Eat + Drink
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.
Introducing the first of our guest food blogger series. For six weeks, Tuesdays are your chance to get inside the mind of everyone from a Top Chef contestant (yes, like Jamie) to a food stylist to a dishwasher to a farmer. Get to know how they live, breathe and, most importantly, eat San Francisco.
Being a chef is not as glamorous as it might seem. Unless you’re Daniel Boulud or Eric Ripert with a full-on entourage, it’s early mornings and late nights spent in the kitchen trying to retain some semblance of control.
The new Dosa on Fillmore officially opened last Monday. And while the first Dosa filled the South Indian niche, Dosa II has filled in some blanks of its own.
• It’s lured the ladies from upper Pac Heights to boldly venture to the scruffier side of lower Pac Heights (although not as scruffy as the South side of Geary). The night I was there more than one table was made up of solely of women, many with hairbands, bonding over cocktails and curry.
• It offers a pre-concert dinner for those headed to the Fillmore and a post-movie dinner for those spilling out of the Sundance Kabuki theater.
• It’s a home away from home for Nopa fans. Former bank building? Check. Huge and impressive windows? Check. Skyhigh ceilings? Check.
Here’s how you know blogging has reached the mainstream: chefs — notoriously short on time, and mostly workaholics — have somehow made time for the pursuit. Some blogs, such as the one kept by cook Richie Nakano of Nopa (linecook415.blogspot.com) offer a behind-the-scenes look at a busy SF restaurant. Others, such as the one written by Brett Emerson, owner and chef at the forthcoming Noe Valley restaurant Contigo (inpraiseofsardines.typepad.com), chronicle the harrowing process of opening a restaurant in the city.
What do Aziza chef-owner Mourad Lahlou and Sonoma-based Moroccan food expert Paula Wolfert have in common? Not much, as it turns out. I just spent the weekend at the annual CIA Worlds of Flavor conference, where old guard and new guard rubbed shoulders, swapped recipes and took in demos on everything from Syrian pastry making to live fire grilling. It’s one of the more well-organized and inspirational food conferences out there; you should consider putting it on your calendar for next year, when the theme will be street food of the world.
Did anyone else read the article in the New York Times food section Wednesday about bartending philosophies? Rather fitting, given that this is the anniversary of Repeal Day. We were pleased as rum punch to see a mention of hometown hero Daniel Hyatt from the Alembic, who was categorized, rather grandly, as a neo-classicist. You can keep tabs on Daniel’s activities at the Alembic by visiting his blog, alembicbar.blogspot.com.