Eat + Drink
The fact that Destino owner and executive chef James Schenk opened a Pisco lounge in a former Laundromat next door to his eight-year-old restaurant isn’t a surprise—we’re only wondering what took him so long. But given that San Francisco is experiencing a sudden resurgence of all things Peruvian, perhaps the timing is just right. Says Schenk, “Gin made a comeback. Small-batch vodka is available. Cachaça, bourbon—they’ve all experienced newfound popularity. Now it’s Pisco’s turn.” Pisco Latin Lounge carries some 15 varieties of the high-proof spirit, for sipping straight or in mixed cocktails (including one standout, the Sideways Sour, which combines Pisco, white-grape juice and lemon, served over ice with a float of Pinot Noir).
We’d like to add a few they left off:
You want to have the best experience at a restaurant in San Francisco?
Don’t go on a Friday or Saturday. Really. Because you know what? Those
are the same nights that everyone wants to dine out, and the crush of
humanity would really like to be seated at 7:30, thank you very much.
Valentine’s Day is often referred to by the industry as “amateur night”
and I’m betting Friday and Saturdays are considered “amateurish” too.
Sugar for coating rim of glass
1 ounce 151-proof rum
ground cinnamon (preferably in a shakable container)
4 ounces hot coffee
1/2 ounce Kahlúa
1/2 ounce brandy
Coat the rim of a wineglass with sugar, and pour the rum into the glass. Using a lighter, ignite the rum. Being careful not to tip the rim of the glass toward the ground, twist the glass in your fingers and sprinkle the fire with cinnamon. (Be careful: This will generate some large bursts of fire!) When sugar is caramelized around the rim of the glass, put the fire out by pouring coffee into the glass. Finish with Kahlúa and brandy, and top with whipped cream.
I’m a fan of Eater—for the record, I often find it’ssnarky-lite tone quite entertaining (I’m sure I will retract this when Paolo,the editor, starts poking fun at my overuse of the phrase “for the record” likehe did with SF Weekly’s Merideth Brody’s “enticing”—butI’ve never been a fan of their Deathwatch column, which encourages readers tonominate restaurants they deem doomed. They’ve put Avenue G, Yoshi’s and Senson this watch.
Seasonality. It’s is a word bandied about a lot here. “Our menu is seasonally driven …” How many times have you heard a chef say that?
For some reason, tomatoes are the most seasonally sacred of all vegetables and fruits: Should an unwitting chef serve a tomato in January, I guarantee the Chowhounders will log on to vent about the sacrilege. While the average diner might be vague on the seasonality of an artichoke (it has two seasons here: spring and fall) and have no guilt about munching on green beans year-round, everyone knows that a slice of tomato=a slice of summer. (And, for the record, summer ended September 21st.)
Not surprisingly then, last week I went to order a sandwich from The Sentinel, chef Dennis Leary’s tiny sandwich shop, and noticed the note: “No more tomatoes until next summer—sorry.” Then Jessica told me that she was at Tartine and ordered an open-faced sandwich that was listed as having tomatoes on it—only to be told that tomatoes would no longer be served with it because tomatoes are out of season.
Lovers of Tartine’s legendary morning buns have noticed the recipe’s absence from the pages of the bakery’s cookbook, Tartine (Chronicle Books), published last August. “We didn’t do it on purpose,” says co-owner Elisabeth Prueitt, who’s been surprised at the number of calls and emails she’s had from people requesting it. Although she plans to put the recipe on Tartine’s own website soon, for immediate sweet-tooth satisfaction, we've got the recipe right here.
Tartine 600 Guerrero St., 415-487-2600
As they say: Don’t judge a dog walker by its cover … or something like that.
Celia Sack, whose identity for the past 10 years has been as co-owner of the Noe Valley Pet Co., is pretty much the last person you’d think would make the leap from selling Nyla bones to antiquated cookbooks. On November 8th, she's opening Omnivore: Books on Food, located just around the corner from the Pet Co. on Cesar Chavez in a former butcher shop. (When she told me this I had a butcher shop déjà vu—like everything these days is being opened in a former butcher shop—call me crazy.) You also might not assume that Sack has a library of 5,000 books stored in the Castro District home that she shares with her partner Paula Harris (the other owner of the Pet Co.). Formerly a rare book specialist at Pacific Book Auction Galleries, Sack will be carrying hundreds of books—both brand, spanking new and very, very old—on everything from raising pigs to cooking pork.
This is such an obvious fit for SF.
There so many great cookbook stores around the country but none here. I love to cook and my collecting interest has always been food books, particularly ‘Victorian era professional’—they’re not cookbooks, they’re more about how to set up a pastry shop and display your popular penny cakes in a display. For some reason that’s fascinating to me.