October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

I know plenty of burger fanatics will be happy with the news that Hubert Keller's ~BURGER BAR~ (say it with a French accent) is opening this Friday on the sixth floor of Macy's Union Square. It's spacious: 240 seats in all, including a private room. The menu has quite the list of burgers that you get to pick your patty from (and there is an in-house butcher room where the meat is ground daily). You can choose either Black Angus beef ($9.75), sustainable Country Natural beef ($10.50), American Kobe beef from Snake River ($16.50), or buffalo ($16.50), plus vegetarian, Atlantic king salmon, free-range turkey, or hormone-free chicken options. There are all kinds of toppings, from nine kinds of cheeses to foie gras. And speaking of, yes, the famed Rossini burger (the $$$ one you heard about in Vegas) is on there: $60 will get you a burger made with Kobe beef, sautéed foie gras, shaved Perigord truffles, and Madeira sauce on an onion bun. (Get the paddles out. Clear!) Personally, I'm most excited about trying the jalapeno bacon. Oh, and you can pick Fleur de Lys sauces, like rich red wine and shallots reduction ($2.50), or black Perigord truffle sauce ($5.50). There are sweet burgers to finish, but fear not, there's no beef—they're more like a donut with chocolate and passion fruit inside, or a cheesecake version with caramelized pineapple. I took a peek at the cocktail list by Nikola Varsic and it has a nice range of cocktails, from whiskey to rum to pisco-based drinks made with good ingredients. Hours are Sun–Thurs 10:30am–11pm, and Fri–Sat 10:30am–2am. Yeah, you saw that right: burgers until 2am on the weekend. Enter Macy's on Geary St. 170 O'Farrell St. at Stockton, 415-296-4272.

More burgers: ~BEST-O-BURGER~ is opening their second location next Monday the 19th in a dining space with a small group of restaurants in the One Market building. Hours will be 10am–3pm Mon–Fri. One Market St., 415-828-1717.

This just in: Eater New York broke the story that local boy ~JONNATAN LEIVA~ (Jack Falstaff) is off to the Big Apple to head up 10 Downing. Good for him—I wonder if he'll put THAT burger on a secret menu. SF is a safer place without that burger lurking around, but Leiva will be missed! Rock it, Jonnatan!

And now for a little something sweet: the new dessert café from Dennis and Eloise Leung, ~DELISE~, opens this Friday October 16th. (They used to run the pastry kitchen at Bong Su.) The small space will open in the morning, serving muffins and breakfast scones (both sweet and savory, like a tomato basil scone will be on offer), plus Four Barrel coffee and espresso, hot chocolate, and chai lattes, in addition to teas from Red Blossom. There will also be cookies made with healthy ingredients like whole-wheat flour. I look forward to trying the ice creams and sorbets made with Asian flavors, including toasted rice, sesame, and pandan, plus vegan/soy-based ice creams as well. Look for some inventive ice cream flavors, like a deconstructed pesto, with basil and pine nuts; you can get ice cream in a cup or pint—homemade cones are coming soon. There's talk about sandwiches coming later as well. Opening hours are Mon–Fri 8:30am–8:30pm, and Sat–Sun 10:30am–6pm (tentatively)—so call first before heading over. 327 Bay St. at Powell, 415-399-9694.

More sweeeeeet news: as I tweeted last week, ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ is now open on Mondays. Yup, you can now get your fix of their scrumptious ice cream seven days a week. 2790 Harrison St. at 24th St., 415-550-6971.

Opening next Wednesday October 21st will be ~PANAM~, Mickael Azoulay and Laurent Guillaume's new restaurant, bar, and lounge in the former Frisee space in the Castro (under the newly remodeled The Café). Since the owners are behind Chouquet's and Blush! Wine Bar, it should be no surprise the menu will offer "neo-French fusion cuisine," with an international wine list, and a full bar. In the evening it will transform into more of a lounge, with a DJ booth and an amped up bar scene. As for the name, Panam is Parisian slang for Paris. Panam will be open nightly for dinner and drinks 5pm–1am, plus there will be a weekend brunch from 10am–4pm. 2367 Market St. at Castro, 415-556-6200.

