Posts for February 13, 2013

Here’s a Photo of the Reclaimed-Wood Wallpaper at Fable

It looks kinda real, right?Photo: Jay Barmann/Grub Street

The funniest, sort of inside joke in the décor at newly open Fable is this wallpaper — a trompe l'oeuil version of reclaimed wood that makes for a faux effect hilarious to all design snobs and restaurant watchers who would now say that actual reclaimed wood paneling is very 2010. The hat tip for that goes to designer Craige Walters. See our earlier slideshow here.

Fable - 558 Castro Street between 18th and 19th Street - 415-590-2404

Andrew Knowlton Dines Everywhere in S.F.; Tanlines Sup at Nojo

Bon Appétit's resident, non-anonymous restaurant critic, Andrew Knowlton, just did a major tour of San Francisco over the last week in preparation for the upcoming Best New Restaurants list he'll be compiling — the same list that State Bird Provisions landed at the top of last year, rocketing it to instant fame and constant lines. Via Twitter Knowlton revealed his stops at Central Kitchen, Roxy's Café, Namu Gaji, Naked Lunch Pub & Grill, Zuni Café, and Big 4, Instagramming as he ate. He says that Zuni has "quite possibly the best Caesar salad in the world," and of Namu Gaji's Brussels sprouts, he says, "Sometimes I take for granted just how far Brussels sprouts have come in the past five years." He was, however, thwarted in his attempt to hit Saison on Thursday, and, he says, "Next time." [AndrewOKnowlton/Twitter]

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Get Tickets Now for Taste of the Nation

The annual benefit for Share Our Strength known as Taste of the Nation, featuring food and cocktail tastings from many of the hottest bar and restaurants in town, is happening on March 21 at the Bently Reserve. Tickets are now on sale, and they're $125 a pop, with proceeds benefiting fighting childhood hunger. Participating restaurants this year include State Bird Provisions, Central Kitchen, Frances, AQ.

More Details About Driftwood, Heading to SoMa By Summer

It's related to the owners' shared love of surfing, you see.Photo: iStockPhoto

We broke the news last week about Driftwood, a new cocktail bar coming to fill the space currently occupied by Kok Bar (1225 Folsom Street), but formerly known as infamous leather bar My Place, and before that, The Ramrod. Today we spoke with new owner Christopher Milstead, who along with partner Shawn Magee (owner of Amnesia), are planning to open a laid back, mixed, cocktail lounge with a cozy vibe, after a substantial makeover. "It's not going to remind anyone of My Place," he assures us.

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Spanish Chef Accused of Poisoning Ten of His Fellow Cooks

Don't trust the toque.Photo: iStockphoto

The view may be fantastic at the El Lavaderu restaurant in Gijon, Spain, but an unnamed assistant chef there is allegedly an aspiring murderer. (Not cool, unnamed assistant chef.) Police have arrested the 55-year-old on the suspicion he's been poisoning his colleagues on the line with calcium cyanamide — perhaps even over a lengthy time period. The Telegraph reports that at least one of the poisoned, nauseous cooks figured something was up when the chef's girlfriend, who worked alongside them in the Asturian restaurant, was the only other staff member who did not fall ill. The assistant cook now faces fourteen counts of attempted murder, and is also being investigated in connection with the sudden death of the restaurant's former head chef, who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2011. It gets worse, too: In addition to all that, authorities say the restaurant's former owners were afflicted with strange maladies that resolved after they'd moved on from the premises. [Telegraph UK via Eater]

Alton Brown Says the New Star Wars Needs More Farm-to-Table Food

For its March issue, which hits stands next Tuesday, Wired polled all the notable residents of geekopolis to glean their thoughts on what kinds of topics the next Star Wars movie absolutely needed to cover. Alton Brown says "weird food" is high on his wish list, writing that he's always been fond of Yoda's stew, Aunt Beru's taste in vegetables, and the blue milk Luke's Uncle Owen puts out each night at dinner. So bring on the newfangled Jedi feasts. We're onboard as long as it doesn't involve young padawans hitting up their local takeout joints for cheap and greasy tauntaun soup. That's not sustainable. [Wired]

Belcampo Meat Co. Expanding First to Palo Alto and L.A., San Francisco Next Year

Belcampo's meat case.

In November, Slow Food vet Anya Fernald opened the first of several retail operations for her new sustainable, totally vertical meat operation, Belcampo Meat Company, in Marin County. Today, SF Weekly's Anna Roth reviews the place, calling this new temple of meat "a singularly pleasurable experience," and raving about everything from a beef cheek hash at brunch, to a Middle Eastern-spiced goat sandwich offered as a special at one lunch. Now it looks like plans for a San Francisco branch have been put off in favor of some southerly expansion. Fernald tells Roth that she's hoping to open a shop in Palo Alto by summer, and another down in Los Angeles sometime this year. "It's not very profitable to raise meat the way you're supposed to," she admits. "The business is more viable with three or four more stores open."

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Four Loko Gets a Makeover

This can is now vintage.

The Federal Trade Commission and Phusion Projects finally reached a settlement on Four Loko. The frat-boy favorite is going to sport a new label, which will solve all the problems it causes. If the malt beverage exceeds two servings of alcohol, it's required to have an "alcohol facts panel" on the back. Study up before you chug! The FTC says that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko is the equivalent of four to five beers, but someone smart decided not to put that on the can. Information on how to get drunk quickly and cheaply is like catnip for teenagers, whom this drink has left hospitalized.

