Posts for January 22, 2013

Bambu Coming to the Richmond; Anfilo Coffee Opens in Oakland

Outer Richmond: Bambu, the chain that sells smoothies, milk teas, and Vietnamese-inspired Chè, is opening a location at Geary and 25th on Saturday. [Tablehopper]
Dogpatch: Sōw juice bar is going to start popping up at Yield Wine Bar (2490 Third Street) starting in February. [Eater]
Oakland: Anfilo Coffee (35 Grand Avenue), an Ethiopian coffee shop from the people behind farmers' market stand Jébeena, has just opened. [EBX]

KronnerBurger to Add Fridays, Open for Super Bowl Sunday

KronnerBurger (2379 Mission) has already been pulling in crowds for their weeknight burger service in the side room at Bruno's, and now it looks like chef Chris Kronner has gotten the go-ahead to open on Fridays as well. As Tablehopper reports, Friday service may begin as soon as February 1, and he will be open on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, serving up some special wings and carbonated margaritas, too. [Tablehopper, Earlier]

Former Café Gratitude Employee Compares Co-Workers to Rob Lowe on Parks & Rec

Café Gratitude may not be in S.F.'s Mission District anymore (the company closed that and several other locations last year, but they're still in Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and L.A.), but the Mission still remembers them and their I Am Fulfilled house salad and their I Am Comforted baked yams. As was discussed quite a bit during their legal kerfuffle of 2011, the owners encourage employees to take Landmark Forum seminars and they host Landmark-esque retreats of their own. One such former employee — and friend of Mission Mission — had an epiphany recently about all her former coworkers, whom she describes as "diet-obsessed, culty, [and] overbearingly and unrealistically optimistic": They're all literally exactly like Chris Traeger, the character Rob Lowe plays on Parks & Recreation.

Read more »

Spoonbar Hosts Guest Chefs at This Season’s Forks and Corks Series

Spoonbar, and its signature kinetic sculpture by Ned Kahn featuring 2,000 espresso spoons.Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

We're coming up on the first full year that chef Louis Maldonado has been in the exec spot at Healdsburg's Spoonbar, and he's getting set to welcome in some of his San Francisco friends this winter and spring at their Forks and Corks Dinner Series. First up, on Saturday, January 26, Commis chef James Syhabout and Saison partner/sommelier Mark Bright are joining Maldonado to serve a six-course menu on the theme "A Modern Interpretation of Global Influences." Dishes include brown rice congee with sea urchin, crab, and coconut; Guinea hen with green curry aromatics; and black cod in ras al hanout with leeks and mushrooms. It's $110 per person, and includes pairings (see the menu below).

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Pete Wells Gives Elizabeth Falkner’s Brooklyn Spot a Near Rave

At the New York Times, a two-star review is actually a great thing, and almost the best a small neighborhood spot can hope for. Hence Pete Wells's final rating, to those accustomed to the Chron's sliding scale, may seem incongruous with his glowing review of Elizabeth Falkner's latest venture in Brooklyn, Krescendo. He writes that the unassuming Boerum Hill place is "much better than the neighborhood Italian joint it is trying to pass for," and he raves especially about her Finocchio Flower Power pizza, "an essay on the theme of fennel." [NYT]

Hear the Inspiring Story of S.F.-Based Malaysian Street Food Vendor Azalina Eusope

Whole Foods' one-year-old online magazine Dark Rye just made a pretty little video profiling Azalina Eusope, the Malaysian-born street-food vendor behind the San Francisco business Azalina's. Eusope is actually a fifth-generation street vendor, and she comes from a tribal area of Penang where the caste system still dictates what your occupation can be. Though she grew up around cooking and street food, she yearned to become a doctor, and only later, after meeting her husband and moving to San Francisco, did she pick up cooking again as a way to cure her homesickness. She now says of the success of her business, with her jarred sauces now sold at Whole Foods and a regular presence at Off the Grid, "It's just beyond words how happy I am."

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Kale Chips, New-School Sodas Both Huge at Fancy Food Show

Today's the final day of the 2013 Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center, and if we have one tip for you it's this: All those exhibitors want to get rid of their free samples today, so you will have a windfall of chocolate, chips, and condiments if you roam around there this afternoon. KQED rounded up the biggest trends they saw among the snacks and such, one of which has been true for several years: everything is gluten-free. There's also a big trend toward healthy chip alternatives, like kale chips; lots of people are making new-fangled/old-timey soft drinks; and coconut everything is huge. [KQED]

Sake San Arriving Shortly in the Inner Richmond

A rendering of the new exterior.

