Posts for January 15, 2013

Unterman on Ken Ken Ramen; Kan Zaman Closes; and More

Mission: Patty U. gives us her thoughts on Ken Ken Ramen (3378 18th Street). [Unterman on Food]
Upper Haight: Kan Zaman (1793 Haight) closed last week. [Uppercasing]
Marina: Bin 38 (3232 Scott Street) has a new chef, Arnold Pullido, who arrives from Va de Vi in Walnut Creek after a brief, month-long stint by Claudine chef Caleb Jones. [Scoop]
SoMa: There's a new wine director at Prospect and his name is Joshua Thomas. [Tablehopper]

At Long Last, Duende Opens Wednesday in Oakland

Duende, which means "spirit" or "goblin."

There have been some significant delays since the scheduled fall opening, but now, thankfully, Paul Canales's grand Spanish restaurant Duende opens January 16. The space, as reported earlier, is a big one, located next door to Flora in the Floral Depot Building in Oakland's Uptown, right across from the Fox. We showed you pictures last week, but had not gotten confirmation of the opening until now, via Facebook. The space also serves as a gallery and music venue, and has a retail component as well, selling wine and olive oil, among other items. As soon as we get it, we'll post the opening menu here. [Earlier]

Update: Here's the full food and beverage menu.

Duende - 468 19th Street at Telegraph, Oakland - 510-893-0174 - Open Wednesday to Monday at 5:30 p.m., serving until 10 p.m. on weeknights, and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Tuesdays.

Actually Pretty Awesome: The Burger at KronnerBurger

The burger, as it arrives, with the beef-cheek-gravy poutine at right.Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

We truly had our fill of burgers for a few months after completing this 50 Best list last summer, but now, come winter, it's time to get back in the burger saddle. And we were more than happy to check out Chris Kronner's new Sunday-to-Thursday pop-up in the dimly lit side lounge at Bruno's (2379 Mission Street), called KronnerBurger. His slogan for the place, "Rare. Salty," holds true for the burger itself — so long as you order it rare — with a well seasoned patty and a generous dollop of cheddar aioli. We'd only recommend the addition of bone marrow for the deeply hungover or fat deprived, because the meat here stands up well on its on own.

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Today’s the Last Day for Early Bird Tickets to the S.F. Beer Week Kickoff

It's that time of year again, beer-loving ladies and gents: San Francisco Beer Week is just a couple of weeks away. The fun kicks off with the big opening weekend grand tasting at the Concourse Pavilion on Friday, February 8, featuring over over 65 California breweries serving up hundreds of craft beers. Early Bird tickets are still available for $65 (the offer ends today) and please be advised that this event does sell out, and gets quite packed. See the schedule of events as it stands here, and if you run a bar or restaurant and would like to host an event, you can still submit it for scheduling — see the guidelines here. Also! This year, one of the big events of Beer Week will be this big party on February 15 at Speakeasy Brewing's newly open tap room (1195 Evans Avenue). It's free to get in, and will feature fifteen rare and limited release Speakeasy beers on tap as well as the Del Popolo pizza truck.

The Best of S.F.: Where and What to Eat

Dinner at Outerlands is among our favorites.

San Francisco is a good-eating town, and we here at Grub Street have been doing our best to point you to the best there is when it comes to sandwiches, pasta, roast chicken, cocktails, desserts, you name it. In the great tradition of American sitcoms, allow us to take this mid-season moment to recap some of our favorite slideshow moments of the last couple years, just in case you missed one.

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Two Bars, One African-American and One Gay, Get Landmark Status [Updated]

Twin Peaks TavernPhoto: Stephen Kelly/Flickr

We heard back in September that Twin Peaks Tavern (17th and Castro) was being proposed for landmark status by the Historic Preservation Commission because of its role in 20th century LGBT civil rights. The bar in its current incarnation dates to the early 1970s (though it opened as a straight, neighborhood watering hole in 1935), and it holds the distinction of being one of the first gay bars in the country, if not the first, to have open, plate-glass windows onto the street allowing passersby to see the out and proud patrons inside. We were not aware, however, that the Historic Preservation Commission was also giving similar landmark status for the slightly older Sam Jordan's Bar (4004 Third Street) in the Bayview, opened by African American Navy vet Sam Jordan in 1959. As Curbed reports, the Board of Supervisors is expected to take their first vote to approve these landmark statuses today, and both have the support of the respective bar owners. [Curbed, Earlier] Update: Both got their approvals.

