Posts for January 14, 2013

Parilla Closes on Polk; Checking In on Sweet Bar Bakery

Polk Gulch: Little Neuvo Latino spot Parilla (1760 Polk Street) has closed. [Eater]
Embarcadero/Levi's Plaza: Michael Bauer discovers Pip-to-Go, which is actually ten years old, and run by Piperade. [Between Meals/Scoop]
SoMa: There's a nice profile of Bar Agricole chef Brandon Jew from Sunday's Chronicle. [Chron]
Oakland: KQED checks in on two-month-old Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland's Uptown district. [KQED]

St. Vincent Offers ‘One-Pot’ Lunches

St. Vincent by day.

For a little while now, Tuesday through Friday, St. Vincent (Valencia and 24th) has been offering "one-pot lunches" like special soups and braised dishes that are especially perfect for cold weather, all for a mere twelve dollars. The offerings change every week, and you can see this week's selection here, which includes a Manhattan crab chowder with grilled bread (Tuesday), and braised chicken with lima beans (Thursday).

Drink Away the Winter Blues at CUESA’s Seasonal Cocktail Event

It's a gathering of the Bartenders Guild and the Good Food Merchants Guild, you see.

The winter addition of CUESA's farmer's market cocktail series happens this week, on Wednesday, January 16, inside the Ferry Building Grand Hall. Bartenders like Reza Esmaili (Sweetwater Music Hall) and Priscilla Young (Brasserie S&P) will be crafting drinks using height-of-the-season citrus, pomegranates, and the like. And there will be bites to try including artisan products from local foodcrafters and finalists in the upcoming Good Food Awards. Since these events are typically a pretty good time, you may want to consider buying a season pass, which will get you into the spring, summer, and fall events as well, at a discount. See more info here.

Bauer Likes the Old Chicago Flair at Capo’s

Michael Bauer's review of Capo's came out in Sunday's paper, and he counts himself a fan much like Virginia Miller and Anna Roth before him. He enjoys the old-timey Chicken Vesuvio, which he says is "a great dish that hasn't lost its currency," and the hearty spaghetti and meatballs with chunky meat sauce as thick as "wet concrete." Pizza lover that he is, he admits that deep-dish isn't his favorite — he prefers his crusts cracker thin. So, not surprisingly, he's overwhelmed by the Michigan Avenue pizza, which he calls a "belly bomb," and the much talked about Quattro Forni pizza (cooked in all four of the kitchen's ovens), which he says is nothing special and "might be good if you like to slather tomato sauce, cheese, garlic and oregano on a loaf of bread." The verdict: two and a half stars. [Chron]

Rickybobby Now Serves Booze

As of Friday, new Lower Haight dude-food spot Rickybobby (Haight and Webster) has got a beer-and-wine license. Co-chef-owner James Moisey told Haighteration that they're starting with two beers on tap (Anchor Steam and Green Flash IPA) and three by the bottle (Pilsner Urquell, Tsingtao, and Blue Moon Hefeweizen), all for $4 apiece. Also, they've got two wines by the glass for $5. [Haighteration]

Absinthe Celebrates Fifteen Years With ‘98 Vintages, Birthday Cake

Photo: Courtesy of Absinthe

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar has become a cornerstone of the Hayes Valley scene, opening as they did just before Hayes Valley became the Hayes Valley we now know. And this month they're celebrating their fifteenth birthday with a couple of special menu items, and a half dozen wines by the glass all from their opening year, 1998. Now through January 20 chef Adam Keough is offering a bouillabaisse ($30) with monkfish, bass, local squid, mussels, shrimp, and Dungeness crab; and from January 22 to February 3 he'll be doing a special cassoulet ($28) with duck confit from Liberty Farms, Masami Farms pork shoulder, and house-made sausage. Also in the latter part of the month they'll be serving Absinthe birthday cake (milk chocolate mousse, pressed coconut, candied pecans). See the birthday wine selections and other details here.

Burger Park Coming to Oakland’s Glenview

A new burger spot appears to be heading into a former True Value Hardware in Oakland's Glenview neighborhood. Grub Street discovers that something called Burger Park should be opening soon at 4218 Park Boulevard. More details as we find them.

