Eat + Drink
For the Big Eat 2010, we went behind the scenes of three establishments to learn the true story behind our current cravings. Following is the story of #4.
Mondays are a great day to have off; when the house is quiet and everyone else is off at work, I can take some time to do some cooking for the week. I use whatever market goodies have made their way home with me to cook up some basics—like a pot of beans, a pan of roasted root veggies and good homemade stock—that can easily be turned into several week night meals or a brown bag lunch or two. Having great staples in the pantry always makes everything a little more tasty and most of my favorite pantry items come from the farmers market. Here are the essentials I recommend to make your weekly routine a little more delicious:
A food mecca can't subsist on genius chefs alone (although we love our chefs). It also needs its chocolate and cookie makers, visionary wine directors, cookbook curators, restaurant incubators and - of course - its food-as-performance-art collective. Meet the food stars who keep our city shining bright.
Each week, we bring you our picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
Culatello King Comes to Incanto
Massimo Spigaroli, Italy’s king of culatello, will host a dinner at Incanto with chef Chris Cosentino featuring some of the very best porcine presentations. The dinner begins at 7 p.m. and tickets, including wine but not service, are $80. To reserve your seat, call 415-641-4500.
I don't know how many of you remember the great charcuterie tsunami of the mid-2000s, but you have it to thank for the prevalence of mid-grade house-cured meats that you can now find on the menus of nearly every restaurant in or around an urban center. Taken from a distance, this is a fine trend—who am I to begrudge cured meats? But when poorly executed it doesn't matter if it's housemade. I cite this historically relevant culinary event only because I fear it has begun to happen with coffee.
The word is starting to trickle in that Parks & Rec have begun calling applicants who made a bid for an ongoing, permanent street food space in one of the 219 parks in San Francisco. Though nothing is final yet (applications still have to be approved by the commission and a public hearing will be held for each new addition), chances are good that come spring you'll be seeing Let's Be Frank carts near the Conservancy of Flowers in Golden Gate Park and at Justin Hermann Plaza.
Yes, this city is lousy with Mexican restaurants, but we don’t begrudge the opening of one more, particularly when it is located in the Castro, a neighborhood that sorely needs more good food. Chilango (the name is slang for someone who grew up in Mexico City) replaced Aztec Taqueria back in October, and was opened by former Mexico DF chef-partner Roberto Aguiar Cruz. Handmade organic tortillas, Niman Ranch meat and a menu that emphasizes street food found around the Distrito Federal are now the order of the day.
It happened like this: Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher started serving their version of Southern food from the kitchen of an Excelsior bar called Broken Record. But just as we were falling in love, they up and left us. The duo—who met at Boulevard and between them have worked at some of the city’s finest kitchens, including Range, Quince and Campton Place—packed up their knives and left for a tour of barbecue joints and regional restaurants throughout the South, beginning in Ostler’s hometown of Austin. Says Zacher, “I was struck by how great the barbecue was and how terrible the sides were. Loaves of Wonder bread, bland beans—just because it’s traditional doesn’t mean it’s good. The Californian in me cringed.”
One night last fall at a wine dinner at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters got up to address the dining room and made a surprising confession. “Shame on me,” she said, “for paying so little attention to California wine. I had no idea what was going on underneath my nose all this time. And to think that it was through my daughter, Fannie, that I discovered something so important around me.”