If you've never been to a Michael Mina tailgate, then you're doing football wrong. Possibly the biggest Niners fan in the Bay Area, Mina throws a truly insane pre-game party.
Mina has been throwing tailgate parties for over 20 years, but after opening his own restaurant, Bourbon Steak & Bourbon Pub, inside the new Levi's Stadium in August, it only made sense to make Sunday events bigger and better. An exclusive experience for season ticket holders only, each home game includes a guest chef who cooks with Mina at the tailgate. Most recently, for example, Thomas Keller from the French Laundry showed up for the game. Other big name chefs have included: Chris Kostow, Ming Tsai, Jose Andres, and Ethan Stowell.
So, what is Mina up to when he's not cheering on the Niners or manning his restaurant empire? We asked the noted chef seven questions about his life in the Bay Area.
1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?
This is a tricky question. My family and I reside in Marin County, but I have always considered my restaurant kitchens to be my second home. During new restaurants openings, I can be there for up to 16 hours in a day. Since opening Bourbon Steak & Bourbon Pub at Levi’s Stadium, I have been spending most of my days and nights here recipe testing, working with our kitchen team, and coordinating logistics for the tailgate.
2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?
It’s really hard to pick just one. I love heading into Swan Oyster Depot. Owner Steve Sancimino is the definition of hospitality. But I also have to point out that Zuni Café’s classic Roasted Chicken for two with Warm Bread Salad is the ultimate San Francisco meal.
3. What's your perfect night on the town?
My perfect night on the town starts by heading into one of our restaurants for cocktails and a small bite to see the teams—each of the restaurants’ staff members are an extension of our family. Then I’ll grab a bite at a neighborhood favorite like Saison or Tony’s Pizza.
4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time
5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?
If my kids are out of school, I love to go to Lake Tahoe or anywhere near the water. If not, Diane [Mina's wife] and I will take a drive up to wine country for a relaxing afternoon.
6. Quick-fire round
Burrito or Burger: Burger
Presidio or Golden Gate Park: Presidio
BiRite or Mitchell's: BiRite
Bike or MUNI: Bike
Fort Mason or Dolores Park: Fort Mason
The Independent or the Fillmore: The Fillmore
Baker Beach or Ocean Beach: Ocean Beach
7. Three words that describe your life in SF?
Living. My. Dream.