It's official. Print is not dead. The 2011 fall cookbooks have been landing on my desk as swiftly as leaves from an autumnal tree—with a bit more of a thud. Here are my picks.
DO-THE-RIGHT THING BOOKS
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.
The restaurant question we get asked more than anything is definitely: "Where should we go for my friend's birthday party?" Generally speaking, the situation involves a party of 10, more than a party of 200, but this restaurant short-list can accomodate a wide scope of food preferences, ambiance and number of people. Since we're of the mindset that hard booze never hurts, we've put a star by the restaurants with a full bar. Go ahead now: Celebrate good times. Common!
To celebrate our Eat & Drink awards (a.k.a the Piggies, thusly named because winners receive their own bronze pig statuette) we convinced seven of our winning restaurants to host pork-centric dinners on Monday nights throughout the month of February.
Participating restaurants: Ozumo, Delfina, La Folie, Slanted Door, Laïola, Nopa and Kokkari—check out some of the amazing pork concoctions below. Smoked bacon cocktails and more! Behold below, the dates and menus—call restaurants directly to reserve your table!
Monday, February 9 - Nopa, Delfina
Monday, February 16 - Kokkari
Monday, February 23 - La Folie, Slanted Door, Laïola, Ozumo
Last Monday, we threw our annual Eat + Drink Awards party, where we revealed our picks for the 5 Best Restaurants in the City and also announced the winners of the Eat + Drink Reader's Choice Awards. In addition to a healthy buzz from the Bulleit Bourbon cocktails, all the honorees walked away with a bronze pig (we like to think of them as the SF restaurant scene's version of the Oscars). Check out the video from the party below (we're just as fancy).