Posts for November 9, 2012

Some Movement at the Hotel Rex; Corner Café Opens in the Bayview

Union Square: About a year ago it was rumored that Tyler Florence was looking at the restaurant/bar space at the Hotel Rex (566 Sutter Street). But today we find a new liquor license app going in under the names Sean Mahoney, William Tennis, and Briony Quinn, with no business name yet attached. [Grub Street]
Embarcadero: Off the Grid launches a new market Sunday at Justin Herman Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with the opening of the ice skating rink. [Grub Street]
Russian Hill: Wrecking Ball Coffee began daily service this week at Firehouse 8 (1648 Pacific Avenue at Polk). [Tasting Table]
Dogpatch: Dogpatch Saloon is not yet, as previously reported, closed for renovations and renaming, though that is still happening soon. [Dogpatch Howler]
Bayview: Corner Cafe is now open in the 5800 Third Street complex, in the space that had been slated for Brown Sugar Kitchen. [Eater, Earlier]
Berkeley: Spoon, a new Korean spot at 933 Ashby, is open in the daytime. [Chow]

Katie Holmes Digs Box Wine; Amazon Launches Big Wine Marketplace

"Atta girl. We're all friends here."

• In an interview in conjunction with her new Broadway play, "Dead Accounts," actress and former Scientology newbie Katie Holmes says she's still just a Midwestern girl at heart, and admits, "I mean, I’ve had box wine. It’s good. And it’s a lot easier to open." [NYT]

• Amazon just launched a wine marketplace on Thursday, selling over 1,000 domestic brands, and stepping into the sector that Gilt has been attempting to get into. [LAT]

• Another after-effect of Superstorm Sandy: booze shortages in New Jersey. Also, a Brooklyn wine and liquor store said that sales the day before the storm were "as good as on last Christmas Eve." [HuffPo]

Anzu’s 25th Anniversary Tasting Menu, Illustrated

Anzu (222 Mason Street, 2nd Floor), the upscale Asian-fusion restaurant at the Hotel Nikko, is, along with the hotel, celebrating its 25th birthday this fall. The dining room has been retooled, and in celebration they're offering a five-course tasting menu that's actually kind of a deal at $49 (with $30 extra for wine and sake pairings). Despite the stigma of that "fusion" word, the food feels neither dated, nor overworked, and there were a couple delicate and refined highlights that we'd say make this place a solid bet for Union Square dining, especially if you're headed on a theater date.

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Ex-Employee Accuses Waffle House Chairman of Sexual Shenanigans

Greasy.Photo: Eli Hodapp/Flickr

Here's some news to mull over breakfast this weekend: ABC News says a woman who worked for Waffle House chairman Joseph Rogers Jr. is accusing Rogers of sexual harassment.

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Nicolaus Balla and Belinda Leong Featured Among Food & Wine’s ‘Greatest New Cooks’

It's a first of its kind collection for F&W.

Food & Wine just released a new book before the holidays called Recipes from America's Greatest New Cooks. It features 100 recipes from a dozen of the "most thrilling up-and-coming cooks" from around the country, and among the twelve are Bar Tartine's Nick Balla, and b. patisserie's Belinda Leong. The chefs were all hand selected by editor Dana Cowin, so could this be a signal of things to come for these two in next year's coveted Best New Chefs issue? We shall see. [Food & Wine]

Cereal Art Is Happening

"Shredded Wheat at Dusk."Photo: Ernie Button

Meet Ernie Button, the photographic love child of Georgia O'Keeffe and a bowl of Trix. The Arizona-based shutterbug has a new series called Cerealism, in which he captures ordinary grains of breakfast cereal set against extraordinary, even surrealistic backdrops, including a shot of an Apple Jack that looks like an aerodynamic tumor.

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Young European Chefs Arrive in S.F. for the Omnivore World Tour

Is that the Hulk? Oh, the French.

Several prominent, young members of the "new generation of European chefs" are in town this weekend for the Omnivore World Tour. It's dubbed as a "global food festival," and it's the creation of Luc Bubanchet, originating in Paris and hitting twelve cities worldwide. They've already made stops this year in Shanghai, Moscow, Montreal, New York, and elsewhere, hosting master classes with up-and-coming chefs in each city, and bringing along young European chefs as well. The San Francisco leg of the tour features local names Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Corey Lee (Benu), Joshua Skenes (Saison), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food), and Roland Passot (La Folie), all of whom are teaching master classes that are open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11.

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McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s Struggling — Here’s Why

They never should have fired the King.

Third-quarter sales recently came in for the big three in the fast-food world, and things aren't looking too good for any of them. Last week Burger King announced a dramatic drop in net income of 83 percent compared to the same quarter last year; McDonald's admitted this week that a key sales figure (global revenue at restaurants open at least thirteen months) had dropped for the first time in a decade; and Wendy's, which deposed Burger King for the first time this year to take the No. 2 burger spot in the nation, is operating at a widening loss, though their revenues seem to be on the rise. So why is all this happening to the fast-food giants? Allow us to posit a few major reasons.

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Little Chihuahua Opens Third Location on Valencia

Speaking of Valencia Street, Little Chihuahua just quietly opened their third outpost at 581 Valencia at lunchtime Thursday, as Eater reports. It's the former Urbun Burger space, and it's all happening just as they said it would over the summer, right on schedule. (According to Facebook, though, they may just be "testing" things with limited hours of operation, so be forewarned.) The mid-range Mexican spot with locations on Divisadero and in Noe Valley specializes in tostada salads and garlicky shrimp burritos, and in general they've got a bunch of shrimp options that you might be less inclined to order at a standard taqueria. Also, given the immediate success of nearby Tacolicious, the new Valencia location is likely to catch on quickly for those seeking a step-above-a-taqueria experience. See the menu here. [Eater]

Valencia Merchants Lobby for Moratorium on New Restaurants

West of Pecos is one of over a dozen new restaurants to open nearby since 2011.

We've been telling you about the Mission restaurant boom all year, and two weeks ago the Chronicle tallied up all the restaurants on three blocks of Valencia Street in the last two years (that'd be 16th Street to 19th Street) and came up with 1,000 new seats. Of course, a quarter of those are at the convention-center-sized Amber Dhara, but we digress. Now Uptown Almanac reports that both the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, and their counterparts on 24th Street, are looking into ways to stop the madness, if only for the good of daytime retail and foot traffic, which are hurt by having a surplus of businesses only open at night. The Valencia merchants are bringing a proposal to the Planning Commission via Scott Wiener which would impose a one-year moratorium on new restaurants and set up a Special Use District that would require extra permitting for new restaurants. "It's not change that we're against," says Jefferson McCarley of Mission Bicycle. "But there are a variety of concerns with so many high-end dinner-only restaurants opening up at such a high rate." [Uptown Almanac]

Ike’s Place Opens Eleventh Outpost in Santa Clara

The sandwich empire of Ike Shehadeh just grew once again as a new Ike's Lair opens in Santa Clara, near Santa Clara University at 2235 The Alameda. As with all the other locations, and as Food Gal reports, the menu is slightly different, but mostly the same, and many of the sandwiches with their various breaded cutlets, vegan and otherwise, cheese, and dirty sauce, taste mighty similar. But we'd like to point out something we hadn't noticed from the menu at the original S.F. Ike's Place: There's now a color-coded "delicious-ness" scale, rating the sandwiches from "meh" to "damn tasty," "based directly on customer input." Wouldn't you know it, they all rate the same shade of orange, indicating "damn tasty." [Food Gal, Earlier]


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