Posts for January 28, 2013

St. Vincent Reveals Pretzel Recipe; Vin Antico Closes in San Rafael

Mission: Just in time for the Super Bowl, St. Vincent chef Bill Niles shares his pretzel recipe. [Chron]
La Lengua: There's a benefit for Just One Tree, and their campaign to bring 12,000 new lemon trees to S.F., at El Rio on Friday, February 1. [Zagat]
Outer Richmond: If you dare, the Tee Off Bar (3129 Clement at 32nd) is doing an Oyster Orgy every Friday night featuring Kumamoto, Hog Island, and Tomales Bay oysters. [Eater]
San Rafael: Vin Antico has closed after six years. [Scoop]

Jerry Brown Likes Hot Italian in Emeryville; Mandy Patinkin Dines at Universal Café

Mr. Brown, with Hot Italian owner Fabrizio Cercatore, on January 27.

Governor Jerry Brown was spotted by Grub Street yesterday, dining with wife Anne Gust, at the almost one-year-old branch of Hot Italian at Emeryville's Public Market. Co-owner Fabrizio Cercatore tells us that Brown is a fan and frequent guest at Hot Italian's original Sacramento location.

Last week Tablehopper reported on a sighting of Homeland star and Broadway vet Mandy Patinkin, who was dining at Universal Café. [Tablehopper]

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Haven to Host Manresa Alumni Dinner, Trappist Beer Dinner

The counter at Haven.

Over in Oakland, Daniel Patterson's Haven just announced a couple of upcoming events for which reservations are recommended. The first, on Monday, February 4, features a group of alumni from the Manresa kitchen joining fellow alum and Haven exec chef Kim Alter for a collaborative, six-course dinner. Free agents John Paul Carmona and Zack Freitas (formerly of Station 1 and Zaré at Fly Trap) will be cooking along with Marty Cattaneo (Dio Deka), and Spruce staffers Johnny Madriga and Berto Vallejos. It's $90 per person, with $45 additional for pairings. See the full menu here, and reserve at 510-663-4440.

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Cecilia Chiang to Get Lifetime Achievement Honor at This Year’s Beard Awards


Local legend Cecilia Chiang, who at 93 remains a spritely and sociable presence at restaurant openings and food events throughout the year (see her pictured at b. patisserie's preview event here), will be honored with a lifetime achievement prize at the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards in New York. Chiang is credited with having widely influenced the way Americans perceive Chinese cuisine, via her upscale restaurant The Mandarin which opened at Ghirardelli Square in 1968. As critic Patricia Unterman once wrote, "[Chiang] was the first to offer many of the rich and spicy dishes of Szechuan and Hunan provinces ... the garlicky, chili-infused sauces offered new taste sensations for Westerners used to adulterated Cantonese cooking." And as JBF president Susan Ungaro said today, on announcing the award, "Cecilia elevated Chinese cuisine far beyond the takeout box. She completely embodies the spirit of this award.”

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Make Your Eggs Look Extra Cutesy

This $12 egg shaper will separate the yolk from the white and elevate your breakfast to Zooey Deschanel–levels of adorable. And with a pinch of salt, your eggs can produce snow. It's so cute that it makes it maybe-almost-still-not-okay for you to photograph your food. [BookOfJoe]

B. Patisserie Very Close to Opening at California and Divis

Leong's Halloween-themed macarons, with American candy-inspired flavors like Lemonheads, and Watchmacallit.Photo: Grub Street

Another of the big openings that are about to change everything on Divisadero, Belinda Leong's b. patisserie, is almost ready for its close-up (see also Bi-Rite Divisadero, The Mill). Last we heard it would be opening this week, but there are still a couple of inspections holding things up, and the Scoop reports that the TBA date is now coming within a week or two.

