Posts for December 18, 2012

La Ciccia Releases Their Own Olive Oil; Chef Shuffle at Walnut Creek's Va de Vi

Noe Valley: La Ciccia is selling their own olive oil. [LaCicciaSF/Twitter]
Mission: Beloved Bar Tartine manager and host Vinny Ng is leaving the restaurant in mid-January. This is very sad, but we wish him well on his well deserved time off. [Tablehopper]
Walnut Creek: Va de Vi chef Shane McAnelly is taking his leave after two years, and the restaurant is still seeking a replacement. [Scoop]
Albany: Under new owners, the Ivy Room (860 San Pablo Avenue) is transitioning back from a dance club to a neighborhood bar. [Tribune]
Santa Rosa: Flipside Steakhouse is coming to the former Rita's/Doc Holliday's space in Santa Rosa, and also from North Bay restaurateur Nino Rabbaa there will be a bigger Flipside Brewhouse in Rohnert Park. [BiteClub]

Danny Bowien’s Lauded Again, Photographed in Playboy

The January/February issue of Playboy features a piece on their five favorite chefs in America right now, and right there beside Eric Ripert and Marcus Samuelsson is our very own Mission Chinese Food wunderkind, Danny Bowien (except they misspell his name). And no, we don't know when this parade of gushing praise is going to end. [Playboy, Earlier]

Gio’s to Bow Out By Spring

'Tis the season of closing announcements, and the Scoop brings word that Gio's, the 25-year-old Financial District institution on Commercial Street near the TransAmerica Pyramid, has been sold and will close within two or three months. Owner Giovanni Costabile, whom they describe as "a consummate restaurant man who hearkens back to the glory days of San Francisco maitre d’-owned restaurants," has sold the business to the people behind the nearby Irish Times, and many a regular will be mourning this place when it's gone. [Scoop]

Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel Hosts Guest Chefs Jonathan Waxman, Douglas Keane, and More

The Ahwahnee HotelPhoto: Courtesy of The Ahwahnee

The historic Ahwahnee Hotel at Yosemite is doing their annual guest chef series called Chefs' Holidays starting January 6. This year's featured chefs include recent former Cyrus chef-owner Douglas Keane, former Chez TJ chef Joey Elenterio, Sons & Daughters' Matt McNamara, Haven's Kim Alter, Fifth Floor's David Bazirgan, Nopa's Laurence Jossel, and Reno chef Mark Estee. Also coming this year will be "Jedi chef" Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in New York, and L.A. chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques. See the details here. [Eater]

Beard Award-Winning Pastry Chef Nicole Plue Launches Sideshow, a Hand-Crafted Sweets Company

Nicole Plue, most recently the pastry chef at Cyrus (now closed) and a 2010 James Beard Award winner for Best Pastry Chef for her work at Redd, has just launched her own line of hand-crafted sweets called Sideshow. Plue says, "What makes any dessert great is texture and balance," and hence her products ride the line between salty and sweet, and crispy and crunchy. Take, for instance, her Saltine toffee, which is literally Saltine crackers topped with salted butter toffee, bittersweet chocolate, and roasted almonds. Then you have her Salted Peanut ice cream topping, which is a mix of feuilletine, milk chocolate, peanut butter, peanuts, salt. She's also got a jarred ice cream topping based on Cocoa Puffs. All of it comes in neat packages, perfect for gift giving, so there's that to consider too. [SF Mag, Tasting Table]

Busted: Brunello Vandal Caught; Maple Syrup Bandits Apprehended

Police in Italy have arrested a suspect in connection with a shocking act of vandalism that destroyed 62,600 liters of producer Gianfranco Soldera's Brunello. The 39-year-old Andrea Di Gisi is a disgruntled former employee, they say, and police are testing his wine-stained jeans to see if they're a match to Soldera's product. Meanwhile, Canadian police announced they've arrested three men in conjunction with the theft of an enormous amount of maple syrup — possibly $30 million worth of stuff — from a Quebec warehouse last August. Authorities are now concerned that the perpetrators actually intended to be caught and arrested so they could end up in jail together. They now suspect this is all part of an elaborate plan to contaminate the world's supply of Brunello with Canadian maple syrup. [Decanted, AP, Earlier]

Watch Aziz Ansari Go On a Po’ Boy Crawl

While on tour in New Orleans, the comedian tried a shrimp po' boy at Domilise’s, then chased it with a fried oyster and shrimp variation at Verti Marte. Not the first time we've seen Ansari wolf down sandwiches on-camera; the man can eat. His opening act, Chelsea Peretti, came along for the ride.

Read more »

Commonwealth Closing For a Holiday Break Starting Tomorrow

This year, for Christmas, Commonwealth (2224 Mission Street) is giving the staff a week off. Starting tomorrow, December 19, through December 26, the restaurant will be closed for the first time since their opening two and a half years ago, and they'll be doing some light repainting and such over the week, since there hasn't been time for that being open seven nights a week. They'll reopen on December 27. [Scoop]

Check Out New Year’s Eve Prix Fixes at Central Kitchen, Heirloom, Dopo, Lolinda, and More

This dude will not be at any of these places. At least we hope not.

