Eat + Drink
A few weeks back my colleague Sara made a lunchtime pilgrimage to Little Skillet, which she documented here. I was able to scam a few bites of the toothsome fried chicken, it's dark brown skin fused to the meat, supernaturally crisp and expertly seasoned. Good stuff is issuing forth from this kitchen.
William Grimes has a feature in the New York Times Dining section on the not-so-cutting-edge trend of the speakeasy-style bar. Grimes is a terrific writer, and his book Straight Up of On the Rocks is one of the greatest books about the history of the American cocktail ever written, so his illumination of the ways in which the modern speakeasies only resemble their Prohibition-era inspirations is well worth looking at.
Farming For Compliments
Want to give some love to Alemany? Think the Ferry Plaza Saturday market is, hands down, the best in America? American Farmland Trust is holding a contest to determine which is America’s favorite farmers market. We think we’ve got this one in the (canvas, reusable) bag. Go to www.farmland.org/vote anytime between now and August 8.
Chocolate and caramel, curry carts and cocktails for the road. Mexican fiestas, Hawaiian loco moco and Shanghai Bucks. Where to get goat in the Marina, black-sesame popsicles in the Mission and … Tums (available at any Walgreens).
The Magic Curry Kart, the Sexy Soup Lady, Bike Basket Pies, the creme brulee guy, the French taco truck. Boccalone's Salumi Cycle is delivering sandwiches. The economy seems to be turning San Francisco into one big Twitter-fueled, "nonrestaurant" bake sale (with elements of Burning Man thrown in)—all under the guise of street food, "authentic" or not.
Since Bill Clinton, who liked to eat but whose most lasting gastronomical association was with the Big Mac, and Bush, who seemed almost disdainful of good food and didn't even drink, it's been sixteen years since there's been any chief executive whose evinced that most human (and, for us, a most San Franciscan) trait of enjoying a good drink. While Obama's election broke many barriers and has yielded hope in so many ways, one of the nicest things about his presidency so far is that the guy likes to drink. And the examples keep piling up . . .
A sommelier's job includes many things—buying wine, maintaining the list, training the staff—but the most visible of these is his or her wine-pairings menu. The wine pairings are the chance for the sommelier to demonstrate his or her ability to compliment the chef's food without getting in the way and bring both dish and wine to a new level, where the combination is greater than the sum of the parts.
Ordinarily, I am no fan of gimmicky when it comes to eating and drinking. I do not like waiting in line, passwords, secret phone numbers or bars with unmarked phone numbers. So when I heard that a group of chefs and front-of-the-house people, led by chefs Chris Kronner and Danny Bowien (formerly of Serpentine and Farina, respectively) were opening a pop-up Thursday-nights-only supper club in the private room of Bruno's (the unfortunately named "Pussycat Lounge") I feared for the worst. (Full Disclosure: I worked at Chez Panisse with several of the people involved in this project).