Posts for February 8, 2013

Peek at the Menu at Noir; Miss Ollie’s Launches Dinner

Hayes Valley: Noir, in the former Frjtz space at 581 Hayes, still has no firm opening date, but things are coming along, and Tablehopper scored a menu. [Tablehopper]
Noe Valley: Here's a video about Elizabeth Street Brewery, which remains a backyard brewing operation but will hopefully become a fullscale brewpub in the future. [Noe Valley SF]
Oakland: Miss Ollie's is now doing dinner. [Scoop]

Top Ten Events to Hit at Beer Week

Tonight, as you've likely heard, is the kickoff of the fifth annual San Francisco Beer Week. It's a cool event in that nothing else of this scale, in the way of craft beer tastings, happens in Northern California except for maybe the California Beer Festival, and that doesn't go on for nine days across multiple counties. Things begin as they have the past several years, with a supremely sudsy grand tasting at the Concourse Pavilion featuring some 78 California breweries. That event, sadly, is already sold out, but there is plenty more to come over the next nine days, and below we've laid out a few highlights you may want to consider — especially if you or a loved one is a true connoisseur of trippels and barrel-aged brews.

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Tsai Calls Miss Ollie’s ‘Revolutionary’; Hirsch Says Gung Ho Is Solid

Chef Sarah Kirnon of Miss Ollie's.

Luke Tsai gives us the first formal review of Miss Ollie's (901 Washington Street, Oakland), Sarah Kirnon's new Old Oakland restaurant which up until this week was a lunch-only operation, and he's a huge fan. He says that "In Kirnon's hands, humble dishes like fried chicken, ackee and salt fish, and a simple bowl of sautéed greens achieve a kind of elegance," and though some plates are "pretty enough for Bon Appétit," it's all very no-nonsense, and plated in a homestyle fashion. He gushes over a traditional Barbadian soup called blaff, served as a broth with a cornmeal porridge, and topped with Dungeness crab, mackerel, prawns, and conch. "Two bites in, I was swooning." He also raves about the fried chicken (and the prices!), and his only complaint is that the curried goat could have been a bit more tender. [EBX]

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Northbrae Bottle Shop Opening in Berkeley Next Door to Gioia

By the end of this weekend, expect to find a new craft beer and artisanal liquor source in Berkeley. It's called Northbrae Bottle Shop, and it's a joint effort by Gioia Pizzeria's Art Kinsey and Café Rouge's Ryan Murff, in the space next door to Gioia at 1590 Hopkins Street. Up until recently this place has been the less-than-artisanal Monterey Liquors, and Kinsey tells Berkeleyside that they hope to reopen by Sunday or so as Northbrae, with a fresh coat of paint and a new product array. [Berkeleyside]

Saison Experiences Hiccup, Closes For Weekend Repairs

The new Saison at Third and Townsend.

Just a week after reopening in their new SoMa space, Saison closed as of last night due to some emergency repairs. Skenes tells the Scoop that it had to be done, and there are several things that all need to get fixed at once. Unforunately, it sounds like Bon Appétit's Andrew Knowlton may be in town and had his reservation cancelled there last night "due to gas and electric problems," as Eater notes. They plan to reopen Tuesday. [Scoop]

Anthony Bourdain’s Going to Be on Archer, Too

Kevin Gillespie isn't the only food-world luminary getting the Archer treatment. The Taste co-host Anthony Bourdain, it turns out, will play "Bastard Chef" on an upcoming episode, and here's the screencap to prove it. "I hung around the Archer parking lot until they gave me some work," he wrote on Facebook earlier this month. [Helen Cho/Twitter, Earlier]

There Is Now Regularly a Twenty-Minute Line at Trick Dog

Not since the opening of Smuggler's Cove have people been clamoring for well-mixed drinks at a new bar the way they have at Trick Dog. Today, partner Josh Harris explains to SFoodie that they've had to institute some crowd control measures, and they're holding people outside so that people inside the bar can have a more "elevated or mature experience," and not be five deep waiting for a drink. But the line outside, he says, is never longer than about twetny minutes. [SFoodie]

Kevin Gillespie Was on Archer Last Night

Funner than a Quickfire Challenge.

Former Top Chef competitor Kevin Gillespie made a guest appearance in an episode of Archer last night called "Midnight Ron," which was otherwise chock-full of obscure pop-culture references. The Atlanta-based chef played a truck-driving "transvestite rapist," naturally. Vulture got the lowdown from executive producer Matt Thompson. [Vulture]

Step Inside Fable, Softly Opening Tonight in the Castro

The next best hope for new food in the Castro arrives this weekend, and it's called Fable (558 Castro). It's a cozy spot where a lot of attention has been paid to the playful design by Craige Walters, and there's a new American menu from chef-owner Jon Hearnsberger that's heavy on hearty classics but with a few twists, with dishes like a pancetta and quince tart, and an "All-American" pot roast served with a parmesan popover. The space was formerly home to Luna, with its inviting back patio, and that back area will be put to good use again with a new garden, semi-enclosed patio, and dedicated back bar, as Tablehopper reports, likely by summer. Today we bring you some photos, and you can expect to find them very softly open beginning tonight, with the official grand opening next week.

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Watch an Opera Flash Mob Take Over a British Restaurant

On Sunday, a flash-mob opera troupe burst into Surrey's very staid-looking Bel & The Dragon restaurant, interrupting diners to break into a rousing rendition of "Dance of the Cachucha" and other favorites from The Pirates of Penzance. The Godalming Operatic Society reports that customers were "pleasantly surprised." Watch the video for yourself (things get started around the 26-second mark), and send good wishes to the poor little boy who looks like he wants to crawl under the table. Earbuds recommended.

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Infamous SoMa Leather Den Likely to Become a Bar Called Driftwood

Note the leather curtain blocking the view from the street — a longtime feature.Photo: Grub Street

The bar at 1225 Folsom Street has gone by many names over the decades — The Ramrod, My Place, Cip, Chaps II, Kok — but one constant has remained through most of that time: It's been a dark and dirty cruise bar for gay men. A tipster pointed us yesterday to the fact that some new owners are moving in with a new name and concept, called Driftwood, which seems to signal a shift away from chain link and jock straps. The name conjures the reclaimed-wood aesthetic at nearby cocktail bar Bloodhound, not to mention the reclaimed wood aesthetic at a hundred or so other trendy spots around this and other U.S. cities, but we'll reserve judgment for now.

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Oops! Frozen 'Beef' Lasagna Dinners Found to Contain Up to 100% Horsemeat in the U.K.

WHOA!Photo: Gabriela Herman

Following the news that six U.K. retailers were selling burgers that contained varying amounts of horse, then the revalation that Burger King's patty supply contained "very small trace levels" of equine DNA, it's now being reported that the U.K.-based food manufacturer Findus has been selling frozen lasagna dinners that purport to be beef but may actually be up to 100 percent ground horse chuck.

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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