Posts for May 30, 2012

A Castro-Adjacent Beer Garden; Txoko Turns One; and More

Castro/Church Street: You know that empty parking lot next to the former Blockbuster on Church Street near Market? It's playing host to a beer garden on Saturday, June 2, with beers courtesy of Brewtruc. $20 gets you ten 4-ounce pours of craft beers, and there'll be food and festivity too. It's from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and you can find tickets here. [Haighteration]
Also, Starbelly is hosting their first patio picnic of the season on Tuesday, June 5, featuring chef Adam Timney's Santa Maria-style tri-tip and various buffet-style sides, all for $39 per person. Reserve a table at 415.252.7500. [Grub Street]
North Beach: Txoko (504 Broadway) celebrates its one-year anniversary tomorrow, May 31, with a party from 7 p.m. to midnight, featuring $1 bites, $3 beers, and a DJ. [Grub Street]
Mission: Also celebrating an anniversary is Heirloom Café, which just rang in two years. They're hosting their first cellar dinner of the season on June 10. Get details and tickets here. [Grub Street]
Sonoma: Ram's Gate Winery, which is a mere 35 minutes outside the city without traffic, is hosting a special event on Saturday, June 9, featuring a reception and wine-paired luncheon from Bi-Rite Market owner Sam Mogannam and Ram's Gate chef Taylr Behnam. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased here (also, the menu is at that link). [Grub Street]

See Jeremiah Tower, ca. 1989, Cooking on British TV

And speaking of SF Chefs dinners and the upcoming Stars Realigned event on June 19, here's some great vintage video that Jeremiah Tower spotted on YouTube from a British TV program in 1989 in which the BBC's Keith Floyd travels to S.F. to check out the scene, and drops in on the kitchen at Stars for a lesson in cooking Monterey spot prawns.

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Two More SF Chefs Special Dinners Announced: Crenn Meets Commonwealth; and Street Food at Tacolicious

Telmo Faria (Tacolicious), Alex Ong (Betelnut), and Ryan Farr (4505 Meats) will be collaborating on a big pork feast.

A couple weeks back we mentioned the Dinner Party Project which is serving as the opening series of events for this year's SF Chefs (which actually starts July 30). Two new dinners have been added to the lineup which you might want to grab seat for: First up, Dominique Crenn and Commonwealth's Jason Fox, who are cut from similar cloth in terms of their esthetics and taste in well-composed food, are joining forces on Sunday, July 8 for a collaborative, multi-course dinner at Atelier Crenn.

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They’re Doing Fried Chicken at Wing Wings Now

Hold the phone. Wing Wings (422 Haight) is now frying up whole birds, batter and all, every day of the week (they were previously just doing it on Wednesday). You may recall that the guy who opened Wing Wings is Christian Ciscle, who previously was responsible for the fried chicken boxes at Little Skillet, earning them a mention on a Bon Appetit best list and raves from Michael Bauer. Now you can get a box ($8.50) any night of the week, with the added bonus of any of Wing Wings sauces for dipping. [Tasting Table]

B Restaurant Closes in Oakland

B in Old Oakland.Photo: Courtesy of B

B Restaurant and Bar, one of the OGs of the re-emerging scene in Old Oakland of the last decade, is calling it quits after seven years at the corner of Ninth and Washington Streets. The Scoop spotted the liquor license activity this morning — the license and business are being sold to Paul Ferrari of AG Ferrari fame — and B owner Kevin Best confirms that the restaurant will be closing after service tonight. No word yet on Ferrari's plans, but the B team still has their San Francisco location, overlooking Yerba Buena Gardens, to keep up, and they say they'll be expanding their Boxed Foods lunch/catering business on both sides of the Bay. [Scoop]

Drink Dr. Ruth’s New Wine So You Don’t Fall Asleep on Your Mate

Aged, like a fine wine.Photo: Patrick McMullan

Really, it was only a matter of time before geriatric sex guru Dr. Ruth Westheimer came out with her own line of mood-loosening libations. Her Vin d'Amour (translation: Wine of Love) hits shelves in early July, just in time for summertime trysts. One thing, though: Ruth's wine has half the alcohol content than most (6 percent to the typical 13), because that's the sexually prudent way.