Uh, yeah, HOLD THE PHONE. According to Serious Eats/Slice, Anthony Mangieri, aka the former master of the New York pizza universe is reopening his much-beloved establishment in SoMa, ~UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA~, hopefully by March 2010. So we lose Nate, we get Anthony, and the per capita number of tattoos remains the same. For more on Anthony, check out this gorg mini food porn film about him making pizza, Naturally Risen.

And according to liquor licenses, ~OSHA THAI~ continues its methodical takeover of the city and looks to be moving into Bong Su's former digs. At least they won't need to change the décor very much, if at all. 311 3rd St. at Folsom.

Some breakfast and brunch news around town: ~PICCINO~ has started serving brunch Sat–Sun, starting at 10am. On the menu: items like a savory bread pudding with prosciutto, onions, and tomatoes; a skillet-pressed focaccia with ricotta and house-made strawberry jam; a cazuela of wild mushrooms, kale, and two baked eggs; a breakfast pizza with Jonathan apples, gorgonzola, house-made sausage, and two eggs; and house-made granola and yogurt with end-of-season plums. And zeppole (Italian-style doughnuts)! 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

~BAR TARTINE~ will kick off breakfast next Wednesday October 21st, serving every Wed–Fri from 8am–11am. The menu will feature jars of the restaurant's own organic yogurt, and they're working on perfecting house-made English muffins to be topped with slow-cooked eggs and house-cured ham. 561 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-487-1600.

And then there's breakfast for dinner: ~SOUTH~ is offering a breakfast-inspired happy hour (inspired by that Aussie/U.S. time change thing) every Mon–Fri 4:30pm–6:30pm. $5 bar bites include spicy lamb sliders with shallot marmalade and a quail egg, and shrimp toasts with vegemite. There are also $6 drinks specials and $5 imported beers. One more thing to note: in honor of South's two-year anniversary, you can go in during the month of October and get a free glass of bubbles with your dinner. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St., 415-974-5599.

Got word that ~DOSA~ (both locations) is launching a new holiday menu this Thursday for Divali (the Indian New Year), and will be celebrating this weekend (October 16th–17th) with new dishes, cocktails, and desserts. 995 Valencia St. at 21st St., 415-642-3672; 1700 Fillmore St. at Post, 415-441-3672.

More spicy news: on Monday October 19th, The San Francisco Professional Food Society is hosting the event ~SPICE ROUTE MEETS CALIFORNIA CUISINE~. Executive chef Sri Gopinathan, Campton Place, Southern India; chef-owner Hoss Zare, Fly Trap, Iran; and chef Afreen Wahab, academician, Pakistan, will be on a panel to discuss different spices they use from their homeland, preparation techniques such as "bhuno," and how to incorporate spices in your cooking, whether in the home, or in a restaurant. 6pm–8:30pm. After the panel discussion, there will be small bites of host chef Sri's spice-laden delicacies. $30 SFPFS members; $40 guests. For more information and to purchase a ticket, click here or call 650-344-3663. Campton Place Hotel Dining Room, 340 Stockton St. at Post.

Have you been enjoying this season of ~TOP CHEF~? I think it's one hell of a lineup this year—am especially impressed with the Voltaggio brothers, and I love the dark horse Kevin, who is turning out some great dishes. Of course am rooting for our home talent Laurine, but am putting my money on badass Jennifer to take it to the end—she's thrilling to watch. Anyway, casting has started for Season Seven—aspiring cheftestants should come to the casting call at the newly opened The Parlor this Sunday October 18th from 10am–2pm. For additional casting information and to download an application, visit BravoTV.com/casting. 2801 Leavenworth St. at Beach.

There are a couple local events coming up called ~SUSTAIN ABRUZZO~ to promote and sustain small farmers and producers in Abruzzo that have been affected by the terrible earthquake in April (click the Sustain Abruzzo link to see all events). First up, ~FARINA~ is hosting a fundraiser dinner on Tuesday October 20th, featuring traditional dishes served à la carte (25% of the sales will go to the farmers from Abruzzo). You can look at the sample menu here. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero St., 415-565-0360.

Next, ~LA CICCIA~ will be hosting a family-style Sustain Abruzzo dinner on Monday November 2nd, featuring goat, lamb, and traditional wines from Abruzzo. 25% of sales will go to Sustain Abruzzo farmers. 7pm. $85 per person for family-style food and wine, plus tax and gratuity. 291 30th St. at Church, 415-550-8114.

