Posts for May 18, 2012

Actually Pretty Awesome: Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent

The curried versions.Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Wine takes center stage at the newly open St. Vincent (Valencia and 24th), which takes its very name from the patron saint of winemakers, but the food menu is no afterthought. Chef Bill Niles, who worked at Bar Tartine under both the Kronner and Balla administrations, has crafted a tight selection of snacks and full plates that go far to complement David Lynch's expertly curated wine list, including a delicious hand-rolled pretzel, and a totally divine roasted pork dish with both trotter and belly, coco beans, and spring herbs. But a snack we're already craving again, which can be yours for a mere three dollars, was the curried pickled egg.

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Winship Restaurant in Sausalito Becomes Napa Valley Burger Co.; Skates on Bay Gets a Makeover; and More

Sausalito: Grub Street noted an odd closure at 50-year-old Winship Restaurant in Sausalito back in February, and at the time the management denied any big changes were afoot. But, very quietly last month, the place suddenly became Napa Valley Burger Co. We think the new owners didn't want to draw attention to the change, because of the history, but there it is. [Grub Street]
Mission: Eater looks "behind the plywood" at Dandelion Chocolate, which is opening next door to the upcoming Abbot's Cellar and Craftsman and Wolves. [Eater]
Berkeley: Skates on the Bay, the nearly 30-year-old seafood restaurant at the Berkeley Marina, just underwent a significant renovation. They've also updated their menu with stuff like house-cured salmon carpaccio, and pan-seared Alaskan halibut cheeks with succotash, pea vines, and red pepper coulis. [Grub Street]
Also, Saul's has a new Israeli chef de cuisine. [Scoop]

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Maverick to Launch New, More Modern Menu June 1

Maverick owners Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce have promoted chef de cuisine Emmanuel Eng, who came on just last fall, to the role of executive chef, and with the promotion Eng is looking to take the menu in a new, more specific direction. Maverick opened in 2006 with a focus on regional American food with upscale twists, paired with good wine. Eng is looking to break free of the traditional appetizer-and-entrée sections of the menu, as he tells the Scoop, and move toward some more whimsical, "modern interpretations of classic American cuisine." To give you an idea, he'll be doing crispy sweetbreads with “Cool Ranch” and a sweet corn mousseline; and a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup with a house-made “Ritz Cracker” brioche. (He also just did a "junk food pairing" event this week.) Look for the new menu to launch June 1. [Scoop]

Hirsch Calls the Food at Mission Bowling Club ‘Damn Fine’

Jesse Hirsch is quick to note that the food is kind of secondary at Mission Bowling Club, and most people (as chef Anthony Myint admits as well) are there to bowl. Still, he finds the vegan burger "lush [and] complex" and the storied Mission Burger "justly ranked among the city's best." Also, he likes the whimsically plated sausage corn dog and the buttermilk panna cotta, but finds some other items that don't work so well, like a "rubbery" blackened sturgeon. All in all, he says, after Myint figures out what works as a bar menu and what the full dinner menu may end up being, it will live up to its potential as "a bowling alley with damn fine food." [Examiner]

Dogpatch Is Our ‘Most Up-and-Comingest’ ’Hood, You Guys

Has everyone heard the news? Dogpatch is super happening now. Bon Appétit has even heard about it. They give nice shout-outs to Piccino, Poco Dulce, and the new Gilberth's Rotisserie & Grill. Also, they recommend doing a dining crawl at their new "favorite spots" in the nearby Mission, among which is one that hasn't quite opened yet: The Tartine Bread Annex at Bar Tartine. Ah, print media... your deadlines are always so far ahead. [Bon App]

Anniversaries This Weekend: Camino, Comstock Saloon, Social Kitchen

Atta girl.

Spring is and always was a popular time to open a restaurant, and thus this month we're seeing a bunch of anniversary events for some restaurants that made it through their first years and beyond. First off, tonight, they're toasting to the fourth birthday of Camino in Oakland, chef Russell Moore's much-loved California tavern. No need to reserve for the toast, but if you'd like to stay for dinner, here's the menu, and you can reserve here. But that's not the only party!

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New Weight-Loss Strategy: Just Starve Yourself for Sixteen Hours Every Day

How our clocks look after sixteen hours of fasting.

Finally, science is figuring out how we're going to shrink our guts and end the nation's obesity epidemic: We simply have to stop eating for sixteen hours at a time, every day, for the rest of our lives. The approach really seems to be working for mice, anyway. A new study by the Salk Institute finds that mice restricted to eating a high-calorie diet only during an active eight-hour period, then refused food during the rest of the day, are nearly as trim as a sample of mice kept on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. (A third group of mice could eat whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and they quickly became a bunch of fatasses.) "We have to come up with something that is a simple alternative to calorie counting," the study's lead biologist tells the L.A. Times. And while starving ourselves is easier than counting calories, it's also idiotic.

