Eat + Drink
I finally got to stop by Humphrey Slocombe the other drizzly day for a taste of pastry chef's Jake Godby's quirky ice cream. I'm not someone who generally likes quirky for the sake being quirky, but Godby has a way with his ingredient pairing that's subtle and sophisticated with just a touch of attitude. The banana ice cream with crushed red hots, for example. Cinnamony and streaked in pink with a honest fresh banana flavor, it's whimsy at it's best. On the flip side, his balsamic-caramel is very adult, very deep. I made the mistake (or had the good idea) of taking his Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee ice cream and putting a scoop of it in a cup of espresso for a double-whammy affogato. You could sell that stuff on the street.
In general, Palo Alto and "culinary mecca" aren't necessarily synonymous terms. But former Google god, Charlie Ayers, the chef behind the multi-billion-dollar company's dining success, has set out to change that. First order of business: Bringing a much-needed, top-notch eatery to Palo Alto's once-forgotten Town & Country Village.
For a long time I've been awaiting the opening of Heaven's Dog. Yes, I've been looking forward to the food, but even more so I've been anticipating the drinks. Why? Simply because the Slanted Door cocktail program, long managed by Erik Adkins, is one of the best in the country. It doesn't get enough praise in the national press because it's overshadowed by the entire restaurant concept. But people like Adkins, Jen Colliau and the rest of the crew are as big of cocktail aficionados as anyone working at Bourbon and Branch or New York's PDT.
Now, let me be perfectly clear: I haven't actually sampled the wares at Phat Philly. Yet. Unfortunately I, like so many of you, have been gripped by the post-holiday need to eat only leafy greens and garbanzo beans. However, when I recover from this brief stint of healthfulness, I plan to march right over to Phat Philly for a cheesesteak ($6-$10), because it seems like they're doing it all right. Amoroso rolls imported from Philadelphia, natural antibiotic-free beef from Niman Ranch and Creekstone Farms, and, in addition to the de rigeur cheese Whiz, they also have housemade cheddar-beer sauce.
San Francisco's very own Joey Roth's Sorapot tea pot is now available at Propeller in Hayes Valley. The architecturally simple yet exquisitely crafted pot articulates the ritual of tea-making in a thoroughly modern way. Its 11 ounce capacity brews 2 cups and encourages multiple brews of the same leaves, which is a Chinese custom. $250 at Propeller.
Tonight is 7x7's Eat + Drink Awards, an event a bit like the Academy Awards of the SF restaurant industry (minus Botoxed actresses choked with tears). Unlike most events—where chefs are asked to cook very small bites of food on a bunson burner, plate it on paper and serve it to a herd of tipsy people—this is a night that chefs get to actually relax and celebrate themselves. As they well should.
I'm guessing that if you're reading this then you didn't spend the Inauguration in Washington. In that case, let me bring to your attention the slightly belated inauguration dinner hosted by the Mission Street Food crew at Lung Shan restaurant in the Mission tomorrow (Thursday) night.
I obviously go out to eat a fair amount. If you have been following my blogs, you will know that I am not a big fan of cooking at home in my downtime and usually prefer to have someone else do it for me. This week I amuse you, the reader, with a list of my pet peeves about diningout. I'm not going to name names, because that would be rude, but here are some things that I consider to be simply unacceptable.