Posts for January 30, 2013

Charles Chocolates About to Be Reborn in the Mission; Copita Hires a New Chef

Mission: Charles Chocolates is very close to a rebirth in the Mission at 535 Florida (at Mariposa). The opening is coming within weeks. [Tablehopper, Earlier]
North Beach: Naked Lunch Pub & Grill has added a burger to the menu topped with a manchego cheese crisp. [SFoodie]
Sausalito: Copita has a new executive chef, Gonzalo Rivera, Jr., and they're now offering a seasonal tasting menu. [Scoop]
Walnut Creek: The guys behind Town Hall, Salt House, and Anchor & Hope are no longer involved in Corners Tavern. It's unclear what that will mean, if anything. [Scoop]

Roth Reviews Ramen Shop and Men Oh; Miller Finds Southpaw Much Improved

Also on the ramen trail with Kauffman this week is his successor Anna Roth, who submits a dual review of Ramen Shop in Berkeley, and Men Oh in the Richmond. She's most impressed with Ramen Shop's vegetarian miso ramen, and the tantanmen ramen she found there on one visit (the menu changes often), "a voluptuous, spicy pork broth studded with tender hunks of spit-roasted pork, a shoyu-marinated egg, baby bok choy, and a shower of cilantro." But she doesn't quite get the accompanying cocktail bar, saying, she just wants "a straightforward beer" with her noodles. At Men Oh, she's a fan of the pork-rich tonkotsu ramen, and their Tokushima ramen served with a raw egg you crack into it, adding "silkiness without too much weight." [SF Weekly]

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Actually Pretty Awesome: Chicken Drums at Rickybobby

The sticky and good chicken drums.Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Judging by the crowds there at 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, the recently opened Rickybobby (Haight and Webster) doesn't need our help getting the word out about their food. It's dude food, for sure. Stoner food, arguably. And nobody's being shy here with the bacon or cheese. Their chicken parm sandwich? It has sausage on it. The burger? It has bacon ground into the patty and tastes redolently of bacon smoke. But our favorite thing on the menu so far is their Asian-inspired, totally addictive chicken drums ($4), which are basically like chicken wings on steroids.

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‘Coffee Rust’ Is Destroying Central America’s Coffee Berries

There is a fungus among us.

Forget for a second that global warming will soon render several farming regions that produce much of the world's supply of Arabica coffee untenable as soon as 2020: Costa Rica's coffee plantations are at the moment being devastated by a fungus called "coffee rust." Authorities are saying that the 2013-14 harvest may be halved in the hardest hit farming areas. What's worse is that coffee rust is affecting crops in other countries, and a University of Michigan in Ann Arbor-based ecologist named John Vandermeer tells Nature that the outbreak now includes “reports of devastation in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico."

It's not looking too good in Costa Rica. »

Watch a Preview of Anne Burrell’s New Show, Chef Wanted

Like her mentor Mario Batali, Anne Burrell dons shorts and clogs in the kitchen, only her clogs are fuchsia and she seems to curse a lot more. The new season of her show, Chef Wanted, which premieres tomorrow night on the Food Network, approaches the "restaurant-rehab" theme with a novel setup: Burrell leads teams of professionals through challenges at actual restaurants (like the Old Homestead Steakhouse), and there are actually executive positions to be had at the end of each line. In the exclusive preview, just ahead, a fearsome Burrell confronts a contestant she thinks is screwing around. "That's your Amatriciana sauce? Amatriciana does not have garlic in it," she says. "Italian cuisine is regional," the contestant gurgles back, "I grew up with it in my sauce."

The heat is on. »

The Forge Officially Opens at Jack London Square

Following their weekend of test dinners, The Forge (66 Franklin Street, Oakland) began serving pizza to the general public as of last night. See our slideshow, and the menu's here. And we can attest, the pizza is damn fine. [Facebook]

A Look Inside Taiwan’s Very Pink, Very Creepy Barbie-Themed Restaurant

The inspiration.Photo: SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

In the heart of Taiwan, there is now an electric-pink Barbie restaurant full of more dead-eyed, busty blondes than the Playboy Mansion. The restaurant, in the heart of Taipei (where Barbies were once manufactured), is fully licensed by Mattel, a company not known for its culinary prowess. Odd that food is on sale here, really, since Barbie's measurements are prime endorsements for anorexia. But eating isn't really the point: It's all about selling dolls! In a move that's probably great for business and horrible for feminism, "The staff who work at the restaurant sport a not-entirely practical uniform of pink Barbie logo T-shirts, matching tutus, Barbie logo armbands and glitter and tiaras on their heads," the Telegraph reports.

