When Jessica and I realized we had both separately made reservations at the “new” SPQR, we decided to write up our observations without first comparing notes. Although we’re two people that share some tastes, Jessica’s been far more of an SPQR aficionado than I have been. She loves rich and rustic, where I often like things a bit lighter and refined. Despite this, our two takes on one restaurant (no cheating allowed), turned out to be very similar. —Sara Deseran
By Sunday night, when you are in post-Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or LoveFest recovery mode, you'll be ready to cozy up to the couch and watch the season premiere of the second season of Food Network's The Next Iron Chef. Given that many Americans appear to have an obsession with contest-based reality shows, and given that here in San Francisco we have a particular interest in food-focused competitions, we're guessing that the show, featuring local chef Dominique Crenn of Luce and once-local-and-now-oft-missed chef Nate Appleman, will have a strong local following.
In-N-Out takes the title as "Best Fast Food in America." This according to Esquire's superstar chef survey. You'll notice a few familiar names on the judges' panel: Mill Valley's Tyler Florence, former A16 duderino Nate Appleman, and Charlie Palmer are a few (watch our knife skills video with Palmer below). Appleman calls In-N-Out a "rite of passage for all visitors to California," and Florence says "I dare anyone to tell me their burgers aren't as good as any you'll fine anywhere, from fast food to fine dining." Checkout some of the surprise noms here: Fast Food.
Golden boy Nate Appleman has left both A16 and SPQR where he is both chef and co-owner. The grapevine news comes only a month after Appleman cooked at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, which honored his selection for one of the annual, coveted "Best New Chef" slots, and just a couple months after he accepted his Rising Star Chef award from the James Beard Foundation.
Nate, Nate, Nate. If anyone has had the year of all year's it's Nate Appleman: Nominated Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, Best New Chef for Food & Wine, and now opening an A16 in Tokyo this fall. All at age 30. I've also heard rumors that he might be the next Iron Chef. (But I might be the one that started this rumor.)
It just might be that Incanto's Chris Cosentino and A16's Nate Appleman are going to have a celebrity death match soon—wherein they pelt each other with pig hearts or wrap each other in caul fat. There’s not enough room in this town for two whole-hog men.
I just got back from a four-night trip to NYC. Although I was there with Joe for his birthday, it just so happened that the Beard Awards were last night. The Twitter board was jumping with SF chefs tweeting about their flights out to NYC (Coi's Daniel Patterson is apparently no longer a virgin on Virgin America).
This just in: Nate Appleman, pizzaiolo, San Francisco darling, butcher extraordinaire and chef of A16 and SPQR, has been named one of Food and Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs of 2009. He's joined on the list by Chris Kostow, chef at Meadowood in St. Helena, giving the Bay Area ample representation on the New York-based mag's list. Congratulations! And also, oh no! Now we'll never be able to get a table.