Posts for May 14, 2012

S.F.’s Louboutin Attacker Referenced on 30 Rock [Updated]

The SFPD has been a little slow in getting around to detaining or questioning the woman responsible for last month's brutal stiletto attack outside the Balboa Café in the Marina — Grub Street has been told that a detective is still on the case, but he was distracted by a few a more urgent matters and there have been no updates as of last week. 30 Rock was a little quicker, however, in getting a possible reference to the crime on air. The most recent episode, as SFist notes, included a scene in which Jenna attacks an off-brand Sesame Street character with her off-brand stiletto heel, tricking the media in the process into thinking it was a real Christian Louboutin shoe.

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Regarding All Those Half-Full Wine Bottles at St. Vincent

There will always be more available by the glass than what's on the printed menu, for one...Photo: iStock Image

We were curious, as probably some of you were, how it was all going to work at St. Vincent (24th and Valencia) when it came to opening all those bottles for people and only pouring out half. The innovative beverage program at the new wine tavern from former Quince sommelier David Lynch is fun, and as he told us previously it's meant give people experiences of new wines that they might be reluctant to try if they had to pay for pricey full bottles — a half-bottle of an $80 wine, for instance, with approximately four half-glasses for $40, doesn't feel so bad. But what happens with all those leftover half-empty bottles at the end of the night, and how many have they had to toss out during their first week in business?

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Serra Bowl Might Resurface After All, at Former Delano’s Market in the Richmond

The former Serra Bowl in Daly City.Photo: Ryan W./Yelp

Many were sad when, last month, Serra Bowl closed after 51 years in Daly City. Many a birthday had happened there, and many league player undoubtedly did a John Goodman impression and called someone Donny in that grand temple of bowling. Now Richmond SF says that the owners of the alley, who were forced out of there because the land owners want to develope the site, are hunting around for a new spot in which to reopen, and they were recently sniffing around the former Delano's market space at Geary and 27th Avenue. Obviously this all just preliminary, but promising! We were fans of the dank, nostalgic karaoke/sports bar attached to the place called Danno's 300 Club, and somehow we don't think that will be revived along with Serra Bowl, but we can dream. [Richmond SF]

The Hancock Room, Another Bar-Within-a-Bar, Opens in North Beach

Cocktail geeks already know about Wilson & Wilson and the Hideout at Dalva, but now Eater brings word of North Beach's answer to the bar-within-a-bar trend: The Hancock Room at Sip Bar & Lounge (787 Broadway at Powell). The owner decided to convert the former dance floor and private party room into an upscale cocktail lounge, because even the bros of the North Beach like a well-mixed Last Word these days. Well, some of them. (See the full, historically themed classic cocktail list here.) The Hancock Room opens on Friday, and will be accessible through Sip on the weekends. Sunday through Thursday they'll be reservation-only. Anyhow, the gilt frames and old-Americana theme remind us of the recently opened Big in the TenderNob, but maybe that's just a trend in itself. [Eater]

Dixie Still Aiming for Late May

Outside of the Mission, where new openings will be happening at a steady clip in the coming weeks and months, there's another long-awaited opening on deck for the end of the month in a different part of town: Dixie. The restaurant from former Murray Circle chef Joseph Humphrey in the former Pres a Vi space in the Presidio is finally coming together after some delays, and the Scoop talks to designer Michael Brennan and Humphrey about the space and what they're doing to change the feel of it — basically they're closing off the kitchen, adding recycled wood, and reconfiguring the dining room to feel more organic. Also, in addition to the Southern-inspired a la carte menu, Humphrey plans on doing a tasting menu with one course that diners will have to come into the large, shiny new kitchen to enjoy. They're still saying late May, so, fingers crossed. [Scoop, Earlier, Earlier still]

Julia Child to Get Commemorative Children’s Book, Too

Julia Child's 100th birthday will be one for the books, literally. In addition to that new biography we mentioned last week, another publisher will release a children's book version of Julia's life called Bon Appetit!: The Delicious Life of Julia Child. It's formatted like "a goofy scrapbook, with handwritten anecdotes," as Squid Ink reports, and manages to capture Julia's joie de vivre without ever talking down to the intended audience. Also, it sounds like the book wants to indoctrinate a new generation of American foodinistas into all things gourmet and French, attaching funny stories to cooking moments, like the time Julia pulled a bouquet garni out of a stockpot on air and declared, "It looks like a dead mouse!" As School Library Journal informs us, "Books for young foodies are very popular [right now]." Ugh. [Squid Ink]

Sens Is Delighted By State Bird Provisions, Offers Advice on Pacing Yourself

SF Mag's Josh Sens tackles State Bird Provisions in a new review, a few months after all the other critics in town had their say. He gushes that chef Stuart Brioza is "a chef with omnivorous interests and the chops to work without a net ... [and] his kitchen turns out a myriad of dishes of such varied inspiration that the usual pat labels fall short." He highlights things like the marvelous green-garlic bread and duck-neck dumplings, and at least one delicious-sounding dish we hadn't heard about before: “Korean pasta” with "chewy rice-cake coins with braised rabbit in a robust parmesan sauce." And similar to the experiences of others before him, he says that the dim sum format encourages "early feeding frenzies" and some restraint is required. As he advises, "Best to tide yourself over with a few commandables and take on the cart service as you would a buffet, with early scouting missions followed by more vigorous surgical strikes." All told: three stars. [SF Mag, Bauer's earlier take, Kauffman's]

Biondivino's New Wine Bar Gets a Name: Et Al

The former Eco Citizen space at 2255 Polk.

