Eat + Drink
I started writing about SF’s food scene during the height of the dot-com boom, but that means I also saw it through the bust, when South of Market looked like a ghost town and restaurants like Azie, which really represented that era to me (cutting-edge $30-plus entrees) closed, and not surprisingly.
Still, I’ve witnessed nothing ravage the city’s restaurant landscape like this current recession. It’s been like a wild fire. But right now, I’m happy to report that there’s new growth: The wildflowers are emerging from the forest floor. (Nothing a writer likes more than an extended metaphor.)
Even for those who aren't basketball fans, March seems to turn a young man's fancy to thoughts of brackets, no matter how obscure. Whether the competitors are the weird name of the year or various flavors of cake and pie, this has been a banner year for brackets that have little to do with the actual NCAA tournament.
After several years as a sales rep for Bock Spirits, where he helped to introduce Hangar One vodka, Jeff Kessinger decided to branch out and produce his own spirit for the first time, as a gift for friends at the holidays. His wife suggested that he try out her family's coffee liqueur recipe, but when Kessinger found out that the brew's backbone was instant coffee, he knew he could do better. So he did what most caffeine-lovers in the Bay Area do when they need a fix: he headed to Blue Bottle.
I wish that this was a joke, but it's not. Two days ago I received a press release from the Organic Consumers Association with the subject line "Picket at Chez Panisse Restaurant." Picket lines? At Chez Panisse? Chez Panisse, that place in Berkeley that does everything right? Oh, California. It seems the OCA will indeed be picketing in front of the restaurant today, on the occasion of the restaurant's 30th birthday (and can we just pause for a moment to recognize that—30 years!).
Whenever I consider grousing about my job, I try to remind myself that, in so many, many ways, I've got it pretty good. It's easier to remember this in early April, when the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival is right around the corner and, as an invited member of the press, I have the difficult decision of choosing the events I'd like to attend—a dinner with legend Jacques Pépin, a vertical tasting of some of the finest Burgundies ever made or a mid-morning Krug retrospective? The mind reels.
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
1. Brown Bag Exhibition: The clothing-boutique-cum-gallery D-Structure is a reliable source of friendly Friday nights floated on free/cheap beer, cocktails, and wine. Their newest art show, Brown Bag Exhibition, is dedicated to starving artists, and features work done on or with cheapo materials. The presence of the booze isn't confirmed, but even if it's not there, you can't expect to name your gallery exhibition "Brown Bag" and not see a few Tecate tallboys wander over from the corner store, right? (Friday, April 2, 8 pm, at D-Structure, 520 Haight St., Lower Haight.)
Edible Art Contest at Omnivore Books
For Omnivore Books’ Edible Art Contest, “participants may enter their favorite food-related books or art, in the form of an “Edible” entry.” Perhaps you’ll recreate your favorite Dutch still life? Or riff on MFK Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf? The possibilities are endless! Participants can enter for free, eaters only are $5.
If you can only have one thing this Easter make it be this: Emporio Rulli Bakery's La Colomba Pasquale or “The Easter Dove”, a lighter, more citrusy version of panettone. The fluffy sweet bread made with candied orange peels, almond paste, and powdered sugar is baked in a dove-shaped paper mold. Amazing.
For kids, Cocoabella’s got the ultimate Easter basket ($50). The multicolor weaved basket features delicious milk chocolate covered gummi bears, a milk chocolate egg house, a chocolate bunny and crème brulee Eggs.
Deep Dish: Mission Beach Café devotes every Tuesday to several varieties of pot pie. The rabbit version is loaded with vegetables—turnips, English peas, carrots and parsnips—that could have been stolen straight from Farmer Brown’s garden. 198 Guerrero St., 415-861-0198, missionbeachcafesf.com