The ~CELEBRITY CHEF TOUR~ benefiting the James Beard Foundation is coming to our fair city on Thursday October 22nd. Pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner of Orson and Citizen Cake and Jeffrey Surprise of Aurea/The Stanford Court will team up to cook a multicourse fall meal paired with wine and beer. 7pm. Tickets are $175 per person and can be reserved by calling 720-201-1853 or clicking here. 905 California St. at Powell.

Over in Berkeley, the food-e-sphere has been buzzing over ~EMILIA'S PIZZERIA~, a new casual pizza joint from the reportedly nice and talented Keith Freilich, who is turning out some killer pies (thin crust, New York-style). He's keeping it small and simple to start; follow the dough shortages and closings on Twitter. Open Tue–Sat at 5pm until the dough is gone (for now). 2995 Shattuck Ave. at Russell, Berkeley, 510-704-1794.

~TAMARINDO~ in Oakland is going to be opening a tequila bar by December in the space next door (it used to be New World Vegetarian). There will be 30 more seats and later hours—you'll be able to pass through a shared doorway, but the spaces will be kept separate. 468 8th St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-444-1944.

I also asked owner Alfonso Dominguez about his other project, ~ERA~, the upcoming gallery and bar project he is doing with Kevin Best of B Restaurant and Bar, and Gairy Jacques of Air. It's about a month or so out, will keep you posted. 19 Grand Ave. at Broadway, Oakland.

The Marin Independent Journal reported Tyler Florence and Sammy Hagar are pairing up to take over the ~EL PASEO~ in Mill Valley. According to the article, they are going to be turning it into more of a rustic American tavern, due to open in December—and they "also plan to open a bakery within the El Paseo complex." Read more details here—there will additionally be outside seating and great wines. The article mentions El Paseo's owners, Seigo Tekei and his wife, Keiko Takahashi, "are close to signing a lease for a restaurant in San Francisco's Nob Hill." Hmmm, I wonder where that is... 17 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415-388-0741.

I wanted to make sure you knew about the annual ~DEVIL'S GULCH RANCH FALL FUNDRAISER~ on Saturday October 24th for Devil's Gulch Educational Services (the link is to a great short video), which helps support a summer camp where kids of all ages learn about agriculture, nature education, and indigenous skills. The day starts at 3pm, with the opportunity to visit Devil's Gulch Ranch and purchase their agricultural products directly on the ranch (until 5pm). From 3pm–6pm, there will also be a wine tasting of Marin County wines for tasting and purchase in Druid's Hall, as well as Devil's Gulch Ranch sausages. Tasting prices vary, no admission charge. And then from 6pm–9pm, there will be a wonderful gourmet dinner with Devil's Gulch Ranch meats and local produce prepared by renowned chef Stuart Brioza (ex-Rubicon) and others. Dinner is $65 per person, and includes a glass of Marin pinot noir. There will also be a silent auction with amazing lots, like a French Laundry afternoon, a guided hog hunt, two nights and dinner for two at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, plus gift certificates from Chez Panisse, Zuni Café, Perbacco, Bi-Rite Market, and many other fabulous Bay Area restaurants. Devil's Gulch Ranch and Druid's Hall (located on the Historic Nicasio Square). Reservations are required, please call 415-662-1099 and/or 707-953-0923.

Last week, San Francisco lost an amazing restaurateur and local personality, ~TOM DUFFY~; he succumbed after a long battle with cancer. Tom was mostly known for his popular restaurant Myth, but his background in the restaurant scene was incredibly extensive. I had the honor of interviewing him for a piece in DiningOut magazine (it's a PDF) a few years ago, and it was definitely one of the more colorful interviews I've done—colorful like his ties and handkerchiefs. (Unfortunately a lot of it wasn't fit to print, heh.) I know so many people are tipping their caps and raising their glass to this one-of-a-kind talent, a San Francisco original who will be missed. Rest in peace.

I also learned ~ALBERT TORDJMAN~ of the Flying Saucer passed away at the age of 57; here's an article and video about him on GrubStreet. We should all make some vertical food this week in his honor.