Posts for November 8, 2012

Elixir Celebrates Its Ninth Birthday Next Weekend With Pig Roast


Elixir, one of the Mission's classier neighborhood watering holes, is ringing in nine years in business next weekend, and they're doing it with a party and pig roast from 4505 Meats' Ryan Farr, which will benefit Share Our Strength. "Ryan’s been a friend and neighbor of ours for years, so it’s a pleasure to have his 4505 Meats team onboard to cook with us again,” said Elixir owner H. Joseph Ehrmann. “We were the first bar to sell his famous chicharrones." Thus, they'll be starting the celebration with a ‘Chicharrones y Aperitivos Cocktail Hour’ from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 17. That hour will feature an Appleton Reserve rum cocktail, and from 1 p.m. on, attendees will be treated to Appleton rum punch and plates of "rum-soaked pigliciousness." Tickets are $45 and include a $10 donation to Share Our Strength, and VIP Tickets are $65 and include a t-shirt and an extra taste of Appleton 21-year rum (only 30 of these tickets available and T-shirts available in limited quantities of Large and Extra Large). There will also be à la carte food and cocktails, while supplies last. Get tickets and more info here.

The Sea By Alexander’s Steakhouse Opening in Palo Alto

The name is a mouthful, and not in a good way, but nonetheless The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse is having its grand opening tomorrow down in Palo Alto. The Alexander's team took over and remodeled the former Trader Vic's at Dinah's Garden Hotel (4269 El Camino Real), as we reported earlier, and the idea is high-end, luxury seafood dishes, along the lines of Providence in L.A. or Le Bernardin in New York. To that end, they've hired a chef from Providence, Yu Min Lin, who was born in Taiwan and trained in Japan, and who replaces recently ousted executive chef Jeffrey Stout.

Read more »

Kitchen Story, From the Sweet Maple Team, to Softly Open November 19 in the Castro

Here's what it's looking like.Photo: Grub Street

We finally have an update for you regarding Kitchen Story, which we broke the news about last month. The team behind the new restaurant happen to be the same people, it turns out, behind Sweet Maple and the recently open Blackwood in the Marina, Steven and Ji Yeon Choi. They are still remodeling and readying to open in the former Tangerine space at 16th and Sanchez, and the concept is "California cuisine" with a few Asian twists, and food served all day, much like at Blackwood. There will be a soft-opening week starting November 19, with a grand opening scheduled for November 26 (dates may still be subject to change with last-minute inspections, etc.). We have both the daytime and dinner menus for you to peruse below.

Read more »

Serpentine Hosts Benefit for Family of Slain Cook

Serpentine cook Caesar Chuc, who died following a street brawl in the Mission several weeks back, was well loved by coworkers including former Serpentine staffer (and soon-to-be owner of Gung Ho) Eric Ehler. Ehler wrote a eulogy for Caesar the other day, and Serpentine is throwing an event on Sunday at 6 p.m. with a $20 cover charge to help Caesar's family cover funeral expenses. If you can't attend, you can also donate here. Sadly, Caesar was working here to support a wife and four children, all back in Mexico.

More Mall Food Comes to Livermore

Just a heads up that an enormous new outlet mall opened today on the Livermore-Dublin border called Paragon Outlets, and it's home to a bunch of food concessions with funny names like China Max and ChickeNow. Also, there's a Cinnabon, and as ABC 7 notes, at least one local business squeezed in there: gourmet popcorn purveyor Cornology, which is based in Walnut Creek. [ABC7]

Bauer Says Mission Chinese Food Isn’t Quite as Good Without Bowien

Mr. Bauer was notably slow to catch on to the phenomenon of Mission Chinese Food, which opened in 2010 and didn't get a review from him until eight months later, well into 2011. But he's been pretty quick to return and reassess things now that Danny Bowien absconded to New York earlier this year to open the wildly popular Lower East Side location of the restaurant. Bowien has said he'd be back periodically, and he's still listed as chef, but Bauer finds several menu items that are "practically as good" as they were before, but "a little different." He compares the fiery food to an "S&M" experience, and finds the service still brusque, "but it's grown even more cavalier without Bowien in the mix." For example, asking for extra napkins after some messy ribs is met with a paltry one extra per person, and beers came to the table in cans, unopened, and lukewarm — a far cry from the free beer they serve to waiting patrons at the New York location. All told, though, it remains at two stars. [Chron]

Chick Fil-A Opens in Walnut Creek, and Yes, There Are Protesters

Just a couple weeks behind schedule, the new Chick Fil-A debuts today at 2800 N. Main Street in Walnut Creek, and some fools fans of free things were camped out last night to be first in line for the chain's traditional opening day giveaway of a year's supply of free chicken sandwiches to the first 100 customers. Meanwhile, a protest that's been planned for months now is taking place all day today outside the restaurant. And it may grow large, because the Bay Area happens to be home to more than a few people who care passionately about gay rights, marriage equality, and corporations that make large contributions to state ballot initiatives based on homophobia and the Bible. (According to Facebook, over 300 said they would picket, but they likely won't all show up.) As we've discussed earlier, this is the first of five planned Chick Fil-As around the Bay, with others coming to Mountain View, Novato, Santa Rosa, and San Jose.

