Posts for June 12, 2012

Chef Shuffle Afoot at Piccino

Rachel Sillcocks, the chef behind Piccino's 2011 reopening success in Dogpatch, is taking her leave in mid-July. Sillcocks previously worked at Nopa and Cyrus, and her work at Piccino earned her raves from Michael Bauer and Jonathan Kauffman last year. Her replacement hasn't been named yet, and Sillcocks has not said what she has planned, but Piccino co-owner Margherita Stewart Sagan says Sillcocks is just "burned out and needs a break." [Scoop]

Sketch Ice Cream Returns to Berkeley After Three-Year Hiatus

Sketch 1.0

Berkeley ice cream fans will be abuzz with this news: The much loved Sketch Ice Cream shop, which closed three years ago on Fourth Street in Berkeley, is reopening in a new space next month not far from their original one. As Berkeleyside reports, the husband-and-wife team behind it, Eric Shelton and Ruthie Planar-Shelton, shuttered the store so they could concentrate on raising their newborn daughter. Now that their daughter is entering pre-school, they decided to snap up one of the retail spaces at the new Fourth and University complex, a much larger one than they had before, at 2080 Fourth Street. The new shop will feature baked goods and candy as well as Sketch's signature organic, seasonal ice cream flavors, made with Straus Creamery base. As they write on Facebook, "We are very excited and so is [our daughter] Audrey (though not sure if she TRULY understands that she will be the envy of every child)." They're aiming for mid-July. [Berkeleyside]

Preview Duende at an Underground Dinner In S.F. This Weekend

Former Oliveto chef Paul Canales has that big project Duende in the works in Oakland's Uptown, now slated for a fall opening. Tablehopper brings word today of a preview pop-up happening through Naked Kitchen S.F. this Saturday, June 16, in which twenty lucky diners will get a chance to taste some of Canales's dishes in development, following on a trip he recently took to Spain. This comes at a price, of course: It's $150 per person for five courses, with seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and only ten seats per seating. Tickets include wine pairings from Duende sommelier , and you can get them here. The exact location will be emailed to you after your ticket is purchased. [Tablehopper, Earlier]

What to Eat at Pican, From New Chef Sophina Uong

Fear not: Their signature "low and slow" barbecue pork ribs remain on the menu.Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

As we mentioned last week, Oakland's Pican has a new executive chef, Sophina Uong. This week marks the launch of her revised menu at the popular upscale Southern spot, which now has a few new additions. Among the new stuff: Lake Ponchartrain blue crab profiteroles with braised fennel, lemon, and hickory-smoked pimiento cream; an upside-down candied yam tartlet; and a Charleston-style Sea Island she-crab soup with cream sherry and crab roe. Also, Uong is introducing something Pican hasn't had before: a chef's tasting menu.

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Pig & Pie Set to Open By the End of the Month

Part of the wave of Mission openings this spring/summer is one we haven't forgotten: Pig & Pie (2962 24th Street), a new sausage spot in the former Discolandia space. Owner Miles Pickering contacted Grub Street to let us know that they appear on track for a soft opening on Sunday, June 24, pending their final health inspection and such. The preliminary menu of sausages, sides, and pies is still here, and once they open you can expect to find them open seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m., for lunch, dinner, and bar-crawl snacks until 1 a.m. on weekends (11 p.m. weeknights). We'll update you to let you know if they hit their target date. [Earlier]

Monarch Seeks to Extend Hours Until 4 A.M.

Monarch's street-level bar.

Six-month-old Sixth Street club Monarch, with its ground floor bar and lounge and basement-level dance floor, is looking to extend their operating hours and entertainment to 4 a.m. The owners are going before Planning to get approval for the after-hours extension, but while the item has been recommended for approval, it appears that it will be tabled for discussion at the June 28 meeting. Like several other SoMa clubs like 1015 Folsom, the EndUp and the Stud, the change would allow the club to remain open for dancing but alcohol would be cut off at 2 a.m., obviously. [Grub Street]

Hopscotch Opens Friday in Oakland

We haven't yet had a peek inside.