New Year's Eve is, as you all should know, amateur night in any major city. You want to have a good time? Make some reservations and stick to the simplest of plans — preferably one that does not involve a cab, or a velvet rope. Allow us to begin our service duty today with a few prix fixe deals you should consider before they sell out.

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Shaquille O’Neal Is Making ‘Luv Shaq’ Vodka

Because the world was just crying out for another novelty vodka, the company that teamed up with Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to bring that ill-fated casein-fortified vodka to the clubs is now developing a new variety with Shaquille O’Neal called "Luv Shaq." The Post reports that the new vodka will not contain gluten or sugar, two things no one should ever anticipate to be in their vodka anyhow. O'Neal's new beverage will be coconut-flavored, easy to drink, and seems ready-made for novelty signature cocktails, but just watch out: Some Sex on the Beach, after all, can now lead to a drink called a Luv Shaq Baby, or worse, a Luv Shaq on the rocks. [NYP, Earlier]

Pigs & Pinot 2013: Elizabeth Falkner, Jose Garces, and Craig Stoll Join Lineup

Charlie Palmer just announced the lineup of visiting chefs for the ever popular, eighth annual Pigs & Pinot 2013 (March 22 to 23) at the Hotel Healdsburg. Among the 20 guest chefs participating will be Craig Stoll (Delfina), Elizabeth Falkner (Krescendo, Brooklyn), Dean Fearing (Fearing's, Dallas), and Jose Garces (Amada and Distrito in Philadelphia, Mercat in Chicago). Also, down the street at Spoonbar on March 23, chef Louis Maldonado will welcome guest chefs David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor), John Paul Carmona (formerly chef de cuisine of Manresa), and Evan Rich (Rich Table) for a Swine & Wine Dinner. And actor and comedian Mario Cantone will be around all weekend and will help host the The Ultimate Pinot Smackdown. Tickets and weekend packages at the Hotel Healdsburg sell out ridiculously fast for this event, because pork and Pinot Noir remain big amongst the foodinistas. So, mark your calendars for January 10, 2013, which is when tickets will go on sale here. (Visa Signature cardholders will get a pre-sale opportunity and 5% discount on January 9.) As always, the event benefits Share Our Strength as well as local Sonoma County charities. [Earlier]

Help the Benders Team Rename Deco Lounge, Win a Free Drink Every Day for Life

Naming a bar is serious business, and the team behind Benders (806 South Van Ness) — who recently bought divey Tenderloin gay bar Deco Lounge (510 Larkin Street) — are looking for help from the drinking public in naming their new bar. They've already shot down Benderloin, as Uptown Almanac reports, despite that being a pretty good start. And they're running a contest in which the chosen bar name will win the namer a free drink every day for life. Of course, the idea of going into Benders every day for the rest of your life should give any drinker pause, but this should be excellent motivation for some who plan to reside in the Mission for the remainder of their days. [Uptown Almanac, Earlier]

Watch Pro Wakeskaters Ride a Cranberry Bog

Red Bull invited two professional wakeskaters — they're like wakeboarders but more hard-core since they're not bound to the board in any way — to travel to Wisconsin and surf a cranberry-covered bog. It's part of the energy drink's video series about extreme, winch-powered sports, which by definition is almost too marketing-driven to actually be extreme. But still, the video is great.

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Instagram Now Owns All of Your Food Porn

Why won't someone think of the truffles?Photo: Everett Bogue

Come January 16, you will no longer own all of those quasi-tilt-shift sirloin-steak photos, washed-out croquembouches, and artfully blurry Thumbelina carrot snaps you took on your phone. It turns out that Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is changing its user policy so that it can use all public photos taken with the app at any time, for any reason it wants to. The good news is that your cake pops may soon be in Everyday With Rachael Ray, but the bad news is that no one will pay you for that and your career as a cake-pop photographer will never take off.

Why is this happening? »

Adorable Kid Convinces Hasbro to Make Gender-Neutral Easy-Bake Oven

Coming soon in silver and black.

Crisis averted: That New Jersey teen who started a petition beseeching Hasbro to manufacture and market a more unisex Easy-Bake Oven met with executives from the toy company, who told her that a redesigned silver-and-black model is in development and will debut at the New York Toy Show in February. McKenna Pope, who is 13, felt bad for her little brother, who'd asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas but feared the social repercussions and stigma of turning out brownies with a girly-swirly purple-and-pink toy in the company of his macho, bench-pressing 4-year-old friends. Pope's petition elicited support from 40,000 concerned citizens, Bobby Flay, dozens of other chefs from around the country, and lots of reporters from the predictable array of tabloid news programs. [ABC, Earlier]

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