Eat + Drink
Though you gotta have bubbles, there's no rule that says that Champagne is required to ring in the New Year. Rather, the imperative is to open something which has a cork that pops and to drink something refreshing and bubbly at 12:01 January 1. So, why not save the money that you would have spent on Champagne and instead buy yourself something nice to kick off 2010. In that spirit, here's three picks from local stores that will get you a loud cork and a mouthful of delicious sparkling wine. Cheers!
There’s nothing like the power of predicting the future. So here goes our stab at 2010's eat and drink trends (within our 7x7 square miles, of course):
More ramen. Better ramen. And to go with it, ramen noodles. Katana Ya can not be our only hope. There’s already Shirohige Ramen truck, which has gotten mixed reviews, but a little bird told me that SF can expect to be seeing another very good ramen truck run by a total professional soon.
More rum. And with the opening of Smuggler’s Cove, I’m imagining we’ll see more cocktails on fire (had one just the other night at Heaven’s Dog, actually).
After a spate of great weather, it looks like we’re in for a chilly and wet New Years. The return to cold weather got me thinking of a subject I love—ice. We were perhaps the first to chronicle the emerging ice mania of SF cocktails bars over a year ago, and it hasn’t stopped. Around town bartenders, in passionate belief that the ice seriously impacts the drink experience, are still obsessing over their cubes and chunks and spears of frozen water.
There are some restaurants that just fit into a neighborhood seemlessly, like they have always been there. Last Thursday, Frances--the month-old solo venture from Melissa Perello--felt like one of those spots. A group of four men sat beside us, chatting up co-owner and wine expert Paul Einbund before paying with a black Amex card. Two women flanked us on the other side, ordering snacks, appetizers and wine.
When I was a kid, there was nothing I liked better than that deep yellowish-gold, ultra thick and viscous, unctuously sweet eggnog that you could buy from the store. Well, a couple of years ago I discovered that it is as easy to mix up a batch of that stuff for yourself at home as it is to make a margarita--and it's so much more delicious than store-bought, chemical-laden eggnog that, yes, it's funny.
Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations, gives us the skinny on the fat of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
It’s hard to believe the Thursday market has been open for less than a year. The local and national press, as well as food bloggers far and near have declared it a hit! This market was a personal labor of love for me and I’m thrilled to see what it offers each week—from unique lunch specials to the ever-changing bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Time for Tacos
With a new year comes a new restaurant. Spanish gem Laïola will be morphing into Tacolicious, the first brick-and-mortar outpost of the stand that appears weekly at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. But the restaurant plans to go out with a bang: opening chef Mark Denham will be returning, along with much of the original crew. For four nights (December 28-31) they’ll be serving dinner and giving Laïola a proper send-off. Call 4215-346-5641 to book a table, or just stop in to say goodbye—and hello!
Crab Cracking at Camino
It's the time of year when whiskey cocktails are as common a sight as long waiting lines in front of every cash register. And no wonder, after waiting in those lines to spend your money, you're gonna need a good drink.
Now, I confess that I've been much in the spirit of drinking bourbon and rye this December. It's a little embarrasing to admit how many Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and Sazerac have passed these lips in the last few weeks. But I can't say that I haven't enjoyed them. What I can say is that I've enjoyed every drink a little more, once I started putting these Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters from Fee Brothers in them.
If you haven't made reservations yet, stop what you're doing and get on it—by the time you emerge from your Christmas cave it will be too late. Below, a small smattering of NYE options. For a complete list, check out Open Table.
What: Four-course and five-course prix fixe menus with optional wine pairings
When: December 31, 5–11 p.m.
Where: 2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco
Cost: Four-course menu for $75 per person, five-course menu for $90 per person. Optional wine pairings are available for $55 or $70, respectively.
Book: For reservations call 415-771-2216
The sun will come out tomorrow, I promise, but it's worth looking back at some of this year's signifcant closings and taking a moment to remember those that were. Halfway through the year, Eater reported that the tally was at 30. While some are being replaced by other concepts (South, Laiola, Acme Chophouse), most have boarded up for good. So here's a toast to the restaurateurs that weathered a rough year—whether they came out on the other end or not—and hopefully, to a more prosperous 2010.