Posts for May 4, 2012

Hirsch Loves the Mac and Cheese at Two Sisters; Gagliardi Claps for Cupola

Two Sisters Bar & Books

For his second week on the job at the Ex, critic Jesse Hirsch reviews the under-the-radar Hayes Valley bar-café Two Sisters Bar & Books. He finds it small but charming, and especially loves chef Alex Smith's take on mac-and-cheese, with beer in the sauce and a pretzel topping. Also, he loves the lamb sandwich and the Madame Rarebit at brunch. In fact, the place is so charming and so small, that he's afraid to say too much for fear he'll never get a seat again. "Let me take it all back, actually," he writes. "What a terrible place. Please don't visit." [Examiner]

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Behold Cosentino's L.A. Tower of Pork

Chef Chris Cosentino (Incanto) recently established a Los Angeles presence with the pork-centric portion of the new Umamicatessen, called PIGG. He's introducing Angelenos to the wonder of crispy pig ears and brainaise, and the place also features a mechanized, Ferris-wheel-type contraption for displaying hams from three countries. [SFoodie, Earlier]

Luke Wilson Spotted at Delfina; Ashton Kutcher Drinks at Rye

Mr. Wilson

The slower-talking, more stonerish of the Wilson brothers, Luke Wilson, was spied dining with an allegedly "lovely" but unidentified woman at Delfina last Thursday. No word on what the Enlightened star may have been doing in town. [Tablehopper]

Ashton Kutcher got a little bit hounded by female fans at Rye last Friday. He was there having a quiet time with a friend/colleague (Kutcher's tech investments, or something, seem to keep him coming back to town repeatedly) over a bottle of Cotes du Rhone, but he did agree to a few photos. [Tablehopper]

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West of Pecos Due Next Week, May 12

Tyler MacNiven, of 'Amazing Race' fame, with the giant steer skull fashioned by his dad.Photo: via Facebook

The Valencia corridor is hopping with new restaurant openings, what with St. Vincent coming alive any day now, Amber Dhara due later this month, and West of Pecos (550 Valencia Street), which the Scoop now says will open next Friday, May 12. As discussed earlier, West of Pecos is the southwestern-American restaurant from the MacNiven family who also own Woodhouse Fish Co. They're doing a menu of housemade tortillas, roasted meats, green-chile burgers and the like, and there will be 20-ounce "schooners" available for beer. Also, there'll be a full bar with tequila drinks and such. Tune in next week for more. [Scoop]

Taste Some Fine Scotches at the Whisky Shop’s New Tastings

Know your Laphroaig from your Chieftan's Braeval.

The Whisky Shop (360 Sutter Street near Grant) just got themselves a new license to do public tastings, and so now would be the time to get an education in Scotch, for the uninitiated. Scottish historian and Scotch expert Mark Stewart Cassidy has been doing private events in conjunction with the Whisky Shop for the last decade, teaching people the difference between fruity Speyside Scotches and peaty Islay ones, but now the public can attend events at the shop as well. The next one is May 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and you can reserve a spot by email or at 415-857-5533. The tasting will feature a flight of six Scotches representing each of the six regions where Scotch is made, and so you'll probably want to eat something first.

Papalote Guys Asking Papazote to Rethink Their Name

Shrimp tacos at Mamacita.

Speaking of Mexican stuff: The upcoming planned expansion of Mamacita to the former Eos space in Cole Valley, which had been named Papazote (it means "big papa," get it?) has hit a little snag. As Eater reports, the guys who own popular taqueria Papalote think the names could get too easily confused, and they're probably right. So now it's up to the Mamacita team to come up with something new for their slightly more upscale Mexican concept (but it sounds like they still want Papa or at least Mama in there somehow). Any suggestions? [Eater, Earlier]

What to Eat and Imbibe at Comal, Opening Today in Berkeley

Where the East Bay adults will be celebrating tomorrow...Photo: Courtesy of Comal

As promised last week, and just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Comal (2020 Shattuck Avenue at University) is debuting tonight in downtown Berkeley. The new upscale Mexican restaurant in a brand new space features a Oaxacan-focused menu from former Delfina chef de cuisine Matt Gandin, and a bar program from the beloved Bon Vivants. Below we bring you their tequila-centric cocktail selection (and their selection of sophisticated tequila and mezcal flights), and the full food menu for your pre-dining perusal.

