Posts for January 3, 2013

31 New Restaurants and Bars to Look Forward to This Winter and Spring

Between projects slated for 2012 openings that didn't hit their deadlines and projects we've only just heard about in the last few months, 2013 promises to be a busy one, yet again, for restaurant and bar openings around the Bay. There are eight new and interesting projects on the immediate horizon in Oakland and Berkeley, continuing the trend of the East Bay's growing importance in the food scene. And the first half of the year will also bring (at least) 23 new destinations to the city proper, two of which are expansions of East Bay brands (Gather, and Caña). But thankfully for those nervous Valencia merchants tired of all the new food they endured in 2012, most of this opening activity will be outside the Mission.

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Meadowood’s Christopher Kostow to Cook With Animal Boys on January 14

Michelin three-star Meadowood chef Christopher Kostow will be making a jaunt down to L.A. from the Napa Valley this month to cook with friends Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo at Animal. The three worked together in 2009 when Kostow invited the boys to participate in the Twelve Days of Christmas series they do at Meadowood, which just finished its fifth year. The deal is eight courses for $135, with proceeds going to benefit Cancer for College, and this all happens on Monday, January 14. Call 323.782.9225 for reservations or go here for more info.

Actually Pretty Awesome: Bang Bang Chicken Wings at M.Y. China

Bang Bang!Photo: Andrei Riskin/Grub Street

Martin Yan's first U.S. restaurant, M.Y. China, just opened its doors on the fourth floor of the Westfield Centre in November, and our favorite bite on the menu so far are the Bang Bang Chicken Wings. They're an above-average example of the tangy, sweet, spicy, salty, umami, fried-and-sauced Sichuan chicken wings found around Hong Kong and China, and deserve a place on S.F. must-eat lists.

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Foursquare Gives Restaurant Owners More Ways to Check-in on Customers

Foursquare overshares your ramen-eating habit.

It's unlikely to provoke the kind of outrage that followed Instagram's terms-of-service changes that gave the company more control of users' food porn, but Foursquare is now allowing participating merchants broader access to data revealing the eating, drinking, and spending habits of its users. Wired reports that Foursquare has amended its privacy policy, and starting January 28, the company will hand over more data to restaurant owners, for example, who will know the exact dates and times of any user's visit.

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Foie Gras Ban a Boon for Nevada Restaurants, Businesses

No surprise here, but some restaurants in Reno and on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe are benefiting from the California foie gras ban as beleaguered foie fans pour over the border to get their fix. Also, businesses like Mirepoix U.S.A. — an importer and online retailer of French luxury foods that relocated to Nevada ahead of the ban and whose URL has been changed to — has been doing brisk business as well. [Reno Gazette-Journal]

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Healthy Food and Sexy Knives

The judges are very amused.Photo: Bravo

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope some of you have made a resolution to treat the recappers in your life with more respect.

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The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Opens For Real Today In the Mission

The new digs.

Last week we saw a soft opening day for the new Mission location of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (in the former Café Gratitude spot at 20th and Harrison), and today marks an official opening of sorts, with tomorrow being their first full day in operation. They're open this a.m., as Eater notes, until they sell out of sandwiches (after lunch, say). Tomorrow they'll be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., as per their regular schedule. Eventually — and in contrast to their original South Park location — dinner service will be added as well, to give those waiting for a table at Flour + Water an opportunity for a snack.

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen II - 2400 Harrison Street at 20th - Open Wednesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Evening hours coming soon.

Wretched Excess: More Writers Complaining About the ‘Tyranny’ of Fine Dining

Daniel Humm and Grant Achatz: not actual tyrants.Photo: Jed Egan

"The meal felt like a form of torture," writes Corby Kummer in the February issue of Vanity Fair. But he's not referring to Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant; he's recounting his meal at the French Laundry. In “Tyranny — It’s What’s for Dinner,”, Kummer argues that the world's most celebrated restaurants are becoming increasingly rigid in how they treat customers, and Graydon Carter agrees. To these two, it's almost criminal that Per Se and Alinea serve multiple courses, cost hundreds of dollars, take hours to finish, and don't allow diners to ask for substitutions. (Carter’s restaurants, on the other hand, are so relaxed that you usually need a special phone number and at least a B-list celebrity on your arm to score a table — but hey, at least you can get your salad dressing on the side!) Kummer believes that Chicago's now-closed Charlie Trotter's is the root of the problem that's making a generation of young chefs "no longer willing to take orders" from the one percent.

The horror! »

Shark Fin Ban Upheld in Federal Court

The upcoming Chinese New Year will likely be the last at which California restaurants can legally serve shark fin soup. In a ruling Wednesday, a federal court judge upheld the ban after two Asian American groups sought to stop it on the grounds of discrimination. Under the law, passed in 2011, finning is already illegal but the sale of previously procured shark fins can still go on until July 1, 2013. [Marin IJ]


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