Posts for May 3, 2012

Soup Freaks Closes Castro Location

Just seven months after giving it a go at the busy corner of 18th and Castro, Soup Freaks has called it quits on that outpost. Grub Street confirmed the news this evening with an employee at their still existing, still open SoMa location at 667 Mission Street. So that corner storefront at 499 Castro, newly equipped for a counter-service operation, is now up for grabs. [Grub Street]

Playland Replaces Kimo’s; Bask Coming Saturday; and More

Polk Gulch: We've been wondering since the new year what would replace longtime punk/metal bar Kimo's (Polk and Pine), and it now looks to be Playland Bar. Odds are on it being more upscale, and cocktail-y. More to come. [Tablehopper]
North Beach: Bask (Jackson and Columbus), the new Basque place in the former Clown Alley space, appears to be opening Saturday. [Eater]
Berkeley: Kip's Bar & Grill in Berkeley (2439 Durant), which has been around since 1954, is adding a downstairs restaurant to be called Kip's Eats with the help of a consulting chef who's worked at Oliveto and Chez Panisse. [Scoop]
Point Reyes: Osteria Stellina has just hired a new chef de cuisine, Brian Bowen. [Scoop]

Cantina to Celebrate Tequila’s Elder Cousin, Mezcal, on Cinco de Mayo

Up by Union Square, at Cantina (580 Sutter), they're doing something a little different for Cinco de Drinko this year: They'll be making all their drinks, margaritas included, with the rustic forebear of tequila, mezcal. Not everyone likes mezcal! But this should scare away the amateurs, and that's a good thing. Drinks will be $6, and the bar opens an hour early Saturday, at 4 p.m.

La Rondalla Will Really Be Reborn By June

Before shuttering in 2008, Mexican dive La Rondalla (Valencia & 20th) was affectionately referred to across the webs as a "Rosarita crack den" and a "diarrhea factory," but it was nonetheless a beloved neighborhood hang with cheap drinks and lots of Christmas lights. We've been hearing for over a year now that sisters Betty and Luna Barrios were trying to reopen their father Carlos Barrios's restaurant, since he never chose to lease it out, and renovations have been proceeding really slowly by all accounts. But Eater now brings word that that a reopening is close! By June at the latest, they say.

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FuseBox, a Korean-Style Izakaya, Opens Today in Oakland

Korean-American restaurant FuseBox (2311A Magnolia Street), which we first mentioned back in December, finally opened today after a few delays in West Oakland. The owners are calling it a "kkochi-gui pub," with kkochi-gui being the Korean term for grilled skewers. They're just testing things out for now, serving lunch only on Thursdays and Fridays from 11:30 to 2:30 for the next couple weeks. Dinner hours will start up soon, as well as more days of service. You can expect stuff like housemade gochuchang, house-made pickles, bacon mochi, and of course, soju — but obviously the booze isn't so fitting for the lunch hour. [Facebook via Tablehopper]

Wells Fargo Donates to Vandalized Mission Restaurants

A grass-roots effort to raise money to help small Valencia Street businesses clean up after Monday night's mini-riot (whose purpose had something to do with protesting gentrification) has already raised $6,000 for the cause, but today Wells Fargo — a favorite target of Occupy, even though Occupy officially denounces the anarchic acts of the splinter group on Monday — announced they were donating $25,000 to the businesses, to help them replace broken glass storefronts and such. They should probably all consider some of that unbreakable stuff that Locanda has. [SFist, Earlier]

Kauffman Charmed By the Cheese at Mozzeria; Bauer Swings Back to Sutro’s at the Cliff House

Mozzeria, in the former Il Cantuccio space.Photo: via Mozzeria

Jonathan Kauffman finds that Mozzeria is filling an important niche on the ever-gentrifying 16th Street: that of an affordable neighborhood hangout. He says it's "a destination precisely because it's not a destination restaurant," and he's especially fond of their pizza with pancetta, fresh mozzarella, and onion jam, as well as all the dishes with house-made cheeses, like ricotta, burrata, and the "Mozzeria bar" which Virginia Miller previously cooed over (it's a big fried stick of house-made mozzarella). He says their crust isn't perfect, and some of the small plates "lack polish," but he still thinks the place is a good value — you can get in and out for $25 and feel full — and he spends little time dwelling on the fact that most of the staff, and the owners, are deaf and using sign language the whole time. [SF Weekly]

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Get Half Off All of the Wine at Grand Café

Now is the time to check out the newish menu by chef Alicia Jenish at Grand Café as the restaurant is offering half off all wine bottles on their list for the entire month of May. Also, you could check out one of Jenish's "Misfit" dinners, May 17 to May 20, which this month will be featuring some unusual cuts of lamb from McCormack Ranch including lamb tongue, a lamb "porchetta," and lamb sweetbreads. Make a reservation here, or just walk in.

King of Pop: Pepsi Revives Michael Jackson for New Ad Campaign

Somebody out there drinks Pepsi, right? Grub Street knows precisely one person who does, but some people somewhere have kept this brand on the map, always nipping at Coke's coattails for over a century. Now the perpetual bridesmaid of the beverage industry is prepping another big new ad push with big-name stars, dubstep, and the King of Pop, brought back from the dead.

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Salt House Chef Departs to Open His Own Place

Salt House

Executive chef Robert Leva, who's been at the helm at SoMa's Salt House (545 Mission) since it opened over five years ago, is leaving the kitchen and getting ready to open his own restaurant, as the Chron's Inside Scoop reports this a.m. We don't know anything further about his plans at this point, but his replacement at Salt House will be Vernon Morales, who's coming over from the kitchen as sister restaurant Town Hall and who also previously ran the kitchen at long-gone Winterland. [Chron]

Patty U. Is Fooled By Source’s Veggie Burger

Source's lentil-and-beet-based burger.

Though she's no longer the critic at the Examiner, Patricia Unterman has been busy publishing reviews, brief and full, on her new website, Unterman on Food. Today we note her latest thoughts on a certain, meat-free, looks-like-it's-rare-inside burger at Potrero-adjacent vegetarian restaurant Source (11 Division Street). The patty's been written about before (Kauffman found it a little too bloody with beet juice, but Miller thought it intriguing), but our Patty absolutely raves about its texture and flavor, saying it has the "look, heft and savoriness of the best beef burger." Even though her "heart sank" a little when she saw it was served on pita bread. [Unterman on Food]

Sloshed: What the World Can Learn from Carbonated Cocktails

Bubbles!Photo: ALEAIMAGE/iStockphoto

If you haven't already, chances are good you will see a house-carbonated Negroni at your favorite cocktail joint in the next couple months. Like Newton and Leibniz discovering calculus at the same time, or whoever wrote all those asteroid movies like fifteen years ago, bartenders are simultaneously stumbling across the joys of self-carbonated cocktails.

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The Ashton ‘Raj’ Kutcher Popchips Commercial Has Been Pulled

No more chips for Ashton "Raj" Kutcher.

Ashton Kutcher's decision-making skills are yet again in question, and this time Popchips are at the heart of the matter. His new commercial — where he plays a range of single gents, include an Indian guy named Raj — has offended so many people that Popchips has pulled the plug on the campaign. Blogger Anil Dash called the ad "a hackneyed, unfunny advertisement featuring Kutcher in brownface talking about his romantic options, with the entire punchline being that he's doing it in a fake-Indian outfit and voice." Guess two and a half brain cells and a bag of chips won't get you very far. [TMZ]

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