Ian Begg and Ryan Maxey are pretty open about the reason they left their high-profile gig at Café Majestic in 2008. Management wouldn’t let them fully realize the style of food and service they aspired to, so the two friends took off to San Sebastian, a place chef Begg already had his eye on for some time. The Spanish city, nestled up by the French border, is coastal, metropolitan, and wickedly serious about its food. The similarty to SF is undeniable. But Begg and Maxey love it for what's different from their hometown: the enchanting cobblestone streets, the medieval undertones, and most importantly, a proliferation of unassuming taverns serving outstanding food. For three years now, the pair have been working on the business plan for a California-fueled riff on these Basque taverns. The guys already run cult-followed sandwich shop Naked Lunch on Broadway, so when the Enrico's space next door went on the market back in January, they thought, "Why not here?" About a month ago, their Txoko opened on strip-club-paved Broadway. It might be lacking cobblestones, but it's got its own flavor. Inside, you'll find vintage furnishings, medieval-style chandeliers and a communal table.
1. Stock your holiday pantry with a visit to Cheese Plus—they’ve got panettone, Stilton, mince pies and Nordic glögg aplenty, perfect for whatever wintry celebration you have planned. For more information, visit cheeseplus.com
2. On December 24 Incanto will be hosting the annual Feast of the Seven Fishes, a four-course all-seafood menu that is the traditional Italian meal served the night before Christmas. The price is $55, exclusive of tax, gratuity and beverage, call 415-641-4500 to book your spot. For more information, visit incanto.biz