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The Eater Wrap: Beard Nominees, Bourdain's Visit, Pican Debuts

Welcome to our partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his opinionated report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print. Among today's topics: the Oscars of the restaurant world, the rise of Oakland, a romantic sunset with George Morrone, and the San Francisco whereabouts of one Mr. Anthony Bourdain.

1) The week kicked off with Monday's announcement of the final nominees for the 2009 James Beard awards. The so-called Oscars of the food world acknowledged Bay Area folks in several major categories—Outstanding Restaurant (Boulevard), Rising Star Chef (Nate Appleman) and Outstanding Pastry Chef (Nicole Plue, Redd)—but for local bragging rights, the real news might be in the regional chef category, which was swept by five Bay Area chefs. Sorry, LA. Maybe next year.

2) But despite the big Beard news, the San Francisco restaurant scene was preoccupied with other news: Tony Bourdain was in town shooting an upcoming episode of No Reservations. Where did the beloved grumpy chef dine, you ask? Kindly consult the Eater Map of Bourdain's SF Whereabouts for all the answers.

3) Sweet, sweet Jamie Lauren just can't escape scallops.

4) The major debut of the week took place in Oakland's booming Uptown neighborhood. The product of an expensive build-out, Pican is an ambitious modern Southern-style eatery by Michael LeBlanc and Dean Dupuis. Also, Pican just so happens to have the largest selection of bourbon in the Bay.

5) Let's look ahead into the future, shall we? The good news is that the Boulevard sequel on the ground floor of the Infinity Towers is still a go and even revealed its name, Prospect. The bad news is that a sneak peek behind the plywood reveals that it's still an empty shell of a space. Patience.

6) One of my favorite semi-regular features at Eater is a little something called Eater Scenes, wherein a restaurant is captured at very specific, very signature part of the day. For the latest installment, photographer Jennifer Yin shot Sutro's at the Cliff House in all its glory during sunset.

7) And the only thing worse than advertising free samples of salmon pizza? Using Guy Fieri as your hook.