Welcome to our exciting new partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, log on to get editor Paolo Lucchesi's opinionated reports on all the latest restaurant news that's fit to print, including chef gossip, Bauer-isms, Top Chef updates and unidentified flying donuts.
1) After a neighborhood opposition denied her the first time around, Luisa Hanson—arguably the city’s most notorious (that’s a euphemism) restaurateur—continued to try to sneak under the radar to get her liquor licenses at her California Street colonies in the former Barleycorn and Front Room spaces. If you’re not familiar with the exploits of Ms. Luisa “Mean Nut” Hanson, it’s worth looking into the archives. Just sayin’.
2) Fun fact of the week: Until she pulled the lever this year, Alice Waters had not voted in 42 years. And to think America’s youth gets the flack for low voter turnout.
3) The warm weather continued, but a few outdoor Embarcadero spots are MIA: Pier 23 Café is down for remodeling all month, Americano still has that (stupid) greenhouse tent thing, and perhaps most disturbingly, Red’s Java House has yet to come back from its Christmas break.
4) Big opening #1: Froyo overlord Pinkberry finally landed in Northern California. Kindly adjust your schedules accordingly. (We’re scared too).
5) Meanwhile, Food Network has debuted its new cooking show. Called Chopped, it’s a hybrid of Iron Chef and Top Chef … but is not as good as either show. The best part? The first episode featured a chef that had been previously been rejected from Top Chef; in other words, this Perry Polacci fellow really wants to be on the teevee.
6) Speaking of Top Chef, this week’s episode saw the cheftestants spend some time cooking on a farm. Local gal Jamie Lauren—you know, the other person who writes 7x7’s food blog—took home her second consecutive victory. And unfortunately, new judge Toby Young is still on the show.
7) Big opening #2: Phandemonium reached a boiling point, as Heaven’s Dog opened. It’s Charles Phan’s 32nd new project in the last 12 months (note: official Eater estimate), but his first venture into his native Chinese cuisine.
8) Krispy Kreme incidentally used the phrase "freedom of choice" in their press release about giving away free doughnuts on Inauguration Day. A pro-life group followed up with a press release of their own titled "Krispy Kreme Celebrates Obama With Pro-Abortion Doughnuts.” That’s all we’ll say about that.
9) Up in Wine Country, Yountville folks are horrifed and enraged at the Chronicle’s scathing review of Bistro Jeanty. Know what else is horrifying? Serving raw poultry to the restaurant critic ... after he's been recognized and greeted by the chef-owner.