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The Before and After

I like to track progress. That’s why I’m a fan of before-and-after shots. Here’s one for Waterbar:

First you see the sketch of the light fixture in the rendering from my visit in October (read more about it here)…



… and voila! Here it is—all blown glass and wire.



Stay tuned. Waterbar’s opening date is slated for January 29.

Waterbar
399 The Embarcadero
415-284-9922

Italian in the Afternoon

I must have tried getting a seat at minuscule L'Osteria del Forno in North Beach about half a dozen times in the last few years. It's never possible—the few tables are always full and the wait at least a good half hour. And my husband refuses to wait in line for tables. So I had the brilliant idea of having a long holiday lunch there with a dear friend instead. Lo and behold, the place was empty on a Friday at 1 p.m., save for a lone two-top near the window.

Will He, Won't He?


The chef of the hour: Where will he go next?

Saturday’s Fruit Orgy

Seeing how much I love a good bowl of cereal (A Five-Bowl Meal), you’d think I’d have been to Kate’s Kitchen a bunch of times, but the truth is that I hadn’t eaten at this Lower Haight joint until just last week. And now, I plan on bringing this spot into my regular brunch rotation.


Kate's Fruit Orgy

The Year Ahead



I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m a huge fan of to-visit lists. (I keep a running tally of all the restaurants I want to eat at with me at all times.) Here’s a list of 7 openings that I’m keeping on my radar:

1. Star chefs take on the locavores: Former Fifth Floor chefs Charlie Kleinman and Jake Des Voignes take over Fish and Farm.

2. A jolt of java comes to Mint Plaza: Blue Bottle Cafe is projected to open this month (January).

Top 7 in '07

My favorite local dishes of 2007, in no particular order:

1.    At Ducca, gnocchi with chunks of oxtail, jus and … a genius move … red grapefruit.


Ducca's oxtail gnocchi.

2.    At South, the bushman’s plate, an Aussie version of antipasto: especially the tempura-coated mussels.


The bushman's plate at South.

They've Got Sol

As if cozy accommodations, free cruiser bikes and aromatic, bake-yourself mud treatments weren’t enough, Solage Calistoga, the new wine country hotel, has also got a fabulous restaurant—Solbar, headed up Chef Brandon Sharp, who comes by way of Gary Danko and French Laundry.

Solbar has a casual vibe, but the attention to detail and execution that goes into the menu is anything but. You can almost feel Chef Sharp and his team sweating it out in the kitchen while you sip a nice Viognier and gaze at the modern sculpture-cum-fireplace.


Solbar's beef short ribs.

7 Memorable Meals of ’07

After a year of what felt like non-stop eating, I thought I’d reduce my many (many) meals into a concise list of the seven most memorable. As you’ll see, some are old standbys while others couldn’t be duplicated—at least not without considerable effort.

Here goes, my year in review:

Live Uni – Just-out-of-the-water uni at Sushi Groove

The uni was so fresh, it was still moving.

Spice Is Nice – 5 Spices, 50 Dishes cooking class

Beignets at Brenda’s

Last Wednesday morning was rainy to say the least, but a winter deluge wouldn’t stop this online team from trekking to the Tenderloin for our holiday breakfast. That’s right, we dined in the Tenderloin—but no need for pity here—there’s a little gem of a spot known as Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk between Eddy and Turk.

Basement Dining

There are quite a few holiday traditions that I’m not entirely sure about, and those having to do with shopping are the most perplexing. I don’t understand why, for example, people head to the mall on “Black Friday” and then grumble about the crowds—similarly, I don’t understand why everyone heads back to the mall to return gifts the day after Christmas. I mean, wouldn’t you rather be sitting at home, gazing at the tree and eating cookies? Well, now you know where to find me. But I guess some people just don’t like to spend that much time at home with their families. In which case—if you must, you must.
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