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Google and Zagat Make First Big Move Together, Announce Google+ Local

Today Zagat and its parent company Google announced Google+ Local, which sounds a heck of a lot like their answer to Yelp. In fact, it's the same thing, user reviews on local restaurants with photos and a map, but you need a Google+ account — you do have one of those, right? Citizen reviews will also follow Zagat's famous grading scale, with 30-point ratings for decor, service, cost, and food. It's the first major move from the two since Google bought Zagat last fall, and it sounds like it will potentially mean more for Zagat than for Google.

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Pinkberry Finally Comes to S.F., at Macy’s

Along with Yigit Pura's Tout Sweet, scheduled to open this summer on Macy's third floor, the building is also getting another sugary tenant: Pinkberry. The SoCal fro-yo giant has so far only been at SFO, but they're opening their first cityside location shortly, on the O'Farrell side of Macy's. Cue long lines of young ladies in yoga pants singing that jingle. [Scoop] Update: They open Friday, July 13, at 170 O'Farrell.

John Waters Finishes Hitchhiking Trip, Hits Commonwealth

Mr. Waters, travelin' man.

Did you hear about the hitchhiking book John Waters is working on? He just hitched across the country in eight days and met some interesting folks along the way, including the band Here We Go Magic who picked him up by chance in Ohio, and he did not get killed. In fact, he says everyone was "lovely," and promptly upon his return to San Francisco he was spotted at Commonwealth over the weekend, dining by himself at the counter. (Obviously, all that road food led to a craving for some of Jason Fox's haute California cuisine.) The book, by the way, is tentatively titled Carsick. [Tablehopper]

Doritos Versus Drugs: Literal War on Snack Food Erupts in Mexico

Temperature-hot, not spice-hot.

A drug cartel firebombed a snack-food company's warehouses and parking lots in the Mexican states Guanajuato and Michoacán over the course of the weekend. The manufacturer Sabritas is owned by PepsiCo; dozens of delivery trucks were destroyed in the attacks, said to be the "first time a multinational firm has been targeted in long-running drug wars." Members of the Knights Templar cartel have been arrested and while the Daily Mail reports the attacks resulted from extortion attempts, ABC reports that widely circulated e-mails suggest the drug cartel believed that the trucks — used to deliver Fritos, Doritos, and Cheetos — were also used to spy on their activities. Chester Cheetah was always a bit shady, but we never pegged him for a narc. [DailyMail UK, ABC]

S.F.’s First Permanent Food-Truck Pod Opens June 6

The covered seating area at the new SoMa Streat Food Park.Photo: Carlos Muela

The SoMa Streat Food Park (428 11th Street at Division, see map), which came together pretty quickly since we first heard about it in December, is now ready to welcome its first trucks, and eaters. As discussed previously, the triangular park is S.F.'s first permanent food-truck pod (modeled on similar reuses of vacant lots in Portland), and it features restrooms, wifi, covered seating, a projection screen, and will eventually have its own beer garden too (the permit is pending).

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At Taco Bell, ‘Mixology’ Means a Horrific Breakfast Beverage

Don't cross the streams!Photo: Reddit/AllenJacoby

After pole-vaulting its public image with the introduction of co-branded Doritos tacos (that Cool Ranch–flavored shell was confirmed last week, by the way, along with the promise of "cookie sandwiches"), Taco Bell has outdone itself once again by rolling out a breakfast drink called MTN DEW A.M. in its Fresno and Southern California markets. Let's face it, Fresno needed this. Photos of a drive-through card billing the "Mixology of Mtn Dew and OJ," hit Reddit the other day, and have since ignited our imaginations and captured our immobilized hearts. Fox News, thanks be, got word from a company spokesperson that if MTN DEW A.M. does well, the company is threatening planning to "roll it out to all our restaurants that serve breakfast." [Reddit, Earlier]

Off the Grid Comes to AT&T Park June 13

Food trucks are coming to the baseball stadium in two weeks! Off the Grid is hosting their first annual Off the Cove event on Terry Francois Boulevard behind AT&T Park, June 13. The Giants are playing the Houston Astros, and the pre-game "tailgate" will consist of a gaggle of trucks — then the truck area will actually be open to the general public throughout the game. Get your special tickets here, which include seating in a special Off the Cove section for the 7:15 p.m. game, and a commemorative T-shirt.

