The first time I walked off the street into Japantown's Bushi-tei, it was just to take a closer look at the majestic, live-edge communal table that almost fills up the entire street-level dining room. A glance upstairs revealed irregular, Hobbit-like slabs of wood lining the walls. Another look down popped with pairs of whittled wood spindles, serving as the most delicate of chopsticks on each table. I had to come back.
It's back to school time, so take your brain off summer vacation. Here are some opportunities to get your noggin firing some extra neurons this fall:
Jonathan Franzen @ City Arts & Lectures: Perhaps THE great American novelist of his generation (The New York Times Book Review called his latest novel, Freedom, "a masterpiece of American fiction"), Franzen (who previously authored The Corrections) is a deeply cerebral writer who crafts multi-layered plots of dramatic social commentary. At Herbst Theatre, he'll be talking to Mark Breitenberg about his writing life and new works. September 13th, 8 pm. Other City Arts & Lectures events to get on your calendar include Jonathan Safran Foer, Maya Rudolph, Mark Morris and Judd Apatow. (check out the full schedule here).
Liquor.com's Spirited Supper Series, which held its inaugural tasting event last week at Beretta (featuring mixologist Ryan Fitzgerald and lots of rum), is now headed to Jardinière. The September 2nd event will feature libations by Jardinière master mixologist Brian MacGregor paired with Traci des Jardins' signature French and California hybrid cuisine.
Just like the surge in popularity of farm-to-table dining in San Francisco, bartenders are beginning to follow their chef cohorts into the fields for the freshest fruits, veggies and herbs to add to their increasingly innovative and tasty barroom concoctions.
Although the soccer players do most of the sweating, we spectators have a lot of eating, drinking, and TV-screen heckling to do in honor of the 2010 World Cup. The question is, which destination will best satisfy our bellies? Here's a solid line up of city spots fit for the entire spectrum of World Cup fanatics.
Kezar Pub, 770 Stanyan St., S.F.
On Monday night, when I was recovering from my vacation by gazing longingly at photographs of the Costa Rican beaches, my intrepid understudy Robin was hard at work at Jardinière, sampling her way through the restaurant's new Monday night menu, a $45 prix-fixed four-course meal (with wine!) with a theme that changes weekly. For the kick-off they served a Oaxacan meal comprised of ceviche, cactus-and-white-bean soup and duck in black mole, concluding with cinnamon churros and Oaxacan hot chocolate. I am a little bit sorry to have missed this one, to be perfectly honest, but another chance—three more, actually—exists. For the remaining Monday nighs in March, here's the line-up: