Posts for February 19, 2013

New North Beach Deli From Peter Mrabe to Be Called Central Station

The project we'd first heard about last fall, featuring sandwiches and a full-service deli from Don Pisto's owner Peter Mrabe, will be named Central Station (728 Vallejo Street) after the next door police station. Tablehopper brings the news, which trumps our earlier report that the deli would be called Lago Marsino, as it appeared in Planning documents submitted by partner and longtime neighborhood fixture Giovanni Toracca. Mrabe says there will, indeed, be fresh pasta for sale, but only for wholesale accounts at the beginning. And he's aiming to open, serving hot sandwiches, as soon as a month from now. [Tablehopper, Earlier]

Michael Bauer Is ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ By Bravas Bar de Tapas

A neon sign outside Bravas.

Healdsburg's new Bravas Bar de Tapas is the latest project from prominent Sonoma County restaurateurs Mark and Terry Stark, who also opened Willi's Wine Bar, Monti's, and Stark's Steak & Seafood in Santa Rosa, and Willi's Seafood Bar in Healdsburg. The new Spanish-inspired restaurant is in the former Ravenous space, and Mr. Bauer says he was "pleasantly surprised" by the food, which he says "has a point of view." He likes the bacon-like crispy pig ears served with anchovy vinaigrette; and the "firm, yet tender" octopus that comes as a large grilled tentacle. He also loves the chicken croquettes and the marinated fire pit vegetables, which he calls "spectacular." All told: two and a half stars. [Chron]

Controversy Erupts Over Party Flyer Featuring Dead Pig, Photoshopped April Bloomfield Book Cover

It was bound to spark a little hubbub.Photo: via Facebook

A group of concerned vegetarians and animal-rights activists have been deeply upset by a recent gay club party flyer featuring a dead pig slung over the back of a photoshopped drag queen. Got all that? So, foodinistas will recognize the image as taken from the cover of chef April Bloomfield's recent memoir/cookbook A Girl and Her Pig. The party, you see, is called Beatpig, and it takes place monthly at Powerhouse in SoMa, and hosts Juanita More and Walter Gomez are always trying to find new pig-themed imagery to use on its flyers. Photoshopping More's face over Bloomfield's, however, and making the flyer a parodic "romance novel" titled A Woman and Her Pigs, has not sat well with a number of More fans who received the invite, and a heated discussion has ensued accusing More and her graphic designer for "using a dead pig as a comedic prop" and taking "a callous approach to animal cruelty."

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Dancing Pig Space in the Castro to Become New Italian Spot

The shuttered Dancing Pig.

We alerted you the other week to the sudden closure of Dancing Pig BBQ (544 Castro Street), right after Super Bowl Sunday. Now Tablehopper caught wind of a rumor, which proves true, that the owner of nearby Poesia (4072 18th Street), Francesco d’Ippolito, has claimed the space and will be opening an as-yet unnamed second Italian concept there. He's saying it will be "casual and affordable," with Roman-style pizza and a three-dish tasting menu for $15 (!). The chef is Roberto Lamantia, who comes from Rome and has Sicilian parents, and who formerly worked at Steps of Rome Trattoria, and elsewhere. Stay tuned for updates on timing, and a possible menu. [Tablehopper, Earlier]

Grey Poupon to Ruin Classic ‘Pardon Me’ Ad

Don't call it a comeback.

Is nothing sacred? It's been sixteen years since the "Pardon Me" Grey Poupon commercial aired, and in an effort to boost sales and compete with the cooler condiments, Kraft is reviving the spot and adding a bunch of twenty-first-century crap. The new commercial, which will debut during the Oscars on Sunday, begins in the same way as the original, with two fancy men exchanging mustard. But then, "the scene continues with the second car speeding off without returning the mustard. A wild car chase through a golf course and city streets ensues, complete with explosions to make the spot look like a trailer for an action adventure movie." Did Michael Bay direct this mess? Pass the ketchup. [AP]

Anchor Brewing Announces Plans for Huge New Brewery and Restaurant on Pier 48

Rendering of the new beer garden and brewery.Photo: via CBS 5

Big beer news just as Beer Week comes to a close! Today, Anchor Brewing Co. announced that it has inked a deal to take over Pier 48, as part of the Mission Rock Development behind AT&T Park. The new facility will be an addition to the existing, historic Potrero Hill brewery, and will allow Anchor to increase its brewing capacity five-fold, from 120,000 to 600,000 barrels a year. "We're not just going to build a brewery here," said CEO Keith Greggor during today's press conference. "We're going to build a destination in San Francisco that people from around the world are going to want to come and see, as well as locals too." The project is a ways off, however, with construction beginning in 2014 and an opening not likely until 2016. The hometown brewery, as you may know, already has Anchor Plaza & Taproom inside the ballpark, but the new facility will contain a restaurant, a huge beer garden, and a museum in addition to brewing facilities, and will create 200 new jobs. [CBS via Chron]

Apple Tattooing Is a Very Real Thing

Does Che look better on a Gala or a Pink Lady?

