January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011
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Photo by Daniel Azarkman.

Even though the owners have tried to tell us they aren’t open, ~LEOPOLD’S~, the Austrian-Italian restaurant that moved into the Antica Trattoria space on Polk, is quite open. Based on a few reports and their Facebook page, here’s what we’ve got: an Alpine (Austria/Alto Adige/Friuli-Veneto) menu of hearty dishes like duck crépinettes, wiener schnitzel, and beef shortribs, plus, according to the pics of their curing room, quite the selection of housemade salumi (it has “gasthaus” in its name, which is a German tavern). (Grubstreet has a fuzzy image of the menu here.) So to drink, you can bet there will be beer on tap and wine from Austria, Germany, and Italy (including big glass Spaten boots to drink out of). The décor includes wood wainscoting, some taxidermy, Alpine wood booths, a large communal table, and a cozy back bar. The partners in the project are Klaus and Albert Rainier, the two brothers behind downtown’s Café Metropol. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am.

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Mark Furr, Angela Chavez, and the red Land Commander! (Photo from Smoke.)

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Ribs out of the smoker. I can almost smell them. (Photo from Smoke.)

Boy, there is thankfully a lot of barbecue that is making appearances on the scene, from The Rib Whip truck parking in SoMa to CatHead’s Barbecue (see my next post) to this wonderful-sounding brand-new addition, ~SMOKE~. Mark Furr—who grew up in Kansas City (“I’ve been doing barbecue since I was a kid—it’s what we do out there.”)—was the opening chef for The Sycamore, and has also worked in fine dining. With Smoke, he’s serving some delicious-sounding ‘cue out of a little bright red 1966 Land Commander trailer that he converted into a mini-kitchen in Bayview. He said he cooks the barbecue overnight at a production kitchen in Bernal, and then serves it from the trailer in Bayview the next day. He said the difference is his meats aren’t reheated, which means you’re getting it practically right out of the smoker.

On the menu: competition-style barbecue, like slow-cooked brisket, spareribs, pulled pork, hot links, (excuse me, just slobbered on my keyboard, hang on, one second, ok), along with sides like cheesy grits, cornbread, greens, potato salad, coleslaw, and barbecue beans with brisket that are cooked “the proper way,” which is in the smoker (duh). You can choose from plates ($10-$14) or sandwiches ($6-$8), or by the pound ($10)—you can also get a chicken for $10, and a slab of ribs for $20. He said he’s cooking with quality, hormone-free meats. His cohort, Angela Chavez, is also making some tasty desserts, from chocolate cream pie to banana cream pie to tarts.

Furr said they just started last Thursday, and will be serving from Mon-Fri 11:30am-4pm at 1439 Davidson at Evans. He mentioned that he likes the off-the-beaten-path location (“It reminds me a bit of Kansas City”), but they are scouting a second location to launch in February. You can keep track on their Twitter feed. I can’t wait to head over. And do it quick before Thrillist most likely picks this up and lobs it to their audience of dudes (without crediting where they got the story, of course).

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Photo from The Corner.

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that Eskender Aseged was going to be hosting a Moroccan-influenced Radio Africa & Kitchen on Fridays at ~THE CORNER~, and I also heard from CatHead’s Barbecue—a trio of professional chefs who are hosting their menu of ‘cue on Saturday nights from 6pm-1am—that there will also be a “reverse happy hour” starting at 10:30pm, with more of a late-night snack menu. You can take a look at their menu here, which includes plates of St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, and braised brisket; you can follow them on Twitter here for special offers.

And it gets cooler: according to Grub Street, The Corner is going to be hosting a bunch of other pop-up businesses, from EAT to Parada 22 to Kasa. Here’s the post with additional details. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-875-9258.

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Photo from Yelp.

According to a Craigslist ad, the new tenant moving into the Tango Gelato space on Fillmore Street is going to be a “quick casual ~VIETNAMESE SANDWICH EATERY~ opening March 2011.” The owner wants to hold on revealing any more info at this time, so stand by. Bring on the banh mi. 2015 Fillmore St. at Pine.

More Craigslist finds: there’s a new location of ~MR. PICKLE’S SANDWICH SHOP~ in the Marina, now open at 1926 Lombard St. at Buchanan.

Since we’re on sandwiches, tomorrow (Wednesday) ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ is featuring a guest chef sandwich from Laurence Jossel: house-smoked trout on Acme green onion slab with nopa house-cured bacon, house-pickled onions, avocado-spring garlic mayonnaise, and River Dog arugula.

The Noe Valley location of ~THE LITTLE CHIHUAHUA~ has opened their patio, and check this out: heated outdoor bench seating! 4123 24th St. at Castro, 415-648-4157.

~SEASONS RESTAURANT~ has reconcepted their New American steakhouse menu, created by executive chef Mark Richardson and his new culinary team (Alex LaMotte and Jeffrey Wurtz). The premium beef featured on the menu is locally sourced from four sources, and should go well with new sides like a corn, jalapeño, and pancetta spoon bread.

~YABBIES COASTAL KITCHEN~ is now serving Sunday brunch (10am-2:30pm), and also has a high-definition TV in the bar area for NFL, NBA, and college basketball games. 2237 Polk St. at Green, 415-474-4088.

Eater noted that ~MAZU~ in the Inner Richmond has closed. 3809 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave.

You wouldn’t believe how many messages I have left for the owners at both ~TOAST~ locations, asking for details about their new Polk Street location. (I almost don’t believe it myself.) Anyway, thanks to an informative tweet, they’re supposedly opening their third location (in the former Bob’s Broiler) this week. Can’t tell you anything else because THE $#&^! OWNERS NEVER CALL ME BACK. Hell, even writing this post is bordering on wasting my time further. And… scene. 1601 Polk St. at Sacramento.

