Eat + Drink
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.
Love Apple Love-In
Ah, summer, with all its fog. Thankfully, somewhere out there in a town near us they’re growing heirloom tomatoes so we can at least pretend. At Millennium’s heirloom tomato dinner on August 26 you can get your fix with a multicourse extravaganza devoted to Brandywines, Green Zebras and Sungolds. Get ‘em while it’s…er…hot.
Get Real, Eat Real
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a remarkable meal put on by Des and Rob Denunzio, authors of the excellent Bay Area beer blog, Pfiff. The theme was “The Italian Modernists.” Now, I know little about beer and even less about Italian beer, but I do know that the wonderful southern European country has a great reputation for, well, wine. So the idea of an Italian beer tasting was intriguing, made even moreso by the fact that we would try 9 interesting and esoteric Italian beers, each matched with a different course.
We are just getting around to reading this article, written by Raymond Sokolov for the Wall Street Journal. As usual it's not new news for anyone who lives out here in the Bay Area (or, you know, reads the New York Times), but his glowing portrait of Los Gatos' Manresa and disciple Ubuntu, up in Napa, means we'll hardly be surprised when biodynamic gardens and haute vegetable temples start cropping up like wildflowers in the coming year.