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Eat + Drink

New Orleans Report: Oyster Po'Boys and Abita Beer (to Go)



Just a block from the Monteleone was the famed Acme Oyster House, purveyor of New Orleans seafood since 1910. I stole over there one day by myself for lunch and sat at the bar for an oyster po'boy. Gulf oysters are not my favorite--a little big and mushy for my taste--but they're good when baked, sautéed or, in this case, fried. Despite the sandwich's almost ideal appearance, I didn't love it. Even a whole layer of extra dill pickles didn't save it from being a little bland and soft.


New Orleans Report: A Spirited Dinner at August

Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to have wrangled an invitation to one of the many spirited dinners going on throughout town, in which fine food and cocktails were paired on a fixed menu. Then my good fortune continued as I was able to end up at a table with Jen Colliau (sorry about the blur) of the Slanted Door, John Santer of Beretta, and Jill Santer of Laszlo. Always nice to dine amongst friends in a distant place . . .

New Orleans Report: A Happy Hour to End All Happy Hours

One night at Tales of the Cocktail, there was a massive walk-around happy hour. Bars and bartenders from everywhere had various tables and attendees were free to just stroll around and sample the wares, as I did with fellow SF writer Rebecca Chapa. There must have been at least 50 different drinks to choose from in the crowded and raucous room.

Naturally I was thrilled and surprised to encounter Martin Cate (below), the brilliant tiki mind behind Alameda's Forbidden Island, with his own table, pouring one of the best drinks of the evening.

New Orleans Report: Round and Round the Carousel Bar Goes

Ground zero for Tales of the Cocktail was the Hotel Monteleone, which is where most of the seminars took place and where most everybody stayed (I did not). But ground zero of ground zero was definitely the Carousel Bar, right off the old lobby. As you can see from the place’s publicity shot (below), it's built of an old circus piece.



New Orleans Report: The Hit Restaurant, Cochon

The hit restaurant of the festival was Cochon. It seemed to be where everyone was going all the time. With its slightly elevated down-home Cajun cuisine, Cochon represented a pinnacle of well-executed but un-gussied greatness. It was where I went within 30 minutes of getting to my hotel. Scott Beattie of Cyrus fame went with me, and we ran into Amanda Washington, a bartender at Rye along the way (the Big Easy was so loaded with SF bartenders that, wherever you went, you couldn't swivel your head without seeing at least two or three).

Where to Take the Kids

The other night, I found myself, as I often do, headed home from work, having just picked up my boys from summer camp and preschool—paralyzed at the thought of cooking dinner (and more so, cleaning up after), and grateful that so many great places to dine with kids are located so close to my house in Bernal Heights.

The downsides of being a parent in the city include things like lack of big yards to send your boys that are beating each other with plastic baseball bats out to play in (telling them to “Get lost!” in a 750 square foot apartment is easier said than done). The upsides include the fact that kid-friendly, but cool, restaurants abound. You never have to even think about caving into fast food, or the equivalent of an Applebee’s.

When Life Gives you Limón's

Every once in a while I think about moving out of the Mission. Someplace quieter, I think, someplace with fewer crazies. But then I come up out of the BART station on 24th Street after work and the smell of grilled meat hits my nose and I think, nah. I can’t leave. Good things just keep happening in the Mission.

Dining in the Dark

Take away one sense and the others are heightened—that's what they say, right? You can test that theory in spades at Dining in the Dark, a program that launched in Europe and has now made its way to L.A., San Diego and recently, SF. The experiment takes place in Crimson Lounge, the downstairs private-event space of Indigo restaurant in Hayes Valley, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.


New Restaurant: Russell Jackson's Lafitte


Cutting to the chase: Russell Jackson tells 7x7
about his new restaurant, Lafitte.
Photograph by John Benson

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Russell Jackson is an intense guy, no shrinking violet. Though he’s got chops from some notable restaurants (including the now-defunct Russell’s in Los Angeles) the last few years he has been flying under the radar, operating a little underground supper club called Subculture Dining, all the while looking for a San Francisco space for a restaurant of his own.
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