Benu Hires Former French Laundry Pastry Chef; Parallel 37 Brings in Charlie Trotter's Chef Michael Rotondo


Over the weekend, the Benu team announced their replacement for outgoing pastry chef Christopher Bleidorn, who we found out last week was becoming chef de cuisine at Atelier Crenn. The new gal in charge of sweet stuff in the kitchen will be Courtney Schmidig, who previously worked with executive chef Corey Lee at The French Laundry, where she remained for eight years. During her time there she also did a couple of stages in Europe, including ones at The Fat Duck in London, and Arzak in Spain.

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Caskhouse Opens in Noe Valley With Beer-Friendly Bites Menu


Caskhouse (3853 24th Street), the bar that had to change its name before opening on account of a certain Top Chef judge and his legal team, is now open. They welcomed in the Noe Valley-ans all weekend long, serving craft beers on tap and in the bottle (e.g. Calicraft's Downtown Brown, Heretic Brewing's Evil Twin Red Ale — full menu here), and a few selected bites to go with them (e.g. bacon soft pretzels, porter-brased beef short ribs). After last week's opening of Trick Dog, that just leaves 29 more things on our list to open this winter and spring.

Caskhouse - 3853 24th Street between Church and Sanchez - 415-834-5005 - Hours TBA

Video Feed: Get Ready For the Carnivorous Pleasures of The Hunt

You don't actually see Next chef Dave Beran bag a pheasant in the new video for The Hunt menu, running now, but you see plenty of other things in the latest, beautifully-put together work from resident filmmaker Christian Seel that leave you in no doubt that The Hunt is about the carnal pleasures of carnivorousness. Heads are cut off, bones are sanded down for eating marrow out of, red meat is trimmed and even pureed... all these things happen in fine dining, but this meal isn't about keeping them behind the kitchen door. Check out two minutes and forty-four seconds of red-blooded meat below, and speaking of red, according to Twitter, this is the first Next video shot on their latest toy— a Red Scarlet 4K digital video camera. So be sure to watch it in 1080p as large as you can— and apparently it even comes in a 3D version (we haven't actually tested that out, especially on these vivid images).

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Marlena’s New Ownership Revealed

Marlena'sPhoto: Facebook

The new owners of Marlena's have been revealed today via a liquor license application, and they are Anthony Healy-London, Matthew Conway, and Joshua McAdam. As we first reported last week, the bar is closing in March and will get a new name from the new owners, but will remain a neighborhood bar that is "welcoming to both gay and straight" clientele. Nevertheless, one can expect things will go in a new direction with things like a cocktail program, and the LLC these three have started is called Burgers 355, so we have to wonder if there won't be a burger menu in the cards as well. The Scoop points out that Conway has worked as a bartender at Comstock Saloon, Absinthe, and Nopa, and Healy-London is a partner in Churchill — the bar at Church and Market that replaced a former gay bar briefly known as the Bar on Church, previously The Transfer. [Earlier] Update: Hayeswire reaches Healy-London who says that he and his partners intend to keep some of the Marlena's tradition alive. "We understand what Marlena’s has meant (and continues to mean) to this neighborhood and we are sensitive to that in our decision-making process." The plan is to reopen with a new name, after a remodel, by late April. [Hayeswire]

Tastykakes-Maker Is Buying Hostess Bread Brands: Will Twinkies Be Saved?

It's a miracle!

If you've been living in a nuclear fallout shelter packed with Ho Hos and Ding Dongs since news broke of Hostess filing for bankruptcy, it's time to come out and see the light. Flower Foods Inc., a company in Georgia that produces Tastykakes, Nature's Own, and Cobblestone Mill, is buying six of Hostess's bread brands for $390 million. The deal isn't finalized yet because the bankruptcy court must approve it, but it looks like Wonder Bread will be back in your bodega soon (did it ever really expire, though?). Maybe consider starting a prayer group for Twinkies. [Earlier, AP]

Wahlburgers Reality Show Begins Filming

Mark Wahlberg, reality star.Photo: Getty Images

That reality show we told you about featuring Wahlburgers' chef Paul Wahlberg and his celebrity siblings Mark and Donnie begins taping tomorrow, according to the Boston Globe. The show is all about what it takes to run a successful restaurant — despite recent woes. Wahlburgers has been in the news lately thanks to a lawsuit alleging that ex-manager Ed St. Croix did an "abysmal" job and the arrest of CEO Rick Vanzura for midday drunk-driving. This series could be juicy!

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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