Posts for February 6, 2013

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen Spotted at Tradition; Ashton Kutcher Dines at Slanted Door

Pickling that as we speak.

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen were in town again, and this time they were spotted drinking at Tradition — a bar that, certainly, could be ripe for parody on Portlandia, like that bar where Andy Samberg worked. [Tablehopper, Earlier]

And in addition to popping in to the Roxie last week, Ashton Kutcher was seen dining at Slanted Door, presumably while here for MacWorld. [Tablehopper]

First Look at Stock in Trade, Opening Next Week in the Marina

Just a touch behind schedule, Stock in Trade is making its debut in the former La Barca space on Tuesday. La Barca lived there for 50 years, and as partner Cassidy Fegan tells Grub Street, "We've completely gutted the space and rebuilt it from the ground up." For the new, modern tavern aesthetic, they've added an indoor bocce ball court, some taxidermy, and brightened up the space, and the 35-person bar remains. The executive chef is Jake Kwan-Rosenbush, who's worked at Gary Danko, Naked Lunch, and 15 Romolo, and the consulting chef, as reported before, is Max DiMare, formerly of Wood Tavern.

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Chef Shuffle at Maven, Menu to Get More ‘Robust’


It seems there's been a parting of the ways with the partners at Maven (Haight and Steiner), and chef-partner David Kurtz has resigned. As the Scoop reports, chef de cuisine Isaac Miller has been promoted to the exec post, and partner Jay Bordeleau says that the menu is going to get a little less "precious" and they'll be putting "a little more food on the plate." Mr. Bauer, as you may recall, loved the place as-is, but Bordeleau seems to be responding to criticisms coming from the dining public — also, the food menu has been virtually unchanged since it opened in December 2011. The place still has a terrific burger, and you can expect the structure of the menu, with the paired wines, beers, and cocktails, to stay the same. [Scoop]

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D.C. Shooter Intended to Use Chick-fil-A Sandwiches to Send ‘Statement’

The 28-year-old Virginia man who opened fire inside the headquarters of the conservative Christian lobbying and policy group in downtown Washington, D.C., last August was carrying fifteen Chick-fil-A sandwiches "he planned to smear in the dying faces of staffers he expected to kill," according to documents filed today in U.S. District Court, CNN reports.

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Marrow, From Jon’s Street Eats Guy, Coming to Oakland’s Uptown

Kosorek in 2009.

Early fancy-food-truck pioneer Jon Kosorek, whose Jon's Street Eats operation made a big splash on the Oakland scene when it launched in 2009, has returned from his exile in Wine Country and will be opening a brick-and-mortar spot this spring in Oakland. As Diablo reports, Kosorek has scooped up the former Looney's BBQ at 325 19th Street and plans to open Marrow, a whole-animal, meat-centric lunch spot. He plans on doing a concise menu with just a handful of specials, and a couple staples like a burger, steak frites, and a a Jon's Street Eats signature, his corned beef Reuben on marble rye. The twist is that he'll only be buying one cow at a time, and will use every part of the animal possible, from the lard (used to fry the French fries) to the liver. Marrow should open by mid-March or early April. [Diablo, Earlier]

Miller Finds Satisfaction, If Not Value, at M.Y. China and Hakkasan; Roth Is Won Over By Trick Dog


Opened within a week of each other and both offering "upscale" takes on Chinese cuisine, M.Y. China and Hakkasan naturally begged comparisons to each other. Virginia Miller does a side-by-side review of both, concluding "my assessment is mixed, each restaurant boasts strong points, but neither reinvents Chinese cuisine, which begs the question: are the prices worth it?" She enjoys the "atypical dim sum" dishes at Hakkasan, as well as the cocktails, saying that like its London counterpart she finds it "satisfying if someone else is paying." At M.Y. China she recommends the scissor noodles with wild boar, and the dan dan noodles; and she says the dim sum here is also strong, if pricier than many other fine examples in town. She prefers, as at Hakkasan, the more unusual selections, like the spicy seafood dumplings, and the $18 black truffle dumplings with pork. [SFBG]

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This Doctor Who-Themed Restaurant Really Needs to Happen

Exterminate! Exterminate! Broil for four minutes on high!Photo: W.H. Allen & Co PLC

Sure, the steampunkish Way Station in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, gives customers access to the bathroom through a TARDIS, but we can do better than that. Interestingly enough, an entire Doctor Who restaurant may become a reality, the Independent reports, because the fourteen-acre BBC Television Centre at White City is renovated into a very large visitor center celebrating all the series once filmed there. "Among the ideas so far," the paper reports, "are attractions based on Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Blue Peter, Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing." A Great British Bake Off bakery has been suggested as well, which sounds fine, but really, it's been 50 years now, and since Doctor Who fandom has spawned its own distinct and scholarly food culture, shouldn't the daleks have a clean, well-lit white tablecloth place of their own? [Independent UK]

Step Inside the New Gold Dust Lounge, Now Open at Fisherman’s Wharf

As we mentioned last week, the venerable old Gold Dust Lounge was reborn on Friday with great pomp and circumstance, in a new location at 165 Jefferson Street in Fisherman's Wharf. Today we bring you a look inside the relocated simulacrum of the old Union Square bar, which retains much of the look and feel of the nearly 100-year-old original, including its iconic marquis over the entrance.

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15 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Chances of Getting Cast on Top Chef Season 11

Padma's not sure about this.Photo: David Giesbrecht/Bravo

Pack your knives and stay: The Bravo show will come back for at least one more season, Deadline reports, which means more tempers, more Tom, more Padma, and, hopefully for all of us here at Grub Street, more Rees. No word on where the next Top Chef will take place, but casting begins next week in Austin. The details — including open calls in L.A., Chicago, Brooklyn, Vegas, and Miami — are here, but if you haven't been working on your mother sauces since the fall and you aren't currently a junior sous-chef at an enormous Asian fusion restaurant, what can you do to improve your chances of getting onboard the S.S. Watch What Happens?

