Posts for January 25, 2013

Sa-Beang Thai Opens on Divis; Pancoast Pizza Comes to Walnut Creek

Lower Haight: Sa-Beang Thai has replaced Thai Place II at 312 Divisadero. [Haighteration]
Marina: Those Bar Jars that they have Blackbird are now available at Reed & Greenough (3251 Scott Street) too. [Tasting Table]
Walnut Creek: Pancoast Pizza (1516 South Main Street), from a Philly transplant and his wife, is now open. [Diablo]

Alice Wants In on Tosca Project

Ever the emotive soul, Alice Waters told friend Ken Friedman "I am so happy that I am crying!" when she heard the news about he and April Bloomfield taking over the historic Tosca Café in North Beach. She added, "I want to be involved," as Friedman reveals in an interview with Food Republic. What will that involvement mean? Hard to say. But Friedman is more than happy to bring her on board. "Alice Waters wanting to get involved with something of mine? I think we can work that out!"* [Food Republic via Eater]

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Chalk Board Bistro, With Former Va de Vi Chef, Replacing Cyrus in Healdsburg

The former Cyrus, in the Hotel Les Mars.

For those wondering what was going on with the dormant former Cyrus space — the subject of a lengthy restaurant-vs-landlord battle that ended in a quiet settlement last year, with Cyrus departing — the answer arrives today. Chalk Board Bistro is the name, and as BiteClub reports, it's going to be an "upscale casual" spot that is more "approachable" in the eyes of the landlord, Bill Foley. Foley also owns Chalk Hill winery, hence the name, and daily specials will be on a chalk board. One of the disputes with Cyrus, as you may recall, had to do with the restaurant not being able to provide room service to the hotel guests upstairs, so that's likely in the cards here too. The chef is Shane McAnelly, the former executive chef of Va de Vi in Walnut Creek, who left in December. The ETA on this remains unclear. [BiteClub]

California Bakery Makes ‘Kaepernicking’ Into a Cake

Now kiss it.Photo: TannerScholtes/Twitter

Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick's tattooed bicep provides the inspiration for a Super Bowl cake that's being made by Modesto-based Village Baking Company. Their phone is likely ringing off the hook with orders after the thing appeared on SB Nation, but anyway, fun! This dude's flexed bicep is, of course, the stuff of memes now, and trademarks. [TannerScholtes/Twitter via SB Nation]

Mario Batali Would Like You to Quit It, Please

"I just wish people would be nicer to me. Sometimes I feel like there's a big target on my back. I put a lot of love into the world and I really, truly mean well. I know scrutiny is part of the job, but we all have feelings. For some people, the more well known you are, the more vulnerable you feel. I'm a very sensitive person, what can I say?" —Alyssa Shelasky gets Mario Batali to talk about what makes him sad. [Table&Travel]

There’s a Sriracha Chocolate Bar! Here Are Fifteen Other Things We Must Add Sriracha To

Listen up, Taco Bell.

Now that you can get Creamy Sriracha Sauce at Subway, and now that there's a whole cookbook and blog devoted to the stuff, and the secret is out that this esteemed hot sauce is the best thing to spice up eggs, pizza, or whathaveyou, people are putting sriracha in/on everything. Chocolate, for instance. Someone has even made some sriracha stiletto heels (sauce not included). Allow us to suggest a few more things that would definitely benefit from a dose of rooster sauce.

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Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Not Dead Yet

The deadline for the eviction of Drakes Bay Oyster Company from federal waters — waters near Point Reyes that the Department of the Interior says should now return to being a preserved wilderness — has been extended to March 15, and as the Press-Democrat is reporting, lawyers for Drakes and the DOI are in federal court today in Oakland fighting about the closure, and whether the government used "bad science" to decide on the eviction. At the very least, the oyster purveyor could get a stay and remain open for a while longer while this is resolved. [Press-Democrat, Earlier]

Hot Doug’s Owner Doug Sohn on His New Book and What He Could Teach the Harvard Business School

Hot Doug's book, coming July 16.

You've got your Baylesses and your Achatzes, but if you want to talk Chicago culinary ambassadors to the world, you need to stop at a little storefront on an industrial side street that calls itself "the Sausage Superstore." "Hot Doug" Sohn's hot-dog joint stands at the nexus of everything in Chicago food — reverence for meat; the gleeful mix of high and low food culture (it was Doug, after all, who got the only ticket for serving foie gras during the mid-aughts ban); streetwise smartassery as the cornerstone of one's brand identity; and, not least, a serious commitment to doing one of Chicago's staples better than a million other guys. Now the stop on every tourist's and food-TV host's itinerary is coming to book form in July (appropriately titled Hot Doug's: The Book), combining Doug's own story, as told to Kate DeVivo, with stories from his customers about how his encased meats have changed their lives. We spoke with the great man himself about how he came to write a book, and what he thinks Hot Doug's has to tell the Harvard Business School.

