October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009

Things just keep getting interesting over at ~AQUA~: now the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Village Pub) is taking it over completely. They ended up having the winning bid for the lease, and hope to retain the Aqua name as well. As for next steps, the restaurant will remain open until the end of the year, and will then be closing for a little bit around the New Year. Bacchus will be bringing in a new chef, but maintaining the fine dining atmosphere that Aqua has always been known for since 1991. Here's hoping the name continues to live on. 252 California St. at Battery.

Things are brewing (heh) in the Inner Sunset at the ~FORMER SITE OF GOLDEN GATE BREWERY, ELDO'S GRILL AND BREWERY, AND WUNDER BREWING COMPANY~: a new group is taking it over and plan to reopen the brewery, and if all goes well with the ABC license, it will be serving beer and food in January. On the menu: you'll find American fare (although I can't reveal who the chef is), and things are also in final negotiations with the brewer, so that is under wraps as well. I spoke with one of the partners, Rex Tabora of Zebulon downtown, and he said he's especially excited about the project because he grew up just four blocks away. We'll know more in 45—60 days once the license (hopefully) goes through. 1326 9th Ave. at Irving.

Speaking of ~ZEBULON~, it looks like they will be able to remain in their space at 83 Natoma until the end of January (when the Transbay Terminal construction forces them out), and will then be reopening at 500 Howard Street at 1st St.



Was so excited to walk over for my afternoon shot o' espresso yesterday at the new ~MATCHING HALF~, a lovely cafe that just opened at the corner of McAllister and Baker. For those who may remember the dumpy One World Cafe, you won't believe how well the place has been transformed—it's now sunny and cheerful, with a natural modern look, including the original Douglas-fir floors, tall ceilings, white subway tile for the backsplash, and handmade tables of poplar (including a communal table), plus some outdoor seating. What really caught my eye (and immediate affection) was the gorgeous Slayer Espresso machine from Seattle with walnut paddles. My macchiato of Verve "The Sermon" espresso (from Santa Cruz) was heaven indeed. Once Sightglass Coffee (more on this in the hardhat) gets its roaster going, they'll switch to their coffee. There are also Chemex pots (perfect for two) and individual drip coffee. You can munch on breakfast treats from Bakers of Paris, plus there's a brioche bun with egg, cheese, and ham, and bagels. There will also be a couple sandwiches every day (yesterday's were ciabatta with a caprese salad, and salame with butter and cornichons on baguette). Once the beer and wine license kicks in, the hours will run later, and there will be small plates of food into the evening to nosh on while you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer. There's WiFi as well. Hours for now are 7am—6pm, opening at 8am on the weekends; once beer and wine arrive (any day now), hours will go until 9pm or later. 1799 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-674-8699.

I heard that Jane Tseng, the pastry chef of ~A16~, is moving on in mid-November—she is actually moving to NYC, and will be working with Nate Appleman at Pulino (although her move east was initially motivated by personal matters, she is very excited to be working with Nate again). Lori Rich, Jane's pastry assistant, will be promoted to pastry chef of A16 as of November 1st. Jane will stay on to help with the transition and the A16/SPQR team wishes her well in her future endeavors. At SPQR, new executive chef Matthew Accarrino will be doing his own desserts with the help of his team.



Things are getting close for ~REPUBLIC~, the project in the Marina in the former Jones space, brought to you by the Bin 38 crew (Shaw Amirghassemkhany, Don Davis, Peter Scully and David Sheridan). Executive chef Brian Beach (The Waterfront, Adagia) has put together a menu focused on updated bar and grill classics and comfort food made with local ingredients, like a burger made with sustainable, ground-to-order beef; grilled romaine salad and Parmesan flan; and Phillies (mini cheese steak bites). There will also be clever bar snacks, including local Dungeness crab jalapeno poppers. One thing that is sure to prick up a lot of ears around town is that the beverage program will have the largest all-American craft beer list in San Francisco (classic cocktails will also be available). Jim Maxwell of Architects II redid the interior to be more upscale, and the entrance has been moved to Scott Street. Game watchers: there will be TV/sports viewing, although the TVs can and will be covered by artwork or sliding panels based on game times (except for three TVs in the bar area, which will remain uncovered). Hours will include weekend brunch (starting at 9am, and open continuously until 2am on Sat and 12am on Sun), and snacks, drinks, and dinner Mon—Wed 4pm—12am and until 2am Thu—Fri. The opening is looking like Friday November 13th for now (mua hua huaaaaa). 2401 Lombard St. at Scott, 415-817-1337.

Just over the past weekend, ~SUSHI RAW 3~ opened in the now-closed Baghdad Nights location in the Lower Haight (if you live out in the Excelsior, you might be familiar with their original location—and there's another one is in San Bruno). The menu includes the usual sushi/sashimi suspects, along with ramen/udon. Hours are 11:30am—3pm, and 5pm—10pm daily. Oh, and there's delivery too. 682 Haight St. at Pierce, 415-863-6888.

