Eat + Drink
Now that Charles Phan is about to open his latest restaurant, Heaven's Dog & Noodle Shop, comparisons between the San Francisco super-star chef and his New York equivalent, Momofuku empire-keeper David Chang, seem inevitable. They both now preside over some of the best-loved restaurants in their respective cities, serving Asian food with a decidedly modern bent. Reservations are hard to come by at both Slanted Door and Momofuku, Ko and Momofuku Ssam bar. Chang's recently opened Momofuku Bakery–Milk Bar is his fourth venture, and Heaven's Dog makes baby number three for Phan.
Bay Area tweens, start flexing those texting thumbs and rejoice – Pinkberry is coming. Though we gotta admit, we’re a bit sick of the SF froyo wars, the chain’s opening this Saturday in San Jose’s Santana Row is big news. It’s the first location outside of Southern California and New York, and let’s get serious - they eat it on Gossip Girl.
Le Sanctuaire, the bastion of top-grade spices and molecular gastronomy equipment, has a showroom right here in Union Square. And as of January, they've also gotten involved in the magazine business, co-publishing the first English language edition of Apicius, the very beautiful, very serious, very expensive ($65), semi-annual Spanish magazine on haute cuisine.
1. Becoming a Wino
Was learning more about wine one of your new year’s resolutions? In that case, get yourself to CAV on January 17 for the Intro to Wine class. The three-hour “hands-on” lesson runs from 2 to 5 p.m; for more information call 415-437-1770.
2. In a Jam
June Taylor, the grande dame of jam, will be opening up her Berkeley kitchen for one-day jam and marmalade-making workshops throughout January and February. Sign up for the first five-hour class on Saturday, January 16 ($195) and you’ll learn how to make the most of the season’s citrus. For more information, visit junetaylorjams.com
As a chef, one of my favorite things to do is go out for dinner. I hate the thought of cooking at home—hate hate hate! I figure if I spend 60-plus hours a week in a restaurant, one of my luxuries when I am not at work is to have someone else cook my dinner. So, behold, my list of places I go on my night off.
My column in the upcoming issue of 7x7 is about pizza wine--and the most harmonious pairings I found in that classic combination of food and drink. One wine--often considered the most food friendly of all varieties--that didn’t come up was Pinot Noir. For some reason, I never seemed to find pizzas that just called for Pinot. Most pies needed something more pithy and darkly juicy. I wondered if I would ever find a good pizza for all the Pinot I like to drink.
For the upcoming inauguration, if you're celebrating, I just want you all to know about this exquisite Blanc de Blancs Champagne. It's an NV brut from Pierre Gimonnet, exceptional for its clarity, its bright, vivacious citrus notes and its vinous, mineral character. While it's complex and sophisticated, it's difficult for me not to gulp it. Try it at the the Bubble Lounge, which carries it on its list.
It's the high-point of crab season, folks, so time to get crackin'. Last week SF sommeliers and a few lucky others (including yours truly) had their annual Crab and Riesling lunch. Except for some call it the Crab and White Burgundy lunch, a disagreement that highlights a rift in the wine-and-food pairing orthodoxy. Which goes better with crab? I'm firmly a Riesling person, especially, a srpy German Kabinett or a minerally smaragd from Austria. But many others, including Sara Floyd, who co-sponsors the lunch with fantastic winemaker Brian Talley of Talley vineyards in Arroyo Grande, believe in white Burgundy with crab.
We’ve already given you a couple of things to do on January 20 to ring in our new Mr. President, but for the hedonists among us, here’s a much simpler way to get in the inaugural spirit: Go to any Ben & Jerry’s and order a scoop of the newest flavor, “Yes Pecan!”
Oh, those clever Vermonters. The ice cream is described as “amber waves of buttery ice cream with roasted non-partisan pecans.” We’re wondering if maybe those nuts, perhaps sourced from the great pecan-producing state of Texas, are B & J’s attempt at reaching across the aisle?
It would be a lot more thrilling if fugu (blowfish) fin sake (called hirezake) could maybe, almost, kill you, if it weren't for the masterful, surgical skills of the sushi chef that extracted the fin from the infamously poisonous fish. As I sat at the bar at Ame, and took a sip of this piping hot sake yesterday—a dried and toasted blowfish fin steeping in the bottom of my ceramic cup—I asked Susan Johnston, the g.m., if I could expect imminent death. But apparently, unlike the liver of the blowfish (which is where the danger lies), the fin is utterly safe. My legs didn't go numb. Not even a little buzz. Just the savory flavor (finally!