Scheduled to open a couple weeks ago was Sake San (626 Clement Street at 7th), a new yakitori and sushi (and possibly ramen) spot morphing out of what was Volar Karaoke. The story is that there will still be three karaoke rooms, but they're adding a 25-seat bar and will now serve food along with sake and soju. Eater had a rendering and a few details last month, and we've so far been unable to reach the owners, though the liquor license (under the name "Volar Ramen Lounge") just came through this week, so the opening is likely imminent. Please tip us off if you're in the Richmond and you see that new sign up. [Eater]

Here Are Five Videos of Mutant Eggs-Within-Eggs

Speaking of things that are both creepy and chicken-related, a YouTube phenomenon was born recently when a guy named Sean Wilson cracked open a very big chicken egg only to reveal it contained another entire chicken egg, shell and all. But Wilson's hardly the first lucky fellow to stumble upon the mythical, elusive egg-within-an-egg. Check out Wilson's moment, straight ahead, then see four other bewildering videos of overstuffed ouefs.

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Third-Try Shanghai Closes in Former Mecca Space

As the Scoop is reporting, via a sign posted outside, Shanghai has shuttered after four and a half months in the former Mecca space at 2029 Market. Restaurateur Francis Tsai, some might say stubbornly, tried for a third time to make a go of it with a Chinese restaurant in the ground floor space of the building, after both attempts in 2011 and 2012, Pudong and Gingerfruit, failed to draw crowds and each closed just months after opening. Shanghai was the biggest bet Tsai placed so far, having partially remodeled the dining room and reconfigured the bar, but as we observed after it opened, it still didn't feel markedly different enough from the original bones of Mecca, which many in the neighborhood still identify with the location four years after it closed. Tsai had said earlier that he struggled to find a good tenant for the space, and decided he was his own best tenant. [Scoop]

Can Fan Art Save Twinkies?

Day of the Dead Twinkies by Nancy Peppin.

The fate of Hostess is still in limbo, but one artist is bringing attention to the nationwide outcry for more Twinkies. Nancy Peppin makes Twinkie-inspired art, using mediums such as watercolor, mixed media, and creative writing to express her love for the "ultimate American food icon." It gets stranger; her "Twinkies in history series" shows how she thinks Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci would have portrayed Twinkies in journals and books. One of her pieces includes the prolific passage, "Twinkies radiate out from the spring St. Louis breeding area to the summer nesting habitats throughout the world. Populations are heaviest in the North American 7-11 meridian." So is her beloved, possibly extinct Twinkie now just a cultural artifact?

She did title a painting 'The Last Snack.' »

Watch This Creepy Chicken Licken Fast-Food Ad From South Africa

Hey, don't worry, that creepy white guy in the Rayon tie and sweater vest who watches you from the street every time you enjoy some fried chicken on the privacy of your balcony — who happens to also haunt your family picnics and is the same guy who ogles you while you wait for your laundry to finish drying — isn't coming to come murder you later on, he just wants you to save him a thigh. This drab new ad for South African fast-food chain Chicken Licken's new "Soul Fire" line shows that even fast-food stalkers need a little bit of new flavor every now and then.

Creepy people get hungry, too. »

Homaro Cantu on Miracle Berries, Chewing Tin Foil, and the Best Peanut-Butter Cookies Ever

Homaro Cantu uses his noodle.Photo: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

Eight years ago, the Chicago chef Homaro Cantu, who regularly serves guests edible menus and "prints" flavors like broccoli and Cheddar using rapid prototyping machines, was contacted by a friend on behalf of a chemotherapy patient who could no longer taste food. "She said everything she chewed tasted like metal and rubber," he says. Because the 36-year-old chef develops flavors and invents techniques for corporations in his spare time, Cantu approached the problem of the chemo patient's lost appetite like any other fully funded research project, synchronizing his innovative and do-gooder impulses. He ordered thousands of spices and industrial flavor compounds, and back in the restaurant kitchen, he and his team set out plates of rubber bands and aluminum in at the top, like some demented food pyramid. "My pastry chef and I got to work," says Cantu, "chewing on tin foil and rubber for weeks at a time in different combinations with other ingredients just trying to figure out how to change the taste."

"Our product will be cheaper than sugar." »

McDonald’s Lied About Selling Halal Food

How do you slaughter your animals?

For food products to be billed as halal, they have to be prepared according to strict Islamic dietary laws. The criteria specifies which foods are allowed (pork, for example, is forbidden) as well as how the food must be prepared. If God's name isn't invoked before an animal is slaughtered, no dice. McDonald's has two franchises in the country that sell halal products, and both are in Dearborn, Michigan, home to one of the nation's largest Arab and Muslim communities. But Ahmed Ahmed, a special McChicken sandwich detective, discovered that one of the Dearborn locations wasn't complying with Islamic dietary laws.

Lawsuit time. »

Here’s That Tim Hortons–Ryan Gosling Coffee Mug You’ve Been Waiting For

Good morning! Canadian chain Tim Hortons is introducing a very, very limited-edition movie tie-in: an official Ryan Gosling Gangster Squad coffee cup. The Ontario-born actor gave an interview to movie site in which he professed an admiration for the movie tie-ins of his youth, specifically Burger King's Dick Tracy soda cups. “I thought I might get a cup out of this deal,” said Gosling. The interviewer suggested the coffee-and-doughnuts chain would be a good fit.

Gosling agreed. »


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