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Petar’s in Lafayette to Become The Cooperage

Petar's now shuttered red door.Photo: Courtesy of Petar's

There is already a taker for the recently shuttered, long-lived Petar's in Lafayette, and it's Andrew McCormick, owner of the recently closed City Tavern in the Marina, and son of McCormick & Schmick's co-founder Bill McCormick. As Diablo reports, it's going to be called The Cooperage, and will feature "roadhouse-style" American food, inspired by places like Buckeye Roadhouse, and the chef will be Eric Hopfinger, most recently of Jake's in the Castro, and previously of Waterfront. McCormick is happy to be working on a project near where he lives. "I'm 43 years old; I opened City Tavern when I was 25, and the kids going there are still 25, so you kind of get tired of babysitting," he says. "Here I can have a restaurant that's targeted more to my demographic." [Diablo]

Order Mission Chinese Food Online Tonight

In a boon for the telephone-averse, Mission Chinese Food is testing out online ordering tonight, via the website. If all goes well and they aren't horribly slammed, it's likely this service will continue. [MissionStFood/Twitter]

Jonathan Kauffman Knows Where All the Best Noodles Are

For those of you who, like us, are sometimes overwhelmed by the vast array of terrific, and not-so-terrific, little Asian holes in walls all over town and don't have a solid grasp on where to go for what, critic Jonathan Kauffman is here to help. He just pinch-hit a piece in San Francisco Magazine that provides a roundup of the best of the best in various noodle micro-categories, from the best bun rieu (Soup Junkie), to the best Chinese tan-tan noodles (Happy Golden Bowl in El Cerrito). He notes that "ramen is the category with the highest stakes" right now, and he calls out Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara and the new Men Oh in the Richmond for their excellent takes on tonkotsu. [SF Mag]

Mayor Ed Lee Asks Mission Bars Not to Serve Hard Alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday

Maybe we should just make all Super Bowl Sundays dry days. That should work.

Well, this is hilarious. Mayor Ed Lee's latest tactic for trying to tamp down the excitement (and bonfires) in the Mission in the event of a Super Bowl victory on Sunday is to politely ask that bars in the neighborhood "serve something (other) than heavy alcohol during times of celebration, because that inebriation sometimes doesn’t help with people who want to maybe go beyond the bounds of acceptability in their celebration." Nice try, Lee. It's up to the bars, of course, to voluntarily comply, and as Adam DeMezza of Giordano Brothers tells the Chron, that's "going to be a tough sell." [Chron via Uptown Almanac]

Bocuse d’Or 2013 Results: France Wins Gold; USA Places Seventh

Picky eater.Photo: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty

Congrats to France, which just took the top prize at the world's most prestigious culinary competition. Denmark (winner of the gold last year) was awarded silver, and Japan got bronze. Team USA placed seventh, but captains Richard Rosendale and Cory Siegel (of West Virginia's Greenbrier) shouldn't feel too bad; we've never placed higher than sixth. And apparently, "Born in the USA" played at some point during the competition, which is a huge win in itself. If you don't agree with the results, you can blame Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation president Thomas Keller, who judged the meat platter. Check out the full list of winners, straight ahead.

Two for the United Kingdom. »

Paris Hilton to Help Open New Tahoe Nightclub, Peek

Yep. We'll always have Paris.Photo: Getty Images

A new nightspot is opening at Harrah's in South Lake Tahoe called Peek, and we regret to inform you that Paris Hilton's going to be there. The socialite-for-hire is appearing at the nightclub's "opening weekend mega-party" on February 16, along with DJs from Las Vegas's BeatClan. Peek represents a $1 million renovation for the casino's entertainment area, which totals 6,700 square feet, and apparently there will much aerial entertainment. Should you be interested, you can reserve a VIP table here. [7x7]

Thirteen Appetizing Super Bowl Ads From the Past 33 Years

Don't dispute this one.

Whether you're excited to see the Ravens play the 49ers, or you're just watching for the Beyoncé halftime show, everyone can get excited about the $4 million commercials. Beer and car spots will always dominate, but over the years, there have been some fantastic commercials hawking fast-food and non-beer drinks, too. Michael Jordan and Larry Bird playing Horse is enough to make you want a Big Mac (maybe), and we can collectively blame the nation's current soda crisis on Britney Spears gyrating ten years ago. Here are thirteen of the best, presented in chronological order.

From Cindy Crawford to Betty White. »

Don King Explains Why Josie Should Be Voted Back On to ‘Top Chef’

Don King: American, patriot, and Josie suporter.Photo: Dario Cantatore/Getty

The greatest boxing promoter of all time — who worked with Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Julio César Chávez, Evander Holyfield, and Larry Holmes — has now turned his attention to Top Chef, of all things. Don King says that, at 81, his interests in cooking and food are deepening, and as a regular watcher of Bravo's cooking competition, he feels that chef Josie Smith-Malave was "unjustly" booted at the end of last week's episode, and he's now enlisting the public to get her voted back so she can cook her way through the final rounds. Grub Street spoke with King yesterday afternoon as he waited to board a flight in Cleveland back to his home in Florida.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." »


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