Posts for March 5, 2013

Peek at the Menu at Hutong; Regarding the Bodega at Duende

Marina: Tablehopper got a peek at the new menu, debuting (probably) this weekend, at Hutong, a.k.a. the recently former Betelnut, still helmed by chef Alex Ong. [Tablehopper]
FiDi: A new Jewish deli just opened across from Crocker Galleria, at 126 Sutter, called Shorty Goldstein's. We heard about it back November, and it's a project from a former Betelnut chef, coincidentally, Michael Siegel. See the menu here. [Scoop]
Oakland: In advance of the full review in tomorrow's paper, Luke Tsai publishes a mini review just of the small wine, coffee, and olive oil shop at Duende. [EBX]
Also, Homeroom is now doing a "drive-thru" deal, with online ordering, which is more like a drive-up situation with curbside service. [Scoop]

Michael Rotondo’s New Menu at Parallel 37, Illustrated

Chef Michael Rotondo has just in the past month taken the helm at Parallel 37, following last fall's departure of longtime Ritz chef Ron Siegel (now at Michael Mina). Rotondo was previously executive chef at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, and he brings with him a wealth of skill and a host of influences, from work at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach, Florida, to a stint at Paul Bocuse in France — he also competed in the Bocuse d’Or on the U.S. team in 2008. Like many chefs newly arrived in the Bay Area, he says he feels "like a kid in a candy store with all the great produce," and this week we were able to get a taste of his new menu, which has a number of ambitious surprises, Asian accents, and inventive flavor combinations.

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Tour Through S.F. Restaurant History, Via Vintage Matchbooks

Check out this amazing collection of some 500 matchbook covers, compiled by Flickr user and Bay Area native Frank Kelsey, who's a collector ashtrays and other memorabilia too. It's a great survey of bars and restaurants, many of them long gone, but some still going strong, like Alioto's, Fior d'Italia, the Cliff House, and Original Joe's (albeit in a new location). [Flickr via Uptown Almanac]

Charles Phan’s South Opens This Evening at SFJAZZ; Hard Water Arriving Momentarily

Two Charles Phan projects are debuting this week after a few delays. First up, tonight, the new café and bar at the SFJAZZ Center opens, and it's called South. The food menu, which you can see here, leans toward New Orleans, with snacks like black-eyed pea spread and cornmeal-crusted fried oysters, and bigger plates like alligator sausage with peppers and onions; and pan-seared bass with lemon, capers, and brown butter. There's also a bar, with an extension next to the performance venue upstairs, serving New Orleans-inspired cocktails by Erik Adkins. (Eater has a few photos.) The New Orleans influence (it is a jazz center) is doing double duty at Phan's other new bar project, also opening this week at Pier 3: Hard Water.

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Another Monkey Shutters After Two Years

Conduit, plus Buddha.

It's not entirely a surprise, given how it never seemed more than half full, but Another Monkey has given up the ghost at 280 Valencia Street. The Scoop caught the news, and it looks like the team that brought us Koh Samui & the Monkey in SoMa has shuttered the spinoff after two years. They had left the award-winning interior by Stanley Saitowitz, from the former Conduit restaurant, largely intact, and tossed in a few Buddhas, but it ever felt quite right. And given the glut of restaurants on Valencia these days, we're curious to see how long this stays empty. [Scoop]

This Is the Guy Who’s Really Behind the Stove at Mission Chinese

We know that executive chef and food-world wunderkind Danny Bowien pops back in to his San Francisco flagship every couple months, but he's mostly living in New York now, and the guy who's really in charge most days at Mission Chinese Food is this guy, Jesse Koide. The San Diego-born chef gets profiled for Tasting Table's sous chef series, and offers up a recipe for Tuscan-style beans simmered with good bacon and kombu. Also, he raises bonsai trees, and he kind of really likes Chipotle. [Tasting Table]

Catch a DJ Set By Hubert Keller on Thursday

As you may know, local celebrity chef Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys, Top Chef Masters) is a very serious hobbyist DJ, of the Euro house music variety, and you can get a chance to hear him spin at Harry Denton's Starlight Room on three occasions in the next few months, starting on Thursday, March 7. He'll be returning on April 18 and June 6 as well, and there will be a $10 cover each time. (See a video of him spinning in Vegas in 2010, for reference.) In related news, bar manager Joel Teitelbaum is no longer at the Starlight Room, as of last week. More on his upcoming whereabouts soon. [Zagat]