Eat My Heart Out, a Storytelling Dinner Theater Series, Comes to S.F.

An Eat My Heart Out event in Brooklyn.Photo: Courtesy of Eat My Heart Out

Eat My Heart Out Supper Club, an underground dinner series that's based in New York, is coming to an undisclosed location in San Francisco for one night only on February 23. Basically, it's a dinner event with readers telling personal stories, the type you'd hear on This American Life, and dishes paired with each story. (E.g., a recent event in Brooklyn featured a pasta course paired with Diana Spechler's story, "The Good, the Bad, and the Agnolotti.") Tickets to the event are not yet on sale, but you can get on the mailing list by emailing, and if you've got a story to tell, you can submit it here for consideration. [SFoodie]

Nojo to Launch Lunch, Again, in February

Just in time for the opening of the new SFJazz Center, and the potential new foot traffic on Franklin that that may bring, Nojo (231 Franklin) is launching lunchtime counter service next month, Wednesday through Saturday, with their established brunch continuing on Sundays. Hayeswire brings the news, and this is actually the second time the restaurant has tried this — the last being around this time last year, which ultimately stopped a few months later. There's apparently a draft menu, unpublished, which contains about a dozen items off the dinner menu, as well as the Nojo burger, and their bacon-wrapped hot dog. Stay tuned for an exact launch date. [Hayeswire]

Patxi’s Wrist Slapped for Pocketing Healthy S.F. Funds [Updated]

Patxi's Noe Valley location.

You may recall the controversy that began in September 2011 when the Wall Street Journal ran an exposé about how several large San Francisco restaurants were using a loophole in the city's health care ordinance to charge customers that Healthy S.F. surcharge and then never use the funds as they're meant to be used, for health care. The latest chapter, as the Chron reports, is that City Attorney Dennis Herrera decided to make an example of one local restaurant chain that was guilty of pocketing these funds, and that chain is Patxi's Chicago Pizza. The company has agreed to a settlement in which they will pay out $320,000, $200,000 of which will be distributed among 115 current and former employees who were guaranteed health care but didn't receive it.

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In China, You Can Make Money for Reporting a Food-Safety-Law Violator

Want to earn a quick 300,000 yuan ($48,200)? China is giving out cash prizes to people who turn in food-safety-law violators. The most common offenses to look out for are fake eggs, chemical-laced milk, and cooking oil that's recycled from drains. But recently, KFC's parent company, Yum Brands Inc., got into big trouble because its chicken contained excess amounts of antiviral drugs and hormones used to accelerate growth. The Chinese government's now cracking down, and it knows the power of bribery. [Reuters]

V2 Burger Opens in Visitacion Valley, Complete With African Fries

One of the double-pattied burgers.

A new burger spot has just debuted out in deepest Visitacion Valley, and it's called V2 Burger (167 Leland Avenue, between Rutland & Peabody). And yes, that may be V-squared. Thrillist brings us the first report, and in addition to several basic burger options — they're served as doubles, with two thin patties, and there are veggie and chicken options as well — there are garlic fries, standard fries, sweet potato fries, and something that's new to us: African fries. Not since the Date Night at the now in-hibernation Sneaky's have we seen a nacho-esque concoction that will so surely guarantee a touch of heartburn and the high likelihood of bad breath for hours. It's a plate of fries "covered in melted cheese, grilled onions, ketchup, and Tapatio-esque Berbere mayo." Don't say we didn't warn you. [Thrillist]

Here Is Coca-Cola’s First Anti-Obesity Ad, ‘Coming Together’ [Update: Bittman Weighs In]

For the first time in history, Coca-Cola is acknowledging the perverse connection between soda and "the long-term health of our families" (corporate-speak for "pop makes you fat"). Now a new two-minute commercial makes the case that the company is a partner in our fight against obesity: Out of 650 Coca-Cola beverages, 180 are low- and no-calorie choices; portion-controlled sizes will be stocked in 90 percent of the country by the end of this year; beverage calories in schools are steadily reducing; Coke is working with scientists to find zero-calorie sweeteners, miracle berries, etc, etc. It's fine that Coca-Cola is addressing this issue head-on, but the safety of all those artificial sweetners is still questionable — low-cal or not.

No John Lennon? »


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