Eat + Drink
While I may outwardly display all the trappings of a jaded city-dweller, I'm actually a native Southerner, and sometimes I miss being home. Sure, there aren't many concerts or plays to see, and the questions about my life in our fair city (a.k.a. Godless Heathenville) can get oppressive, but no one out here has nailed BBQ yet, nor do they share my passion for cornbread. So when I was invited to attend the new gospel brunch at 1300 on Fillmore, complete with Southern-inspired menu, I jumped at the chance. A hearty dose of spiritual music and mimosas would be a sure bet for curing my homesickness.
Yesterday, there was some big news. And it was amazing.
The news was that Smuggler's Cove, Martin Cate's new Tiki bar is set to open to the public on December 8 in the old Jade Bar space.
Why was the news amazing? Because that date is pretty much right on the target that he set for himself when he announced the new project back in June. How often does that happen? If Cate's bar is run in nearly as orderly and well-planned a fashion as its conception and execution, it should be a very successful place.
Though we pride ourselves on being a premiere food media outlet here in our fine city, we realize that we must give credit where credit is due: Therefore: the Bold Italic is very cool. This website, which launched in beta on October 16 and is backed by big publisher Gannett, bills itself as an "experiment in local discovery." Armed with the mission of making city dwellers better locals, the Bold Italic has amassed a cadre of "Bold Locals" who search the city for adventures, back stories and interesting, little-known gems, then write about them smartly and with authority.
“I’ve always loved onion rings. There is a majesty to them when they are done well. My ideal version are the ones we serve at [my new restaurant] Showdogs, sweet onions that we soak in buttermilk and then batter with rice flour. But when you need a fix, you need a fix: If we have meetings at Foreign Cinema, we’ll frequently indulge in a white paper bag of rings from Jay’s Cheesesteak. They are sort of the classic, overbreaded, super-crunchy style. Zuni puts out a good onion ring—Judy [Rodgers] and I are of the same school. There’s always a gorgeous onion under a lacy, crispy crust. In the late ’80s, before I had kids, I used to go to Edinburgh Castle. I’d order a lager-and-lime and onion rings and douse them with malt vinegar.
The Wall Street Journal just ran this interesting news video on the state of the grape economy in California this harvest. It bears some good news and some less good.
The first good news is that a surprise cameo towards the end has SF's resident young pinot noir star and 7x7 Hot 20 Under 40 member Jamie Kutch talking about his good fortune in getting access to some high quality grapes he never could before.
The beer world is a pretty unique place. While most captains of industry wouldn't dream of giving away trade secrets, brewers aren't afraid to share their recipes and collaborate. "You wouldn't find Google and Yahoo! building a website together," Ken Grossman joked during his introduction of Life & Limb, a collaboration between his brewery, Sierra Nevada, and Sam Calagione's Dogfish Head. The two breweries are fairly different in their takes on craft beer. Sierra, based in Chico, is one of the original craft breweries, known for their superb Pale Ale. Despite their extremely wide distribution, they produce sustainable, bottle-conditioned ales that tend to have balanced, clean flavors.
In the ongoing icecreaming of San Francisco, a new(ish) contender has entered the ring: Scream Sorbet, which shows up only at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Oddly, the sorbet company, which sells at about every market in the Bay Area, started by Nathan Kurz, hasn't received a ton of attention since launching in 2008—or at least the press they deserve. So I'm going to give it to them right here and now.
While you might observe that the food at Starbelly is derivative—that is, it could be found at a handful of like-minded restaurants around town—it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t want a restaurant like this in your neighborhood. The owners—two of the Beretta partners, who nailed it with cocktails and pizza in the Mission—have clearly considered the Castro’s upscale demographic and catered directly to it. (If it’s fried padron peppers and chicken pot pie that the people want, then by God give it to them!) This approach may not lead to loads of culinary innovation, but it does result in lots of happy diners. Thus far, it’s worked. Starbelly has been packed.
It's a rainy day Friday, which means it's time for the Eater Wrap, the weekly recap from Eater SF on all the happenings from the local restaurant, nightlife and food media scenes. Plus, it's not really the weekend until you peruse the Eater Wrap.
1) In a few months or so, SoMa's South Park neighborhood will be getting a shiny new restaurant, and brace, the newcomer is going to be a grilled cheese specialist called The American.
With people like Momfuku's David Chang in town promoting his book and doing 7x7 panel discussions, all the talk in the food world has been about the NYC-SF rivalry in the food world. But it’s not only in the kitchen that the two coasts have their differences. Bartenders in New York and San Francisco have long had a rivalry, though it tends to be less contentious than the chefs. Vive la Difference is more the motto than trash talk like “all San Francisco bartenders do is put lime in glass!” That said, it’s still interesting to explore the differences between the two bartending cultures.