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Jessica Battilana

Edible Schoolyard: An Elitist Waste of Time?

Over in our small corner of the interwebs, the news du jour is the article written by Caitlin Flanagan for the Atlantic in which she seriously criticizes school gardens in general and the Edible Schoolyard in particular. We have our own thoughts about the article, but let's just say that they are well-summarized by these two quotes, which crossed my desk earlier today. Says Kim Severson, former Chronicle writer now at the Times, "Yowser! School gardens under attack as evil?

First Bite: Gracias Madre

I will admit right up front that I have—well, had—a bias against cashew cheese. A strong, baseless bias against food items that call themselves something they are not: tofu posing as ice cream, seitan posing as sausage. I also have a strong bias against hemp parkas, for obvious reasons. But last night, at Gracias Madre, I experienced both hemp parkas as well as cashew cheese, and here I am to tell the tale.

This Week’s Events: Mochi Pounding and New Mexican For the New Year

A Serious Pounding
If you were too, uh, under the weather to make New Year’s resolutions on January 1, you’ll have a second chance at the Japanese new year Mochitsuki celebration at the Asian Art Museum on January 9. From noon to 1 p.m., watch traditionally costumed mochi pounders at work, transforming glutinous rice into sticky-sweet balls of goodness. From 1 until 4 p.m. you can try your hand at the pounding while enjoying live music and dance, then pull a fortune for the upcoming year. The event is free with museum admission; admission for children under 12 is free.

A Stay Of Execution For Miette Confiserie

Yesterday, Eater announced the happy news that the Miette Confiserie on Octavia street—the space that looks like a tween girl's dream, all candy, ribbons and gumdrop trees—will in fact NOT be closing, as was previously reported. We had a chance to catch up with Meg Ray, Miette's founder, shortly before the holidays, and while she hinted at that time that the Hayes Valley space might be spared, since the details hadn't been finalized she was (understandably) nervous about announcing it as fact.

New Year, New Restaurant: A Preview of Local Mission Eatery

How many of you are sitting at your desks glumly today? That's what I thought. But it's a new year, friends, and with a new year comes new restaurants. I am the unabashed cheerleader of this fresh start, and I'm looking forward to seeing what enterprising young go-getters have up their sleeves. First up, a project I've been wanting to spill the beans about for a long time called Local:Mission Eatery. Some of you might have noticed the construction underway in the former home of Alhambra meat market, the short-lived halal butcher shop two doors down from Philz coffee (24th St. and Folsom).

First Bite: Frances, Plain and Simple

There are some restaurants that just fit into a neighborhood seemlessly, like they have always been there. Last Thursday, Frances--the month-old solo venture from Melissa Perello--felt like one of those spots. A group of four men sat beside us, chatting up co-owner and wine expert Paul Einbund before paying with a black Amex card. Two women flanked us on the other side, ordering snacks, appetizers and wine.

This Week's Events: New Year's Prep, Old Rasputin and Crab

Time for Tacos
With a new year comes a new restaurant. Spanish gem Laïola will be morphing into Tacolicious, the first brick-and-mortar outpost of the stand that appears weekly at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. But the restaurant plans to go out with a bang: opening chef Mark Denham will be returning, along with much of the original crew. For four nights (December 28-31) they’ll be serving dinner and giving Laïola a proper send-off. Call 4215-346-5641 to book a table, or just stop in to say goodbye—and hello!

Crab Cracking at Camino

Reserve Now For New Year's Eve Dinner

If you haven't made reservations yet, stop what you're doing and get on it—by the time you emerge from your Christmas cave it will be too late. Below, a small smattering of NYE options. For a complete list, check out Open Table.

What: Four-course and five-course prix fixe menus with optional wine pairings
When: December 31, 5–11 p.m.
Where: 2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco
Cost: Four-course menu for $75 per person, five-course menu for $90 per person. Optional wine pairings are available for $55 or $70, respectively.
Book: For reservations call 415-771-2216

The Year In Review: Food Trends of 2009

Oh 2009, we hardly knew ye. But now with (gulp) exactly two weeks left in this year and this decade, it's time to look at the food trends of 2009.

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