Posts for January 11, 2013

Uncle Vito’s Loses a Regular: Vivian Brown

It's a sad day for San Francisco as one half of the famed Brown Twins has died. Vivian Brown died in her sleep following a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease last year. She was 85. She and her sister Marian lived together for decades on Nob Hill, and had hardly ever been apart when Vivian had to be hospitalized last year. The two were seen daily at nearby pizzeria Uncle Vito's (700 Bush Street), where they would eat a dinner of a personal pizza with a glass of wine and slice of chocolate cake. After Vivian's hospitalization from a fall last August, and the subsequent press coverage of poor, lonesome Marian struggling to scrape together cab fare to visit her, donations poured in, and many people offered directly to Uncle Vito's to sponsor Marian's dinners. We're unsure if she'll keep going there on her own, but our heart goes out to Marian at this very difficult time. [SFist, Earlier]

Jerk Leaves Screed About Obama In Place of Tip at Cupola

Some asshole decided to take his post-election anger out on a server at San Francisco's Cupola Pizzeria this week. Along with a $3 tip on a $37 bill he left this card, which reads "As a direct result of Proposition 30 and President Obama's insistence that I pay 'MY FAIR SHARE IN TAXES,' I find that I must cut back on discretionary spending and gratuities. I wish it didn't have to be this way for both of us." You know what we wish? That people with poor logic skills and tight wallets would simply not dine out if they feel they're being taxed unfairly. Proposition 30, which passed in November, raised sales taxes in California from 7.25% to 7.5%, and raised income taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year. As Michael Bauer, who got a photo of the card via the head of Lark Creek Restaurant Group, writes, "This is one guy I’m glad I don’t know." [Between Meals/Scoop]

4505 Meats Offers Up a 49ers Promo

Hey! The 49ers are in the playoffs, in case you live under a rock. And 4505 Meats' new butcher shop at Mission and 15th is offering 5% any order if you say "Goooo 9ers!" at the counter, now through game time tomorrow, which is 5 p.m. [4505_Meats/Twitter]

Kauffman Says Roku Does Right By the Izakaya Name; Outerlands Gets a Fresh Rave


Roku, the new izakaya from JapaCurry's Jay Hamada that opened last fall next door to Sushi Zone, is a solid bet for an authentically boozy and casual izakaya experience, says Tasting Table's Jonathan Kauffman. He especially likes the "devil tofu" topped with chile oil, the "bubbly" fried chicken skin, and the kakuni, or slow-cooked pork belly. And he discovers an izakaya staple not often seen outside Japan: tonpei-yaki, "a simple pork-and-cabbage stir-fry wrapped in a thin egg omelet that is then buried under bonito flakes, scallions and squiggles of mayonnaise." [Tasting Table]

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Study: Half the World’s Food Gets Thrown Away

That pear looks perfectly edible.Photo: iStock Photo

Here's your depressing statistic of the week: 30 to 50 percent of the world's food is wasted each year, amounting to some 2 billion metric tons of grain, vegetables, and meat thrown in the garbage. These numbers come from a new study by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers, reported on this week in the Guardian. In the First World, the primary reason for food waste is consumers' tastes for unblemished produce and retail guidelines that enforce overly conservative sell-by dates. In the developing world, food is thrown out mainly owing to spoilage, which could be helped by improved infrastructure and distribution systems. But basically, people wouldn't be going hungry if more were being done to keep good food out of the trash bin, and the world is dumb. The end. [Guardian UK, CNN]

Party With State Bird Provisions and Bar Tartine Chefs, Via the Commonwealth Club

State Bird Provisions on an average night.Photo: FoodNut

Next month the Commonwealth Club is doing a two-part event called Craft to Table featuring two chef couples who are running noteworthy S.F. restaurants and doing a lot of DIY ingredient making: Bar Tartine's Nicholas Balla and girlfriend/ production manager Cortney Burns; and Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krazinski, the husband and wife behind State Bird Provisions. First, on February 13, there's a panel discussion moderated by San Francisco Magazine's Sara Deseran. Then, on February 17, there's an optional Part 2 which is a cocktail party at State Bird Provisions where the chefs get to show off some of their stuff. Ostensibly, the question to be answered is, "Do creativity and craftsmanship outweigh the high costs of an all-DIY operation?" But really this is mostly an excuse to get into State Bird without a two-month wait or an hour in line. Get tickets here, and fast. [Inforum via Eater]

HRD Smokin’ Grill Opens in Former Dogfather Space

The spicy pork kimchee burrito.