Finding Grace: How a Sommelier Builds a World-Class Wine List

In the second installment of our video series "Finding Grace: The Making of a Restaurant," chronicling the creation of Michelin-starred chef (and former Alinea chef de cuisine) Curtis Duffy's highly anticipated Grace in Chicago, we meet sommelier and general manager Michael Muser. In a frank and funny nine-minute interview, Muser and Duffy talk about putting together a wine list for a menu that doesn't exist yet, finding the right balance between what customers expect and a sommelier's own wine geekiness, and the one wine that sommeliers wish they could drop from their list (and why customers won't let them). Check it all out, straight ahead.

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Sloshed: How to Make the Perfect Summer Drink Out of Anything

Requirements: Bubbles, booze, lots of ice.Photo: Hannah Whitaker

I gauge the turning of the seasons by which drinks I desire, and my strong yearning for daiquiris and mint juleps is as accurate as any calendar for telling me it's summer. Normally, I'd be stocking limes, mint, and soda. But my summer drinking plans have been disrupted by the fact that I am moving cross-country to San Francisco, so I need to use up all the leftover specialized booze that I bought, made a drink or two with, then stuck back into my liquor cabinet: things like Bénédictine and Crème Yvette that I don't want to lug to the West Coast. You probably don't have quite the same dilemma, but everyone has bottles of random booze sitting around. So, I wondered, is there a single technique that I can apply to any booze to make a great summer drink? Little did I know frat parties would end up inspiring the solution.

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Meadowood Announces Its Twelve Days of Christmas Extra Early

The remodeled dining room.Photo: Creel Films

We're used to getting this announcement closer to the fall, but today we learn that The Restaurant at Meadowood has already secured the guest chefs and vintners for their annual December benefit dinner series, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Chef Christopher Kostow wanted to broaden the scope of the dinners this year to be both an exchange of ideas with emerging chefs, and to feature chefs who are, with their food, telling "a narrative that only they can tell." To that end, he elicited the help of globetrotting food blogger Bonjwing Lee, otherwise known as the Ulterior Epicure, who's eaten pretty much everywhere.

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WTF: Travel + Leisure Ranks NYC Ninth, L.A. Tenth on ‘Best Burger Cities’ List

America's Best Burger Town is ... Providence? That's what T&L says. New York ranks ninth, and L.A. is tenth, which seems ... off. Congrats to Philly, however, in No. 2. [Travel & Leisure]

Huge Beef Producers Would Like You to Reconsider Your Feelings on Pink Slime

It just looks so tasty!Photo: Francois Nascimbeni/Getty Images

Summer grilling season is here, but demand for ground beef is down, according to a report in USA Today. It's because of that whole pink-slime thing! Consumers are moving away from pre-ground beef produced by huge companies like Cargill in favor of beef that's ground at butcher shops and in-store. (Lots of people are choosing ground bison, too.) That's a good thing! Unless of course you work at Cargill, which according to the story "saw 80% of its customers for finely textured beef [the industry term for pink slime] disappear after the controversy erupted in March." Pink slime isn't that bad, they say. In fact, according to Cargill spokesman Mike Martin, "There's no legitimate reason why it shouldn't be part of ground beef." The emphasis there is ours, because, dude, really? [USAT]

Michelle Obama Talks Vegetable Feasts on The Daily Show

FLOTUS hit The Daily Show last night to talk up her brand-new book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, the latest effort in her campaign to get America eating healthy. "The garden is a good way to start the conversation," she told Jon Stewart. "When I grew up, you cooked broccoli until you could cut it with a fork." Adding, "It's not supposed to be that way." No, no it isn't. Check her tips on vegetable feasts, engaging kids in growing, and more on conscientious eating, straight ahead.

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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