The reigning crab of the West Coast, Dungeness are rolling into the Pier in full throttle now in the Bay Area. Although the large crustaceans get their name from the Northern port town of Dungeness, Washington, these hard-shells are very much a San Francisco thing.
Kim Eschenmann, known to her friends as the "Mad Hattrix", is nothing if not fabulously expressive. She splits her time between Oakland and SF and works as a consultant in the dental world. While that's her left-brain action, Kim also has "an extremely hedonistic side that embraces fashion, food and frivolity." This is definitely the mode she was in last night when I caught her outside Starbelly in the Castro.
Crab season has arrived loud and clear, and Dungeness this and that are popping up on menus all around town. Starbelly is reaping the ocean's bounty and organizing a family-style Dungeness crab and chardonnay feast next Tuesday, December 7th, from 5-9 pm.
It's limited to 60 lucky people so get in there now while you can. At $56 per person, you can gorge with Chef Adam and winemaker Jim Malone from Terra Savia vineyards on a crab-centric menu that is already making our mouths water.
Here's just an inkling of what they might serve:
Fresh Dungeness crab with drawn butter and remoulade
Hot days and warm nights are finally here! Now where to eat outside? Sure, you know Foreign Cinema and pretty much any restaurant at the Ferry Building (from Slanted Door to Gott's). You've probably hung out drinking pisco sours on the patio at La Mar, had a bowl of mussels along Belden Place or done your share of carbo canoodling at Sociale. But when you're racking your brain for somewhere else, somewhere less expected, return to this list.
As should be obvious by the enthusiasm with which I threw myself into last summer's bonanza, I like a good burger every now and again. Within a short walk of my house in the lower Haight there is a Burger Joint, a Burger Meister and, as of late, the brand-spanking new Super Duper Burger. SDB opened earlier this month and is the latest project from Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa) and partners Deborah Blum (Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa) Edmondo Sarti (Starbelly). Paganini is the founder and former CEO of Pasta Pomodoro, which formerly occupied the space where SDB now stands.
Oh 2009, we hardly knew ye. But now with (gulp) exactly two weeks left in this year and this decade, it's time to look at the food trends of 2009.
Several minutes into poring over our menus at Delarosa, my dining companion looked over at me and muttered, "This place is totally ripping Beretta off." That would be true if not for one important fact—Delarosa, which opened in mid-November on Chestnut street in the Marina—shares the same owners as Beretta, and ripping off is part of the plan. Consider for a moment the following: San Francisco can at times be a fractious town. Neighborhoods, like boroughs in New York, are clearly delineated, with crossover limited to a few choice restaurants. Marina folks aren't going to drive across town to wait on line at Beretta, and Beretta regulars won't brave Marina parking to try Delarosa.
While you might observe that the food at Starbelly is derivative—that is, it could be found at a handful of like-minded restaurants around town—it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t want a restaurant like this in your neighborhood. The owners—two of the Beretta partners, who nailed it with cocktails and pizza in the Mission—have clearly considered the Castro’s upscale demographic and catered directly to it. (If it’s fried padron peppers and chicken pot pie that the people want, then by God give it to them!) This approach may not lead to loads of culinary innovation, but it does result in lots of happy diners. Thus far, it’s worked. Starbelly has been packed.