Eat + Drink
In about two weeks time, I will have reached my annual puff pastry saturation level, a point I get to after attending the first of many holiday parties. Soon after will come blue cheese canapé fatigue, followed by miniature crab cake malaise. For no matter how different a holiday party might be, the food is almost always the same. Here is my public service announcement: Break out of the mold!
Thanksgiving Day just got a little shinier. I was already excited about Yat’s, the legit po’boy (and gumbo and red beans ‘n’ rice and crawfish etoufée) joint that took over the Potrero Hill/Mission dive bar Jack’s during daylight hours last May. I haven’t been there yet, but this Saturday’s the day. As a girl who was (almost) born, and definitely raised, in Baton Rouge, LA, I consider myself a po’boy expert. I will report back.
The fact that Destino owner and executive chef James Schenk opened a Pisco lounge in a former Laundromat next door to his eight-year-old restaurant isn’t a surprise—we’re only wondering what took him so long. But given that San Francisco is experiencing a sudden resurgence of all things Peruvian, perhaps the timing is just right. Says Schenk, “Gin made a comeback. Small-batch vodka is available. Cachaça, bourbon—they’ve all experienced newfound popularity. Now it’s Pisco’s turn.” Pisco Latin Lounge carries some 15 varieties of the high-proof spirit, for sipping straight or in mixed cocktails (including one standout, the Sideways Sour, which combines Pisco, white-grape juice and lemon, served over ice with a float of Pinot Noir).
We’d like to add a few they left off:
You want to have the best experience at a restaurant in San Francisco?
Don’t go on a Friday or Saturday. Really. Because you know what? Those
are the same nights that everyone wants to dine out, and the crush of
humanity would really like to be seated at 7:30, thank you very much.
Valentine’s Day is often referred to by the industry as “amateur night”
and I’m betting Friday and Saturdays are considered “amateurish” too.
Sugar for coating rim of glass
1 ounce 151-proof rum
ground cinnamon (preferably in a shakable container)
4 ounces hot coffee
1/2 ounce Kahlúa
1/2 ounce brandy
Coat the rim of a wineglass with sugar, and pour the rum into the glass. Using a lighter, ignite the rum. Being careful not to tip the rim of the glass toward the ground, twist the glass in your fingers and sprinkle the fire with cinnamon. (Be careful: This will generate some large bursts of fire!) When sugar is caramelized around the rim of the glass, put the fire out by pouring coffee into the glass. Finish with Kahlúa and brandy, and top with whipped cream.
I’m a fan of Eater—for the record, I often find it’ssnarky-lite tone quite entertaining (I’m sure I will retract this when Paolo,the editor, starts poking fun at my overuse of the phrase “for the record” likehe did with SF Weekly’s Merideth Brody’s “enticing”—butI’ve never been a fan of their Deathwatch column, which encourages readers tonominate restaurants they deem doomed. They’ve put Avenue G, Yoshi’s and Senson this watch.
Seasonality. It’s is a word bandied about a lot here. “Our menu is seasonally driven …” How many times have you heard a chef say that?
For some reason, tomatoes are the most seasonally sacred of all vegetables and fruits: Should an unwitting chef serve a tomato in January, I guarantee the Chowhounders will log on to vent about the sacrilege. While the average diner might be vague on the seasonality of an artichoke (it has two seasons here: spring and fall) and have no guilt about munching on green beans year-round, everyone knows that a slice of tomato=a slice of summer. (And, for the record, summer ended September 21st.)
Not surprisingly then, last week I went to order a sandwich from The Sentinel, chef Dennis Leary’s tiny sandwich shop, and noticed the note: “No more tomatoes until next summer—sorry.” Then Jessica told me that she was at Tartine and ordered an open-faced sandwich that was listed as having tomatoes on it—only to be told that tomatoes would no longer be served with it because tomatoes are out of season.