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Gold Club Does Burritos, and Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club Rings In Cinco de Mayo Too

Cinco de Drinko is going to be stinko in North Beach tomorrow in North Beach, as per usual, and this year the strip clubs are all offering some specials. First off we have Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, where they'll be hosting Señor Larry's Cinco de Mayo Party featuring $2 Patron shots and $2 beers from 11:30 a.m. on (they're open until 6 a.m. on Sunday). As a bonus, the El Tonayense truck will be parked outside. Over in SoMa, as the Gold Club says, "Love boobs, booze and burritos? Enjoy them all simultaneously this Cinco de Mayo at the Gold Club." They'll be doing an after-hours party Saturday night from midnight to five a.m. featuring "fine foods." That's all we know. Meanwhile at the more classy Penthouse Club & Steakhouse, they'll be doing their regular bottle-service thing, but they'd like everyone to know that they're doing happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., with special prices on draft beers and well drinks and half-off all of their (mostly vodka-based) signature drinks — just in case you have a really bad morning at work and need to throw a few back at noon, while look at some breasts.

Our Money Is On Daniel Patterson for the James Beard Win

The James Beard Awards (at least the big chef and restaurant awards) are on Monday, May 7 in New York, and though we've been wrong before, our money is on Daniel Patterson, executive chef of Coi and owner of Plum and Haven in Oakland, to take home the Best Chef: Pacific prize this year. Here's why...

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Mad Cow Update: Two Dairies Quarantined, Offspring Put Down

Remember how the USDA and the cattle industry tried to assure us last week that the euthanized dairy cow that was found to have the fourth recorded U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) was just old and developed the disease through a natural, random cell mutation? Well, the USDA apparently isn't totally sure that's the case, and they're still "examining feed records" at the Tulare County dairy where the diseased cow was found and tracking down feed suppliers. Also, the dairy and another associated with it remain quarantined (which they say is standard procedure), and the USDA tracked down one of the cow's offspring at a farm in another state and euthanized it. They then tested its brain tissue, and tests came back negative for mad cow. But sure, nothing to worry about, folks! [AP/HuffPo]

Angelina Jolie Taps Jamie Oliver to Help Her Put on Some Pre-Wedding Pounds

Poor Angie. She's so svelte! So fragile! So engaged to Brad Pitt! Which means that she needs to flesh up in time for her wedding, lest she flash that waify Oscars leg. Naturally, she did what every bride does when suffering from a troubling attack of thinness: She called Jamie Oliver for recipes.

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The Fifteen Most Gloriously Dramatic Fights Between Restaurant Owners and Food Critics

This week, John Mariani and Joe Bastianich set off the sort of war of words that makes covering the food world's every breath ultimately worthwhile: Bastianich called the critic a "condescending prick" in his new book, Restaurant Man, and Mariani hit back in the New York Post by calling Joe "vile," insisting he lacks "balls," which Joe claims Mariani once "cut off" (at least they agree on one thing). But this dance is nothing novel, as chefs and critics have rubbed each other the wrong way plenty of times in the past in a flurry of public threats, full-page ads, identity exposures, and ousters that are almost as ugly as the chef-on-critic violence in the film Bitter Feast. Here we have a look back on fifteen of the most notable, drama-filled squabbles that have gone down between chefs and their critics in years past. Enjoy.

Courtney Love Is Hooked on Chicken Potpie and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

"Fuck chocolate. Kurt hated chocolate, too — that was one of the things we had in common."Photo: Melissa Hom

"I'm not a foodie," Courtney Love tells Grub Street, "but I am a foodie." And so begins the amazing and exasperating New York Diet tell-all, as Love weaves in and out of the Fred Torres Gallery (where her racy-femme show, "And She's Not Even Pretty," is getting rave reviews), subsisting on Dean & Deluca takeout, daily cake deliveries, gallons of lemon water, and anything by Mario Batali, whom Love calls "the only friend you really need." Read on as Love takes less of a what-I-ate-this-week approach to her New York Diet and instead freely reflects on her body, refrigerator, testosterone levels, and "fuckin' Portandia-like" mixology skills.

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