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The Fairest Fast Food of All

Last week, a little-reported bit of food news crossed my desk: Chipotle, that chain of Mexican fast-food restaurants founded here in the Bay Area by Steve Ells (former cook at the now defunct Stars) has gone on record as saying that it will serve some 52 million pounds of naturally raised meat in 2008, marking a 40% increase over last year. I’ve read enough Michael Pollan to be skeptical of the phrase, “naturally raised meat,” but figured it warranted a second look.

Here's to Our Health

San Franciscans have a village mentality. Leave the big-box stuff to the Los Angeles and Miami; let New York have its sweeping fine-dining restaurants. We’re proud of our casual, but conscientious, neighborhood joints that don’t cost an arm and a leg—the little guys, owned and run by a chef who knows your name: the Delfinas, Terzos and Blue Plates; the SPQRs, Mavericks and Frescatis.

By Land and by Sea

Food From Cloned Animals Seems Safe, a Panel Finds—there’s an unsettling headline if I've ever seen one. What's reassuring about a panel saying something as off the wall as eating food sourced from clones "seems safe"? I think I’ll pass.


Wood-oven roasted rib eye

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.
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