Read more »

The Cook and Her Farmer, an Oyster Bar, Coming to Old Oakland

Romney Steele

Another new restaurant is on its way to the Swan's Market complex in Old Oakland, which will also shortly be home to Miss Ollie's from chef Sarah Kirnon, and Rosamunde's third sausage spot. Diablo Dish reports that The Cook and Her Farmer is a cafe and oyster bar concept from chef Romney Steele, who opened Café Kevah at Nepenthe in Big Sur two decades ago, and whose grandparents founded Nepenthe over 60 years ago. The menu will feature "simple but bountiful" dishes like big shared salads and southern-inflected stuff like fried chicken and crawdads (she may not want to compete with Kirnon on the fried chicken front, but we digress). But the main focus will be Tomales Bay oysters, which will be served both on the half shell, and fried. No word on an opening date, but if you want to learn more about Ms. Steele, you can check out her 2009 food memoir, My Nepenthe, about growing up at the bohemian Big Sur restaurant. [Diablo Dish]

Taco Bell Menu Turning Increasingly Experimental, Strange-Sounding

We're not even sure what this is.

As you no doubt know, Taco Bell is killing it with those Doritos Loco tacos, and apparently the success is giving the chain the confidence to go even more loco on its menu. Today Advertising Age runs down all the crazy crap Taco Bell is working on to further the success of its hybrid snacks. In addition to a bunch of desserts — caramel-filled empanadas, churros that look like a take on cheese twists, an triangular ice cream sandwich — there's also a forthcoming series of snacks known as "Loaded Grillers," which will wrap entire servings of nachos and baked potatoes in tortillas for its loaded customers. The Gut-Bust-y approach isn't going unnoticed by the competition.

Read more »

Pollan on 37: ‘It Will Continue and Get Very Expensive’

Mr. Pollan is unfazed.

As we're sure you've heard by now, Proposition 37 failed on Tuesday with 53 percent of voters (or 4.8 million people) voting it down, largely due to a 46 million dollar ad push by food and agribusiness corporations like PepsiCo, Hershey, and Monsanto. In just a month's time, the initiative to require labels on all food that contains GMOs went from polling at more than 65 percent yes, to a majority no, probably because voters were convinced by these ads that the law would raise prices in the grocery store, which isn't the case. Grub Street reached out to Berkeley's own Michael Pollan for his thoughts on the matter, and where California and the rest of the country might go from here. He admits, "This was a disappointing result," but he says, "In the face of $46 million of advertising, probably not surprising."

Read more »

City Tavern in Cow Hollow to Close After Seventeen Years

Restaurateurs Hugo Gamboa and Andy Wasserman, who are also behind The Brixton and Mas Sake, are taking over the space at 3200 Fillmore occupied by City Tavern for the last seventeen years. Grub Street finds the liquor license app going in today for something called El Chuys, which sounds like a Mexican concept, and in the absence of any further info, let's just put this out there for an early to mid-2013 opening. City Tavern remains open for now, and they're having a holiday party on November 20.

Bourdain and Ripert’s ‘Good & Evil’ Chocolate Bar to Make Its Debut

Good & Evil: Anthony Bourdain and Eric RipertPhoto: Melissa Hom

Just as we’d suspected, that “mysterious” Good & Evil chocolate bar that’s co-opted the schtick that Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert put forth in their traveling Good vs. Evil roadshow, makes its big debut at this weekend’s Salon du Chocolat. Philadelphia’s Inquirer spills the beans on the the bar, which is the culmination of more than a year’s work from Ripert and Pennsylvania-based chocolatier Christopher Curtin’s Eclat. To create it, the two trekked deep into jungles of Peru in search of an elusive type of wild-growing cacao believed extinct since 1916.

Read more »

Top Chef Seattle Recap: And We’re Off!

Some hopefuls, and their omelettes.Photo: Bravo

Most TV shows would kill for Top Chef’s reputation: In its tenth season, it continues to represent an upper-middlebrow trashy sensibility that purees accessibility, celebrity, and actual talent in a back-stabbery broth of semi-sophistication. Let us sup together!

Read more »

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver Used to Run a Burrito Blog

The burrito bracketologist.Photo: Christopher Anderson/ Magnum

Two billion dollars spent on it and no one noticed this until the day after the election? Apparently. Nate Silver, the New York Times statistician (of FiveThirtyEight blog) whose predictions reached Wine Spectator-ish absurdities of precision ("Based on his necktie, I have upgraded President Obama's chances of being reelected to 77.83% from 77.82%") but proved, in the end, to be spookily accurate, was a baseball stat geek before a political one, but before that, he was ... a Chicago burrito stat geek, a fact buried in an Advertising Age feature on him. Wait, what stats do burritos produce, you ask? Well, none, unless you generate them, which he did at a blog called the Burrito Bracket in 2007, comparing burritos and other Mexican fast food in his then-Wicker Park vicinity in an NCAA-style competition.

Read more »


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