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No More Soup for You!: Soup Nazi Closes Fisherman’s Wharf Location

What headline did you think we were going to go with?

Original SoupMan, the soup chain spawned by a Seinfeld character based on real-life 'Soup Nazi' Al Yeganeh, has closed its location at 79 Jefferson Street at Fisherman's Wharf after just one year. Jonathan Kauffman had nothing terrific to say about the place when it opened, and apparently it hasn't been a big draw amongst the cargo-shorts-and-sandals crowd either. The Scoop brings the news, and says that a company spokesperson did not know the reason for the closure. We should note it appears to be a bad moment for soup chains in these parts, given the recent closure of one of Soup Freaks two locations as well. [Scoop]

Enraged Restaurant Landlord Resorts to Grease Flooding, Denies ‘Ogre’ Behavior

The chef, in happier times.Photo: Daily Telegraph

This is slimy: In Cornwall, England, a jilted landlord tried to flood a restaurant with grease to get revenge on his chef tenant. The chef in question is Michelin winner Kevin Viner, a tabloid fixture in Britain for his "celebrity lifestyle" and charismatic ways. Apparently the once-jolly Viner had long feared his loose-canon landlord, Eric Randle: "I was crying all the time. I was in a state. I had put my whole future into the restaurant. I am a reputable chef and my life has been destroyed."

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City of Richmond To Be The First to Vote on a Soda Tax

Pick your poisonPhoto: Fimoculus via Flickr

Even without Jamie Oliver breathing down its neck, the Bay Area city of Richmond, California, is making a big move towards curbing childhood obesity. The City Council here voted on Tuesday to get a ballot measure into the November election that would allow voters to decide if a one penny-per-ounce tax would be put on soft drinks and sugary juices, with the money raised (two to eight million dollars is projected) going to fund playgrounds, sports fields, and programs that target childhood obesity and dietary diseases like diabetes.

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Mission Chinese Food Opens NYC Outpost Tuesday

It's almost ready.

It's almost here: FloFab has it that San Francisco cult fave Mission Chinese Food will open Tuesday at 154 Orchard Street on the LES. Like spring's other big Asian import, Pok Pok Ny, Mission won't take reservations for tables — only for the twelve seats at the bar. As it does in San Fran, the restaurant will donate 75 cents from each dish to charity; here it's the Food Bank of New York City (see S.F.'s menu here to get an idea of what will be served). Mission will be dinner only to start, adding lunch and drinks a bit later on, and it will be, quirkily, closed Wednesdays. Get ready. [Diner's Journal/NYT, Earlier]

Alice Waters Seduces Everyone With Her Eggs

Lest anyone suggest that Alice Waters doesn't know her way around a kitchen, we present Exhibit A, from the Lives column in today's Times, in which writer Daniel Duane recounts the story of a private meeting he had with Alice in her kitchen in which she made her famous capital-E Egg for him in the fireplace in her kitchen — something which she'd previously done for Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes, so now it's kind of like a favorite party trick. The Egg involves first building a fire, then making a salad with garden-fresh greens and slicing some artisanal bread, cracking open a bottle of Bandol rosé, then rubbing a large copper spoon with oil, cracking a local egg into it, and frying it over the open flame. "We’ve got only so many moves, each and every one of us," Duane writes, in Alice's defense, "and it was still a great egg." [NYT]

Grilled Cheese Chain The Melt Expands to Berkeley

When Flip cam founder Jonathan Kaplan decided to get into the restaurant business last year, founding order-from-your-phone grilled-cheese chain The Melt, he said from the outset that he was looking to expand nationally. So far, the company has three locations in downtown S.F. and one down at Stanford. Now Grub Street sees them taking a retail space at 2400 Telegraph Avenue, a stone's throw from the Berkeley campus, and that makes perfect sense. No word on exactly when it will open, and stay tuned for news of where else in the country they'll be going — they already have this interactive map of the whole U.S. ready, but there's only the four locations on it right now. [Earlier]

Grocery Chain Safeway Is in Double Trouble This Week

Safeway is in the process of cleaning up two aisles of shit-storm after a butcher was fired, rather than admired, for saving a pregnant woman from being kicked in the stomach — a backwards move that customers across the country are vociferously outraged by. Then, at Safeway’s annual shareholder meeting, senior vice-president and general counsel Robert Gordon made a stupid and offensive joke that equated Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi to "hogs," and now he's on the express line to demotion. [Slate]

Good Mood Food: Teen Finds a Finger in Arby’s Sandwich

A 14-year-old boy from Michigan found a finger in his Arby’s roast beef sandwich. According to Yahoo, a restaurant employee cut her finger off with a meat slicer. She left her station to deal with the injury without telling her co-workers, who continued to prepare orders.

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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