We noted a couple months back that Ceri Smith from Russian Hill wine shop Biondivino was opening a new wine bar in a small former retail space at 2255 Polk Street (at Green). Today we find the name via the liquor licenses, and it looks like Smith has settled on Et Al. As Eater reported previously, the place will have a food menu courtesy of Boulette's Larder cooks Amaryll Schwertner and Laurie Regis, and there will be breakfast as well. Look for Et Al to open in a few months from now, since the application just went in. [Grub Street]

Nobu’s Mega-Expansion: More Details on the Vegas Hotel and Biggest Restaurant Yet

Matsuhisa and his mock-upPhoto: Tatiana Arbogast

While the Bon Appetit–branded Vegas Uncork'd event unfolded this weekend, Nobu Matsuhisa took advantage of the increased media presence to unveil the first mock-up of Nobu Caesar's Palace, the largest branch of the restaurant yet, with 11,200 square feet and 327 seats. The restaurant is slated to open this fall as part of the Nobu Hotel at Caesar's, which the chef says was inspired by his hotel magnate business partner Robert De Niro.

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Michael Bauer Loves Wakuriya in San Mateo

Either there was no Bauer review in yesterday's paper or it hasn't made it online yet (we don't like ink on our hands), but in the meanwhile Mr. Bauer gives us his weekly suggestions of where to eat, and mentions Michelin-starred Wakuriya, a small Japanese spot in San Mateo that is apparently as hard to get into as the French Laundry. Chef Katsuhiro Yamasaki does an ever-changing, nine-course kaiseki menu each night for only eighteen diners, and Bauer suggests being persistent in trying to book a reservation, one month to the day in advance. Bauer says Yamasaki "creates dishes on a very high level and presents them exquisitely." [Between Meals/Scoop]

Restoration Hardware Has Designs on the Restaurant Biz

Pull up a seat!Photo: Restoration Hardware

Oh Pottery Barn, aren't you sorry you didn't think of it first? Restoration Hardware has announced that it's branching out into the restaurant game, and its first location will be in Boston's Back Bay, a neighborhood known for swanky shops a lot like ... Restoration Hardware. Naturally, décor won't be an issue.

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Occupy the Farm Forcibly Unoccupied Once Again

UC Police raided the remaining camp at Occupy the Farm in Albany for the second time in a week this morning, clearing out the remaining nine or so campers, and leaving just one stalwart protester in a tree. UC Berkeley says the kids can't keep farming there because they need the land for their own university-sponsored research-farming. [Tribune, Earlier]

Couch Potatoes: Watching an Hour of Food Network With Mimi Sheraton

Host overload.Photo: Getty Images, Patrick McMullen, Splashnews

No matter what you think of the Food Network, it's arguably the most influential and certainly the loudest voice in today's food-media landscape. With that in mind, we wondered what some of the country's more intellectual food lovers thought of the TV juggernaut. From time to time, we'll invite those people to watch a random, midweek afternoon hour of programming, and record their thoughts in the process. To help us kick things off: former New York Times restaurant critic — and never one to mince words — Mimi Sheraton.

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Cook of Mormon: A Look at Mitt Romney’s Religious Diet

Is that a veggie burger?Photo: AP

As we all know by now, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. And so while it's possible to spot Barack Obama inhaling fried food or grabbing a quick beer, well, you won't spy Mitt engaging in such indulgences. In fact, as we noted a few weeks ago, Romney is even a sourpuss picnic guest. (He tried to turn the tide a bit by proclaiming his love for grits and catfish, but nobody bought it.) But we say, "Hey, it's not Mitt's fault." It's no wonder he's so stiff: The guy's diet is totally restrictive because Mormonism forbids ingesting substances that could become addictive. You'd be in a bad mood, too, if you couldn't get drunk or guzzle coffee! So just how tough is it to eat like Mitt? Sounds like the answer is very.

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Local Mission Market Fights to Be Able to Sell Wine

Local Mission Eatery and Local's Corner owner Yaron Milgrom is in the news again today as the Chronicle puts him front and center in a piece about the battle to lift the ban on new liquor licenses and liquor license transfers in the Mission, which is the strictest of its kind in the city. For those who haven't heard the oft-repeated tale, the moratorium on new liquor licenses was enacted in 1996 at a time when there was significant blight in the neighborhood due to corner liquor-groceries, and was intended to address the crime and quality-of-life issues associated with the stores and discourage new ones. Sixteen years on the city is moving at a glacial pace trying to revise the policy, which obviously shouldn't apply anymore now that so much of the Mission is gentrifying and changing, and the number of restaurants where you can get a good cocktail there has remained few. Enter Milgrom, who can't get a license even to sell beer and wine at his upcoming Local Mission Market (Harrison near 23rd) without requesting a special exception.

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Introducing the Skinny Slurpee

7-Eleven's usual tactics for upping frozen treat sales include free Slurpee days and putting mom-and-pops out of business. But now USA Today writes that the Slurpee will soon be available in a Splenda version that has a mere twenty calories in an eight-ounce cup, versus 66 normally (though who actually only buys the eight-ounce size?). Low-cal flavors mango, strawberry banana, and cherry limeade will roll out by free Slurpee day on May 23 — mark your calendars. [USAT]


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