A little while back we told you about Hopscotch (1915 San Pablo Avenue), a new Oakland restaurant serving "creative interpretations of global bistro fare" with a slight Japanese bent from a former Yoshi's cook. Now the place is ready to open this Friday, June 15. Chef-owner Kyle Itani has spent time traveling in Japan, in addition to work at Yoshi's and at New York's Meatball Shop, and he hopes to bring a Japanese sensibility to both the service and the food at the new restaurant. Today we bring you a preview of the menu, including some signature cocktails and the by-the-glass wine list.

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Outlaws: Thirteen Banned Foods We Should Be Able to Eat

Last week, we all joined in helping California mourn the impending loss of foie gras owing to a statewide ban. This got us thinking about all the other banned and impossible-to-find foods here in the U.S., and how, as dutiful food writers, we'd like to try them all someday. Surprisingly, things like blowfish, shark fin, and horse meat (see this bologna M. Wells recently served on a grilled cheese, with foie gras, too) are still legal. (California just outlawed shark fin last year, though people can still sell it there until July 2013.) Okay, Grub Street draws the line at human genitalia, but what's wrong with some real, non-canned Scottish haggis? Check out all the food that's banned, but shouldn't be, straight ahead.

Mid-Market Caffe Trieste Shutters

Twitter may be moving in, but Caffe Trieste is moving out. The mini-chain closed their Market and Gough location (1667 Market) yesterday "due to the sale of the building." They still have their North Beach flagship and two other East Bay locations as well. [Eater]

McDonald’s Chef Says His Food Is No Less Healthy Than Thomas Keller’s

No longer taking criticism laying down.

McDonald's is tired of standing in as a synonym for stoppered arteries and soaring obesity. If you don't like it, don't eat there, and if you eat there, don't eat there all the time. That seems to be the gist of the fast-food empire's new 'tude, as expressed by its senior director of culinary innovation, Daniel Coudreaut, the dude helping to get oatmeal and blueberries on the breakfast menu and apple slices into Happy Meals. The chef defended McDonald's menu in a press event in Cleveland last week and reports his defiance and denial that the Golden Arches represents everything wrong with the country's diet. "I don't see anything on the menu that's unhealthy," Coudreaut noted, oblivious to the 42 grams of fat hitting hearts in the shape of a quarter pounder with cheese. The chef is a fan of having a weekly Big Mac himself, lets his kids eat at McDonald's once a week, and in the most serious delusion of grandeur, even compares McNuggets to fancy, chef-prepared "forcemeat." But his biggest faux pas came when he went after Thomas Keller and the French Laundry.

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Chez Maman to Take Prime Corner in Hayes Valley for Second Location

Let the bistro wars begin! The Terra Bakery space at the prime corner at Hayes and Gough, across from Absinthe, will become a second iteration of Chez Maman, the Potrero Hill French bistro. (Chez Maman previously had a location in Bernal Heights, now closed, and sister restaurants Chez Papa Bistrot and Chez Papa Resto are in Potrero Hill and Mint Plaza, respectively.) Now, while Absinthe may transcend bistro fare, it began life as a bistro and is still bistro-like, and having Chez Maman move in across the street should make for some healthy competition. According to the Scoop they're aiming to open soon, by the end of the month. Stay tuned. [Scoop]

Hold the Phone: Bob’s Donuts Is Now on Twitter

They occasionally post a photo...

Want to know when the old fashioneds are up? When the crullers are at their freshest? Polk Street staple Bob's Donuts, which is open 24 hours and serves, arguably, the best doughnuts in town, recently launched a Twitter account: @whatsfreshest. It's short on poetry, but you will be grateful to know that the "fritters are up" if you happen to be stumbling out of a nearby watering hole at 2 a.m. and can focus long enough on your phone to read Twitter.

Elizabeth Banks’s Odd Girl Scout Cookie Obsession

Ex-Girl Scout and Brownie Elizabeth Banks headed over to The Tonight Show to promote her new movie, People Like Us, and ... Girl Scout cookies. Particularly the Nestlé candy-bar variation. "Jay, they taste exactly like the cookies," she squealed. "But they're candy bars and you can buy them all the time!" Her endorsement deal addiction is so bad she's even careened over three lanes after spotting a cookie transaction on the street. Also, that's all she was eating before her Allure cover shoot. Uh-huh.

Watch the video! »


Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

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    “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.

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    “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