February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

A peek at some liquor licenses reveals there’s a new wine bar called ~FAT ANGEL~ that is now open in the Fillmore District. As reported by Thrillist, the 23-seat wine bar has 38 wines by the glass, plus a variety of eats ranging from charcuterie plates to mac and cheese (1740 O’Farrell St. at Fillmore, 415-690-3783).

More from the interwebs: UrbanDaddy reports the folks behind ~BURMA SUPERSTAR~ and ~B*STAR BAR~ have completed their takeover of Richmond brunch fave ~EATS~. Brunch includes chicken and waffles, scrambles, and more; served 8am-3pm, closed Wed (50 Clement St. at 2nd Ave., 415-751-8000).

And Tenderblog has noted a restaurant called ~YEMENI’S RESTAURANT~ is now open. (Here’s more on Yelp—which includes a mention of fresh mango juice.) On the menu are Mediterranean faves like schwarma, falafel, hummus, and Yemeni soup (1098 Sutter St. at Larkin).

The transformation of the Marina’s Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe to ~RISTOBAR~ will be complete by this Thursday the 11th. The new incarnation is a combination restaurant, wine bar, and salumi bar that is meant to feel more relaxed and casual. The menu includes snacks, salads, crudos, a number of vegetable dishes, some pasta dishes like paccheri with sautéed guanciale, cipolline, pecorino romano, and hazelnut ($15), pizzas ($10-12), and main dishes like osso buco and lamb meatballs, with nothing over $20. Wine off the Enomatic system is available in a variety of pours, from a taste to a bottle. Dinner nightly (Sun-Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat until 11pm). 2300 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-923-6464.


Maison Mitchell Azteca truffles.

If anyone has any doubt about the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, all they need to do is take one look at the pitches I’ve been inundated with for the past few weeks, from pink Valentine’s Day cocktails to “romantic” recipes to special aphrodisiac menus to “cooking for two” cookbooks to a vat of chocolate press releases. But really, let’s get down to the basics: if you have a sweetie, it’s all about the card, the flowers, and yes, the chocolate. I may not be getting a card or flowers on Sunday, but I sure as hell just scored in the chocolate department. I love my job!

A pastry chef whom I met while he was at Chez Papa and Baraka, Gabriel Mitchell, has just launched his own “online pastry shop,” ~MAISON MITCHELL~. His first creation for Valentine’s Day is Azteca, a sultry and dark chocolate truffle that weaves in the flavors of Ceylon cinnamon and smoky pasilla chile. In a word, meow. (I can see why he won a competition before with this recipe.) The $25 box decadently comes with about 40 pieces, so you can share them with your sweetie. You can order the truffles online (in-person delivery is free to San Francisco residents) or have them mailed if you’re not in SF. Limited quantities are also available at AREA in North Beach, MAC in Hayes Valley, and at Arjan flowers in Oakland, which is where Mitchell will be making an appearance on Sunday from 9am-7:30pm.

Mitchell was most recently the executive pastry chef at Zinnia, and his background also includes working for Jacques Torres at Le Cirque 2000, Johnny Iuzzini at Restaurant Daniel, and in Paris at Pierre Hermé. As he puts it, he’s the “sugar pimp,” and all of his creations are his ladies, whether it’s Chloe, an upcoming champagne truffle, or Tam-Tam, the soon-to-be-released chocolate tart with gold leaf (indeed). (Fortunately he has the sartorial sense and baking skills to pull this sugar pimp thing off.)

There will also be Sunshine, a Meyer lemon tart that will be available in a couple weeks as well. (The tarts will be $5 for an individual size, or $25-30 for a 5-6 serving size.) I’m looking forward to trying his upcoming creations, but in the meantime, I have quite the box of truffles to tide me over.

After the crazy lines (again) during ~PAPALOTE~’s Mexi-Pino burrito day, it’s official: the chicken adobo and garlic-fried rice burrito is going to be a staple on the menu every day, starting in March. Hallelujah. I think the boys at We Eating, Gus and Big Jon, are gonna be happy, too.

And Danny Bowien’s menu at ~MISSION STREET FOOD~ this Thursday is looking like all kinds of crazy delicious. How about raw Tasmanian ocean trout: roe “en escabeche”, Santa Barbara sea urchin, crispy rice paper, fresh dill. Or then there’s lightly grilled littleneck clams: smoked habanero shoyu, pineapple vinegar, olive oil puffed barley. Oh wait, one more: oysters on the half-shell: pulled pork shoulder, poached Napa cabbage, salt pickles, spicy whole bean miso. Dang.