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Huevos rancheros; photo from Show Dogs.

You a downtown worker? Chef/owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark of ~SHOW DOGS~ have kicked off breakfast service, running Mon-Fri 8am-11am. Yeah, the folks behind the cult egg dishes at Foreign Cinema. You can choose from nine breakfast items, like the Sunrise ShowDog (maple bacon sausage, egg, piperade, organic cheddar, arugula, and celery root hash browns, $7.95); Croque Madame (toasted pulled pork, Gruyère, and béchamel, crowned with an egg, $7.95); and Huevos Rancheros (eggs over easy, crisp corn tortillas, white beans, bacon, cheddar cheese, and tomatillo salsa, $8.95). You can also order healthier items, like granola, or a vegetarian hash, along with classic breakfast sides, like bacon, sausage, and sticky buns. And then there’s the Lagunitas Espresso Stout served warm in a mug. Ahem. (And psssst, if you follow Show Dogs on Twitter, you’ll get some special treats tonight from 6pm-7pm if you know the password.)

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Maison Mitchell Azteca truffles.

I can always tell when Valentine’s Day is approaching, because I get hit with a ton of chocolate news and events. Since I know there are a lot of chocolate lovers out there (perhaps even more than Valentine’s Day lovers), here’s a round up for ya:

~FOG CITY NEWS~ is where you’ll want to pick up sweets for your sweet—and they have all kinds of special guests coming for lunchtime chocolate events, including Richard Donnelly this Friday January 28th from 12pm-2pm (his fresh, preservative-free truffles are supposed to be out of this world), and Michael Mischer on Tuesday February 8th (free to taste!). 455 Market St. at 1st. St.

My favorite sugar pimp, Gabriel Mitchell of ~MAISON MITCHELL~, is at it again, creating a special Valentine’s Day truffle. This year’s is Bella Rosa, a combination of 55% chocolate, raspberry, and a whisper of rose. You can pick up 1/4 lb. boxes for $15 (which is about 15-20 truffles), or 1/2 lb. boxes for $25 at The Summit—where he is the first guest pastry chef—starting this Friday January 28th (but call first). You’ll also be able to pick up last year’s spicy special, Azteca, and Finocchia, made with 72% and toasted fennel.

~GOURMET WALKS~ tour guides are planning a full weekend of Chocolate Tours from February 12th-14th. $49.

On Monday February 14th, ~RAW BAY AREA~ is offering a raw truffle- and candy-making class, including hand-rolled truffles, peppermint patties, and chocolate caramel cups. 6pm-7:30pm. $35 per person/$60 for two people. Tickets here. 2501 Harrison St., Oakland.

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Thought you’d want to take a peek at a couple of these ~UPCOMING SUPPERS IN CONJUNCTION WITH GRAFFEATS~: both are based around pretty cool concepts. On February 12th, Ryan Ostler (formerly Bruno’s and Broken Record) is doing a special Devil’s Canyon Steer ‘n’ Beer barbecue dinner (think pit-roasted steer, oysters, tartare, crispy belly BBQ, Scottish Ale ice cream floats, fresh sausages). And everything will be made using Devil’s Canyon Brewery beer, ingredients from beer, or—-in the case of the steer—finished on beer. And since Ostler is THE MAN with barbecue, you’re gonna be stoked. 6pm-9pm. $65.

And then on February 17th-18th will be Covers, a dinner of six courses inspired by the dishes of some of the most influential chefs in the world. Example: a riff on Grant Achatz’s “Hot Potato, Cold Potato” (you can see the full lineup on the site). And Turntable Kitchen will be pairing music to each course. Woot. The BYOB shindig will consist of two seatings each night: 6pm and 9pm. $65.

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Cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh (Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, An Ocean of Flavor) has a new release out, Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan & Vegetarian Traditions, and there are a variety of special events planned around the release (she is making a rare trip from Osaka to the Bay Area). One you won’t want to miss is at Hodo Soy Beanery in Oakland on Wednesday February 16th (6pm-8pm). The event will be in Hodo Soy’s kitchen with founder and tofu-master, Minh Tsai. Guests will be given tastes of a range of dishes from Kansha, such as steamed custard with slivered mushrooms, pan-toasted okara, and skillet-scrambled tofu with leafy greens, while Andoh will teach about the philosophy behind the Kansha way, and share stories from her Japanese kitchen. (You will also get an after-hours sneak peek at Hodo’s production floor.) Tickets are $65, and include a signed copy of the book. 2923 Adeline St. at 30th St., Oakland.

Andoh will also be at Kinokuniya Bookstore for a lecture on Tuesday February 15th (5pm); at Books, Inc. at 1760 Fourth St., Berkeley on Thursday February 17th (7pm); at 18 Reasons for a ticketed demo and talk on Friday February 18th (7pm-9pm); and at Omnivore on Saturday February 19th (3pm-4pm).

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Wanna spend the afternoon with a bona fide chocolate and cookie expert? On Saturday February 5th from 1pm-3pm, Purcell Murray in Brisbane is hosting a delicious afternoon of baking, sweet treats, conversation, and a ~BOOK SIGNING WITH ALICE MEDRICH~, award-winning author of the recently published Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies.

Alice Medrich, who started the famed Cocolat dessert shops in the 70s, will be demonstrating recipes from her innovative new cookie book (her 8th cookbook) in which she has updated her signature recipes with expansive flavors. You’ll also get to sample cookies from each textural category: chewy, gooey, crispy, and crunchy. If the recipes tested in the bookworm review of Chew Gooey Crispy Crunchy are any indication, then this is sure to be a very sweet and delicious afternoon.

To reserve a spot, call 415-330-5557. The event is $35, and Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy will be available for $25.95 plus tax.