Also in the neighborhood: if you are missing the tasty tikka masala from the former ~METRO KATHMANDU~ (now Metro Cafe), they are selling pre-packaged servings under the Metro Kathmandu label in the refrigerated food section at Falletti's. You can pick up chicken tikka masala ($8.99), lamb vindaloo ($7.99), saag paneer ($5.99), and basmati rice ($1.49). 308 Broderick St. at Fell.

More Indian cuisine news: ~URBAN CURRY~ (no relation to Urbun Burger or Urban Tavern, har) is now open in the former Little Joe's space, next door to the Vin Club on Broadway. On the menu: classic Indian and Pakistani dishes. One of the owners is also behind the House of Curries locations in Berkeley. Lunch is served from 11am—3pm, and dinner is from 5pm—11pm. 523 Broadway at Kearny, 415-677-9744.

Looking for a good deal for a business lunch? ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ is offering a two-course business lunch for $17.95, or three courses for $22.95. You can choose from apps like French onion soup or smoked trout with potato salad or Snake River Farms beef tartare; and entrées include a roasted eggplant and mozzarella tartine or a flatiron steak with béarnaise and frites. Want dessert? There are profiteroles, brandied cherry clafoutis, or apple tarte tatin. 4 Mint Plaza at 5th St., 415-546-4134.

Let's hear it for free, shall we?

~NAMU~ is offering free bar bites on Monday nights from 9:30pm—10:30pm. Just have a drink, and you'll be able to eat dishes like pickled quail egg salad, hot wings, fried somen noodles, and OB-battered onion rings. 439 Balboa St. at 5th Ave., 415-386-8332.

~BEAUTIFULL~ in Laurel Village is offering a free cup of Equator Estate coffee (just bring your own cup or to-go mug) with a breakfast purchase from 9am—11am daily, until November 16th. You can choose from a new menu of breakfast items, like a seasonal frittata or fresh-baked muffins. 3401 California St. at Laurel, 415-728-9080.

This Wednesday October 28th, former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes will be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ to talk about his new book, Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, at 6pm. (Or come by on Sunday November 8th and bring some figs to David Chang (Momofuku) and Jeremy Fox (ubuntu), who will appear in conversation at noon. Because space is limited, anyone who calls/emails ahead to buy a copy of The Momofuku Cookbook will be guaranteed a seat.) 3885A Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712.



And on Thursday October 29th, you can listen in on a panel discussion about responsible meat eating and animal agriculture: ~IN SEARCH OF A RIGHTEOUS PORKCHOP~. This event is sponsored by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) and Book Passage. Here's more from the announcement: "The reality behind industrially produced meat—cramped confinement, routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones, E. coli epidemics, pollution of air and water, enormous carbon footprint, and so on—has made some eaters into staunch vegans. For others, however, all-or-nothing is a false choice. This panel will explore the middle ground: moderate consumption of meat from animals raised humanely and sustainably on family farms. Panelists will include Nicolette Hahn Niman, attorney, rancher, and author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms; David Evans, fourth generation rancher and owner of Marin Sun Farms; and Aaron French, chef at the Sunny Side Café, ecologist, and writer. Moderated by Elanor Starmer, researcher and policy analyst for the national consumer advocacy organization Food and Water Watch." The event is free and will be followed by a reception with farmers' market snacks. No RSVP needed. 6:30pm—8:30pm. For further information, contact Julie Cummins: 415-291-3276 x106. Port Commission Hearing Room, second floor of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero at Market St.

As for some paid events, this Thursday October 29th is a ~COMMONWEALTH CLUB INFORUM EVENT~: The Street Food Movement: SF Hearts the Cart. There will be a panel with Anthony Myint, Mission Street Food; Brian Kimball, Magic Curry Kart; Steven Gdula, Gobba Gobba Hey; and Charles Phan, executive chef, Slanted Door, moderated by Tamara Palmer. After the discussion, everyone can head over to 111 Minna, where some street food carts will be offering limited samples and hawking their eats, including: Bacon Potato Chips, Bike Basket Pies, Creme Brulee Cart, Gobba Gobba Hey, Magic Curry Kart, Mission Street Food, Smitten Ice Cream, Soul Cocina, and Sweet Constructions. Tickets are $12 for members, $20 for non-members. 6:30pm, panel discussion; 7:30pm, Street Eats Party. Buy tickets here. 595 Market St. at 2nd St.

Next Tuesday November 3rd is ~PETTING ZOO~, another carve-and-eat event at Bloodhound from Ryan Farr from 4505 Meats and Taylor Boetticher from Fatted Calf. They'll be doing a carving demo of a goat and a lamb, and spit roasting a whole hog on an open fire. Rabbit crepinettes, chicken beer sausages, chicharrones, Taylor's salami, and bacon brownies will also be offered, plus a bacon-inspired cocktail from the bar. $40. Price of admission gets you the demonstration viewing, all the food you can eat, and one free cocktail of your choice at the bar. Buy tickets. 6pm—11pm (the organizers say, "food will be flowing steadily the entire event, so don't feel like you need to be the first through the door.") 1145 Folsom St. at 7th St.

Errata...

That'll teach me to put a politician in the starlet: last week I mistakenly wrote Senator instead of Speaker Pelosi. I'm just going to stick with MC Hammer sightings from now on.