Phusion's still complaining. »

Grand Lake Kitchen Launches Dinner Tonight

Grand Lake KitchenPhoto: EatDrinkOakland via Grand Lake Kitchen

Over in Oakland, three-month-old Grand Lake Kitchen (576 Grand Avenue) is launching its first dinner offerings this evening. Up until now they've been closing before 8 p.m., but now hours will be extended to 9:30 p.m., and 10 p.m. on weekends, for the grab-and-go gourmet spot — which also has a small bit of seating, mostly outside. You can see the dinner menu here, which features things like Mount Lassen red trout with roasted grapes, crispy artichoke, and cous cous ($20); a Hunter's Plate with veal schnitzel, Hungarian sausage, red cabbage, and potato ($27); and goulash with wild mushrooms, carrots, and kohlrabi. Also note they have happy hour daily from 4 to 6 p.m. with $5 glasses of rosé and bubbly. [EBX]

Rotten Tomato Kingpin Gets Six Years In The Slammer

There's one in every bunch...

Three years ago to the month, SK Foods' former CEO and owner Frederick Scott Salyer was arrested for leading a widespread racket in the world of California tomatoes. The charges accused the mogul of fixing prices, bribing stores to accept moldy fruit, and rigging bids as his company rose through the ranks to become the industry's second biggest, while major grocery chains and snack food megaliths like Frito-Lay and Kraft were also caught up in the misdeeds. Last March, the 57-year-old Salyer plead guilty to the charges and faced a possible sentence of four to twenty years in the pokey, giving up millions from overseas bank accounts and holing up in his Pebble Beach home. The L.A. Times reports that the crooked tomato kingpin has been hit with six years in prison yesterday for his crimes, which lead to the convictions of ten other employees. A U.S. attorney for the case says, "[Salyer] turned his company into a machine of corruption and economic crime," breaches that helped spike the price of tomatoes for everyday customers.

Tomato company owner gets 6 years in prison for price-fixing [LAT]

There Are 500 McDonald’s Employees on That Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship

Long lines for burgers! Spewing toilets! It's the worst McDonald's employee vacation ever.Photo: Courtesy United States Coast Guard

Up to 500 of the 3,143 passengers aboard the disabled Carnival Triumph cruise vessel in the Gulf of Mexico are fast-food "franchisees and executives from the Houston area," CBS Houston reports. The stranded ship is being towed by two tugboats and is expected to reach port in Alabama sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, passengers have been sending reports to family members describing four-hour waits for hamburgers; elsewhere, there's news of overflowing toilets and "water and feces all over the floor," which, taken together, is really grim, but also certainly represents the absolute worst nightmare any McDonald's franchisee would ever expect to have.

We're running out of food. »

The Mill Is Open, and There’s Already a Line

The Mill, ca. 9 a.m. today.Photo: Darwin Bell

The Mill, Four Barrel's Divisadero outpost, in collaboration with Josey Baker Bread, is open for business as of this a.m. Here's a photo from the scene, including exposed rafters, communal table, and the brand new coffee counter. In addition to the toasts offered at the earlier, tent-based operation, there's a selection of fresh baked breads and pastries now. And the staff is, by all accounts, quite attractive. Update: Also, they're hoping to build a parklet outside, just like the flagship Four Barrel has.

The Mill - 736 Divisadero between Grove and Fulton - Open daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dancing Pig BBQ May Reopen

A sign on the door of Dancing Pig BBQ (544 Castro Street), which closed abruptly and without explanation last week, now proclaims, "We are making improvements!" The trouble is, restaurants don't just go dark like this unless something is up. More curiously, the owners appear to have to reapply for their liquor license for the space, and that application just went in on Friday. Stay tuned for more on this developing situation as we learn it, and as always, the Castro needs all the food improvement it can get. [Earlier] Update: Nope. It looks like the guys from Poesia are taking it.

Watch a Funny Scene About Artisanal Popcorn From This Week’s Portlandia

In this week's Portlandia, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play pushy movie theater concession workers who hawk artisan, rustic food. "The newspaper infuses the food with the grittiness of the paper," is actually one of their claims. They oblige an overwhelmed customer to purchase Italian soda, arugula salad with fresh cheese ("it stinks, and that's good"), sun-dried grapes, and salted ice cream with a very important drizzle of caramel. Sound familiar? The episode airs this Friday, February 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on IFC.

"It's like being in Europe a little bit, but here." »

Try It Again, Charlie: Trotter to Auction Restaurant Contents Online

"@collector219 ROFL that you think that copper pot can go 4 $6. Bid higher or GTFO"

The last time an auction prompted this much excitement, Cary Grant was trying to escape from the bad guys in North by Northwest. But Charlie Trotter's efforts to sell off the contents of his legendary, now-closed Chicago restaurant keep stirring up trouble and chaos. First a pallet of rare wine disappeared en route to Christie's from Chicago. Then the original live auction in December turned into a three-ring circus, with Trotter tossing out Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Caro, berating the audience for failing to appreciate the cost of the frames of some of his restaurant's art, and finally pulling the plug on the whole sale. But when the auction kicks off online today, all Trotter will be able to do is tweet his displeasure.

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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