Bid on Dinner With Ferran AdriĆ 

Sotheby's is auctioning two dinners, each for four people, with Ferran AdriĆ . The opening bid is $5,000, but psh, this will sell for far more. Sotheby's is also auctioning over 8,800 bottles of wine from elBulli's cellar (estimated to sell for $1 million), as well as equipment and memorabilia. All proceeds will go toward the elBulli Foundation, a culinary center that will open in Spain in 2014. Start saving: There will be one auction on April 3 in Hong Kong, and another on April 26 in New York. [Reuters]

Newly Open House of Pancakes, In Parkside, Is Not What You Think

The beef pancake, which can also be ordered as a "rolled pancake" that's fried.Photo: Cheryl K./Yelp

A notable below-radar opening happened about a month ago in a former to-go dim sum spot in the Parkside neighborhood. It's called House of Pancakes, and as some Chowhounders report, it's a little Chinese spot that specializes in savory, griddled pancakes in eleven flavors, like the familiar scallion pancake, a house specialty sesame pancake, and a beef pancake that is by all accounts "crisp and almost greaseless," and "really f-ing good." They also do hand-pulled noodles, soups, and a few different dumplings like lamb and Napa cabbage, and pork with chives. The place is tiny, with only 20 seats, but maybe the location will keep away all but the most scavenger-hunt-inclined of you food nerds. Get to it. [Chow, Yelp]

House of Pancakes - 937 Taraval Street between 19th and 20th Avenues - 415-681-8388 - Open Thursday to Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Wednesdays

Celebrate the Rarest of Winter Citrus at Manresa on Sunday

This Sunday marks David Kinch's annual ode to the rare and interesting fruit from his friend Gene Lester's orchard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Lester began as a hobbyist, growing uncommon varieties of citrus from around the world like Vangassay lemon, Australian fingerlimes, and Indio Mandarinquat, and his farm has grown into one of the largest private collections of rare citrus in the world. To celebrate the height of the growing season, Kinch and his team at Manresa are offering a multi-course dinner on Sunday, March 10, highlighting different types of citrus for $195 per person. (It's similar to the summertime counterpart, the Tomato Modernista Dinner, highlighting rare tomato varieties from Love Apple Farm.) Wine pairings are available for an additional $110 to $195. The restaurant's regular menu will not be offered that night, and reservations can be made at 408-354-4330. If you have the means, we highly recommend it. [Manresa]

Should Chefs’ Private Behavior Affect Their Restaurants’ Public Images?

No cell phones allowed?Photo: Santoros/Facebook

Tina Santoro Asmar runs a well-loved trattoria outside of Boston. Currently, she's less popular at her (ex-)gym Planet Fitness, where she was banned over the weekend after taking a call while on the elliptical. The gym says she's a habitual offender; Asmar claims she'll accept the ban but that she's just looking for an apology — oh, and that she was taking a call from her doctor. Moving past the he-said-she-said of this whole thing, let's get to the interesting part: Public backlash is escalating, and now her popular trattoria — once the recipient of Yelp accolades like "the best Italian sub you will ever have!" — is getting slammed, too. Fair or unfair?

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If Fired, Heinz CEO Could Walk Away With $212 Million

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital companies are joining forces to purchase Heinz. Current Heinz CEO William Johnson, who's been in charge for the past fifteen years, is getting a pretty sweet deal: If he's fired by the new owners, he's entitled to a $56 million golden parachute, $57 million in deferred compensation benefits, and $99.7 million in vested stock. That's financial lingo for a few yachts, a country home, and a new Ferrari. If Johnson decides to quit at anytime he chooses, he'll take home $40 million. Pocket change. [Earlier, AP]

Chinese Authorities Reject and Destroy Ikea Cake and Nestlé Chocolate


China's serious about cracking down on food-safety-law violators. Authorities annihilated two tons of Ikea cake and two tons of Nestlé chocolate bars because they didn't meet food quality standards. Ikea's chocolate almond cake had excessive levels of bacteria, and Nestle's products contained too much sorbitol, a sweetener that if consumed in large amounts can cause bowel problems. The government's setting higher food quality standards after a series of scandals: Pig blood passed off as duck blood, KFC laced with antibiotics, and several more incidents over the years, including exploding watermelons. It's about time that China's quarantine bureau stepped up its game to fight food contamination. [Earlier, Earlier, The Economist, QZ, AP]


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