It’s looking likely that there will be some impending kebab confusion in Hayes Valley. The Mediterranean joint ~HAYES & KEBAB~ got squeezed out of their space at 406 Hayes, and it looks like the new tenants are calling their business something ridiculously similar: Kebabs of Hayes Valley (they are reportedly opening in a couple weeks). Meanwhile, the original Hayes & Kebab is going to be moving into the former market and then art gallery space at 580 Hayes and Laguna. Yup, the big space with the parking lot. They are working with the neighborhood to open a large outdoor patio and art garden in the lot. Permits and more are underway, and they hope to reopen in a couple months with an expanded menu, stand by.


My favorite neighborhood cafe-meets-bike repair shop, ~MOJO BICYCLE CAFE~, has just started serving a main dish for dinner on Monday and Tuesday nights. This week chef Jesse is serving up Boeuf Bourguignon with a side of mashed potatoes and either brussels sprouts or Moroccan string beans for only $11. There will also be a couple of new wines, the Tandem pinot noir and chardonnay by the glass or bottle. Dinner will be available from 7pm-10pm, and tonight there is a live performance by Dana Carmel from 9pm-11pm. You can keep up on their menu, event announcements, and more on their brand-new Twitter feed.

It’s true: rainy days are not ideal days to head to the farmers’ market. But to entice fair-weather friends to come, The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market at ~THE FERRY BUILDING~ is offering a free market item every Tuesday and Thursday for the month of February. Early weekday shoppers will be rewarded just for showing up. Beginning at 10am, a coupon redeemable for a fresh farmers’ market treat will be waiting at the information booth for the first 50 people who come to claim it. The market is also giving away free recipe handouts.

Featured items change with each giveaway and will be announced via CUESA’s Twitter feed and Facebook page that morning. One coupon per customer.

So the early bird in this case gets the lacinato kale, or for today’s giveaway, it was leeks.

black truffle.jpg

Flickr photo by ulterior epicure.

Ah yes, truffles. Those tasty (and spendy) little nuggets of deliciousness will be turning up on menus around town this month. ~AME~ is running its Winter Black Truffle Menu from now through Sunday the 14th. You get five courses (which will also be available à la carte) for $115. There’s even truffle for dessert: black truffle panna cotta with chocolate truffle.

And then next week, ~CHEZ PANISSE~ will be hosting Black Truffle Week from February 15th-20th, highlighting black truffles from the Vaucluse region of France.

Hang onto your ice cream cone: ~BI-RITE CREAMERY~ is going to be closed the last two weeks of February, from the 16th until March 2nd. The good news is they are expanding the ice cream facility to include more seating and a larger production space, and are opening a new window in March where they will be serving soft serve from Straus organic dairy, as well as fresh-baked goods. You can still get your fix, however: pints of ice cream will be available at Bi-Rite Market, across the street.


Photo from Hibiscus Facebook page.

I’ve only been hearing tasty reports, so I’m excited to make my way over to Sarah Kirnon’s new restaurant, ~HIBISCUS~ in Oakland. Some may remember her as the executive chef of The Front Porch in the Mission (and her wonderful hot sauce). Kirnon, a native of Barbados, is offering a menu of innovative Caribbean-Creole dishes. You can take a peek at a PDF of the menu here, which is full of dishes like Congo-style soup, salt fish and ackee (heard it’s deeeelicious), and mains like pepperpot stew and her famed Miss Ollie’s fried chicken. Everything is made with sustainable ingredients, and the price is right (nice). The 70-seat space is clean and modern-cozy, with local art and hand-blown glass fixtures made from recycled glass. There’s also a 25-seat lounge with a full bar; they are making their own syrups and featuring rum cocktails. Omar White, who was at Chez Panisse for 15 years and Pizzaiolo, is handling the front of house. For folks heading over to see Dave Chappelle this week at The New Parish, this should be your spot for dinner. Open for dinner Sun and Wed-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 1745 San Pablo Ave. at Clay, Oakland, 510-444-2626.


Photo from Era.

Another project opening in Oakland that I mentioned a while back is ~ERA ART BAR AND LOUNGE~ on Grand Avenue in the Uptown District. The 5,000-square-foot space will bring together art (expect bi-monthly collections of modern and contemporary art), handcrafted artisan cocktails with house-made syrups and bitters, local small production wines, and a wide range of music (with occasional live performances). AKG partners is behind the project (Alfonso Dominguez, Kevin Best, and Gairy Jacques)—their other venues include Tamarindo Antojeria, B Restaurant and Bar, and Air Lounge.

There are two lounges: downstairs features vaulted, hand-plastered ceilings and a 35-foot steel and concrete bar; upstairs features vintage leather seating, antique and modern furniture, reclaimed 1920s hardwood flooring, a hand-blown glass chandelier, and a more intimate bar. Era will be open from 4:30pm-1:30am Wed-Sat, with a daily happy hour from 4:30pm-7:30pm. 19 Grand Ave. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-832-4400.