Some ideas. »

Expanded Alembic Due By Late Summer, Hopefully

The Alembic and former Red Vic, next door.Photo: PartyEarth

At last there is some movement on the upcoming Second Act Marketplace and Events project in the former Red Vic, which includes an expansion of The Alembic next door into the former theater's lobby area. The popular Upper Haight bar and restaurant — where, as we found recently, the food is better than ever — has long overgrown its narrow quarters, and the prospect of a little extra breathing room and drinking space was welcome news to its fans. As Uppercasing reports, construction is now finally beginning, and we should see a large Alembic by late summer or early fall.

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Mixing Diet Soda With Booze Makes You Extra Drunk

Someone get this man a Diet Coke.Photo: iStockphoto

Here's an angle Marc Jacobs should play up in his new Diet Coke campaign: A new study from Northern Kentucky University, where there's probably plenty of time to experiment with such things, reveals that pairing alcohol with diet soda will render you more drunk than if you mixed it with boring, obesity-inducing regular soda. Apparently the sugar found in typical soda slows alcohol absorption. In fact, your breath-alcohol content could shoot up by as much as 18 percent if you use diet soda as a mixer, so you should probably set down the Fresca and vodka before hopping behind the wheel. [Salt/NPR, Related]

Gaspar Brasserie Coming to Former Hecho Space by Summer

The former Hecho.

We heard back in December that Gitane/Café Claude owner Franck LeClerc was stepping in to take the now shuttered Hecho space, in the Galleria Park Hotel at 185 Sutter (at Kearny). Now today we get the name via SF Mag, which will be Gaspar Brasserie, named for LeClerc's father. The space, prior to being Hecho and Midi, was once home to a location of Perry's, a San Francisco institution now over 40 years old, with three remaining locations in town. Gaspar Brasserie is due to open by summer. [SF Mag]

Frances Manager Patrick Tsui Departs for Spice Kit

Since it opened in December 2009, Frances has been lauded far and wide both for Melissa Perello's spot-on food and the casual but comforting appeal of the place. A lot of credit for the style and level of service at the neighborhood spot should go to general manager Patrick Tsui, a familiar face to fans of the restaurant because he's been there since the beginning. As of Sunday, Tsui has departed the restaurant in order to take a job as Director of Operations and Development at three-year-old Spice Kit. "We're looking to grow a LOT in the next few years and I'm here to help with that," he tells us. Taking his place in the role of gatekeeper at the still hard-to-get-into Frances will be Robert Wright, who has previously worked at Coi, and The Girl & The Fig in Sonoma. [Grub Street]

The Next Location of The Melt: 557 Howard

Howard Street between First and Second, right in the heart of what will be the new Transbay Terminal District if it ever gets constructed, is to be the next location of The Melt, at a former sign shop at 557 Howard. The quick-service grilled-cheese chain has quickly opened eight Bay Area locations so far, making this the ninth, along with that fleet of grilled cheese buses it launched in the fall, of which there now three in town. The plan all along, from CEO Jonathan Kaplan, has been to open 500 brick-and-mortar locations and 100 buses nationwide, and they still have a ways to go, having expanded already to Los Angeles with two stores and a bus last year.

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Death of Print Journalism? There’s a Beer for That

Not available in stores.Photo: Jon Campbell

Former Hartford Advocate reporter Jon Campbell is now living the life of a freelancer, and between assignments he's been homebrewing up a pithy, malted barley beer that's as "dark and bitter as the future of American journalism." It's a foamy beer for the heady age of buy-outs and layoffs, and on his blog, Campbell explains that he's also been keeping busy by "making some very elaborate labels."

Beer for breakfast. »

There May Be a Few Stray Nanoparticles in Your Morning Doughnut

The ever-expanding scope of manufacturing, packaging, and production methods may very well mean that in addition to monitoring the salt, sugar, and fat content in their diet, consumers might as well also start fretting about the presence of possibly deleterious chemicals known as nanomaterials in their food. The Times reports that an advocacy group called As You Sow surveyed a staggering 25,000 companies on their nanomaterials usage, but just 26 of them responded. Of those companies, only fourteen — including PepsiCo, Whole Foods, and Yum! Brands — said they do not use nanomaterials. So, is it time to head for the nano-free hills?

What you should worry about. »

Marc Jacobs Is Diet Coke’s New Creative Director

Body by Diet Coke.Photo: St├ęphane Sednaoui/Diet Coke

The oft-naked, tattoo-covered fashion designer, who's the yin to Taylor Swift's yang, is designing Diet Coke cans and posing in the corresponding ad campaigns. Jacobs claims he guzzles two or three Diet Cokes a day — which can't be healthy, but day-um, those abs above are about to turn 50. More details will emerge about the “Sparkling Together for 30 Years” collaboration in March, but expect Jacobs's work to be far sexier than Coke's recent anti-obesity ad. He sure can sell a six-pack. [Earlier, Earlier, WWD]

Jennifer Lawrence Is a Budweiser Gal

The biggest actress in Hollywood right now hit Conan last night. While there, she revealed that at the Silver Linings Playbook premiere, her dad had shed tears after her monologue beside Robert De Niro. "It had nothing to do with my performance," she told Conan. "It's because I pop a Budweiser" — apparently a Lawrence family favorite. When Conan mentions that her beer plug is sure to result in a bunch of free Bud, Lawrence lights up. But it sounds like somebody needs to send this girl a couple of nice craft beers, stat.

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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