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Mais Oui: The French Invasion

An article that ran yesterday in the New York Times about the resurgence of French food in New York City struck a chord with me. For all of San Francisco’s Italianate leanings, the same seems to be true here—all of a sudden, the “French culinary mafia” seems once again to be picking up speed. The other night I ate at Chez Papa Resto, where my old friend David Bazirgan is the chef. David is supremely talented, and I’ll happily patronize any restaurant where he’s cooking. The food–lovely renditions of French classics given the Baz touch—seems anything but tired.

Smoking Gun: Beretta Opens

The opening of the latest place to eat and drink in the Mission District, brings up two issues:
1. How much pizza can SF take? (I’m thinking a lot, because I’m currently celebrating the close proximity this new spot to my house.)
2. Those star SF bartenders—excuse me, mixologists—sure get around. And I don’t mean in that way.

Lost in Translation: Eating LA

I’m back from spending almost a week in LA for an unofficial spring break. As Janelle Brown, the formerly SF-based author (now situated in LA’s Los Feliz hood), said to me for a recent 7x7 interview: LA and SF are like yin and yang—they fit together perfectly.

Halibut Season Has Begun

With all the fuss we make over spring vegetables, the lowly wild Alaskan halibut gets pretty short billing. The largest of all flatfish, measuring up to four feet wide, eight feet long and over 600 pounds, wild halibut is considered a good choice on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list. Fisherman use bottom longlines that cause very little damage to the sea floor and ensure a low by-catch; the fish is considered sustainable.


That's a big fish.

Real Restaurant Costs


Out the Door feels the squeeze, and passes it on to
their customers.

Palio D'Asti: The Three-Martini Tax Break

One of the old-school lunch spots in the Financial District, Palio D'Asti, is offering up one of the biggest incentives we can think of to come back to work drunk. For the entire month of April, in the spirit of tax relief, the Italian restaurant serves $1 martinis (Stoli or Beefeater) at lunch only—as long as you order lunch (which is a good thing, because God knows you need something to soak up the booze).


Palio bartender Ruben Valenzuela is standing by.

Uva Enoteca: On the Radar


Pretty soon, you're going to hear a lot about
this young man.

Boris Nemchenok has a lot of love for Italy and wants to share his passion.  That’s why, after working under Mario Batali at Otto in New York for the last five years, he moved back to his hometown to open Uva Enoteca, his new Italian eatery in the Lower Haight.  The enoteca will serve panini; antipasti; salads; coffee; desserts; beer and exclusively Italian wines all day until midnight.

Americano: Spring Awakening

You don’t just have to look up at the Ferry Building clock tower to know that the city has officially sprung forward: Flashes of bare leg and pink petals are everywhere. While foodies roaming the Marketplace can almost taste the apricots and artichokes on their tongue, across the street at Americano, a literal crush of single professionals huddled around space heaters are fixated on some good ole’ sexual tension paired with a Melograno Cosmo, which is acquired after waiting diligently in line—a very, very long one.


Friday at Americano brings the boys to the yard.

Banquettes: The Horseshoe Issue

In the back of my mind I keep a “hater” list that I add to more frequently than I’d care to admit. On it are things that aggravate me more than they should, things I’m not able to get all Gandhi about at this less-than-fully evolved stage of my young life. This list includes my hatred for people who clip.their.nails. on public transportation (!?), people who stop short in the middle of the sidewalk, lost or confused, so you run straight into them,  and restaurants that have glaring lights, so bright that you cast a shadow on your plate. Add to this list my latest aggravation: horseshoe-shaped banquettes.

Gary Danko: Fire and Disco Balls!

Confession: I dined for the first time at Gary Danko … last week. Yes, Gary Danko, winner for Best Overall restaurant for our 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards, Michelin-star Danko, Relais & Chateau Danko. I was prepped for great service and a great cheese cart, but there was one thing I hadn't considered. Gary Danko can actually be quite thrilling—and I’m not talking about the food.


Pyrotechnics at Gary Danko.

1. It offers great people watching.
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