Edible Geography explores the history of the apple stenciling subculture; people around the world are branding innocent fruit with everything from Che Guevara's face to the Apple computer logo. A Japanese pop star even put his picture on apples to give out as presents, which we're pretty sure is the fruit equivalent of a tramp stamp. So how does this work? First, apples are covered in wax paper bags during the growing season, producing a pearly white skin. Then, they're adorned with stencil stickers that block the sunlight. It's basically the same thing that happens when you accidentally tan while wearing sunglasses. Apple tattooing isn't a recent phenomenon; it stems back to nineteenth-century French fruit-growers. But for the past few years, it's actually been on the decline. Your move, people of Williamsburg. [Edible Geography]

Samuel Adams Will Finally Be Available in Cans

A Sam Can mock-up.Photo: The Boston Beer Company

The Boston Beer Company announced this morning that, after two years of meticulous ergonomic and sensory research, they'll offer twelve-packs of their Samuel Adams Boston Lager in cans, starting in early summer. (Until now, Sam Adams has been sold exclusively in bottles.) CEO Jim Koch, never a fan of cans until spending millions to develop what he says is his own superlative vessel, believes that "cans have changed," per a release. Craft brewers, like Brooklyn's Sixpoint, long ago proved that good beer can indeed be found in cans. The logically named "Sam Can" will differentiate itself with a flared lip and wide top, designed to let those luscious hoppy aromas waft freely from can to nose. More important, it'll probably be just as easy as other cans to hide at the beach. [Official site]

Padrecito, From the Mamacita Guys, Opening Shortly in Cole Valley

A couple of teaser shots of Padrecito taking shape.Photo: NateValentine/Instagram

The new Mexican restaurant from the Mamacita team is shaping up for a March opening in the former Eos space at Cole and Carl, and the team has decided on a new name: Padrecito. Last we'd heard, they'd had gone with Bocazote, after they were facing a possible legal challenge over their first choice, Papazote — which means "big daddy," and is a nice counterpoint to "mamacita," or "little mama," but also sounds a lot like popular burrito spot Papalote.

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GQ Names the ‘12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013,’ Includes La Vara, Central Kitchen, and Vedge

Richman doesn't care if his waiter smells.

It's a big day for lists! GQ critic Alan Richman dropped his roundup of the country's top twelve restaurants, which are places he identifies as "casual, kindhearted, original, and a little too loud." Richman deems fine dining a "democratic institution"; his idea of a perfect night out includes eating off cutting boards and waiters wearing dirty T-shirts — not wild foraged ingredients or twenty-course prix fixe menus. And by omitting Mission Chinese Food, his list is by default different than most others of its kind. Last year, L.A.'s ink took the top spot, and the crown now goes to Little Serow, a Thai restaurant in Washington, D.C. Check out where else to go if you want to feel "coddled, welcome, and well fed," ahead.

St. Anselm and B├Ąco Mercat made the cut. »

Bi-Rite Divisadero Opening Within Weeks

For some strange reason, a previous occupant had painted over that historic tile, which is now all cleaned off.Photo: Haighteration

They won't confirm the absolute, for-sure opening date right now, but Bi-Rite is aiming to open its Divisadero branch on 3/13/13, as Haighteration reports. Owner Sam Mogannam likes it because it's a palindrome, obviously. They've also got a few photos of the almost completed store, which will have two doors up front, one of which will be dedicated to the ice cream counter, which will keep the same hours as the store: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to start. And new to this location is a cheese counter where you'll be able to get cheese cut to order, as well as the pre-cut and wrapped cheeses like they have at the 18th Street store. And though they have stressed that the square footage of this store at 550 Divisadero is not significantly larger than the other store, it's going to feel larger because it's a lot wider. [Haighteration, Earlier]

Central Kitchen Gets Big Props From GQ’s Alan Richman

Mr. RichmanPhoto: Patrick McMullen

The restaurant may not have made the James Beard long list of Best New Restaurants today, but Central Kitchen landed on another important national list: GQ's Most Outstanding New Restaurants of 2013, as selected by critic Alan Richman. In his introduction, he says that American restaurateurs have finally gotten it right in terms of what the American dining public wants. "We yearn for restaurants that are like us: casual, kindhearted, original, and a little too loud." Central Kitchen is the only Bay Area pick in the dozen, and Richman writes that executive chef Thomas McNaughton is rising up "the ranks of America's least recognized great young chefs." He raves about a dish of beets with brown butter and fromage blanc, and says, "[McNaughton's] composed plates have so many ingredients I couldn't keep track of them all." He also makes note of the restaurant's "eccentric" decor, loudness, and "rock hard" chairs as all positives — which our own Mr. Bauer likely wouldn't do — writing, "The noise level, mostly from rock 'n' roll, is way too high unless you live in New York, in which case it's average." [GQ, Earlier]

Beard Award Semi-Finalists Announced; State Bird and Rich Table Pre-Nominated

The James Beard Foundation announced their chef and restaurant semi-finalists today, a.k.a. the "long list" that will in mid-March become the short list of actual nominees, or finalists. It really is quite a long list, and we'll just point you to the full list at Grub Street NY if you want to read through it all. Below, we bring you the relevant chefs, and restaurants, from the Bay Area — who have all gotten a leg up making it onto the list via Awards Committee member Michael Bauer.

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Benjamin Netanyahu Has a $2,700-per-Year Ice Cream Budget

"Who used the scooper last?"

Dude, that's a lot of literal and figurative Rocky Road: In the midst of increased scrutiny and the implementation of austerity measures, it seems as though the prime minister of Israel has been eating an unhealthy amount of expensive ice cream.

Cup or cone, Mr. Prime Minister? »

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jim Beam Commercial

In an international ad for Jim Beam Bourbon, Jack Dawson chips away at a block of ice, showing us how he could have single-handedly saved the Titanic from sinking. Our friends at Vulture noticed that he only says four words in the seventeen-second spot. But we think he mouths "wow" six seconds in, so let's make it four and a half.

Never let go. »


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Jay Barmann
NY Mag