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Michael Bauer Mostly Enjoys M.Y. China; Hirsch Discovers Some Great Lebanese Food at Arabian Nights

Mr. Bauer has filed his official thoughts on Martin Yan's M.Y. China, the flashy new noodle emporium on the fourth floor of the Westfield mall. He likes the space, and the theater provided via noodle "dancers," pulling dough into long noodles, although he says, "I'd rather see it in the kitchen and not the dining room." He's a fan of the noodle dishes he tried, including a beef soup with albeit tough simmered ribeye; and the wild boar scissor cut noodles, which Anna Roth also called out. The dim sum is "better than most places," he sayss but "can't compete with Yank Sing." And he advises skipping the wok section of the menu, which he calls the "weakest link." All told: two and a half stars. [Chron]

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Jolting News: Caffeinated Maple Syrup Is a Real Thing

Put it in your coffee!

"Natural maple flavor," caffeine, butter flavoring, and invert sugar are just four of the ingredients that make up the unholiest of breakfast condiments, Wired Wyatt's Caffeinated Syrup, which retails online for $12.99 per bottle, or essentially, $1.85 per ounce. Sure, you could get by with a few crushed-up Vivarins, a family-size jug of Aunt Jemima Butter Rich, and a balloon whisk, but the whole point of using Wired Wyatt's — with its tweaky label emblazoned with the words "all-natural" and "energy" and Doug Funnie-on-steroids caricature — is to announce to the world that you absolutely adore caffeine. This seems to be something of a trend.

A hell of a drug. »

Eater S.F. Announces New Editor: Allie Pape

After a couple weeks of auditioning new candidates, our competitors over at Eater have announced a replacement for outgoing Eater scribe Carolyn Alburger, and her name is Allie Pape. She's written for 7x7, The Bold Italic, and SFist, and all we can say is, game on. [Eater]

Assemble to Open (Possibly) Next Month at Historic Ford Assembly Plant in Richmond

A rendering of the new exterior.Illustration: John Holey

A new restaurant is quickly taking shape in the former BoilerHouse space, adjacent to the Craneway Pavilion, at Richmond's redeveloped Ford Assembly Plant complex. The space on the Richmond waterfront boasts dramatic views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate, and after BoilerHouse closed in December, the Contra Costa Times reported that Richard Mazzera of Cesar was stepping in to open Assemble, with partner and former Corso manager Terumi Shibata. Assemble is going to be New American, with "all kinds of regional classics, from New Orleans to cioppino, Hog Island oysters and Dungeness crab." Richmond Confidential is now saying that Assemble may open as early as February, with the new addition of outdoor seating.

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Whopper Lover’s Funeral Procession Takes a Trip Through Burger King’s Drive-through

From Burger King to Kingdom Come

We can thank Taco Bell for giving us “Fourth Meal,” and “First Meal,” but it looks like credit for “Last Meal” goes to Burger King. This past weekend, the funeral procession for 88-year-old Whopper lover David S. Kime Jr. passed through the local Burger King drive-through on the way to the cemetery.

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Mina Group, Squat & Gobble, Burger Bar Top List of Healthy S.F. Offenders

The public crackdown will likely benefit servers and bus people with health needs, but some restaurateurs have already cried foul.

Over the weekend, the city's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement released to the Chron their list of restaurants, restaurant groups, and other companies that, according to a city audit for the year 2011, collected Healthy S.F. surcharges far in excess of what they spent on healthcare. Now, one might argue that the way the city initially wrote and enacted its universal healthcare law in 2008 was loose enough to allow for this sort of accounting, however the City Attorney and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano are characterizing it far more negatively — and it certainly does look bad on paper. After comparing surcharges collected to health costs outlaid, the total across this group of large businesses is, as Dennis Herrera earlier said, about $5 million. Topping the list of those with large, unspent health care funds are the Mina Group ($328,000), Wayfare Tavern ($235,000), Prospect ($170,000), The Cheesecake Factory ($159,000), and Squat & Gobble ($160,000). But of those, we should note, Squat & Gobble is alone in not having spent a dime on health care (according to this audit), though they collected that full sum from customers.

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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