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Sara Deseran

Google Acquires Zagat (the Universe Next?)

You know times are changing when Google envelops something that has its history in print. And today, it acquired Zagat—a coup for the publisher that launched in 1979, truly the O.G. of user-generated reviews (sorry, Yelp).

The SF Chef–Driven Trip to NYC

I'm in New York this week working on a travel story. As usual, when I go to a big city, the first thing I do is email every chef I know for their dining recommendations.

To SF, From Rome: Locanda-to-Be Chef Anthony Strong Reports Back

Chef Anthony Strong, one of 7x7's 2010 "Top 20 Under 40", returned recently from a two month trip to Rome where he got paid to learn the ropes (mostly at Osteria di San Cesario), a chef's dream come true. Lucky for us, though, he'll be applying his newfound knowledge to Delfina's next restaurant, Locanda, when it opens on Valencia Street in the spring of next year. Delfina just sent out its newsletter where Strong details the highlights of his trip. If you know Strong, it's so very him. Funny, quirky, offally.

The Winter Blues Cure: Hot Clam Chowder and a Dozen Cold Oysters

I moved recently from my place in Bernal Heights to a house that sits right on the cusp of Noe Valley and the Castro. When we moved in, I asked the previous tenant, a flamboyant real estate broker, which neighborhood he described it as. He took a moment to look my husband up and down and said, "Well, I call it the Castro. But you—you're definitely going to call it Noe Valley."

The two neighborhoods might offer different stereotypes, but their food offerings are about equal. Neither are considered SF food meccas (although with Frances, the Castro's definitely coming up in the world).

The Big Chill: 7 Refreshing Wines Under $15

Indian summer demands refreshing wines that are easy on both the wallet and the palate. For this: seven keepers, $15 and under.

And Now For 7x7's Pie Social: When Pain Isn't Gain

This is why we're not blogging today. We had the first annual Pie Social.

After sweating bullets over a Rose Levy Beranbaum tart recipe (I've decided that Rose Levy Beranbaum takes the joy out of baking with her charts), making a beautiful lemon curd, delicately tossing blueberries in sugar as to not break them and driving the tart to the Union Square office at like 15 miles an hour from Bernal Heights over hills and valleys, terrified it would slide around in the car and break, Robin showed up with her own creation called "Monkey Pie": Store-bought crust, sliced bananas, Jell-O chocolate pudding and ReddiWip.

The Humphry Slocombe Factor: Is the Joke On Us?

Elizabeth Weil's feature profile on pastry chef Jake Godby, the owner of the cultish ice cream shop Humphry Slocombe, came out in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine. As she is apt to do, Weil turned what I thought would be the expected, all-praise-wacky-ice-cream-flavors piece into an article that subtly presented a couple thoughtful ways to view SF's food world. She writes of Godby:

The City's Best Italian, Minus the Scene

If there is any cuisine that this town identifies itself with right now, it’s Italian. From Flour + Water to Delfina to A16, we love and praise our Italian restaurants like nothing else. As does the media (7x7 also being guilty as charged). These restaurants continually get picked up in the national press such as Washington Post and Travel + Leisure.

Chocolate, Curry Carts and To-Go Cocktails: The Best of SF, Eat + Drink

Chocolate and caramel, curry carts and cocktails for the road. Mexican fiestas, Hawaiian loco moco and Shanghai Bucks. Where to get goat in the Marina, black-sesame popsicles in the Mission and … Tums (available at any Walgreens).

Indian Food Mania: From the Street to the Home

If you're craving Indian food in any form, this is the week for it.

• Tomorrow, there are two big Indian goings-on. Take your pick:

West Bengal-native Auntie Jharna and chef Roger of Soul Cocina are hosting an Indian cooking class, where you'll learn to cook the likes of chicken kofta meatballs, saag paneer and sabudana vada with curry leaf and coconut. A communal dinner follows. The class is being held in Noe Valley. June 19, 3:00-5:30, $50

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