’

Hungry Jack or Horny Jack?

An Australian mum was horrified to find a crude drawing in her hamburger takeout this week. Someone had scribbled a man's private parts — the other, low-hanging fruits — inside her burger box. "If they have drawn that in there, what else have they done to my burger?" the disgusted customer wisely asked. This plus the spitting saga equals a big, fat stay-away-from-fast-food. [The Chronicle]

Schmendricks Bagels Starts Small, Models Itself on a Tech Startup

Local bagel pop-up Schmendricks, which has made only a couple of public appearances and which is still a ways away from having a physical storefront, got some national attention yesterday from Bloomberg. The article hones in on the way the operation is starting small, with very low upfront costs, getting to know its market and building buzz in the way a tech startup might. Also we learn about the four partners involved in the operation: Dan Scholnick, a Massachusetts native who decided to fill the Bay Area void when it comes to proper boiled-and-baked bagels; his wife Deepa Subramanian, who quit her job at a law firm to do all the baking; "authenticity officer," Brooklyn native, and Serious Eats contributer David Kover; and Dagny Dingman. "A big and important customer segment is dissatisfied New Yorkers and East Coasters in general," says Scholnick.

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New Cans Make ‘Shotgunning’ Easier

Down the hatch!Photo: SABMiller

Here’s some good news for folks out there with a propensity for binge drinking: Some genius at SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing (a.k.a. MillerCoors) came up with a way to streamline the consumption of Miller Lite. They’re calling it the “Punch Top Can.” The official word from MillerCoors is that this breakthrough in beer-can technology is designed to increase airflow and reduce “glug” to facilitate a smoother pour. But anyone who’s ever spent time at college fraternity parties, Jets games, or Phish shows will surely recognize it as an air hole that makes shotgunning beers possible. The only difference really is, you no longer need a knife or awl to pierce the can. How’s that for drinking responsibly?

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Justin Timberlake Bringing Southern Hospitality to Palo Alto?

JT on the Peninsula?Photo: Getty Images

Allegedly the real-life Justin Timberlake is looking to take over the Peninsula stomping grounds of the character he played in The Social Network, Sean Parker. The Chron reports today that Timberlake's original restaurant partners are working on a national expansion of the two-location New York barbecue chain Southern Hospitality, and planning a location in Palo Alto, birthplace of Facebook. Now, Timberlake invested in the first Southern Hospitality back in 2007, but broke ties prior to the expansion the second, larger location on Ninth Avenue near Times Square, which is co-owned by partners Eytan Sugarman, Isiah Thomas, and lead singer of OneRepublic Ryan Tedder. And the place has a bit of a fratty reputation, so maybe a college town like Palo Alto is a good fit.

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Spring Chickens No More: Poultry Has a Retirement Program

Urban chicken farming is all the rage, so it makes sense that urban-chicken retirement homes are cool now, too. The New York Times turns into an episode of Portlandia visits Portland to spotlight "blissful, pastoral" resting places for past-their-prime poultry. At these coops, birds chase one another, jump for Cheerios, and are protected from "cockfighting hooligans." They do not play bingo. [NYT]

Chris Pratt Has Restaurant-Related Stress Dreams

Anyone who has ever waited tables knows the stress dreams that come with the gig. (If you don't, check out this little roundup of some that servers around the city experience.) Not immune from this phenomenon: Hollywood hotshots. Well, Chris Pratt — Andy on Parks & Recreation, husband of Anna Faris — gets them, anyway. He tells GQ, "They're like the worst nightmare you can have. You're totally in the weeds. You have like six tables. You forgot to put the order in. You're sweating, and you wake up and 'Oh, my God. I'm so glad.'" [GQ, Related]

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