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CatHead’s BBQ Celebrates First Anniversary With Party Saturday

Just after the new year in 2012, CatHead's BBQ moved into its first brick-and-mortar home in the former Big Nate's BBQ space at 1665 Folsom. Until then they had been a catering and pop-up operation with an electric smoker (co-owner Richard Park joked at the time, "All this time, we've still had hair on arms. Now we're back to having some real fire."), but for the last year they've been turning out excellent Coca-Cola-braised brisket, pulled pork, and enormous buttermilk biscuits ("as big as a cat's head") to an eager audience in SoMa. It's time now, on Saturday, January 26, to celebrate their first year in business, and they're doing it with a Customer Appreciation Party from noon to 5 p.m. See the flyer below.

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Pepsi Removes Brominated Vegetable Oil From Gatorade, Keeps It in Mountain Dew

You've probably been up at night, worried sick about all the brominated vegetable oil you've consumed in your lifetime. No? Really? It's one of the yuckier ingredients in soft drinks, and studies have linked it to brain, fertility, and thyroid problems, as well as early onset puberty (kids are horny enough!). We'll hit you with the good news first: PepsiCo is taking the shady ingredient out of its Gatorade formula. But since soda companies are senseless, Pepsi is still using it in Mountain Dew and other soft drinks. Brominated vegetable oil is banned in Japan and the European Union, and it's actually a patented flame retardant. There's no putting out the fire on this growing war against soda. [Earlier, AP]

Old Power Plant at Pier 70 Could Become New Restaurant Space

A possible restaurant venue?Photo: ABC 7

The Port of San Francisco, the City, and several developers are at work on a massive revitalization project at Pier 70 which could take this dilapidated and underused section of the waterfront and turn it into a new residential neighborhood, as well as a shopping and dining destination with a bayside park. The industrial site at the foot of Potrero Hill was, for a century from the late 1800s to the 1970s, a bustling ship-building and repair operation, the largest of its kind on the west coast. The last major project produced by the steel plant there was the fabrication of the Transbay Tube for BART. Orton Development is a part of the team looking to rehabilitate and reuse many of the existing historic structures on the land, and one project already being discussed is the conversion of a defunct power plant — complete with enormous gears in the middle of the main room — into a restaurant.

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Questlove Dreams of Jiro

"Hit me!"

"I was like Popeye to spinach. Member when Michael Jackson tried that tonic in the "Say Say Say" video and it made him dance? You don't? Google it. I didn't dance, but damn if I wasn't in my head doing TAMI show James Brown splits singing "Nightrain" (Sting fans feel me ... yes even my referenced references have footnote references, which makes ME not Dennis Miller the king of references Mr David Cross)." —Questlove is the latest celebrity to dream of Jiro Ono and make a pilgrimage to his ten-seat restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. During his intense, Instagram-chronicled meal, the four-hour-massaged octopus sent Questlove into a referential tailspin and made him feel just as fly as the Godfather of Soul. [Questlove/Instagram, Earlier, Earlier, Earlier]

Chef Michael Lomonaco Taste-Tests Macarons at Home, Eats Pig-Brain Croquettes at Atera

Lomonaco at Resto, where he had an escarole and pear salad.Photo: Melissa Hom

Though Porter House's Michael Lomonaco runs one of the city's most popular steak houses, he's no carnivore. Aside from the obligatory meat tasting, he actually eats super healthily. "My wife is a pescatarian, so I tend to mirror what she eats," he says. This week, that included quinoa risotto and beet juice. Of course, it's not all vegan this, gluten-free that for a man who spends the bulk of his time in a kitchen that serves up Cowboy Rib Steaks and Lamb T-Bone chops. "January and February are restaurant catchup months for me," he says. "I go to see what new openings I missed during the later fall and December months, when I'm too busy." 2012 was particularly hectic for him with the opening of Center Bar, his small-plates-centric restaurant, but Lomonaco makes up for lost time by hitting Resto, Cascabel Taqueria, and Atera. Read all about his admiration for Matthew Lightner's vegetable dishes and what it's like to dine at your own restaurant in this week's New York Diet.

“Clean, lean, and green.” »


Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

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    “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