Eat + Drink
The James Beard Foundation announced the James Beard Awards semifinalists for restaurants and chefs today. Like the Academy Awards, there are always some nominees that make me go, Hmmmm. For the Best New Restaurant category, as lovely as it is, Frances seems incredibly new. Acquerello for wine service (and Outstanding Service service) but not RN74? Then there's the sad fact of Ubuntu.
Each week, we bring you our picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in San Francisco.
Free Beer for Tigers: People born in 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, and 1986 (including yours truly) are in luck this week, as E&O Trading Company is offering free beer to those born in the Year of the Tiger, which began again on Sunday. The beer of choice? Tiger, of course. If you weren't born in one of the lucky years, take heart: they'll still have special cocktails and a Chinese New Year menu available for you. (Tuesday, February 16-Saturday, February 27, at E&O Trading Company, 314 Sutter St., Financial District.)
How could I forget that today is Fat Tuesday? Clearly I've completely lost my Louisiana roots. In a panic, I looked up what's left to be hand: Arizmendi Bakery's king's cakes are sold out, the Mardi Gras celebration at Town Hall? Sold out too. But, ah, who would have thunk? The Republic is ringing in Lent with a Mardi Gras party tonight. Their chef Ronnie New is from the Big Easy and he'll be making barbecued shrimp (which was my request for every birthday dinner I ever had growing up in Baton Rouge) and some classic gumbo. Hurricanes as well as Abita beer (both Purple Haza and Turbo Dog) is also available—another prerequisite. Starts at 4 pm and goes until 1 am.
Pig-mania is well-established, the inroads running deep. If you are a pork enthusiast, then your Stanley Cup, your Superbowl, your Oscars is Cochon 555—a ten-city tour that kicks off February 28 in Napa and concludes next June in San Francisco. The premise is simple—five chefs, five pigs and a little friendly competition, with the winner earning both bragging rights as well as the title "Prince of Porc" (or Princess, though there has yet to be one).
I don't know how many of you have seen the Food Network show Throwdown with Bobby Flay. The premise is pretty simple—Bobby Flay shows up at a restaurant unannounced and challenges the owners to a cook-off of a signature item from the menu—usually something iconic like barbequed ribs, or mac and cheese, or fish and chips. As SF Weekly reported back in December, Flay challenged the owners of Papalote to a burrito contest, but we felt the news deserved another mention since the episode will be broadcast on Wednesday, February 17.
1. UrbanDaddy's Pop-Up Wedding: We knew that the guys at UrbanDaddy liked typical guy stuff (sports, meat, booze), so we have to admit some surprise that they're turning Valentine's into an all-out celebration of matrimony. Couples can have an impulsive wedding, renew existing vows, or join the singles sipping on free champagne and fighting for the giveaway vibrators from Jimmyjane. Ah, love. RSVP here. (Sunday, February 14, 4-7 pm, at W Hotel, 181 3rd St., SOMA.)
Heart 4 Haiti Benefit at La Cocina
On February 12 La Cocina will host a Hearts 4 Haiti benefit sale and auction. Local food businesses—including Ritual Coffee Roasters, Kika’s Treats, Bi-Rite Market and many, many more have donated products for the sale, and proceeds will benefit Partners in Health. The event runs from 6-9:30 p.m. Stop by to pick up a treat for your Valentine!
Most chefs and restauranteurs are too busy cooking and serving on Valentine’s Day to darken the door of any local restaurants, but that doesn’t mean they never make time for a special meal. We asked 6 local food personalities to tell us the most romantic meal they’ve shared.