Eat + Drink
Bon Appetit magazine has once again published their annual "Bon Appetit awards," a list of 10 "people, companies and products setting new standards of culinary excellence in food, drinks, travel and design." For this, the magazine's 12th list, we were happy to see that California got lots of love (not entirely surprising, considering BA is a Los Angeles-based publication). Of those local stars who made the cut (click here to read the whole article) I was most pleased to see that Steve Sando, owner of Rancho Gordo beans, was included on the list (follow him on Twitter @ranchogordo). I mean, here's a man who has made beans cool. No mean feat.
The Kronner era has commenced at Bar Tartine. Five days in and the ex-Serpentine and Good Evening Thursday chef is now installed at the Mission restaurant, filling the shoes of former chef Jason Fox (who, it should be noted, is a very fine chef who we hope will end up someplace good, and soon). Chris and I are old friends, so I paid him a visit last night to see how he's settling into his new post. In the last few weeks the restaurant, which has always been one of my favorite spaces in the city, has undergone a minor makeover—now, groupings of framed art (including some by owner Elisabeth Prueitt's father) hang from the walls—the overall effect is bistro-like and charming.
Given Pisco's long history with SF (since at least the early 19th century), most of us here are familiar with the Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru, which is where Pisco originates. We can get tasty Pisco Sours at many local outlets, from Fresca, Pisco Latin Lounge to Cantina. But La Mar, the SF outpost of one of Peru's most revered ceviche houses, has enjoyed special (and well-deserved) acclaim for its Pisco Sours since it opened last fall.
In the ongoing trend of chefs thinking outside the box, Saison—a Sunday night “restaurant” put on by Kris Esqueda, former Michael Mina sommelier Mark Bright and chef Joshua Skenes—has been luring diners from all over the city to a urban-cool space tucked behind the Stable Café in the Mission District. Skenes is now taking reservations for weekend nights too (reserve for September 5, 6, 18, 19, 20, 25 and 27). For $70 you get four courses; add $40 for wine pairings.
Since my usual milieu involves helping people find the cheapest drinks possible, I was thrilled to cover a more refined tasting of California natural wine growers, an event that was part of this week's San Francisco Natural Wine Week. Held at Arlequin Wine Merchant in Hayes Valley, the tasting featured five vintners committed to the art and science of growing, fermenting, and bottling wine the natural way.
It's Friday, which means time for the Eater Wrap, the weekly recap from Eater SF on all the happenings from the local restaurant scene.
1) On Monday, the Financial District—and the entire city, really—was sent into a tizzy when a two-alarm fire erupted at Tadich Grill. For good reason too: the oldest restaurant in San Francisco was burning down! OMG! ... And then Tadich reopened the next day.
Though the name of this Castro newcomer, Starbelly, has most people thinking about Dr. Seuss, I'm going to go ahead and date myself as a '90s teenager by announcing that the restaurants name evokes nothing so much as the Bikini Kill song "Star-Bellied Boy." (Not to be confused with the Hole song "Star Belly"). In that riot-girl anthem the girls rock out, screaming "Star-bellied boy different from the rest, you're so different from the rest, prove you're different from the rest."
I was bartending the other night at Cantina and made a round of drinks for a group. When it came time for the second round, one of the guys said he liked the cocktail I made him, but wanted something "stronger." Now I hate it when people ask for "stronger" drinks. Bartenders put the right amount of alcohol in each drink, so don't ask for more. You wouldn't ask for more steak in a restaurant after your first serving, would you? I told him that his last drink had been strong, just balanced so it didn't taste that way.
At the Thursday market there is no shortage of delicious lunch options. Once you’ve polished off a juicy porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti, spicy short-rib tacos from Tacolicious or a bowl of kimchee fried rice from Namu, you’ll definitely want to mosey over to the Scream Sorbet booth for something sweet. Scream’s sorbets are made without corn syrup or preservatives and have flavors that are inspired by the best local and organic fruits, vegetables and herbs available.