There’s nothing like the power of predicting the future. So here goes our stab at 2010's eat and drink trends (within our 7x7 square miles, of course):
More ramen. Better ramen. And to go with it, ramen noodles. Katana Ya can not be our only hope. There’s already Shirohige Ramen truck, which has gotten mixed reviews, but a little bird told me that SF can expect to be seeing another very good ramen truck run by a total professional soon.
More rum. And with the opening of Smuggler’s Cove, I’m imagining we’ll see more cocktails on fire (had one just the other night at Heaven’s Dog, actually).
The sun will come out tomorrow, I promise, but it's worth looking back at some of this year's signifcant closings and taking a moment to remember those that were. Halfway through the year, Eater reported that the tally was at 30. While some are being replaced by other concepts (South, Laiola, Acme Chophouse), most have boarded up for good. So here's a toast to the restaurateurs that weathered a rough year—whether they came out on the other end or not—and hopefully, to a more prosperous 2010.
You've got until next Friday to finalize your gifts for your foodie friends and family. Your time is similarly limited when it comes to olio nuovo, olio nuevo or—a less cool way to say it—new olive oil. The fall is when most of the olives around here are pressed and the oil is generally available at the latest until mid-winter. New olive oil is peppery, robust and has some serious personality compared to its mellower, older sibling. Here are a few we'd recommend. They make great, if heavy, stocking stuffers.
The thirst for blood is a draw during the holidays: While the tweens (and their moms) are swooning over New Moon, the lady foodies are finding the butchers mighty fine (Ryan Farr! Ryan Farr!). For that special woman in your life, there is no end to Christmas present ideas.
The 24th Street BART station is my regular stop on the way home to Bernal Heights and lately, it's become much more colorful in a very Mexican way. Not only are there the usual tamale ladies and flower vendors, and guys selling strawberries in season, but now you'll find a bevy of stands selling sunglasses and more on the weekends, like a little market. There's also there's a new chicharrónes vendor and now this new hot dog vendor (very official looking, generator and all), like a beacon, illuminating the cold nights. (From what I can see, the woman working it also sell huevos—in what form, I'm not sure.)
We're wrapping up the Big Eat as I type. So, let's hear it: Has anyone tried the hot dog stand out? Worth it or not? You tell us.
If anyone has the inside sccop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers market it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll be giving us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.
As a resident of Bernal Heights—a neighborhood that's known more for its liberal politics and crunchy good vibes than its haute cuisine—I was excited to finally get a taste of the much-anticipated Sandbox Bakery, which just opened. No slouch, owner and pastry chef Mutsimi Takehara started learning her craft at La Farine in Oakland and at Chez Panisse. She was then the pastry chef at Rubicon and spent 10 years as the Slanted Door pastry chef. So she's spent some quality time with butter.
An old building with big windows and skylights, our office at 7x7 is very cold right now. Editors are dressed in coats, scarves and jackets and drinking copious amount of tea. Which has us all thinking about warming, comforting foods and where to get them.
The call for ideas for The Big Eat 2010 has elicited so many great responses, I thought I'd list them (verbatim) for you so you don't have to sort through the comments. We're almost done narrowing it down, but we want to hear if you think any of these are BIG enough to merit a slot.
Always a fan of giving thematic presents, I present a perfect trio: Fancy coffee, a fancy cup to put it in and the perfect fancy chocolate to have with it. All from local folks, of course.
1. A gift card for Go Coffee Go is perfect for your coffee-snob friend who needs his or her single-bean, microroaster fix—and can not live on Four Barrel alone. The mail-order website, just launched by SF'ans Scott Pritikin and Elise Papazian, includes Ritual Roasters, but also Verve out of Santa Cruz, Zoca out of Seattle, PT's out of Topeka (and the 2009 Roast magazine "Macro Roaster of the Year," for what it's worth).