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Sara Deseran

Lost in Translation: Eating LA

I’m back from spending almost a week in LA for an unofficial spring break. As Janelle Brown, the formerly SF-based author (now situated in LA’s Los Feliz hood), said to me for a recent 7x7 interview: LA and SF are like yin and yang—they fit together perfectly.

Palio D'Asti: The Three-Martini Tax Break

One of the old-school lunch spots in the Financial District, Palio D'Asti, is offering up one of the biggest incentives we can think of to come back to work drunk. For the entire month of April, in the spirit of tax relief, the Italian restaurant serves $1 martinis (Stoli or Beefeater) at lunch only—as long as you order lunch (which is a good thing, because God knows you need something to soak up the booze).


Palio bartender Ruben Valenzuela is standing by.

Black Sunday: Miette's Other Easter Option

As someone who doesn’t find much in common with pastels, malt balls or Peeps (unless it's this kind of a Peep Show) ...



I have an Easter antidote to recommend: If you feel black on the inside this weekend, stop by Miette Confiserie. The little shop off Hayes Street might look like a sugar-coated, princess dream on the inside, but veer left once you're in the door and witness a whole wall of licorice—18 types in total, all as black as a death rocker.

Ecco Caffè: More Fancy Coffee Coming to You Soon

In the name of research for an upcoming story, I was “experiencing” a mid-work-day lunch last week at Bar Bambino and in order to make it back to my desk without falling asleep, I had to finish off with an upper in order to ward off the carb + red wine–induced coma that was coming on strong.


Ecco coffee at Bar Bambino: A thing of beauty.

Dumplings: All Hail the King

Mortgage interest rates might be down, but you’ve got to keep your priorities straight. A couple days ago, I found myself out on Noriega and 22nd, signing my life away—the final stage in the San Francisco re-fi shuffle. I realize that this was serious business involving money. A grown-up activity of the highest sort, one that should require one’s full attention and a pair of bi-focals. And I swear I tried to read (some) of the blur words in front of me. But if I’m to be honest, as my hand ached from signature after signature, all I could think about were dumplings. And how if Ann, the sweet senior escrow officer, didn’t hurry things up, the shop where I wanted to get them from was going to close.

Americano: Spring Awakening

You don’t just have to look up at the Ferry Building clock tower to know that the city has officially sprung forward: Flashes of bare leg and pink petals are everywhere. While foodies roaming the Marketplace can almost taste the apricots and artichokes on their tongue, across the street at Americano, a literal crush of single professionals huddled around space heaters are fixated on some good ole’ sexual tension paired with a Melograno Cosmo, which is acquired after waiting diligently in line—a very, very long one.


Friday at Americano brings the boys to the yard.

Christopher Elbow: Chocolate, Late-Night

From CocoaBella to Michael Recchiuti to the new Swiss-import, Schoggi, just off Union Square, San Francisco is well on its way to being the next Barcelona, a city dipped in chocolate-chic. On February 5, Christopher Elbow, the very talented Kansas City–based chocolatier, opened his second, austerely modern store-cum-lounge in Hayes Valley (401 Hayes St., 415-355-1105).

The new Hayes Street shop. (Photo courtesy
Mr. Elbow himself).

Gary Danko: Fire and Disco Balls!

Confession: I dined for the first time at Gary Danko … last week. Yes, Gary Danko, winner for Best Overall restaurant for our 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards, Michelin-star Danko, Relais & Chateau Danko. I was prepped for great service and a great cheese cart, but there was one thing I hadn't considered. Gary Danko can actually be quite thrilling—and I’m not talking about the food.


Pyrotechnics at Gary Danko.

1. It offers great people watching.

Terroir is Trés Cool

I walked into Terroir last night and had that moment—the one when you’re torn between wanting to spread the word about a place (to show you’re cool), but keep it all to yourself (to be even cooler).
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