Eat + Drink
Life has been nothing but boxes in recent weeks. After eleven years spent in the Mission, Nopa, and the Haight, I'm moving out to the avenues. I'm excited about the new neighborhood, but also a little worried I'm going to have culture shock. Not because of the fog, the Haight is little better and the view from my window is pure gray at the moment. Nor am I worried about nightlife, my carousing days are long behind me. Rather, I'm worried about my ability to get a decent cup of coffee or shot of espresso with any regularity.
Jen Susman's work, on exhibit at the Silverman Gallery.
DJs and Street Food
If you want to get your fix of both beats and beets, head to the “Dirty Dishes” event on July 22nd at the Lookout. The event will feature DJs and food carts, including Seoul on Wheels, Toasty Melts and Cookie Wag SF. The party begins at 9 p.m. and continues until the wee hours. Admission is $3—RSVP here.
On a windy, sunny day, I showed up at chef Corey Lee's SoMa loft for the cover shoot for 7x7's food issue and for the feature article "Closer to Fine." I'm continually amazed by how much work it takes to do these shoots. We had seven people there, from a publicist to 7x7's design director to Frankie Frankeny, the photographer. On the electric (!) stove, there was a sea cucumber rehydrating. Tacked on the fridge was a mysterious map of Mt. Sutro.
The city’s current Golden Age of cocktails continues to be inspired by the past. Drinking by today’s standards requires a high tolerance and a local history lesson. It also provides a great excuse to play dress-up.
I am a carbohydrate freak—noodles, rice, dumplings, you name it. But it’s char siu bao—barbecued pork buns—that I am really addicted to. I might need an intervention. I get them twice a week, two or three dozen at a time to bring to my staff at the restaurant. But while I’m driving back, I eat one, then two, then before I know it I’ve eaten six: chomp, chomp, chomp. I like both steamed and baked, but I usually get the pork-filled steamed ones. At Clement Street Bakery, they’re 80 cents apiece. The dim sum there is also pretty good, and their coconut buns? Oh, god.
On the wheels of the street-cart movement, in an economic time by no means robust, a French Laundry disciple is attempting to reinvent a dining genre in a city called casual. (But really, Mr. Lee, no pressure.)
What do you think of when you think of a Mai Tai? Sandy beaches? Palm trees? You'd probably never think of Oakland, which is where the Mai Tai was born in 1944 at venerable cocktail man Victor Bergeron's original Trader Vic's restaurant. The quintessential tropical drink went on to be a staple in both exotic locales and tiki bars, far from its origins in not-so-exotic Oakland, CA.
Before former Nopa sous chef Richie Nakano launched his Hapa Ramen stand at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this summer, he did his due diligence—analyzing everything from broths to noodles to chashu in ramen joints from SF to NY. Then, he took what he learned and came up with a bowl he could call his own. Here are his picks.
At Parada 22, the two-and-a-half-month-old Puerto Rican spot wedged between bustling Cha Cha Cha and divey Murio’s Trophy Room in the Upper Haight, the menu is small and simple. You can’t go wrong with a classic Cubano—roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss served on a pressed baguette—but the entrees give you more bang for your buck.