Eat + Drink
I've been thinking about RN74 since my dinner there last week (full disclosure: I went on a "media night" and was treated to dinner). It's no surprise that fine dining restaurants are on the decline here in San Francisco—this has never really struck me as a white tablecloth town, and with the economy being in the tank the demise of all but the best of the "fancy" restaurants seems inevitable. So when I heard that the Mina (as in Michael) Group was opening a more casual wine bar-inspired spot, I took notice.
The food world is all abuzz this morning with the news that Frank Bruni, restaurant critic for the New York Times, will be stepping down from his post following the release of his memoir in late August. (The food critic memoir: Everyone's doing it.) It's probably not an overstatement to say that Bruni has had the single-most powerful restaurant reviewing job out there, so bets are already being placed on his likely replacement. I like Bruni, but judging from some of the responses to his departure, there are plenty who are happy to see him go.
Welcome back to our partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print, including the game-changing exit of Frank Bruni, Thomas Keller contests, kitchen gossip, and the neverending chronicles of Luisa Hanson.
If anyone has the inside scoop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers market it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll be giving us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.
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.