Posts for January 10, 2013

Starlight Room to Turn Into Dive for One Night; Brown Sugar Kitchen Turns Five

Union Square: Harry Denton's Starlight Room is doing another of their Big Dive nights in honor of MLK weekend, on Sunday, January 20. What does that mean? It means $2 PBR shots, and $5 shot-and-beer combos, and no cover before 11 p.m. [Grub Street]
Also, the prime restaurant space at 44 Ellis Street, across from John's Grill and home to Les Joulins Jazz Bistro, is back on the market. [Scoop]
Oakland: Brown Sugar Kitchen is celebrating five years in business on Tuesday, January 15, with a small party. Details here.

Bauer Says Gitane Has Got Its Groove Back

The design, by Mr. Important, remains a draw.Photo: Courtesy of Gitane

Michael Bauer swings back on into Gitane this week following the change-up last fall that brought in chef Bridget Batson's husband, former Angèle chef Patrick Kelly, as co-chef. (This also follows on the restaurant's fall from grace, in Bauer's eyes at least, since he dropped it from his Top 100 last year.) He skips the new tasting $65 menu, offered as the only option now upstairs, and opts for the à la carte menu instead, finding that the Spanish small plates are "more traditional" than before.

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Who Has the Best Chilaquiles in S.F.?

Chilaquiles, sans egg, at Mamacita.Photo: HeardAbout via Foodspotting

A recent roundup of where to find one of our favorite breakfast dishes in Sonoma restaurants got us thinking about where we might score ourselves some chilaquiles this weekend here in S.F. MenuPages provides the answers, and we'll say right off that Nopalito does a very good version of the egg-over-saucy-chips dish at brunch with green onion and queso fresco sprinkled on top. Starbelly does a nice one too, with chorizo, again only at brunch. Mamacita's version looks really pretty but we don't see an egg on there. And we're eager to try chilaquiles with pork belly at Presidio Social Club, and what are likely fine versions at Little Chihuahua and Taqueria Vallarta as well. Please report back, dear readers, with your own nominees.

Watch These Amazing Tim Hortons Customers Sing ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’

This adorable group of senior-citizen doughnut-shop crooners are better known as the Entertainers, CBS reports. They are members of the Oakville Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and they convene at their local Tim Hortons after practice on Monday nights to share doughnuts and coffee. Sometimes, awesomely, they burst into song. Prepare to feel happy, and perhaps crave a cinnamon-sugar doughnut or two.

It's enough to make kings and vagabonds shed a tear or two. »

Oh, Right. It’s Almost Dine About Town Time

Only time you'll ever get in and out of Spruce for under $40.Photo: Courtesy of Spruce

It's January, a historically slow month for restaurants, and that means it's once again time for Dine About Town, the semi-annual promotion organized by the San Francisco Travel Association. The deal this year, January 15 to 31, is $18.95 for a two- or three-course lunch, or $36.95 for a three-course dinner, exclusive of beverages, tax, and gratuity — and to be honest, this doesn't always add up to terrific savings! But, especially if you're on a no-booze cleanse, it can be a deal at a place like Spruce. Here's the full list of participating restaurants, and Zagat has provided a nice interactive Google map now that they're a Google enterprise. Also, Oakland does its own thing starting January 18 called Restaurant Week, with prix fixe dinners for $30 even, and you should consider that a good excuse to explore the booming food scene over there. [Zagat]

The World’s Youngest Master Sommelier, Roland Micu, Was a High School Dropout

Roland Micu

Roland Micu passed the Level IV exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers last year on his first attempt, and became, at age 28, the world's youngest master sommelier. That means he was able to identify six wines in a blind tasting, in 25 minutes, naming the varietal, country of origin, district and appellation, and vintage within three years. Prior to earning the honor, Micu was a somm at Coi, and had previously worked at Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino. He's now the associate director of wine education at The International Culinary Center in Campbell (the school formerly known as The French Culinary Institute), and Food Gal Carolyn Jung just profiled him for a new online food mag out of Sweden called TreeFree. Born in Romania, Micu's parents immigrated to San Jose when he was an infant. And despite being a prodigy when it comes to deductive wine tasting, Micu wasn't always great with studying, and was actually a high school dropout whose first exposure to wine was as a server at local chain Frankie, Johnnie, and Liuigi, Too in Mountain View. [TreeFree via FoodGal, Earlier]

