Eat + Drink
Chef Eric Ripert of NYC’s Le Bernardin was in town last week to promote his excellent new cookbook, On The Line (Artisan). Co-authored by Christine Muhlke, it’s a look behind the scenes (danger, drama!) at one of the country’s most revered fine-dining restaurants. Twenty years into it, Ripert has a lot to say.
Ripert is close friends with chef Laurent Manrique of Aqua, so he’s spent more than the usual amount of time eating around SF. Ripert and I sat down for dinner the other night and had a chat. Turns out he's a seriously nice, soft-spoken guy.
1. When author Andrea Nguyen’s family left Vietnam in 1975, one of the few possessions they brought with them to America was their notebook of recipes. She celebrates this culinary tradition in her cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. Join her for a free book signing at Omnivore Books on December 17 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
2. Dine out on December 18 and you’ll be helping the 150,000 San Franciscans who don’t have enough to eat. Ten percent of the proceeds earned by restaurants participating in the Dine Out Against Hunger (including Maverick, A16, Americano, Sociale, Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Incanto, Kuleto’s, Magnolia, Range, Serpentine, Slow Club and SPQR) will be donated to the San Francisco Food Bank.
My life consists of working. All. Of. The. Time. When I am not working I attempt to maintain some sort of normal life—like see the dentist, clean the bathroom or get the dishes out of the sink and into the cupboard. Since graduating from the CIA Hyde Park I have not:
Google “Thomas Keller” and you’ll turn up 774,000 results. So what can I tell you that you don’t already know about the celebrity chef who made Yountville a town worthy of food pilgrimage? Well, there’s the In-N-Out thing. Google “Thomas Keller and In-N-Out Burgers” and you’ll get only 32, 600 results. Which means, by my quick calculations, that many of you may not know that the VFC (very famous chef) who “invented” such dishes as oysters and pearls (oysters set in savory tapioca) and salmon tartare cornets (fashioned after ice cream cones) also really likes In-N-Out burgers. His standard order? Standard cheeseburger, fries well-done (“Because,” he says, “at least then they’re crisp.”).
Sometimes Chronicle Books just nails it: Case in point, the new yet old-school cocktail book that they just published called Bixology: Cocktails, Culture and a Guide to the Good Life. Written by Doug Biederbeck, the owner of Bix restaurant, and Eve O'Neill, the hardback is a small, brown number (gives the impression of being leather covered) with simple gold writing on it. It's intentionally, somewhat cheekily, representative of another era, just like Bix itself.
Last week, some of San Francisco's best bartenders faced off in one leg of what is sure to be one of the most high profile cocktail competitions in the country. Sponsored by Domaine de Canton, that spicy, complex and delicious ginger liqueur that debuted earlier this year, the contest is worth $10,000 to the ultimate winner and a trip to St Martin for the finalists. Considering all that, you would think tensions would have been high at Le Colonial, where the event was staged. Rather, though, the mood was festive and the bartenders didn't act as if they were nervous at all. Drink ingredients varied from coffee beans and kaffir lime leaves to coconut milk and pineapple.
New restaurants? Exciting. New renegade one-day-a-week restaurants with a rotating roster of guest chefs, an ever-changing menu and a rental kitchen? Sign us up. For all of you who missed Mission Street Food, the short lived “hipster” taco truck that appeared for a few Thursday nights this fall, now is your chance to sample the goods. The operation has moved indoors.
The Lower East Side of the Mission District (this would be East 24th Street) is blossoming. I’m sure the gentrification whistle blowers are up in arms, but personally I love it when a neighborhood starts mixing it up. (And my money is on the fact that the whistle blowers are the exact hipsters that frequent Pops, anyhow.) Stagnancy is not what thriving cities are made of: Sushi, tortas and gourmet donuts located within a one block radius are.