Eat + Drink
My # 1 event for this week's festivities is this Friday's grand outdoor happy hour that SF Cocktail Week organizers are calling 'Bayou on the Bay.' 'Boozin' by the Bay' sounds better to me, though, and is much more descriptive of what really will be going on.
I suppose we would be remiss as food journalists if we didn't weigh in on the Jonathan Gold burrito throwdown. I know he's offering up some bait, and I will knowingly take it. In his blog yesterday he wrote:
"Bay Area residents tend to have peculiar ideas about burritos, which they regard as monstrous things wrapped in tinfoil, and filled with what would seem to be the contents of an entire margarita-mill dinner, including grilled meat, rice, beans, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, orange cheese, and probably a lot of other things that neither God nor man ever intended to see the inside of a tortilla, much less the soggy steamed pup-tents that are but mandatory up north."
Who needs to invest in a sous vide machine when you can have a taco truck instead? The recession continues to bring out the street food vendor in some of the city's top chefs. First there was Mission Street Food and now Laurent Katgely of Chez Spencer has made the pilgrimage to Stockton—the land of taco trucks—to shell out 15K for his own kitchen-on-wheels: Spencer On the Go. (Not cheap, but as he puts it, "cheaper than a restaurant.")
While walking on Fulton down the hill towards Masonic the other day, this sign caught my eye. Sort of a cheeky play on the old "Bar and Grill" cliche. It was about 4 PM, though, and the place was closed. I looked inside and there appeared to be an excellent beer selection, unremarkable interior furnishings, good light—in short a good place to drink beer and eat pub food.
I went home and googled it to find out what the deal was and found . . . nothing. Nothing on Yelp, either. In fact, googling the phone number listed on the sign (415-221-7777) and "beer" yielded only three results, a company called Gourmet International which is listed as a software company. I tried the number and got no answer. Will keep checking on this odd place, but if you've been there, let me know.
Welcome to our third guest blogger series written by Ella Lawrence, who works as both a freelance writer and a server at a popular restaurant in San Francisco. Lawrence has been published in Travel & Leisure, Time Out, and the San Francisco Chronicle and has her own blog, Restaurant Girl Speaks. This is part five of a six-part series in which she dishes out the tips on how to be a better diner, something about which she has a lot to say. Listen up.
I don't read many books in the strict "food writing" category these days. It wasn't always like this. In my "formative" years, I went through a faze where I consumed every Laurie Colwin book, breathlessly waxed on about MFK Fisher and combed through the writings of James Beard. But now that I write about food myself all day, it's had the effect of making me want to read anything but when I'm off duty. I'm like my friend the jazz musician who never listens to anything but talk radio when he's not working.
My number two Cocktail Week event is not necessarily an SFCW exclusive, since the folks at Alembic do this periodically. But seeing as you're in an especially heightened state of cocktail awareness, it's a great time to participate.
Since we're on the subject of the Bloody Mary cocktail (well, I guess we sort of always are; it's something I've been tracking on here--where is it good, where is it bad?), I thought I'd mention a good one I had the other day . . . at Serpentine.
While it wasn't the most unusual or scintillating or utterly unique Bloody Mary I've had -- in fact it was none of those--it was simply, uncommonly solid. The kind of cocktail that gets its job done without being spastic or trying to attract too much attention to itself. Medium spicy with a horseradish emphasis, nice viscosity, some umami-ish depth, the cocktail was just plain satisfying and made with good quality ingredients. And I can go for that any day of the week . . .
The #3 event for Cocktail Week is actually a mulitude of events. It's called Bar School, and the classes of Bar School take place Thursday, May 14 at various locations and times around town. Basically, the city's top cocktail, spirits and bartending experts will be sharing their knowledge with the public. The lineup is incredible, if I do say so myself, especially because I will be teaching one of the classes with Cantina owner Duggan McDonnell. Our class, entitled "Cane, Grape & Cactus: True Lies About Latin American Spirits & Cocktails" is at Cantina from 6:30–8. We'll be talking about agave-based spirits and the drinks of Mexico, as well as the cane spirits of Brazil and the Pisco cultures of Peru and Chile.
This little bit of cheese news, just in from Blue Hill chef Dan Barber's little day-in-the-life blog from New York magazine. The Dan Barber who was just included in the Time 100, which means he got to sit next to Michelle Obama at the dinner. Which means that Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Cheese is now four degrees separated from the president of the United States.
Thursday, May 7