Atelier Crenn Hires Away a Chef From Benu

Christopher Bleidorn, who's been at Benu since it opened in 2010, most recently as pastry chef (see one of his signature dishes here), has taken a new job as chef de cuisine at Atelier Crenn. Bleidorn was among the nominees last year for Food & Wine's People's Best New Pastry chef, and also spent some time working at Alinea in Chicago a few years back. Chef-owner Dominique Crenn tells the Scoop that she and Bleidorn plan to put even more focus on vegetables this year. Bleidorn will start work in late January. [Scoop]

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Mojo Sauce and Thai-German Fusion Lollipops

"You need to wear a great hat if you want to cook in this kitchen."Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Thanks to Hugh Acheson and Chef Josie for writing nice things about these recaps on their twitter feeds! On to the show ...

Lobster bisque with Thai spices and Bavarian cream lollipop garnish. »

New Rhea’s Café Readying For March Opening

We first heard the news last summer about a second, larger location for Rhea's Deli (that's pronounced like "Ray's" for those of you who still think Ike's sandwiches are the only game in town). And this week Grub Street hears from owner James Choi that he's hoping to open by March in the new spot at 2200 Bryant Street (at 20th). The new Rhea's Café will feature something the original deli has never had: a seating area.

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Doc Rickett’s, a New Restaurant From Darwin Café Guy, Replaces the Purple Onion

The former awning.Photo: Wallyg/Flickriver

You may recall that iconic North Beach comedy club The Purple Onion (140 Columbus Avenue) closed last fall after 60 years. Its comedy shows have moved down the street to Kells (530 Jackson Street), and today the Chron reports that Darwin Café owner Christopher Burnett has taken over the space and will transform it into a restaurant. While concept details remain TBA, the name is Don Rickett's, after John Steinbeck's marine biologist friend on whom he modeled the character of Doc in Cannery Row. This news comes just after yesterday's big North Beach item about April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman taking over the Tosca, and the news earlier this week about the latest chapter for the former Enrico's, which will now be Naked Lunch Pub & Grill. More to come on Don Rickett's as we hear it. [Chron]

Roth Cleanses Her Palate at Eiji in the Castro; Miller Not Yet Thrilled About Miss Ollie’s

Anna Roth decides to make up for holiday indulgence with a couple trips to Eiji, the tiny Japanese restaurant at 317 Sanchez Street known for their made-to-order oboro tofu. She loves its melting, comforting texture and barely-there flavor, complemented by a selection of condiments. She also loves the simple seafood soup called yosenabe, "a caldron full of white fish hunks, large prawns, shellfish, vegetables, and mushrooms of all shapes and sizes," calling it "warm and nourishing" and "restorative, like life's coming back with every sip — along with all those brain cells you destroyed on New Year's Eve." [SF Weekly]

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Nebraska Man Crashes His Car Into Pizzeria, Orders Pizza Anyhow

An elderly man in Nebraska crashed his Honda Fit through the facade of a Valentino's Pizza in Lincoln, Nebraska, yesterday, shearing off the chain store's front doors and launching glass into its dining room before he came to a full stop inside the restaurant and placed an order. "The gentleman said his foot had stuck on the gas," a witness says, "and that he was going to go ahead and order some pizza." It's almost as if he was trying to do one better than the Seattle man who decided to go for coffee right after he was hit by a bus earlier this week. No one was injured, and it seems as though the man did not get his large pie — instead, he was taken to the hospital, where the pizza isn't as good.

He said his foot got stuck on the accelerator. »

‘Knife Guys’ Will Ferrell and Ryan Gosling Cut Into Jimmy Kimmel’s New Time Slot

If you've ever wondered what a knife-selling show on QVC hosted by Ryan Gosling and Will Ferrell would look like, well, it happened last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Apparently Kimmel didn't realize his new time slot was already taken by the Ginsu-wielding duo. "What the hell are you doing here, Jimmy?" Gosling asks. "We sell knives at eleven-thirty. Everyone knows that." Click through for the best chocolate-milk-slicing demo you'll probably see all day. [Vulture]


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