Just weeks after we first heard news of it, HRD Coffee Shop's North Beach branch has opened in the former Dogfather space at 532 Green Street (between Grant and Columbus). It's called HRD Smokin' Grill, and as the Scoop is reporting, the place is only open for dinner, for now, from 5 p.m. to midnight on weekends, and until 10 p.m. on weeknights. See the full menu here, and as you can see, they've brought over signature items like the spicy pork kimchee burrito and Mongolian cheesesteak sandwich, but there's also now a "Smokin' Grill Tacos" section with spicy pork, smoked pulled pork, and grilled chicken and pineapple options. And there are no egg and breakfast options, because this isn't a coffee shop. [Scoop, Thrillist]

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Moves Forward With Planning’s Blessing

The theater will have a 114-unit condo complex next door.

The Planning Commission yesterday approved the plans for the big new movie theater that is going to change everything on Mission Street. Austin-based chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is moving forward with its $10 million renovation of the New Mission Theater at 2554 Mission Street (between 21st and 22nd), turning the former single-screen, 2,000 seat space into a five-screen complex with a built-in restaurant and bar. As Alamo's CEO Tim League revealed last year, his decision to expand here was partly personal — he was born in Berkeley, his parents met here, and his wife used to work in the Bay Area.

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Restaurant Owner Gives an Anti-Gay Letter to Lesbian Customers

McGovern's letter.Photo: WCTI NewsChannel 12

As Ariel and Shawnee McPhail, an openly lesbian couple, strolled out of North Carolina's the Stingray Café, the restaurant's owner rushed toward them and handed them a letter. Ed McGovern's note, signed by "The Love of Christ," said that God opposed homosexuality and that the women's "unnatural" affection hurt everyone around them. In the letter, McGovern also revealed that his own daughter's lesbianism destroyed her life.

"I will NEVER step foot in your cafe again." »

McDonald’s in Australia Sprays Thieves With DNA Cocktail


Macca's, which is what people call the fast-food chain Down Under, announced it will expand the use of the crime deterrent SelectaDNA spray in stores around the country in 2013, the Morning Herald reports. The company does not disclose how their crime-fighting, ceramic-based "synthetic" DNA cocktail is made, but no matter! Here's how it works.

Shwoosh! Shwoosh! That's the sound of synthetic DNA. »

Peanut Allergies Defeated With ‘Peanut Therapy’

It may be possible to reverse the potentially deadly effects of peanut allergies, a new study backed by the National Institutes of Health suggests — that is, if you're willing to take an enormous risk and put in the time. Forty subjects at five hospitals were given trace amounts of peanut protein under the tongue — an initial "1:20,000,000 weight/volume dilution," notes the Atlantic — which was then increased incrementally over a period of 68 weeks. Most participants just developed "itchy mouth" as the dose got nuttier; pretty much none of them went into anaphylactic shock. Weirdly, three of twenty patients treated with the placebo went on to "spontaneous tolerance development," which means those folks may be well on their way to reuniting with their old friend Mr. Peanut. Fascinating stuff, this is, but don't try it at home. [Atlantic]

The Mill Will Close January 14, Reopen In Full Regalia By February

The temporary set-up at The Mill, open since last July.

It has become known in its six months of life on the Divisadero corridor for its unfinished, punk coffee aesthetic, with a menu of a couple drip coffees and a special toasted bread each morning. But The Mill (736 Divisadero, between Grove and Fulton) is becoming an actual place with an actual counter by early February. It's closing next week for the final phase of construction, from January 14 to January 29, and will reopen on the 30th with the full, built-out coffee shop and bakery complete, pending any last-minute snafus. And that means seating, and maybe even a turntable. The Mill is a collaboration between Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread, and along with the opening of the new Bi-Rite in March at 550 Divisadero and any number of vintage-typewriter shops, is another harbinger of the Valencia-fication of the neighborhood which might be complete by year's end. The traffic, however, and the inability to find a cab or a bus, will likely remain the same for a while longer. [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